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Craving Authority? Try These 4 Straightforward LinkedIn Strategies

CravingAuthority.pngAlthough it’s probably the most buttoned-up of the major social networks, LinkedIn is by no means static.

It counts more than 450 million users worldwide, including 130 million in the U.S., so it’s clear that LinkedIn has a sophisticated, plugged-in, and growing user base. And unlike Facebook, where you’re just as likely to run into crazy Aunt Sally as Sandra Q. CEO, LinkedIn users are professionals with receptiveness to well-packaged B2B marketing materials.

Despite LinkedIn’s advantages as a B2B marketing tool, though, content marketers have been slow to move away from a networking-centric view of the platform and accept its authority-building, lead-generating power. If you’re ready to take the leap and integrate LinkedIn into your content marketing campaign, start with these four straightforward strategies:

1. Actively manage your LinkedIn presence.

LinkedIn isn’t a passive medium. The platform’s most productive marketers share three to four posts per weekday, which translates to 60 to 80 posts per month.

If that sounds like a daunting goal, remember that not each of those posts needs to be a new, original post from your company. Instead, break up original and advertorial content with curated articles from trusted publishers and thought leaders.

Rely on the 4-1-1 rule. For every self-serving or promotional piece of content you post, you should share one piece of relevant content (such as a post from a competitor) and repost four pieces of original, interesting content (such as industry-related blog posts).

With frequently published, authoritative, varied content serving as the backbone of your LinkedIn marketing efforts, follow these other best practices for an active, engaging presence:

  • Respond to comments on company page posts.

    Check on your posts daily to respond to any comments, positive or negative. Remember to practice basic social media etiquette: A measured response to an off-color comment can do wonders for your image.
  • Don’t operate in a vacuum.

    LinkedIn may be full of potential sales leads to be generated, but it’s a classic mistake for your team to concentrate firepower on prospects only. Engaging with your current and future partners’ posts and reposting to your own profile signals that you’re an active, engaged, and influential player in your niche. That perception goes a long way toward establishing authority. 
  • Maximize conversions with targeted updates.

    LinkedIn is ideal for segmenting your marketing campaign and speaking directly to specific buyer personas. Use its filters to target updates to prospects in particular geographic areas, industries, roles, demographic groups, and more.

2. Enlist your employees as brand stewards.

Your employees know more about what your company does than anyone else. They’re also, hopefully, its biggest fans and evangelists. So why not use their collective knowledge base and passion to build authority on LinkedIn?

Here are some efficient, painless ways to activate your employees:

  • Set up a rotating employee guest-posting schedule.

    Sure, your marketing team is adept at spinning raw information into compelling stories, but why limit your content creation to one department when you can crowdsource content from a company full of talented experts? Set up a guest-posting operation that taps into employees’ strengths and leads to fresh ideas — but don’t expect your senior engineer to know the ins and outs of your style guide. Prepare to help your team bring ideas to life to establish authority and engage your team (and LinkedIn audience) at the same time.
  • Use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool.

    One LinkedIn study found that 56 percent of job seekers cited a company’s “reputation as a great place to work” as the most important factor when evaluating potential employers. And who better to testify to that than employees? When companies are competing with other industry leaders for top talent, the ones that stand out are those whose employees have strong profiles that they use to actively share their company’s content and communicate a consistent brand message. (Bonus points if that content paints a clear picture of what it’s like to work at your company.)

3. View your LinkedIn company page as an extension of your main website.

LinkedIn accounts for 46 percent of all social media visits to company sites, and two in three marketers rate it the most effective platform. Its no wonder more than 90 percent of B2B marketers prefer it to other social media platforms.

These insights loudly and clearly demonstrate that LinkedIn is an effective traffic- and lead-generation tool. So effective, in fact, that you can think of it less as another social network and more as a landing page or even extension of your main website.

In addition, LinkedIn profiles (for both individuals and companies) have a high domain authority. Typically appearing on the first search engine results page, they’re an ideal source of authority-building links to your blog or main site.

Beyond its impressive search placement, traffic, and lead-generation statistics, LinkedIn is the social media platform best suited for building thought leadership — it’s a long-form medium that naturally facilitates authoritative content production.

By opening its publishing platform to all users, LinkedIn made it easier than ever for professionals to create and distribute content to targeted audiences. Even better, that’s what the platform’s users actually want.

Whatever your feelings about whitepaper-length articles on LinkedIn, regularly publishing ungated, highly authoritative content on the platform positions you as a resource in front of audiences who are looking for your expertise. And if you follow best practices for publishing on LinkedIn, you can direct qualified traffic to your website or company blog for more insights.

4. Game LinkedIn’s internal visibility algorithm.

To turn your LinkedIn profile into a lead generation machine, you need to make sure your prospects are actually seeing your profile. According to Pattison, the average LinkedIn status update reaches about a quarter of the poster’s follower base.

It helps to post at optimal times of day, such as during the morning and early afternoon. But there are additional steps you can take to maximize the visibility of individual posts and your profile:

  • Optimize post headers and profile text. 

    According to AJ Kumar, LinkedIn’s internal algorithm relies heavily on keywords to assign relevance to profile, page, and post text. Therefore, the rules for keyword-optimizing your LinkedIn content are similar to the rules that govern traditional SEO. Geotargeted, industry-specific terms are particularly important in post and page headers as well as in the first 100 to 200 words of each post.

  • Complete your profile. 

    Pay attention to LinkedIn’s profile completion tracker. It should be at or close to 100 percent. Complete or nearly complete profiles and company pages are more visible than incomplete ones.
  • Leverage LinkedIn groups.

    The benefits of LinkedIn groups are twofold. First, participating in multiple groups boosts your overall level of profile activity, making you and your company appear more engaged and trustworthy. Groups are also great places to find new, relevant connections and boost your follower count — another key metric for LinkedIn’s algorithm. 
  • Attract likes and shares.

    Although LinkedIn keeps the specifics of its visibility algorithm close to the vest, individual posts that garner more likes and shares tend to perform better than content that doesn’t attract engagement. As always, strive for compelling topics, catchy ledes, and well-written or -curated material.

While these tried-and-true strategies for building LinkedIn authority are likely to remain relevant for a long time to come, others are sure to emerge in the months and years to come. Who knows — it might be you who uncovers the next big LinkedIn marketing hack.

Don't stop at LinkedIn! Download our checklist to make sure you're doing all you can to maximize your content. 

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About Jeff Clarke

Jeff Clarke is a contributor and social media marketer who is always looking to test new platforms and strategies to expand reach.

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