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The Ultimate Guide For LinkedIn 2021

More and more people are working from home, but the importance of connecting with your business network is as important as ever so we’ve put together the The Ultimate Guide For LinkedIn 2021.

If you don’t have time for the entire article, here are some immediate takeaways for you:

Quick Hacks On How To “Beat” The LinkedIn Algorithm

Here are 7 quick things you can do today:

  1. Be relevant: Posts with images get twice as many comments as text posts, and videos are five times more likely to get comments.
  2. Promote your posts: Tag relevant companies and members, use keywords strategically, and include relevant hashtags.
  3. Encourage engagement: One of the best ways to start a conversation is with a question.
  4. Go niche versus broad: “Consistently we see better conversation around niche ideas.”
  5. Post at the right time:
    • The best time to post on LinkedIn is 7:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. EST.
    • The best day for B2B brands to post on LinkedIn is Wednesday (followed by Tuesday).
    • The best days for B2C brands to post on LinkedIn are Monday and Wednesday.
      • Be sure to cross-reference these findings with your own analytics!
  6. Build your network strategically
    • Fill out your personal profile and Page as completely as you can, and keep them updated.
    • Add connections (people you know, or think would be interesting to see updates from).
    • Encourage employees to indicate they work at your company and use your corporate hashtag.
    • Follow others and attract followers (these are different than connections on LinkedIn).
    • Participate in LinkedIn Groups, or host your own.
    • Give and receive recommendations.
    • Make sure your profile is public, so people can find you, add you and see your posts.
    • Join conversations and be active on the network, generally.
    • Promote your LinkedIn pages on your website and in other appropriate spaces (e.g., employee bios, business cards, newsletters, email signatures, etc.). Setting up customized URLs is useful for this. You can find the right logos here.
    • Consider creating a LinkedIn Showcase page.
  7. Be personal

 

For a deeper diver, here are the main themes broken down, so feel free to skip around and take what you need.

Part 1: Your Audience is on LinkedIn

Part 2: Tools to Automate 

Part 3 : Generate Leads And Get Discovered

Part 4: LinkedIn Paid Advertising

Part 5: Additional Resources

Let’s Go!

Part 1: Your Audience Is On LinkedIn.

In fact, the latest stats according to LinkedIn is there are more than half a billion professionals worldwide who gather on LinkedIn to stay connected and informed, advance their careers, and work smarter.

  • 63 million decision-makers
  • 17 million opinion leaders
  • 90 million senior-level influencers
  • 10 million C-level execs and more.

Let’s get some sales!

LinkedIn Your Audience

Convert To Sales

If you implemented the content and engagement tactics outlined above every day for a month, then people are starting to follow every post you publish. Your network knows of you and people in their network know of you.

It’s time to make sales.

We sell in a genuine way – by focusing on relationship building using content marketing. This tactic is more useful if you have high-value prospects. This means your average deal size should, at least, be one thousand dollars.

Because almost every conversation leads into “What do you do?,” our angle is to get high-value prospects on the phone with you before they even receive a sales pitch.

How does this work?

We offer to include them in blog posts, podcasts, case studies, live stream videos, or even online magazines where you can highlight them. We’re playing to their ego – and it works.

 

Create a Powerful Ecosystem

To excel at one social platform, it often requires the help of others because excellent marketing is an ecosystem. You’re competing for attention. To drive millions of views on LinkedIn, you need to combine the forces of LinkedIn with Facebook and Google.

Once you’ve connected with and nurtured many of your target LinkedIn prospects, you have the leverage to build a tribe. You can build a Facebook Group, a Slack community or a LinkedIn Group, but be careful. Engagement is key, and without active community members those are dead zones.

To get people into your community, there are two ways:

  • Email
  • LinkedIn messaging (more painful, but still works)

Wherever your prospects go, they’ll see your engaging content. And by the time they hop on a call with you, they’ll already trust you. Say goodbye to your normal sales cycle by mastering LinkedIn.

 

You’ve Received an Invitation to Connect: Now What?

Let’s flip the coin. If someone asks to connect with you, and his or her profile piques your curiosity, write back thanking the person for connecting and mention that you’re interested in his or her work as well.

Be specific in explaining why, and suggest a call or video chat so you can get acquainted.

 

Take Your Connections Offline

Hoping for a face-to-face encounter? Scour their news feed for mentions of events or conferences they’re attending, or ask them if they’ll be at a particular conference that seems likely.. After you’ve found the opportunity, make it a point to go hear them speak or otherwise arrange to meet them for two minutes to say hello.

 

Part 2: Some Tools To Make Your Life Easier

LeadFuze

Search For New Potential Customers, Instantly

Using LeadFuze’s lead generation software, you no longer just have to find business contacts one by one on LinkedIn.

Instead, search for leads in specific roles and industries, that use certain software, that spend on Adwords, who are hiring, and more.

Then, unlock a lot more data like verified emails, phone numbers, social profiles and more!

Buffer

Buffer is one of the top social media management tools with which lets you post to your Linkedin pages, groups and profile from one place. They even have a browser extension. You can share the link to any web page or blog post you are on just by clicking on this extension and then scheduling it on Linkedin.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite has a feature called streams which show different parts of your Linkedin feeds in one place. For example, you can create a stream for your home page and your updates and place them side by side. The home page stream will show you updates from your connections and your updates stream will show things you have posted.

Rapportive

Rapportive is a plugin for Chrome and Firefox. It displays the Linkedin profile of your contacts inside Gmail. You will be able to see things like their job position, the company they work at and location. It makes it extremely easy for you to connect with these contacts on Linkedin.

ReachOut

ReachOut, ZoomInfo’s Chrome extension, allows you to simplify your social prospecting process. When you install this plugin, you’ll get access to a prospect’s direct phone numbers and email addresses from ZoomInfo’s B2B database immediately when you view their LinkedIn profile.

Awario

Awario is an app that primarily focuses on social listening. The platform’s complex monitoring searches are more thorough that most other platforms, ensuring you won’t miss any mention of your brand, industry or competitors. Once you locate potential prospects, you can engage with them right away from Awario.

 

Bonus Tool: Elevate

Elevate is not a separate tool, per se, but it works as a LinkedIn advertising solution.

Elevate is a platform that a company can pay for their employees to become brand advocates.

Basically, it makes it easier for your marketing or sales team to control or suggest content that your employees share on LinkedIn.

Should employees be sharing your suggested content anyway? Probably. But this makes it easier for employees to share and truly does move the needle.

 

Part 3: Master LinkedIn’s Search Algorithm to Generate Leads

What Goes Into Your LinkedIn Feed?

Top 3 ranking signals of the LinkedIn algorithm:

  1. 1. Personal connections
  2. 2. Interest relevance
  3. 3. Engagement probability

First the algorithm evaluates the likelihood that you will share, comment, or react to a post. It may measure this based on the content you’ve liked and shared in the past, as well as who you interact with most frequently. LinkedIn calls this “multi-objective optimization.”

Secondly, as LinkedIn puts it, “the model also takes into account timely feedback to content creators.” In other words, after the post is published, the quicker it starts raking in interactions, the more likely LinkedIn is to include it in the feeds of others.

Posts can appear in your feed because you’re connected to, or follow, the person or page that posted it. Or because a connection liked, commented, or shared someone else’s post. You may also see posts from groups you’ve joined, hashtags that you follow, and events you’re attending. Again, all with the goal of showing you the content and conversations that you care about.

Every time you open your LinkedIn app, the algorithm checks for recent posts by your connections; the people, pages, and hashtags you follow; and groups you’ve joined — all so you can keep up with the latest conversations in your communities.

 

What Goes At The Top of Your Feed?

LinkedIn uses the framework: People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About.

People You Know…

The algorithm starts with your connections, and the assumption that they are people you know, and want to talk with.

There’s a lot of content, and the algorithm needs to prioritize some over others when it comes to ranking the feed.

To do this, the system looks at who you’ve interacted with directly (for example: in the feed through comments and reactions); it also considers information on your profile to understand your interests and experiences you may have in common, and it will look at more explicit signals, such as who you’ve told LinkedIn you work with.

Talking About…

The goal of LinkedIn is for you to stay on the platform, and have programmed the algorithm to identify engagement. The way they communicate this is by saying they are looking for better conversations. They measure that by how authentic they are, and if there is a constructive back and forth.

The algorithm also considers who would benefit from hearing from you, and may rank a connection’s post higher if their post is getting more engagement.

Things You Care About…

There are many ways you can signal what you’re interested in: the most obvious is joining groups, and following hashtags, people, and pages.

Along with posts from your connections, you’ll also see these posts in your feed. If a connection uses a hashtag you also happen to follow, it gets an extra boost!

ConnectWithMe

Search Results – People Search

When performing a people search on LinkedIn, the ranking of LinkedIn search results is dependent on relevancy to the searcher. Because the results are tailored to what the algorithm calculates as most relevant to each individual member, it’s possible that a profile will appear on the 2nd page for one member and on the 5th for another, even if they are searching for the exact same keywords.

The variables that determine this include the searcher’s profile and attributes, and filters that the searcher applies, like Location.

LinkedIn is always updating and optimizing their algorithms, therefore variances in order results for generic keyword searches should be expected.

Tips To Improve How Often You Show Up In Search Results:

Complete your profile – Make sure you can be found by your current position, past positions, the schools you attended, what you studied, etc. Profile completeness not only helps you show up in more searches, but also improves how you are matched by the algorithm.

Add skills – Skills are among the most common searches performed by recruiters and hiring managers.

Add Connections – Connect to all the people with whom you have a professional relationship – The more connections you have, the more likely you will have a connection to the searcher. Closer connections, such as a 2nd-degree connection compared to a 3rd-degree connection, improve the likelihood your profile may appear in searches.

Use standard job titles – Some people like to have fun job titles like “Chief Janitor” or “Head of Query Understanding”. While these titles may favorably communicate your personality, they aren’t great for your searchability. Standard job titles may be boring, but they are what other members search for.

Sharing Content

In order to grow your LinkedIn community with quality members, you should be putting out valuable, educational content.

You need to leverage statuses to get seen and heard. An excellent status takes less time to create and will get far more eyeballs than any published post.

Here are some examples you can use today:

  1. Use long-form posts to tell an inspiring story.

The rule of thumb here is to begin with a “hook” (approach it like you would a headline), never go over 2-3 lines of text (this increases readability), and to be vulnerable. Tell a story about a time you made a mistake in your career. What lessons did you learn from that experience?

  1. Share and republish trending articles, but be sure to add 1-2 sentences of your own commentary on the piece you’re sharing.
  2. Tag LinkedIn influencers in your content.

Everyone likes attention, and if they are active on LinkedIn, using your own thought leadership combined with theirs, will get you attention over time.

 

Part 4: Using LinkedIn’s Paid Advertising, Sponsorship, and Premium Tools for Prospecting and Lead Generation

While there’s almost no organic reach on Facebook anymore, LinkedIn is one of the few social platforms that actually encourages users to create and publish content on its site and assures that it will be seen and shared.

 

Businesses That Should Consider LinkedIn Ads

If you’ve got a B2B product or service with a high price tag—think business coaching, exclusive communities, masterminds, etc.—then you can do really well on this platform.

Who Should NOT be Advertising on LinkedIn

  • B2C companies (with the exception of recruiting and education. Particularly higher education such as an MBA program looking to recruit new candidates. LinkedIn’s education targeting is amazing).
  • Smaller deal sizes (<$10K)
  • Broad targets
  • E-commerce
  • Ad agencies
  • Commodities

Tips for Creating Effective LinkedIn Ads

  • The very first thing in your ad should be, “Here’s why you should pay attention.”
  • The second thing should be a call to action that’s quick and to the point.
  • Strong copy is perhaps the most important indicator of how successful an ad will be.
  • LinkedIn recommends that you create at least three ads per campaign, but gives you the ability to create as many as 15 different variations.
  • LinkedIn considers a CTR of 0.025 percent to be good, so keep that in mind when looking at results.

 

Types of LinkedIn ads

Each type of LinkedIn ad has its own benefits and approaches. They come in two flavors: Self-Service ads and LinkedIn Advertising Partner Solutions.

According to LinkedIn, including an image with humans in your sponsored content post can increase your CTR by 160% (versus an image without humans).

  • LinkedIn text ads
  • Sponsored InMail
  • Video ads
  • LinkedIn Display Ads
  • Dynamic ads

 

LinkedIn Ads Best Practices

Sponsored Content

  • Use custom or at least, non-stock-looking images
  • Add URL tracking codes to measure site visits or conversions
  • Keep the copy under 150 characters
  • Stay focused on the people interacting with you the most
  • Use a “‘hook’ within the first 35 characters of your post to engage the mobile users. (Ads will show up differently depending on the device the user is using).
  • Keep your character count under 140.
  • Use images and shareable visuals to stand out.
  • Make sure you have a call to action! (This goes for all ads, of course.)

Text Ad

  • Include a strong, clear, and specific call to action
  • Write a headline worth reading
  • Write from the reader’s perspective, not yours. Because it’s about them, not you.

Sponsored InMail

  • Use the recipient’s name, maybe twice, even
  • Keep it concise, under 1000 characters
  • State a clear and specific action you want them to take next
  • Write a subject line, stating what problem you’re solving

Dos and Don’ts

Here are my main dos and don’ts for using Sponsored InMail in LinkedIn:

  • DO narrow the scope and use your customer data for targeting. Just like any campaign, the more tightly targeted your campaign is, the better your response rate will be.
  • DON’T be formal. Be conversational, and people will be more likely to read and engage with your message.
  • DO include a clear call to action. Ask people to “Try” your solution, “Register” for your webinar, “Reserve” a copy of your product, “Join” your community, “Confirm” whether they meet your specifications, or “Download” a whitepaper or other online resource.
  • DON’T have just anyone send the message. You can choose who to use as your “From” profile, so choose someone high up in your organization whose message would carry the most weight and credibility with your target audience. And make sure that person has a dynamite LinkedIn profile, because anyone interested in your message will almost certainly check out the sender’s profile.
  • DO plan for mobile. Remember that a lot of people will see this message on mobile, so keep it to about 1,000 characters to avoid overwhelming people with too much text.

 

How to Write a Great Ad for LinkedIn

  1. Write from the reader’s perspective. Because… people don’t care about what you do. They only care about what they can get from what you do.
  2. Use relevant images.
  3. Write personalized content by segmenting your audience. For example, by job title, function, industry, company size, and seniority. Tailor your message accordingly.
  4. Test frequently using variations of your ads. See what works best. Do more of those.

 

LinkedIn Advertising Best Practices

  1. Think carefully about the customer journey
  2. Target effiectively
    • Layering multiple LinkedIn targeting options is the only way to do this.
    • Don’t layer your LinkedIn advertising targeting options too much. If you go too far, you’ll target an extremely narrow audience and miss some valuable opportunities.
  3. Glean insights from other advertising platforms
    • From a tactical standpoint, that means repurposing the ad copy and targeting parameters that work really well on other platforms.57

Use a Relevant Landing Page

Message match.

This is a relatively simple concept that many people get wrong.  You promote something in an ad, and when people click on that ad, they expect to find what they were looking for right away.  You’re looking for a pink running shoe, you want a page that has a pink running shoe on it.  If your ad says “Free Stuff,” your landing page should say, “Free Stuff.”

 

Targeting Strategies

Unlike Facebook or Google AdWords, LinkedIn does not have a built in conversion tracking code, so you will need to add tracking parameters to the end of your ad’s URL and/or have the ability to capture lead source on the landing page your ad points to.

Quick tip: Always make sure uncheck enable audience expansion because it is absolute trash.

Targeting By Job Title

Job title is a pretty weak form of targeting on LinkedIn for two reasons:

  1. Number one, it is the place that most marketers go to — to start off with — because we tend to understand job titles pretty well and that pushes competition up meaning that you are going to pay more for that audience.
  2. Number two, job title is a freeform field so you can write whatever you want.

Because of that, if you are using job titles, you only have access to probably 40% of your audience instead of 80% of 90% that you might get through another targeting option.

Higher cost and smaller audience sizes mean that this is going to be a low volume and a more expensive type of campaign.

Targeting By Group

Groups tend to create very precise audiences, very small audiences. They tend to be the most active users on LinkedIn and generally have pretty good lead quality.

If you add a seniority layer on top of a group about marketing, you can say it is a marketing group, and I am going to add a VP or a C level of seniority, and that is going to get me marketing VPs and CMOs.

Multiple Campaigns For Every Top Level Campaign

Think about your ad campaigns like a pyramid.  Top level is your highest, broadest level of targeting.  Then for each layer below that it gets more specific.  Right down until you are almost able to target your next door neighbor.

The best way to do this is to create separate campaigns for every persona that’s important to you.  Within that group, you can get more specific and separate out by job title, job function, skill, and group.

This is a classic technique to try and narrow down your highest value audience.  There will be some overlap between audiences targeted because they are all part of the same top level group and odds are they may have the same job title and skills, but at the same time, we know over time we are going to get data on each type of targeting.

This will help us narrow down and eliminate targeting that isn’t working.  We learn something like “skills” cost per conversion is lower versus job function, but lead quality is also lower so we need to evaluate our actual return on that campaign.

Long Tail Keyword Targeting

Now, what I don’t want you to do is just select something so broad as the keyword “marketing” because almost anyone can say that about themselves.  Salespeople can add that, students can add that. It is just too broad.

Let’s go for more of a long tail approach to the keyword of marketing; how about digital marketing, online marketing, social media marketing…those are good.

Basically, anything that has two words is probably broad enough to have enough people to target, yet not too broad as to waste your spend.

To make the best use of a small budget, I am probably going to go to really specific two-word keywords or even a three-word keyword.

 

Bonus Tip: Retarget LinkedIn Connections on Facebook

You’ve learned a few masterful tactics, but this one is the best.

All you need to do is get your LinkedIn connections’ emails to retarget them on Facebook with engaging content.   Taking advantage of all platforms is key to staying top of mind, and combining Facebook with LinkedIn is one way to get ahead.

Part 5: Some Additional LinkedIn Resources and On-Demand Training

The Definitive Guide for Marketing on LinkedIn

On-Demand Training

Master the fundamentals of marketing on LinkedIn with their on-demand video courses.

Available courses:

  • Get Started with LinkedIn Ads
  • Content Marketing on LinkedIn
  • Measuring and Optimizing Campaigns on LinkedIn
  • Achieving Your Marketing Goals on LinkedIn
  • Demystifying Targeting on LinkedIn
  • Programmatic and LinkedIn54
  • Fundamentals of Advertising on LinkedIn On-Demand Webinar
  • The LinkedIn Secret Sauce: Extra Hot Edition!

 

I hope you got one or two tips out of this article, and I’d love to hear how you use LinkedIn

As always, feel free to connect with me there!