Opinion

Marketers ‘underestimate the power of LinkedIn’ at their peril

Black Marketing’s Chris Reed sets out his top five reasons as to why marketers should stop ignoring the social network and put some skin in the game

Marketers often overlook LinkedIn as a communications platform. Partly because they themselves are not using it, they misguidedly think that no one else is. However, this blinkered approach is holding marketers back. So here’s five – what I consider to be outstanding – reasons why the platform should form a major part of your next campaign.

If I Google you, the first thing that appears is your Linkedin profile

People are often shocked when I reveal this to them. I’ve no idea why – as it’s blindingly obvious that people get their first impressions of you from there. The first link that comes up organically is not your website, your Facebook page or anything else: it’s your LinkedIn personal profile. I then click on it and it’s my first recognition of you. It’s your personal brand. So is it really the impression you want clients, shareholders, employees – present and future – to have of you?

Some companies are exceptional marketers who are amazing at creating strategic campaigns for their own clients, but don’t do it for themselves. And they certainly don’t do it for their clients on LinkedIn. The cobbler’s sons do indeed have the worst shoes; the cook’s children go hungry; the mechanic’s car always need repairing and the decorators house always needs painting. You get my drift?

LinkedIn dominates the professional space

Eight years ago, there were only five million professionals on Linkedin in the whole of the Asia-Pacific region. Now there are 105 million. What other platform gives you access to the kind of affluent business people that only the Financial Times and Bloomberg could offer previously? None, not by a long shot.

With the growing number of affluent households in India and China – the second and third-largest users of LinkedIn across the globe – plus Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, this number is going to increase dramatically in the near future. Growth has stagnated in the West, but in the East there is a never-ending supply of new posts being created for chief executives, directors and managers. And they are all joining LinkedIn. What better place for a B2B or even B2C campaign targeting wealthy professionals across the Asia-Pacific region?

You can’t be anonymous on LinkedIn

You can have a civilised debate in a professional manner on LinkedIn with no abuse. Why? Because everyone knows who you are and where you work. They know who your joint connections are, who your boss is and your employees. There is no hiding place. If you say the wrong thing or are abusive, or make defamatory accusations – as is common on platforms like Facebook, Glassdoor and Twitter – then you get found out. Where do you want your brand to be seen? Next to abuse or next to professional debate?

Sales Navigator beats any other social media platform for data and leads

It always amazes me how many sales and marketing people don’t know about LinkedIn’s lead generation platform: Sales Navigator. It’s a separate platform that is part of the LinkedIn premium suite and allows you to find anyone, anywhere in the world at any brand or organisation. It can search the data on every single person who signs up.

I regularly generate dozens of meetings and signups for my LinkedIn workshops by using the data on Sales Navigator to find entrepreneurs and CEO’s – in places ranging from Melbourne to New York, Hong Kong to Sydney and Jakarta to Ho Chi Min, for example.

It’s the best kind of direct marketing, mixed with social selling, that you can get. Not only can I see who is a CEO or chief marketing officer of a certain sized company, how many employees they have and all the rest, but I can also find out if they have changed jobs recently. I can see whether they have appeared in the news and tailor a message to them. I can also see if they engaged with LinkedIn by tracking their posts. This gives a much clearer indication whether they are likely to reply to a message.

Thought leadership and content marketing are taken more seriously on LinkedIn

Just like being seen in the FT, the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg is better than than being seen on Snapchat or MTV, having your thought leadership read on LinkedIn is preferable to Facebook. You read it because it’s in a business context, written or shared, or commented on, by a business leader. It is essentially the social media brand that the WSJ wishes it had bought. It’s also important to look at how thought leaders and giants of business from Richard Branson to Marriott Starwood’s Arne Sorenson use LinkedIn as their primary content marketing platform. These are big players. That should be reason enough not to underestimate the power of this social network in your strategy.

These are just five reasons why marketers should be using LinkedIn. But they just scratch the surface. So tell me your reasons for ignoring LinkedIn, then I’ll have plenty more reasons to tell you otherwise. The dialogue needs to start now.

Chris Reed is the global CEO and founder of Singapore-based consultancy Black Marketing

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