Social media has just as much a place in a B2B marketing or Industrial marketing plan and budget as traditional marketing tactics such as direct marketing, journal advertising and tradeshows.
The numbers don't lie.
LinkedIn is one of the most important social networks if you are in the B2B or Industrial Market space
According to a recent Thomas Industrial Purchasing Barometer study found:
- Exactly one-fourth (25%) of industrial buyers turn to the professional networking site LinkedIn when sourcing industrial products and services.
- In addition, 11.8% find market-specific forums to be useful resources.
- Nearly half (46%) of buyers would advise potential suppliers looking to gain new business to use LinkedIn, while 39% would recommend using forums.
Because it focuses on building trusted relationships, LinkedIn should be considered one of the most powerful sales tools for B2B or industrial markets. Industrial business relationships succeed when all parties are equal. Companies like to deal with companies with similar philosophy, outlook, core values and objectives. These unspoken values are the key to a successful relationship.
Immediate sales return is not what LinkedIn is about. Rather, it’s a confidence-building journey that converts prospects into clients and clients into brand advocates.
People who trust us:
- Need less persuasion to buy from us
- Are less price sensitive
- Are likely to recommend us to their friends
- Are more loyal, so rivals find it difficult to steal their business
- Using your business LinkedIn profile to build credibility
Think of your LinkedIn company profile as an extension of your brand. Your LinkedIn page provides an opportunity to optimise for keywords you want people to use to find you, so make sure your page is rich with information about your services and business. Your company LinkedIn page is also a way to start discussions with people on LinkedIn on topics related to your industry, as well as get recommendations on products, show off your staff and post job listings.
Harness the power of your staff profiles to build your corporate authority
It is important for companies to understand that each staff a profile on LinkedIn can represent both the individual and a business, whether that profile is particularly active or not. Do your staff know this?
Odds are, most staff in your company don’t understand how their personal profile can add value to the business and help build credibility and authority.
Prospective clients will be able to see all of the basic contact information they need and, more importantly, be able to see the skills and experience of each individual employee. LinkedIn can provide a more personal point of contact than a generic company email.
Actively seek endorsements
Endorsements are quick and painless to complete, and add credibility to your profile. Give endorsements, and you will most likely receive them in return. As your skills gain prominence, others begin to look into who you are and investigate your skills, as well. This ultimately leads to a growth in awareness and the overall generation of interest in your brand. The more endorsements you have, the more likely others are going to check you out for themselves, generating word of mouth marketing.
Help staff help you
Quite rightly, companies provide a set of guidelines and rules governing the use of corporate social media – however in the case of harnessing the power of your staff’s profiles to build your credibility its really not in your authority to do so. However, you can help to give your staff guidance on how to best set up their LinkedIn profiles and how to optimise them for best performance.
Profiles should be formatted to include the following details:
- Job title
- Summary of their role
- An optimal number of backlinks to the company websites and other Social Media accounts
- Contact details. They should include both the generic business email and their direct email, as well as their business Twitter account .
- Relevant past experiences
- Important considerations when using LinkedIn
- Keep it professional
- Always add value in updates and discussions
- Don’t link to your personal Twitter
- LinkedIn social sharing and updates affect search engine ranking results
- Optimise your profile
- Include a LinkedIn button in your email signatures