When 2014 was just right around the corner, an overwhelming amount of industry insiders and marketing experts stated that LinkedIn would be the social platform to watch in 2014, and they were right. LinkedIn is living up to everyone’s predictions and has moved past being just a social platform to become a content publishing platform. LinkedIn is now an effective communication and sales tool for B2B.
LinkedIn groups have proven to be an invaluable resource for channel marketers and partner marketers to help create a destination for engagement, to establish leadership, to generate leads, and to lead customers down the sales pipeline.
Make your group a destination for engagement
Much like your company’s blog, the intent for any LinkedIn group should be to create a destination for engagement. A LinkedIn group should be an open forum to share industry related content and have industry focused conversations. The intent should not be to sell, but rather to be a go-to source to gather information and stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends. And, just like Facebook or Twitter, it is important to engage within LinkedIn groups regularly. Moderate the group often, keep content flowing and encourage frequent participation from your partners.
Great content and engaging often is key to establishing leadership in a LinkedIn group. The right content answers questions, provides support and progresses conversations. You can also be just as effective in establishing leadership by asking the right questions and bringing people together through your LinkedIn connections. Encourage your partners to pull content from their company’s blog, questions asked in recent sales calls or to speak about the challenges they often face. Providing thought provoking content is just as valuable as having all the right answers.
The key to success for any LinkedIn group is to create a niche within an industry, and by doing so you’ve create a targeted audience. The right group name, monitoring who joins and encouraging the sharing of the right content will help establish a niche. Creating a LinkedIn group will help your partners generate leads because you are putting them in front of a targeted audience that will continue to grow as the group grows.
Also, encourage your partners to generate leads outside of the LinkedIn group you’ve created. MarketingLand has a great tip: focus on slightly branching out from joining groups just in your industry and join complementary groups. “By stretching out a little bit, you can find the people who matter most to your business.”
Lead customers down the sales pipeline
Often times a good conversation will lead a prospect to research more about the company and request information. A good conversation on LinkedIn can help a salesperson engage with their target audience. These conversations can include qualifying questions which helps bring customers down the sales pipeline. LinkedIn is a salespersons best friend. A LinkedIn group places an audience of potential customers in a single location.
LinkedIn as a Marketing Platform
Lastly, when thinking about how to utilize LinkedIn, remember that it has evolved into a content publishing platform and has become more than just a social platform. Shelley Steigerwals from Marketing Tandem sums it up pretty perfectly: “LinkedIn is Facebook’s straight-laced, career cousin. It’s the social media channel of choice for professionals and B2B brands. When Facebook plays Candy Crush, LinkedIn ponders the economics of gamification. To set up a LinkedIn group, here’s a great article, “Building Groups on LinkedIn in 4 Simple Stages”.
ContentMX will be hosting a webinar titled “Lessons from the Field: Enabling Your Channel to Sell More” with Luanne Tierney on Monday, May 12th. Register to learn what your partners need to start doing to improve their marketing, how to help them engage in social selling, how an engaged channel improves everyone’s qualified web traffic and the power of integrating content for web, newsletters and social.