LinkedIn – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:30:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Everything You Need to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Tactical Plan http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/linkedin-marketing-tactical-plan/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/linkedin-marketing-tactical-plan/#respond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:30:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23072 Over the last five years, we’ve seen an evolution in the way B2B marketers are talking about and using social media. We’ve evolved from asking “Should we be doing it?” to “Is what we are doing worth it?” to now “How do I make this really effective channel even more effective?”. According to a recent [...]

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Over the last five years, we’ve seen an evolution in the way B2B marketers are talking about and using social media. We’ve evolved from asking “Should we be doing it?” to “Is what we are doing worth it?” to now “How do I make this really effective channel even more effective?”.

According to a recent study from Oktopost, 79% of B2B marketers believe social media is an effective marketing channel (Oktopost). And for many B2B marketers, LinkedIn is THE social media channel. In fact 43% of marketers say they’ve sourced a customer from LinkedIn (Hubspot).

But could we be doing better? Can we use LinkedIn more effectively?

To help answer that question, Alex Rynne, Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Chris Wilson, Inbound Consultant from Hubspot, provided B2B marketers with an actionable, detailed plan to drive bigger, better performance from LinkedIn tools at last week’s B2B Marketing Forum in Boston.

Four LinkedIn Opportunities and How to Take Them

Linkedin Company & Showcase Pages

LinkedIn Company and Showcase pages are great opportunities to establish and build your company’s identity. It’s a completely free tool that allows your brand to connect professionals with your employees and your brand to share knowledge with your community.

LinkedIn Showcase pages allow you to create dedicated pages for individual brands and are another opportunity to build individual brand identity.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Thought leader
  • Event Registrations

KPIs:

  • Page followers
  • Post clicks
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • Inquiries
  • Event Registrations

What to Share:

  • Showcase your expertise with large assets like webinars and eBooks.
  • Engage with short digestible stats and quotes.
  • Illustrate industry savvy with 3rd party content. Alex shares that no one wants to talk to the person at the party that only talks about themselves. 3rd party content shows you’re on top of trends within the industry, creates opportunities for engagement with your audience and helps build influencer relationships.

LinkedIn Company and Showcase Page Action Items:

  • Post 3-4xs per day.
  • Engage with and respond to followers comments:  Don’t ignore your followers. If they take the time to engage with you, show them your appreciation and build strong engagement by responding.
  • Change your header image every 6 months: Chris compares the header image to the front door of your LinkedIn page. Make it attractive and people will want to come in.  Take advantage of the header real estate and switch it up periodically to promote to campaigns or messaging.

Publishing on LinkedIn

According to Alex, over 1 million  unique  publishers  publish  more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn and 45% of LinkedIn readers are in the upper ranks of their industries (i.e. managers, VPs, CEOs, etc.). So publishing content is a great way to connect with key people in your industry and further establish your professional identity.

Objective:

  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Post reviews & Profile views
  • Demographics of your readers
  • Likes, comments and shares

What to Share:

Although there is no silver bullet for exactly what and how often you should publish. Alex and Chris shares examples of what tends to work best.

  1. Publish when you feel passionate. If you post when you are creatively inspired, about something you care about, this is when your work will be most likely to resonate with your audience and inspire engagement. Content about lessons learned and your professional expertise will be most relevant to your audience.  
  2. Crowdsource content. Look at the questions your audience is asking and identify their pain points. This content will undoubtedly resonate.
  3. Share relevant, timely content about events or industry news. Tap into the conversations that are already happening by posting an opinion or tips related to something current in the news.

Action Items:

  • Publish when you feel passionate (this is listed twice because it is that important).
  • Recommended bi-weekly or once a month.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content

LinkedIn Sponsored content allow you to reach a target audience of people who are not already following you.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Engagement Rate
  • Inquires
  • Impressions

Best practices:

  1. Visual is the new headline. There is so much content in the feed, make sure your content is really eye catching. If you can, move beyond stock photos and do your own photoshoot.
  2. Keep it short & sweet. Be mindful of your mobile users and make content easy to consumer.
  3. Snackable stats work wonders. Provide your audience with 3rd party validation to backup your message.
  4. Variety is the spice of life. Variety allows you to avoid creative fatigue but also see what resonates the best with your audience.

What to Share:

  • Webinars
  • Content that asks readers to participate i.e. survey, nominations
  • Statistics
  • Repurposed, straightforward content

Always be Testing:

With the amount of content clutter, testing is a great way to find out what is most likely to work with your audience and make the most out of what you are publishing. Alex and Chris recommend testing anything from word choice (i.e. eBook versus guide), content (inclusion of a stat or benefit), and images (photo or graphic).

Action Items:

  • Select a compelling visual.
  • Run 2-4 posts per week.
  • Run the test for 3 weeks, to ensure you have an actionable result.
  • Add URL tracking codes to measure post click actions (site visits and conversions)
  • Setup campaigns by audience and make sure you tailor the content to the audience (i.e. managers versus c-suite).
  • Shift budget to the audience with the highest engagement rate. Spend your money where you are going to get the most impact.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn InMail allows you to send personalized messages to the people who matter most to your business. InMail can work even better than email at reaching certain audiences.

Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Program Certification
  • Enrollment

Key Metrics

  • Open rate
  • Inquiries and leads
  • Event registration
  • Program application and brochure downloads

What to Share:

  • Webinar an industry event invitations
  • eBook launches
  • Product one sheets
  • Program demos
  • Infographics
  • Blog subscription campaigns

Action Items

  • Keep copy under 1000 characters (but AB test).
  • Use a clear CTA in the top right banner.
  • Choose a sender that is credible to your audience. If audiences have never heard of your brand before, your open rates will be lower, than if it’s from a person they know.
  • Leverage personalization. InMail allows you to add the recipient’s name or other customized information.
  • Have a hyperlink early in the body of the message.
  • Select a concise subject link.
  • Set up A/B test to learn what resonates.

Bonus Opportunity: Linkedin Conversion Tracking:

Obviously, tracking is so critical to reporting the results of your campaigns, but also to optimize and iterate for the go forward.

Chris outlines the steps for setting up LinkedIn conversion tracking:

  1. Use a Google Analytics tracking code for easy set up.
  2. Assign a Conversion value: If you don’t know this, create an estimate based on product value and close rate .
  3. Tie it all together: This way you can show clear value, nice argument for executives that you need more value.

Don’t do Social Campaigns, Make Every Campaign Social

Using a tactical plan like the one Alex and Chris shared will allow you to really harness the power of LinkedIn. Once this happen, you can truly integrate social into all of your campaigns in order to engagement with your audience and accelerate the impact of your content.

Interested in other LinkedIn related tactics? Find out everything you need to know about LinkedIn’s new native video feature.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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Does Snark = Sales? What Consumers REALLY Want from Brands on Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/consumers-brands-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/07/consumers-brands-social-media/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:30:35 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22636 Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s? Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of [...]

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Social media marketers, do you feel a brief pang of envy when a brand gets sassy on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wish you had the brand identity and/or corporate backing to smack down a troll, a la Wendy’s?

Me too. It’s only natural. Even in a profession as inherently creative as marketing, some of us can fly our freak flags higher than others. If you’re working in financial services, or healthcare, or any number of staid verticals, odds are you have to keep your sarcasm in check.

We may never get the sweet satisfaction of seeing a tweet full of biting wit go viral. But we have to keep perspective. Are we here to get featured on Buzzfeed, or to generate revenue? Does the snark really translate to sales?

The good folks at Sprout Social just released their Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index, and they’re taking aim at precisely that question. People like brands with “personality,” sure. But what do consumers really want from brands on social media? And how should those preferences inform your social media marketing strategy? Let’s run the numbers.

#1: Funny Is Good, But It Isn’t Everything  

Infusing a little humor into a brand is a good way to express personality. It lets people know that there are actual human beings behind the brand, seeking to entertain just as much as they inform.

As a once and future comedy writer, I’m an advocate for humor in marketing. But we should make sure the humor is not all that we’re bringing to the table.

Sprout Social found that while 3 in 4 consumers appreciate humor from brands, being funny was 4th on the list of what consumers really want from brands on social media:

Social Media Marketing Consumer Preferences

The far-and-away winners are honest, friendly, and helpful. If you have these three covered, then you can add in the humor. On the other hand, if you’re not honest, friendly, or helpful, no level of funniness will make up for the lack.

It’s also worth noting how far down the list “trendy” and “snarky” are. There’s no shortage of brands trying to be edgy and au courant. But it looks like less than half of consumers want their brand to be the quip-slinging cool kid from a 90’s sitcom.

The bottom line: Humor is a welcome trait for a brand, but mean-spirited or edgy humor is likely to turn customers off (even if it lands you an AdWeek shoutout). And if you’re not being honest and helping people, no amount of humor can save you.

#2: Consider the Platform

Just as your brand has its own identity, every social network has a unique identity. Facebook is a casual place to post cute pictures and start political arguments. Twitter is an even more casual place to start extremely character-limited political arguments. LinkedIn is more buttoned-down and professional, with only occasional political arguments.

Your audience on each platform has a unique set of expectations, based not just on your brand, but on the platform itself.

How Platform Changes Social Media Marketing Preferences

People like personality on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but not so much on LinkedIn. So it’s important to adjust your messaging for each.

Most of us are scheduling social media messages with a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, and it’s easy to blast a single message across platforms. But don’t do that. Take a few minutes to craft unique messages for each channel, keeping audience expectation in mind. That bit of extra effort will help make your posts more engaging, and keep your most dedicated audience from seeing the same message multiple times.

#3: Know Your Audience

Social media is not a homogenous audience that’s the same for every brand. It’s a platform for connecting with your particular most-valued consumers. How your brand approaches social media, then, should be a byproduct of how your audience wants to interact with your brand. These preferences can vary widely across demographics.

For example, 74% of Gen X and Baby Boomers said they found it annoying when a brand uses slang. But only 59% of Millennials shared that sentiment. Millennials are also far more tolerant of brands making fun of competing brands:

What Consumers Find Annoying on Social Media

How your brand should express personality on social media is dependent on your target audience. If your demographic still uses words like “hip” and “groovy,” it’s probably not hip or groovy for your brand to use them. However, if your target audience thinks things are “totes adorbs” and “can’t even,” you stand a better chance of connecting with slang.

It’s vital to find the intersection of your brand personality with your audience preferences, and let that drive how you present the brand on social.

#4: Bring Value to Drive Sales

To quote my personal hero, Captain Obvious, “the purpose of social media marketing is ultimately to drive sales.” If going viral with a funny tweet contributes to the bottom line, that’s a tactic worth pursuing. The research shows, though, that most people aren’t following brands just for laughs:

Brand Actions that Prompt Social Media Sales

When it comes to driving sales, humor is 5th on the list. Being responsive, offering promotions, and providing educational content are all more likely to inspire a purchase decision.

What do people really want from brands on social? The same thing they want from brands everywhere else. First, people want to be heard, to engage in a productive dialog. Second, they want to be offered something of value, whether it’s a deal on your solution or simply valuable information. When people are looking for help, you have to bring more than jokes to the table.

Check out the full Q2 2017 Sprout Social Index for more insights.

Helping People Is the Top Priority

Giving your brand a winning personality is great. It makes creating and consuming your content more fun. But personality should be the seasoning for your social media marketing, not the main course. Start with being helpful, being honest, and providing something of value in exchange for your audience’s time. Then add a little sprinkle of personality on top, like so:

See? You can be helpful and funny at the same time.

Need help maintaining your social media presence? Let us handle your social media marketing.


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Master LinkedIn’s New Lead Generation Forms in 10 Easy Steps http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/05/master-linkedins-new-lead-generation-forms-10-easy-steps/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/05/master-linkedins-new-lead-generation-forms-10-easy-steps/#comments Mon, 29 May 2017 10:30:29 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22327 [Editor’s Note: This is the first post from one of the newer members of our team, Emily Hinderaker. Emily joined TopRank Marketing earlier this year as a Marketing Copywriter.] The one item that marketers crave above everything else is information about their prospects. Often, there is even a dollar amount assigned to gaining access to a [...]

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[Editor’s Note: This is the first post from one of the newer members of our team, Emily Hinderaker. Emily joined TopRank Marketing earlier this year as a Marketing Copywriter.]

The one item that marketers crave above everything else is information about their prospects. Often, there is even a dollar amount assigned to gaining access to a name, email or phone number. In a time where this information is highly coveted, what is one thing marketers can do to make it easy for prospects to convert?

The answer, targeted, compelling, one-click conversions.

According to Stephen Slater, Digital Advertising Manager at TopRank Marketing here’s why:

Lead generation form ads encourage the impulse buy. With one click, you can gain access to prospect information in a way that required little time or effort on their end. The beauty of this approach for advertisers is that you can show your ads to the right audience and receive one click conversions.

Paid social presents a great opportunity for one-click conversions because you’re putting yourself where you audience is already spending time. And thanks to LinkedIn’s new Lead Generation Forms the opportunity just got a lot sweeter.

LinkedIn’s Lead Generation Forms allows advertisers to get even more high-quality leads by automatically filling in customized forms with accurate profile data. You can track campaign CPL, form fill rate, and even segment audience data by profession to get a better understanding of ad performance.

This new tool makes it easier for customers to engage, and saves time by pre-filling information. With this feature, you won’t lose leads due to an exhaustive form. Another benefit is that you also have the ability to download your leads and integrate with your marketing automation or CRM software for more organized, accurate and documented lead information.

Here’s a quick video from LinkedIn showcasing the features of this tool:

If you’re ready to get started, we’ve included a helpful ten step guide below to help you create your own Lead Generation Form ad.

#1 – Choose The Ad Type

Depending on your business objectives, you will want to select the ad type that will help you meet your goals. Advertisers can select Sponsored Content, Text Ads or Sponsored InMail for their ads.

#2 – Select Your Language & Preferences

Enter a campaign name that’s relevant for the campaign and then select the language of your content and what you’d like to happen after someone clicks your ad. Then click “Next >” to proceed with the Lead Generation Forms.

 

#3 – Choose Update(s) You’d Like to Sponsor

There are a couple options to get started. Option one is to select existing content that will appear as “Sponsored Content” and will be shown in newsfeeds.  or create a new post to promote. The second option is to choose “Direct Sponsored Content”, which will send customized messages to your audience segments (you’ll need Company Page Admin permission).

 

#4 – Create New Form Template

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a form template that describes your offer. Simply enter your offer headline and offer deal. Take the time to ensure that your headline and offer are compelling and speak to the needs of your target audience.

#5 – Identify What User Information You Want

Depending on what information your team has determined is most beneficial for your campaign, select up to seven pieces of data you’d like to collect from each prospect.

 

#6 – Create A Customized Thank You Message

You can also determine what message your prospects see after submitting their form. This is a great opportunity to redirect the user to your company website for more information.

#7 – Define the Call-To-Action

Depending on your goal, you may want a prospect to sign up, download or request more information. Make sure that your CTA properly aligns with your ad message.

#8 – Choose Audience Targeting

In order for an ad on LinkedIn to be effective, you must target your audience appropriately based on your message. You can select everything from locations and industries to specific job titles and even fields of study or skills.

 

#9 – Choose Your Budget and Start Date

You can choose to either pay when someone clicks on your ad, or pay based on the number of impressions. LinkedIn will also recommend a bidding strategy based on what other advertisers are doing. Typically, it will be best to start out by using LinkedIn’s recommended bid but you should optimize once you see which ads are performing best.

#10 – Review & Optimize

Keep a close eye on the performance of your ads and form completion to identify what is working best, and which ads to pause. That way you can optimize ad performance to increase results.

Test LinkedIn’s New Lead Generation Features

As you can see, LinkedIn’s new Lead Generation Forms offer a way to make it easier for targeted audiences to convert based on your offer. By removing a barrier, these one-click conversions can help fill your customer database and encourage participation from targeted audiences.

Interested in trying Lead Gen Forms? Click here to get started.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client. 


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20 Awesome Healthcare Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/healthcare-marketers-follow-li/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/healthcare-marketers-follow-li/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:30:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22199 Marketing is a challenging profession, full stop. But some flavors of marketing are trickier than others. Healthcare marketers have the same obstacles and issues other marketers do, and they have to contend with strict brand guidelines and stricter federal regulations. It’s like the old saying: “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and [...]

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Marketing is a challenging profession, full stop. But some flavors of marketing are trickier than others. Healthcare marketers have the same obstacles and issues other marketers do, and they have to contend with strict brand guidelines and stricter federal regulations.

It’s like the old saying: “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.” These healthcare marketers may or may not know how to tango, but their hard work deserves our recognition.

Here are just a few of our favorite healthcare marketers.

Rob Birgfeld, AVP, Chief Digital Marketing Officer, Inova Health System

Rob is a talented marketer who came to the healthcare field four years ago, when he took on the CDMO role for Inova Health System. He’s a jack of all trades: From social media to blogging to product development, Rob keeps Inova’s marketing strategy sound in the short and long term.

Laura Boyd Desmeth, Director of Digital Communications, Medical City Healthcare

In the five years she has been with Medical City Healthcare, Laura has transformed their online presence, creating social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for the institution. She shares a wealth of healthcare and marketing content on her LinkedIn feed.

David Edelman, Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna

David is a LinkedIn Influencer for health care and marketing, and it’s not hard to see why. He regularly publishes insightful posts of his own on LinkedIn, while also sharing other valuable content with his thousands of followers.

Terri Ann Fredette, Director, Marketing & Communications, UC Health

Though she is a data-driven, ROI-focused marketer, Terri still brings personality and heart to her position. Check out Terri’s profile to see the clever commercials UC Health has produced under her direction.

Scott Galbari, Vice President of Marketing and Portfolio, McKesson Imaging and Workflow Solutions

Scott is the conductor of the 500-piece orchestra that is McKesson IWS, working within strict regulatory guidelines to produce compelling content for the organization’s target audience of radiologists, cardiologists, and health system leaders.

Sven Gierlinger, Chief Experience Officer, Norwell Health

Chief Experience Officers go beyond individual marketing campaigns, beyond inbound, outbound, and the funnel, to create holistic, immersive experiences for consumers. For example, check out Norwell Health’s The Return, a short film highlighting a revolutionary prosthetic for amputee swimmers.

Dan Gingiss, Head of Digital Marketing, Humana

In addition to his daily duties at Humana, Dan is an author, podcaster, and frequent publisher on LinkedIn. We listed Dan as one of our 50 Social Media Influencers to Follow, and he’s been busy developing his thought leadership since then.

Kelly Jo Golson, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Advocate Health Care

With nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, Kelly Jo has the knowhow to direct marketing for one of the Midwest’s largest integrated healthcare systems. Her passion for her work, and genuine compassion for health consumers, makes her stand out in the industry.

Elaine Leavenworth, SVP, Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer, Abbott

Named one of PR Week’s Health Influencer 50, Elaine has made her voice heard in the industry. Follow Elaine for original content, like her recent International Women’s Day post on LinkedIn, and insightful marketing and healthcare shares.

Diane Lofgren, Chief Marketing Officer, Sharp Healthcare

In addition to her leadership role at Sharp Healthcare, Diane is the author of Women I Want to Grow Old With. Make sure to follow her on Twitter @Dianelofgren, too – she curates fascinating content on healthcare, marketing, and more.

DeAnn Aston Marshall, MHA, Senior Vice President, Chief Development and Marketing Officer, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

In her high-profile position at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, DeAnn has spearheaded creative campaigns with the potential to make real difference in the lives of sick children. On top of that, she’s a clear and compelling writer – check out this post on Millennials and social responsibility.

Dawn McAvoy, Head of Branding and Advertising, Aetna

Though a relative newcomer to healthcare marketing—she came to Aetna in 2014—Dawn has a wealth of experience in marketing leadership, with a decade of experience in management at Citi. One of her special passions is content marketing to women, bringing value and relevance to an often taken-for-granted demographic.

Roymie V. Mimbiela, Chief Experience Officer (CXO) and Associate Vice President Marketing & Communications, University of Miami Health System

Roymie’s list of accomplishments are as long as her job title. She helped transform the patient experience at University of Miami Health System. She has won multiple awards, including the 2010 Hispanic Women of Distinction Award. And she is a speaker and facilitator, presenting on healthcare marketing, business development, and more.

Mark Mistysyn, Director, Interactive Marketing & Digital Strategy, Wake Forest Baptist Health

Mark has over 20 years of experience in the industry, managing digital strategy for some of the largest hospitals in Pittsburg and North Carolina. Mark’s background in web development combines with marketing knowledge and a passion for healthcare to make him a leader in digital healthcare marketing.

Mark Alan Phillips, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, Imaging, GE Healthcare

GE has been quietly killing the social media and content marketing game, with various branches of the business enjoying success on Instagram, Facebook, and even Pinterest. Mark orchestrates the global strategy for GE Healthcare marketing, a standout in a company that is bringing great marketing to life.

Shweta Ponnappa, Senior Director, Digital Marketing, Providence Health & Services

Digital marketing is a rapidly evolving field, and Shwetta is thoroughly equipped to match the right technology with the right message. After cutting her teeth at Amazon, Shwetta moved on to Providence Health & Services, where she specializes in building and running high-quality marketing teams.

Craig Premo, Director of Marketing, Methodist Health System

Content marketing is relatively new territory for healthcare providers. Craig and his team do excellent work managing content creation and curation across social channels for the Methodist Health System. In addition to content strategy, Craig oversees marketing campaigns, web presence, SEO, and monitors brand perception for the health system.

Hijinio Reynoso, Manager, Digital Media at El Camino Hospital

In his four years with El Camino Hospital, Hijinio has achieved impressive results, including increasing the hospital’s Facebook following by over 237%. Make sure to check out his articles published on LinkedIn, including this informative guide to tracking conversions.

Amanda Todorovich, Director of Content Marketing, Cleveland Clinic

Named 2016 Content Marketer of the Year by Content Marketing Institute, Amanda is an inspiration to every content creator longing to add personality and passion to their work. For example, this piece she published last Thanksgiving – it’s got attitude to spare, but is also honest, transparent, and ultimately valuable.

Arra G. Yerganian, Chief Marketing & Branding Officer, Sutter Health

Arra is a graduate of the Harvard Business School for Executive Education and recipient of the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer Award from the International CMO club. He’s also a gifted writer with personality to spare, as evidenced in this article he published last year.

Marketing in Good Health

We all want our marketing to make a difference in people’s lives. Healthcare marketing goes one farther—good marketing of a great health product or system can literally save lives. So it’s a good thing we have these 20 marketers, and many more, on our side.

To fill out your LinkedIn feed with great marketing insights, read 20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn.


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The New Face of LinkedIn: What You Need to Know About the Redesign http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/new-linkedin-redesign/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/new-linkedin-redesign/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:30:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21823  Even the most starched-shirt professional can use a new look every now and then. Skinny and wide neckties go in and out of fashion. Hemlines trend up and down. You can be fashionable and professional at the same time. All of which to say, LinkedIn has started to roll out a substantial redesign. Not everyone [...]

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 Even the most starched-shirt professional can use a new look every now and then. Skinny and wide neckties go in and out of fashion. Hemlines trend up and down. You can be fashionable and professional at the same time.

All of which to say, LinkedIn has started to roll out a substantial redesign. Not everyone has it yet, but it’s coming soon for everyone, and it’s definitely a bid to keep up with the cutting edge of web design.

The redesign cleans up the interface substantially, fully committing to the card-based look the site has been flirting with for the past two years. Icons are simplified and are a closer match to the mobile experience. And some features that were hard to find before are now front-and-center.

Let’s take a quick look around to see what’s new.

#1: New Menu Bar

If you’re still on the old design, your menu bar looks like this:

By contrast, the new design is more compact and more visual. It highlights the sections of the site you’re most likely to visit:

Under that, you’ll see a quick snapshot of your profile – your picture, background, headline, profile and content views.

This sidebar makes it simple to see at-a-glance how much attention your content is getting.

#2: A Notable Notifications Tab

Rejoice! Notifications have finally escaped from their skinny little box. In the new design, notifications is a full-size feed, just like the feed on your home page:

 

Unread notifications are at the top, tinted a subtle gray until you look at them. You don’t have to click through to respond to a notification anymore—you can interact with them right in the feed.

#3: It’s All About Me

Notice “My Profile” is now just “Me.” The new profile features a round photo up top – you’ll need to make sure your square picture has enough of a border to work in the new format.

Background images have changed slightly, too. The recommended size is 1536×768, a little shorter than the old one.

The new design offers easier access to the tools you need to update your profile and interact with your connections. Here’s what LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ Alex Rynne had to say about the new layout:

“The redesign features a new ‘Me’ tab where you can control and see everything about you – your privacy and setting, who’s viewed your profile, and who’s commenting on your posts.

The new tab, located on the far right at the top navigation, includes a ‘suggested skills’ tab based on what’s most in demand by recruiters. People with at least five skills listed on their LinkedIn profile receive up to 17x more profile views, so it makes a difference.”

My favorite feature in the Me tab is the Activity feed, where you can see your previous posts, likes and comments. Before, if you wanted to repost an article, or share something so you could look at it later… you basically couldn’t. The new feed makes it simple to browse your history, sorted by articles, posts and activity:

#4: Sharing Is Caring

To my marketer’s eye, the most interesting change in the whole redesign is a subtle one. Here’s what the top of my feed used to look like:

And here’s the new one:

See the difference? There’s no extra click for deciding what type of update you want to publish–it’s designed to encourage you to just start typing. Most intriguingly, “write an article” now has pride of place. It’s clear LinkedIn wants you to publish long-form content on the platform.

#5: Search is Simplified

The last big difference you will see is in the Search dialog. If you’re not a premium user but were enjoying the advanced search options, you won’t love this change.

Filtering by first and last name, title, location and keyword have all been streamlined away. There are a few filters left: location, industry, company, language, schools, and level of connection. But the meaty advanced search features—and the ability to save searches—are reserved for Premium and Sales Navigator accounts.

A Professional Facelift

LinkedIn’s new design is definitely easier on the eyes than the previous incarnation. But it’s more than just a pretty new face. Each new tab and feature seems designed to express how LinkedIn hopes you will use the platform. There’s an emphasis on number of profile views and interactions with your content. It’s easier to pick up old comment threads and keep track of your activity. And posts published on LinkedIn are front and center.

While a few of your favorite features may be altered beyond recognition, on the whole the new LinkedIn should make it easier to make connections, track your content performance, and optimize your profile.

Do you have the new design yet? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client. 


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Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/small-businesses-social-media-traffic/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/small-businesses-social-media-traffic/#comments Wed, 11 Jan 2017 11:30:26 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21745 For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality: Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active [...]

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For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality:

Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active users a month—that’s an audience worth addressing. Yet business owners struggle to convert Facebook users into organic traffic to their websites.

Business app discovery platform GetApp recently surveyed 500 owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Less than 30% of respondents reported that Facebook was moderately to extremely effective at driving organic traffic to their sites. By contrast, 20.1% rated it slightly effective, and over 25% said it was not effective at all.

If you’re a small business owner and Facebook is the focus of your marketing efforts, it may be time to branch out. Here are a few ways to use a little strategy and a small budget to increase traffic to your website.

#1: Make Sure Your Shares Encourage Website Traffic

Some businesses do a great job creating a fun, relatable feed. They have memes. They use emoji in a cool, not cringe-worthy way. They even share valuable content from around the web.

All of that is great for building your audience on Facebook. But it’s not enough to build a hip Facebook page, put your URL in the sidebar, and watch the clicks roll in. Make sure to regularly share content hosted on your website, with an eye-catching visual and a summary that compels a click.

If you’re already doing that, keep reading for more tips. But if you haven’t been explicitly, actively, repeatedly encouraging your Facebook audience to visit your site, this is an easy win.

#2: Use a Little Strategic Paid Promotion

“Stellar work, Nite,” I hear you say. “So the way to generate more organic traffic is to pay for traffic?”

Hear me out, though. Organic traffic is free(ish), and that’s great. It’s wonderful when people opt to look at your content. But what’s better is traffic from a more relevant audience of your choosing. Facebook makes it easy to get results with a really small budget.

Take your top-performing organic content—the post that already has likes and shares, so you know people like it—and put $5 behind it. Target it to a specific audience that is valuable to you. Most importantly, use the “Create a Lookalike Audience” option to reach a new audience.

Keep a close eye on your $5 investment and use what you learn to optimize the next round. The small investment is worth it, if it pays off in more relevant traffic. As you attract a new audience, you can start to pull them from Facebook to your own site.

#3: Turn Facebook Followers into Subscribers

As Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi puts it, “Don’t build your house on rented land.” As long as your audience is exclusively on Facebook (or any other social media platform), the platform determines how and when you can reach them. If Facebook has a choice between allowing you organic reach or demanding a ransom—well, you can guess which way they’ll go.

So when you share links to your site’s content on Facebook, make sure there are prominent opportunities to subscribe. Whether it’s to your blog feed or a weekly newsletter, give your audience the option to opt in.

You can also add a Subscribe button to your Facebook Page. When you’re logged in as the page, you will see the “Add a Button” option right under your header image. Choose the “Sign Up” button and link it to a subscription landing page.

Make sure the page has a quick but compelling statement of benefit and very little else—just a quick form to fill out and a big shiny Subscribe button.

#4: Look to LinkedIn*

If your business is B2B, Facebook is likely not the best fit for a primary marketing focus. LinkedIn tends to be a better place for B2B business to build an audience and generate leads—according to research, 80% of B2B leads are sourced through the platform.

LinkedIn isn’t exclusively for B2B, however. You can create a Company Page and build an audience for your B2C company as well. You can also use long-form posts on LinkedIn to promote your personal thought leadership. Use the platform to build credibility and visibility that can transfer to your business. Great content leads to more profile views, and you can construct your profile to lead visitors to your business’ website.

Do You Believe in Life after Facebook?

Facebook can still be a good place to build an audience and boost your business’ brand awareness. But don’t rely on likes and follows to do any heavy lifting. Make sure what you share on your feed is strategically created to encourage action. Don’t be afraid to invest $5-10 every few weeks on targeted promotion, or to try other social media platforms better suited to your company’s offerings. Finally, the end goal should be to amass an audience on your own site, not someone else’s platform.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.


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20 Talented Brand Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/20-talented-brand-marketers-follow-linkedin/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/01/20-talented-brand-marketers-follow-linkedin/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2017 11:30:45 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21716 Marketers are always looking for new ways to inform, engage and inspire action from our target audiences, often looking to both established and well-known brands for motivation and creativity. Thankfully, behind many of our favorite brands there are bright and talented marketing experts whom we can learn from and be inspired by. With that said, [...]

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Marketers are always looking for new ways to inform, engage and inspire action from our target audiences, often looking to both established and well-known brands for motivation and creativity.

Thankfully, behind many of our favorite brands there are bright and talented marketing experts whom we can learn from and be inspired by.

With that said, below are some gifted brand marketers you should be checking out, connecting with or following on LinkedIn.

1. Jason Miller

Group Manager of Global Content and Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn

As the leader of global content and social media marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, Jason Miller is dedicated to helping marketers understand how to take advantage of digital advertising and content marketing opportunities on the professional social network.

In addition, he’s a sought after speaker for B2B marketing conferences taking place around the world, been named to numerous “Top Marketer” lists such as Forbes’ “The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent,” and received a handful of awards for his work. He’s also published a number of helpful and insightful marketing posts on LinkedIn.

Follow Jason.

2. Amisha Gandhi

Senior Director of Influencer Marketing, SAP

Amisha Gandhi is an experienced marketing and communications professional, working with technology and media companies large and small in her career thus far.

Amisha is currently the Senior Director of Influencer Marketing for SAP, and has currently held positions with Burson-Marsteller, a public relations and communications firm, and Citysearch. In addition, she’s another fixture on the conference circuit, most recently speaking at Content Marketing World 2016 and Social Tools Summit 2016.

Follow Amisha.

3. Carlos Gil

Global Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software

In his role as Global Head of Social Media at BMC Software, Carlos Gil is responsible for driving marketing strategy and execution for all corporate social media channels, which includes its social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Carlos is also a regular keynote speaker at conferences such as Social Media Marketing World, a Snapchat influencer, and has also published a number of social media-related posts on LinkedIn.

Follow Carlos.

4. Alex Hisaka

Head of Global Content Marketing, LinkedIn

Alex Hisaka has been passionate about content and people since a young age, parlaying the passion into a career in traditional advertising and then digital marketing. As Head of Global Content and Marketing for LinkedIn, Alex is involved in a little bit of everything including content and campaign strategy, and defining key messaging, and brand voice and personality.

Before coming to LinkedIn, Alex worked for other recognizable brands such as SalesForce and PayPal.

Follow Alex.

5. Heather Hurst

Director of Corporate Marketing, Workfront

Heather Hurst has more than 15 years of brand marketing experience, holding positions at inContact and Digital Technology International before going to Workfront in December 2012.

She bills herself as someone who tells brand stories and getting those stories attention through both traditional and non-traditional marketing tactics.

Follow Heather.

6. Stephanie Losee

Head of Content, VISA

Stephanie Losee is a former owner of a content marketing consultancy where she worked with major brands and agencies to craft editorial content strategy. She’s also an author, a board member for a variety of organizations including the Native Advertising Institute and The Content Council.

Currently, Stephanie is Head of Content for VISA and can occasionally be seen and heard speaking at various content marketing conferences such as Content Marketing World.

Follow Stephanie.

7. Shelley Ryan

Global Content Strategist, Dell

Shelley Ryan, who says she’s obsessed with building brand credibility through third party content, is Dell’s Global Content Strategist, heading up global influencer marketing strategy.

Before going to Dell in 2011, Shelley was the Director of Public Relations for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for nearly seven years.

Follow Shelley.

8. Tami Cannizzaro

Vice President, Digital Demand and North America CA Technologies

Tami Cannizzaro is a senior marketing executive boasting more than 15 years of experience in the technology space, and a known leader in the world of B2B marketing. Tami currently leads marketing in North America for CA Technologies, and has also held positions at eBay, IBM and Oracle.

Tami, who is also the author of “Digital Age of Marketing” blog, is often a speaker at industry marketing events, but she’s also a guest lecture speaker for Boston University and Rutgers University MBA programs.

Follow Tami.

9. David Beebe

Vice President of Global Creative and Content Marketing, Marriott International

David Beebe has had had a fascinating career, working for many years in the entertainment industry for big brands such as Disney/ABC Television Group, DIRECTV and Showtime, and even taking home two Emmy awards.

Now, David leads global creative and content marketing for Marriott International’s portfolio of 19 different brands. He’s also known as an industry thought leader, often being a keynote speaker at conferences such as Contently Summit, Content Marketing World and several others.

Follow David.

10. Ellen Gomes

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Marketo

Ellen Gomes is a skilled digital marketer with loads of experience in content and social media, who say’s she always looking to talk with new people about new ideas. Like many of the marketers on this list, Ellen is also a conference speaker.

Ellen has been with Marketo since September 2014, rising in the ranks from a Content Marketing Specialist to a Content Marketing Manager and to her current position as a Senior Content Marketing Manager.

Follow Ellen.

11. Loren McDonald

Marketing Evangelist/Client Success, IBM

Loren McDonald’s title “Marketing Evangelist” says it all. Loren is a marketing executive with more than 32 years of experience building brands, awareness, leads and revenue through thought leadership programs.

He’s a frequent speaker at industry events, with one of his most recent appearances being at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum (where I heard him speak for the first time).

Follow Loren.

12. Pawan Deshpande

CEO, Curata

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a content marketing software provider who is also a frequent speaker at technology, entrepreneur and marketing events, and teaches courses on content marketing.

Before founding Curata nearly a decade ago, Pawan held research and engineering positions at Microsoft and Google.

Follow Pawan.

13. Chris Moody

Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital

At GE Digital, industry thought leader Chris Moody helps lead content marketing efforts to educate and raise awareness of the power of the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Before arriving at GE Digital, Chris built an award winning content and social media team at Oracle Marketing Cloud.

Chris is also a frequent guest lecturer on the topics of content and social marketing at local universities.

Follow Chris.

14. Laura Cameron

Vice President of Digital Marketing, KeyBank

As a member of KeyBank’s Digital Marketing team, Laura Cameron leads new client acquisition programs through digital channels, managing paid and organic search programs and measurement. Recently, she was a featured speaker and panelist discussing the increasing importance of creating mobile moments for your audience at Content Marketing World 2016.

Follow Laura.

15. Buddy Scalera

Senior Director Content Strategy, The Medicines Company

Buddy Scalera is a content strategist who has been working in pharmaceutical marketing for 17 years. He’s also the author of six books on visual storytelling and a noted speaker.

In addition to his experience marketing for pharmaceutical companies, he’s also quite the creative writer, freelancing for Marvel Entertainment and other publishers from 2000-2014.

Follow Buddy.

16. Amanda Duncan

Senior Communications Manager, Influencer Relations, Microsoft

Amanda Duncan has more than 10 years of marketing and communications experiencing, working for companies such as Wells Fargo, Nokia, Brit+Co and now Microsoft.

Amanda is a part of the Influencer Relations Team at Microsoft, working to create, execute and support company-wide announcements, news stories and events, and specifically focusing on New Media Influencers.

Follow Amanda.

17. Justin Levy

Director of Social Marketing, Citrix

In his role as Director of Social Marketing at Citrix, Justin Levy is an advisor on all social media activities across the company, working on a wide range of projects to develop social strategies and scale social media.

During his career, Justin has worked with brands of all sizes including Sony, SAS and PepsiCo. In addition, like many others on this list, Justin is a sought after public speaker on social media, marketing and technology topics.

Follow Justin.

18. David Edelman

Chief Marketing Officer, Aetna

David Edelman has held several leadership positions at management consulting firms and digital agencies and boasts more than 1 million followers on LinkedIn.

Currently, David is the Chief Marketing Officer for Aetna where he leads research, design, strategy and implementation of enterprise-wide marketing initiatives. He also speaks frequently at industry events and conferences, blogs on a variety of topics and regularly publishes content on LinkedIn.

Follow David.

19. Dennis Goedegebuure

VP Growth & SEO, Fanatics

Dennis Goedegebuure is an award winning marketer and SEO expert who’s worked for recognizable brands such as eBay and Airbnb. Currently, he heads up global SEO strategy for Fanatics, focusing on growth and new SEO.

Dennis is a frequent speaker at industry events, with some of his most recent appearances being at SEOktoberfest, MNSummit 2016 and Zenith Digital Marketing, and he’s eager to connect with new people on LinkedIn.

Follow Dennis.

20. Jen Erickson

Director of Digital Marketing, DocuSign

Jen Erickson has been in her leadership role at DocuSign just over one year, after spending five years with Oracle. She specializes in campaign globalization and international marketing, supervising digital campaigns across verticals.

Jen was also included in TopRank Marketing’s 50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing list in 2015 and 2016.

Follow Jen.

Ready, Set, Follow

Whether you’re looking to expand your network, stay up to date on the latest digital marketing news or want actionable tips to boost your marketing efforts, following or connecting with your fellow marketers can be incredibly helpful.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to follow and connect with TopRank Marketing on LinkedIn. Find our company page here. If you’re interested in connecting with me, you can find my profile here.

What bright and talented marketers do you follow on LinkedIn and other social channels? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disclosure: LinkedIn, SAP, BMC, Dell and Oracle are TopRank Marketing clients. 


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6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/optimize-linkedin-profile/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/optimize-linkedin-profile/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:30:45 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20923 With more than 450 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network–and it’s growing every second. In fact, LinkedIn reports that people are signing up for the platform at a rate of two members per second. For many of us marketers, LinkedIn’s continued growth is no surprise. Not only is LinkedIn the place [...]

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optimize-linkedin-profile

With more than 450 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network–and it’s growing every second. In fact, LinkedIn reports that people are signing up for the platform at a rate of two members per second.

For many of us marketers, LinkedIn’s continued growth is no surprise. Not only is LinkedIn the place to showcase your own talents and experience, but it also holds incredible networking and marketing opportunities for promoting our clients and our own brand or agency to the masses. From bolstering professional credibility to building thought leadership to maintaining client and prospect relationships, LinkedIn is an amazing tool.

But are we all using this wonderful tool to its full potential?

It all starts with maximizing and optimizing your profile. Whether you’re reaching out to prospects for your own agency, connecting with industry influencers on behalf of a client or just looking to make some connections, your profile is quite obviously the first thing people will see. And you want it to look gooooood.

Below we dive into some best practices and tips for optimizing your profile so you can use it to build your own professional brand as a marketer and make it a powerful tool to further your marketing objectives.

#1 – Cover the basics.

The very top of your profile page is prime real estate, providing a little snapshot of who you are and what you do. This is where you want to make a good first impression and encourage people to scroll and learn more about you.

LinkedIn - 1

Some best practices and tips for this section include:

  • Upload a professional and high-resolution head shot. Make sure the photo is sized 400 x 400 and it’s in a JPG, GIF or PNG format.
  • Write a catchy headline. Use this space to sell yourself a bit. You can certainly go simple by including your job title and company, but a little creativity and uniqueness can go a long way. But remember you have just 120 characters to work with.
  • Include the industry you work in. Select the industry that best represents the space you’re currently working in.
  • Add experience and education information. Basic information from the Experience and Education sections will be pulled into your top overview, so make sure you have where and what you studied, and current and past job titles and companies at a minimum.

#2 – Get specific.

LinkedIn is not meant to be your online resume, as resumes are often tweaked and tailored to meet the requirements of a specific job. Linkedin is where you can showcase all your past professional and volunteer work history—as well as your interests and a little personality.

Use the Summary, Experience and Education sections, as well as others that you can add onto your profile, to dive deep into your qualifications, experience and accomplishments.

Summary

The Summary section is your elevator pitch. Include relevant information about your current role and company, as well as the experience that got you there and what drives you to do quality work. Consider writing this section in the third-person and include keywords that will help your profile come up in search results.

Again, this is where you make your pitch so don’t be afraid to brag a bit about some of your accomplishments. And if you can, back it up with some examples of your work. Below is a great example from TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman.

LinkedIn Summary Section

Experience

While you want to be specific and detailed, make sure you’re clear and concise as well. Start out with a brief overview of your role. Then highlight specific responsibilities, accomplishments and the results you’ve gotten in a bulleted list. Below is an example from Kevin Cotch, TopRank Marketing’s awesome SEO Analyst.

LinkedIn Experience Section

Education

Go beyond listing the high school or college you’ve attended to include your areas of study, activities or societies you participated in, and any honors or awards you may have received. Connect it with the institution’s LinkedIn page if you can. This will help you explore profiles of fellow alumni. Here’s a peek at what my own Education section looks like.

LinkedIn Education Section

Adding Other Sections

You can also beef up your profile by adding additional sections such as organization you’re involved with, certifications, volunteer experience and more. Again, the more information and detail you display, the better.

When you’re in edit mode, you’ll find this option directly under the top overview section.

LinkedIn Other Sections

Click on “View More” to see all the options that you haven’t yet utilized on your profile. Here’s what opportunities are available on my own profile.

LinkedIn - 6

#3 – Showcase your top skills.

The Skills & Endorsements section allows you to show off all your areas of expertise. The beauty of this section is that you have the ability to prioritize which skills you want to call attention to in the Top Skills portion of the section.

LinkedIn Top Skills Section

If you’re in edit mode, click on any of the edit icons to get to the editing dashboard. Then click and drag skills into the order you want. Also, make sure to check you’ve opted into serving your skills up as endorsement suggestions for your connections.

LinkedIn Reordering Skills

#4 – Add examples of your work.

Documents, images, presentations, links and videos can all be added to various sections of your profile, allowing tell your story in a visual way and letting people see your work in action. Below is a peek at content featured in TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s Summary section.

LinkedIn Publishing

#5 – Make use of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

Taking advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform has a number of benefits. First of all, all your posts become part of your profile, living in a section directly under the top overview section.

In addition, when you publish something new it’s shared with your connections and followers. The content is also searchable on and off LinkedIn, which is huge.

LinkedIn Pulse Content

When it comes to actually writing your posts, choose a topic that you’re experienced with and stick to it. If you try to include too many elements, you’ll lose readers. You could also use the platform to repurpose existing content. Of course, write a click-worthy headline, use keywords and aim for around 300-600 words or so.

Check out LinkedIn’s advice on writing long-form posts.

#6 – Don’t be shy about endorsements and recommendations.

Endorsement and recommendations from those you’ve worked with give your profile the depth it needs to build credibility with connections. After all, who better to describe what you have to offer than the people who’ve actually worked with?

Reach out to former supervisors, co-workers or clients you’re close with and ask them to endorse some of your skills or write a recommendation. To get more endorsements, reach out using In-Mail or email. For recommendations, scroll to the Recommendations section at the bottom of your profile and click “Ask for Recommendations.” This will allow you to select what job you want to be recommended for and the connection you want to reach out to.

LinkedIn will generate a message for you, but personalizing it will make it much more effective.

LinkedIn - 11

The bottom line is you want your profile to be a reflection of who you are as an individual and a marketing professional. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for people to get to virtually know you, allowing you to build connections and credibility, and push your marketing efforts forward.

Do you have a favorite formula for writing a catchy profile headline? Or any other LinkedIn profile tips? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


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LinkedIn Publishing: 3 Tips for Creating Better Content & 6 Marketers Setting a Great Example http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/05/linkedin-publishing-tips/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/05/linkedin-publishing-tips/#comments Tue, 17 May 2016 10:30:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20455   Let’s face it, our online audiences are being force fed an incredible amount of content on a daily basis. Sadly, it doesn’t matter if they bookmark or subscribe to blogs, find things in search or locate articles in their Twitter or Facebook feeds; it’s overwhelming. And it’s not going to slow down. In fact, [...]

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LinkedIn-Publishing

Let’s face it, our online audiences are being force fed an incredible amount of content on a daily basis. Sadly, it doesn’t matter if they bookmark or subscribe to blogs, find things in search or locate articles in their Twitter or Facebook feeds; it’s overwhelming.

And it’s not going to slow down. In fact, 76% of marketers recently surveyed shared that they planned to create even more content in the coming year.

Part of the problem is that despite best efforts, content is not always as targeted as it should be. So while readers may stumble into an article thinking it can help solve their problems, they often make it halfway through the content before realizing the material is not for them (hopefully that is not happening in the case of this article).

One option for creating more customized and targeted content is to utilize the publishing function available within LinkedIn. In this post we’ll dig into 3 tips for publishing better content LinkedIn as well as 6 marketing influencers that are walking the walk with LinkedIn content publishing.

3 LinkedIn Publishing Tips

#1 – Know Who You’re Writing For

One of the benefits of publishing on LinkedIn is that it take the guesswork out of who exactly your content should target. To quickly understand who you should be creating content for, take a peek at your 1st connections to determine the industries, job functions and seniority levels of the people that you’re connected to. This will help you pinpoint what topics will resonate most with your LinkedIn audience.

When publishing a new post on LinkedIn, your connections will receive an alert and a message in their stream that indicates you have created a new post.

And while it may seem like you’re limiting your options, people that are connected to your connections will receive posts in their stream indicating posts that your first connections have liked, shared or commented on.

#2 – Repurpose Existing Content

To give your LinkedIn publishing a jump start, you may want to consider repurposing other content that you created previously. Now, that doesn’t mean copy and pasting a 1,500 word article directly from your blog to your LinkedIn account.

Instead, you can re-use bits and pieces of separate articles, or slightly change the narrative and information offered within the content that you publish on LinkedIn.

#3 – Review Analytics & Refine Your Approach

Each post that you publish on LinkedIn will also include access to the stats for that particular piece of content. Within the stats section you can gain access to valuable information including:

  • Number of views over a particular timeframe
  • Demographics of the people reading your posts including:
    • Industries
    • Job Titles
    • Locations
    • Traffic Sources
  • Specific connections that have liked or commented on your post

All of this information is incredibly valuable and can be used to help formulate your content strategy for your LinkedIn profile.

6 Marketers Creating Great Content on LinkedIn

Gary V LinkedIn
Gary Vaynerchuk
CEO, VaynerMedia

Gary’s LinkedIn content is a fantastic example of how professionals can take an outspoken and insightful approach to creating content. You’ll find that his posts cut to the point and have a way of drawing the reader in, starting with a great headline. 

Follow Gary on LinkedIn

My Top Post Picks:

 

Larry Kim LinkedIn

Larry Kim
Co-Founder, Wordstream

Larry’s content on LinkedIn has a little something for everyone. You’ll find everything from insights from recent industry reports, tips on how to use particular tools and general content that can help marketers continue to develop their expertise and management.

Follow Larry on LinkedIn

My Top Post Picks:

 

Sujan Patel LinkedIn
Sujan Patel
Co-Founder, ContentMarketer.io

On LinkedIn, you’ll find Sujan providing advice to marketers looking to increase their thought leadership through speaking, and general best practices.  Not surprisingly, you’ll also find that many of his posts are about different topics related to content marketing.

Follow Sujan on LinkedIn

My Top Post Picks:

 

Hana Abaza LinkedIn
Hana Abaza
VP Marketing, Uberflip

Hana has the opportunity to interview some of today’s top marketers via her Flip the Switch podcast. Many of her LinkedIn posts contain snippets of what you’ll learn in the full podcast. You’ll also find some great B2B content marketing advice when browsing through her posts.

Follow Hana on LinkedIn

My Top Post Picks:

 

Lee Odden LinkedIn
Lee Odden
CEO, TopRank Marketing

Lee’s LinkedIn content is a great combination of inspiring marketing thought leadership and insight into some of digital marketing’s biggest trends. In Lee’s content you’ll find answers to the questions that today’s marketers desperately need answered. 

Follow Lee on LinkedIn

My Top Post Picks: 

 

Andrew Davis LinkedIn

Andrew Davis
Founder, Monumental Shift

In person, Andrew is an incredibly smart and entertaining individual. Fortunately for his readers on LinkedIn, that same energy translates very well to his posts. You’ll find that his content provides a glimpse into real-life marketing learning experiences.

Follow Andrew on LinkedIn

My Top Post Picks:

The LinkedIn Publishing Challenge for Content Marketers

The six influencers listed above are proof that you can create successful content on LinkedIn. Between learning from their example, and the three tips included in this article, you should have what you need to get started.

Many people create a publishing schedule and commit to creating content, only to find that they can’t keep up (I’ve been guilty of the same). Instead of creating lofty and unattainable goals, focus on trying to create a post that you believe aligns very closely with the needs of your LinkedIn audience and then refine and repeat based on the statistical data provided.

What do you say, can I count you in?
Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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4 Components of a Killer Content Marketing Tactical Plan on LinkedIn http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/04/content-marketing-linkedin/ Thu, 21 Apr 2016 10:30:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20300 “People spend time on other social networks, but they invest time on LinkedIn.” For the first time in the history of media, users can engage with the world’s professionals in one place. The LinkedIn network provides access to a  quality audience within a professional context. Furthermore, professionals engage with purpose and content on LinkedIn including: [...]

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Alex-Rynne-and-Jason-Miller

“People spend time on other social networks, but they invest time on LinkedIn.”

For the first time in the history of media, users can engage with the world’s professionals in one place. The LinkedIn network provides access to a  quality audience within a professional context.

Furthermore, professionals engage with purpose and content on LinkedIn including:

  • 9 billion impressions per week
  • 15x content than job postings in the feed
  • 57% of visits coming from mobile

There is no doubt that many opportunities exist within the platform but many marketers are still trying to find a way to utilize LinkedIn to create and amplify great content. Below are 4 content marketing opportunities shared by LinkedIn’s Jason Miller and Alex Rynne that will help you build your LinkedIn Tactical Plan.

#1 LinkedIn Company & Showcase Pages

LinkedIn Showcase Page

Company pages are your brand identity on LinkedIn and should represent the highest-level information about your company. Showcase pages allow you to connect with more specific audiences on the platform. Below are some of the common objectives that Showcase pages can help you achieve as well as some key metrics to track.

Common Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Thought leadership
  • Lead generation
  • Event registration

Key Metrics:

  • Page Followers
  • Post Clicks
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • Inquiries
  • Leads

Action items to make your Company Page successful:

  1. Create a plan that enables you to post 3-4x per day
  2. Dedicate resources to engage with and respond to followers’ comments
  3. Change header image every 6 months

#2 LinkedIn Slideshare

SlideShare Profile

With over 70 million monthly unique visitors and 13,000 new pieces of content per day, marketers should take the time to leverage this channel as more than just a place to repurpose content.  

Maybe the most unique opportunity with Slideshare is the integration with the LinkedIn platform. The integration allows you to put a face to the people looking at your content. Great insight for marketers to understand who’s viewing and engaging with the content. If it’s the target audience great, if not what about the content is drawing visits outside the target audience.

Common Objectives:

  • Lead generation
  • Brand awareness / Thought leadership
  • SEO

Key Metrics:

  • Inquiries
  • Demographics of readers/followers
  • Linkbacks
  • Keyword Rankings
  • Views
  • Actions (downloads, likes and embeds)

Action items to make Slideshare more effective:

  1. Upload new content weekly
  2. Highlight decks on profile page
  3. Group content into playlists
  4. Add lead forms

#3 Publishing on LinkedIn

Publishing Content on LinkedIn

Over 1 million members are publishing more than 130k posts a week on LinkedIn. Interestingly, approximately  45% of readers are in upper ranks of their industries, managers, VPs, CEOs.

LinkedIn is a great place to publish original content that aligns with your network on the platform. If you create content elsewhere on the web, you can also repurpose that content (and link to the original content) through LinkedIn to expose your community to more of the content that you’re creating.

Additionally, LinkedIn has published Writing Themes for 2016 which gives you a sense of what type of content they’re looking to promote and amplify each month of the year.

Common Objective:

  • Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

  • Post views and profile views
  • Demographics of your readers
  • Likes, comments and shares

Action items for publishing:

  1. Create content that matches what you feel passionate about
  2. Recommend bi weekly or monthly publishing

#4 LinkedIn Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content LinkedIn

Sponsored Content allows you to publish relevant content in the feed, targeting audiences beyond your company page followers.

For Sponsored Content, 75% of clicks come from mobile so before you dive in make sure your content is mobile friendly.

Common Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Thought leadership
  • Lead generation

Key Metrics:

  • Engagement rate
  • Impressions
  • Followers
  • Inquiries

Action items for Sponsored content:

  1. Select a compelling image
  2. Run 2-4 per week
    1. Run for 3 weeks, test and iterate
    2. Add url tracking code
    3. Set up campaigns by audience
    4. Shift budget to the audience with the highest engagement rate

Are You Taking Full Advantage of LinkedIn’s Publishing Capabilities?

As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities for publishing and amplifying content on LinkedIn. However, it takes time and effort to begin building your content cred on LinkedIn. If you want to get started but need the help of content marketing experts, contact TopRank Marketing for more information.  

Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client.


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How to Use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates to Jumpstart Content Promotion in 2016 http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/12/linkedin-content-amplification/ Tue, 22 Dec 2015 11:30:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19718 2015 was the year that content marketing exploded. Brands have become publishers and are all competing in the same arena to provide a quantity of quality content for their audience. In the coming year, content capabilities and demands will only increase. It’s time that marketers think beyond creation, and take advantage of the tools available [...]

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linkedin

2015 was the year that content marketing exploded. Brands have become publishers and are all competing in the same arena to provide a quantity of quality content for their audience. In the coming year, content capabilities and demands will only increase.

It’s time that marketers think beyond creation, and take advantage of the tools available for content amplification, promotion and measurement. With over 4million business pages housed on their platform, there is no denying that LinkedIn is a powerhouse for amplifying and boosting great content.

Today, LinkedIn released their newest guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Posts. This guide was composed by scouring LinkedIn to find the best examples of business sponsored content. In order to  take the leap into investing in sponsoring content, you first have to make sure that you have something worth promoting. Below are a handful of examples of businesses using great content on LinkedIn to capture the attention of their audience.

Use Crowd-Sourcing to Involve Your Audience

Air Canada LinkedIn

There is no denying that content involving your audience can quickly become very powerful and sharable.

Earlier this year, Holiday Inn Express created an entire video campaign, website and social amplification plan around based on an initiative that involved their audience. They created a series of videos about the importance of breakfast and hired actor Rob Riggle to act as their new “Creative Director” in these video shorts on YouTube.

Not only were these videos entertaining, but Holiday actually held a contest using the hashtag #pancakemachine to have followers submit entries to name their fancy new pancake machines.

Consumer Brands Tackle a LinkedIn Content Strategy

Amazon LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform and has more traditionally been thought of as a solution for B2B companies. However, the individuals that use LinkedIn are also consumers. That means, there is a ripe opportunity for B2C companies to begin dominating with clever, visual and interesting content for their audience.

Consumer brands like Amazon and Starbucks have taken advantage of this opportunity and utilize LinkedIn to consistently provide great (and sometimes heartwarming) information for their LinkedIn followers.

Never Underestimate the Power of Video

Air Canada LinkedIn

A whopping 78% of people watch videos online every week, and 50% of all mobile traffic is from video views. Numbers like that make you wonder why everyone isn’t creating videos to better target online audiences. Truth of the matter is, videos are an investment of time, learning and often monetary funds. If you are setup to create quality video, consider using LinkedIn as a platform to distribute and amplify that content.

Take for example, Air Canada. This year, the airline company published a series of videos on their LinkedIn page that included travel tips from a tech entrepreneur as well as an upgrade to the dining experience fliers will experience when travelling with Air Canada. These short videos serve a couple purposes. First, they’re providing general helpful tips. Secondly, they are creating content that showcases how flying with them a pleasurable experience instead of a dreaded chore.

Compelling Visuals Help Great Content Shine

Dell LinkedIn

Content that contains compelling visuals has the power to entice and connect readers with brand content. With the overwhelming amount of content that exists today, it takes more than a clever headline or quality content to stand out in the sea of noise. In fact, there an average increase of comments by 98% if an update contains a visual element.

Dell recently released an interactive guide to help companies determine which technology fit would be best for their organization. On LinkedIn, the company shared a snappy and compelling update as well as a great image that displays a preview of a few of the different types of companies that are covered in the guide. The visual was entertaining (even funny) and informational for followers.

LinkedIn Sponsored Update Trends in 2015

For even more insights into how to use LinkedIn to capture the attention of your audience, check out LinkedIn’s handy new trends update below:

Also, if you’re ready to jump headfirst into sponsoring your awesome content on LinkedIn, be sure to download the Sophisticated Marketer’s Ultimate Guide to Sponsored Updates.

Disclosure: LinkedIn and Dell are TopRank Marketing clients.

Header image via Shutterstock

 


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9 Step Social Media Audit for Improving LinkedIn Business Page Results http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/9-step-linkedin-audit/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/9-step-linkedin-audit/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18835 It’s undeniable that LinkedIn is leading the pack for professional social networks. In fact, more than half of all of the business in the world have created a business page on LinkedIn. With over 4 million business pages on LinkedIn, the competition for the attention of potential clients and job seekers is at an all-time [...]

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LinkedIn Company Page

It’s undeniable that LinkedIn is leading the pack for professional social networks. In fact, more than half of all of the business in the world have created a business page on LinkedIn. With over 4 million business pages on LinkedIn, the competition for the attention of potential clients and job seekers is at an all-time high.

One way to take a critical look at your LinkedIn business page is to conduct a social media audit and identify areas for improvement. Understanding the elements that will help you build trust with your audience and provide a seamless brand experience for visitors navigating between your website and LinkedIn business page are incredibly important in creating a cohesive strategy.

If you know that your LinkedIn Business Page could be better, but you don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. The social media audit below identifies nine important elements of LinkedIn business profiles that can be improved in order to get more engagement from your audience, and referral traffic back to your website. Ready to see how many of these items you’re executing successfully and how many are an opportunity for improvement?

9 Step LinkedIn Company Page Audit

#1 – Identify the Right Content Mix
“Content mix” refers to the different types of content posted on your LinkedIn Company page. The first step is to analyze what types of content are published to your business page on a regular basis.

Content types can include:

  • Promotional content
  • Industry news
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Links to helpful articles

Ideally, all of these content types should be present in your content mix. Posting only one or two types of content will bore your audience. Engage your audience by posting a variety of content to your LinkedIn business page. Don’t forget to include visual content in your mix: posting images on LinkedIn can increase engagement and comments by as much as  98%!

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#2 – Establish a Cadence
How often does your brand post on LinkedIn? Are your updates posted regularly, or do days or weeks pass by with no updates? Aim to post at least one message a day on your LinkedIn business page in order to begin engaging your audience and create the expectation that visitors can discover new content on a daily basis. Posting intermittently can cause visitors to think that your LinkedIn page is unmaintained or out of date.

#3 – Post at Optimal Times of Day
Now that you know how often you’re posting, consider what time of day updates are typically posted. Do you use a social media management tool to schedule updates at specific times, or do you post updates whenever you can find the time? Scheduling your updates to post at a time of day when the majority of your followers are on LinkedIn is a great way to increase engagement with your content.

According to Fannit, the best times to post updates on LinkedIn are between 7-8 am and 5-6 pm. That’s because many LinkedIn users check their profile at the beginning or end of their work day. 

Image courtesy of QuickSprout

Image courtesy of QuickSprout

#4 – Create Consistency with Your Company Name
This seems like an easy one, but it can have a huge impact on how visitors find and perceive your LinkedIn Company page. First, search for your company’s name on LinkedIn. How many results appear? Some brands have multiple pages on LinkedIn, which can make it very difficult for visitors to know which page is the “correct” LinkedIn business page to visit. If your brand has multiple LinkedIn business pages, consider consolidating into one just one page. If your brand has multiple markets, products, or business units, create showcase pages to speak to those different segments.

Finally, ensure that the spelling on your LinkedIn business page matches the branding on your website. This will provide a consistent experience for visitors, and help them understand that this page is the “official” LinkedIn page for your brand.

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#5 – Find the Perfect Profile Picture
Take a critical look at the profile picture on your LinkedIn company page. It should be a clear, well-cropped image that showcases what your brand is all about. What’s most important is to ensure that your audience can easily recognize the profile image. Most companies opt to use the brand logo for their LinkedIn profile. This is a great way to improve brand recognition.

The image should be high resolution, and perfectly cropped. Grainy, off-centered images may give your business page an unprofessional or sloppy appearance. The size of LinkedIn profile pictures is 50×50 pixels.

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#6 – Use a Banner Image to Create Continuity
The banner image should in some way indicate what your company does. If you work for a healthcare organization, an image of a hospital may be appropriate. They say that one image is worth 1,000 words, so use an image that speaks to your company’s area of expertise. Create a custom image that overlays text over an image in order to include a message, or information about your brand in the banner image. LinkedIn banner images should be a minimum of 646×220  .

Consider changing the banner image on your LinkedIn business page on a quarterly basis to give your page a fresh, updated appearance. The banner image may correspond to a season, event, or important product offering.

eb image 5

#7 – Provide a Detailed Description
Use the description section of your profile to explain what your company does. Avoid vague, industry jargon in favor of precise language and keywords that explain how your company provides value to your customers. Don’t forget that LinkedIn business page descriptions are crawled by Google, which means that you should include keywords in the description section. You should also fill out the sections provided for specialties, website, industry, type of business, address, and company size.

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#8 – Include a URL in the First Sentence of the Description
When you visit LinkedIn company pages, you’ll notice that only the first one or two sentences of the description appear, unless you click “see more.” If you’d like to drive more referral traffic to your website, either include your brand’s URL in the first sentence of the description, or keep the description short enough that visitors won’t have to click “see more” to find your website URL .

#9 – Dive Into LinkedIn Analytics
LinkedIn business page administrators should take advantage of the data collected within LinkedIn analytics. Get insight into which updates are performing best by viewing impression, click, and engagement metrics for each update. You can also see how much reach and engagement your updates receive over time. LinkedIn’s unique demographic data can show you what industries your fans and visitors are from, what their job functions are, what their seniority level is, and what size company they work for. This information can help you understand more about your audience, and their interests.

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Know When to Call in the Professionals

If you’re overwhelmed by how much time and effort it takes to conduct a social media audit, or to optimize your LinkedIn company page, it may be a sign that it’s time to call in the reinforcements. Do you feel that your LinkedIn company page could be better, but don’t have the time it takes to update and maintain it? Do you crave more expert insights and tips for improving your brand’s social media profiles? Contact TopRank Online Marketing to learn more about our social media audit services .

What are some examples of LinkedIn Company Profiles that you think are well optimized and have followed the checklist above?

Disclosure: LinkedIn, Innovatech and Uponor are all TopRank Online Marketing clients.

Header Image: Shutterstock


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Best Practices for Incorporating Sponsored Posts & Ads In Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/linkedin-ads/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/linkedin-ads/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 10:30:21 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18695 For many B2B marketers, LinkedIn can prove to be a figurative and literal pot of gold. While there’s no majestic rainbow to show you the way, I can show you how to incorporate social media advertising as part of your LinkedIn Marketing strategy. A few years ago, HubSpot surveyed B2B organizations and found that 65% of them [...]

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POT-OF-GOLD

For many B2B marketers, LinkedIn can prove to be a figurative and literal pot of gold. While there’s no majestic rainbow to show you the way, I can show you how to incorporate social media advertising as part of your LinkedIn Marketing strategy.

A few years ago, HubSpot surveyed B2B organizations and found that 65% of them reported that they have acquired a customer by using LinkedIn and its paid advertising features.

Many organizations have found LinkedIn users to be incredibly receptive to seeing ads and sponsored updates within their feeds. Because LinkedIn is professionally focused by nature, users expect to be having conversations about business.

The best practices below provide some helpful insights into LinkedIn paid advertising basics and can help drive the performance of your campaigns.

Sponsored Updates vs. Sponsored Updates

In our experience, sponsored Updates drive much higher engagement than LinkedIn Ads for the majority of the clients we work with. Below is a sample of conversion rates for both sponsored updates and LinkedIn Ads.

Ad and Sponsored Conversion Rate

Why is There Such a Gap in Conversions?

  1. Sponsored updates appear in the users news feed, which makes them hard to miss. Ads however, appear within the right hand column and can be easily looked over.
  2. A sponsored update is only noted by small gray text that says “Sponsored” if not looking closely, users may not even notice that they’re clicking on boosted content.
  3. Sponsored Updates give the marketer much more flexibility with messaging and imagery compared to ads that have much stricter guidelines.

linkedin image 2

LinkedIn Ads have their place within a social advertising strategy and can often help marketers meet their hit their fiscal goals. However, if you’re just starting out and want to get the most out of your marketing dollars, we recommend focusing your efforts on sponsored updates.

Target Your Audience

LinkedIn has an entire suite of targeting options for you to choose from. If targeting is too broad, your messaging will lose its effectiveness.

We always recommend testing different types of targeting within your LinkedIn campaigns. For example, you can test targeting by title, then grouping. Alternatively you can target by group and then title. Our clients have seen a great deal of success by targeting specific titles within groups, as well as targeting titles within specific companies.

The bottom line, experiment with your targeting to find the best mix for your audience.

Create Messaging That Resonates

Be social, be interesting and be conversational. Sometimes you may have to remind yourself that users flock to platforms like LinkedIn because they add a social element to their personal and professional life.

The messaging used in sponsored updates and ads should focus on your target’s problem and the solution that you offer to meet their need(s). Your prospects may not care about your new eBook or whitepaper, but they will care if your content helps them solve a business problem.

Remember to always create content that speaks directly to your audience. Messaging for a CEO should be different from that for a Manager or Consultant. That’s the beauty of LinkedIn; you have the opportunity to be the answer to all of those unique questions, so tailor your answer/solution accordingly.

You only have 160 characters for direct sponsored posts, so make sure your CTA or your primary takeaway is front and center.

Be Mindful About Images

Rule of thumb, if you have an alternative to stock photos, use it. LinkedIn is filled with stock imagery so creating images that are unique, bright and energetic will go a long way.

Your imagery should be used to support your content.

In the first image below you can see that the visual used of IBM and Facebook clearly aligns with the message of their partnership. The two images on the right however, don’t particularly match up to the message that is being promoted.

IBM Facebookopal financial group

Be sure to update your messaging and imagery frequently. We typically recommend that messaging is adapted every couple of days. Your audience will gravitate towards different messaging and images so I will typically launch new campaigns as opposed to revising existing so we can keep track of which messages work best.

Call to Action

We always recommend using some sort of download as your CTA. A demo or meeting may be your ultimate goal but from an engagement standpoint, a download always wins hands down. It’s easier asking for that demo once they’ve gotten the information from you.

As you can see below, we have typically found that downloads have a much higher conversion rate than demos.

demo and download rate

Budget & Bids

Your daily budget should be dictated by your audience and the bids that LinkedIn is recommending. If you apply the lowest bid acceptable, it will greatly reduce the number of impressions your campaign will be severed. If you feel that your activity is low, that normally means your bids are too low.

Go Forth & Find Your Pot of Gold

Be mindful that success with LinkedIn sponsored posts and advertising takes time. If you know your audience and can be nimble in your approach, your chances of success will greatly increase.

If you’ve used LinkedIn advertising in the past, what were the biggest lessons that you learned?

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Online Marketing client.

Top Image: Shutterstock


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How Content Marketers Can Tell Better, More Strategic Stories http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/03/content-stories/ Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18243 As a marketer, are you a good storyteller? Do you have a content marketing strategy that guides your storytelling? Maybe you already know how to build a content marketing strategy, but you’re curious to know how to improve it. Jason Miller, senior manager of content marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, is a natural storyteller – and he [...]

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Storytelling around a campfire

As a marketer, are you a good storyteller? Do you have a content marketing strategy that guides your storytelling?

Maybe you already know how to build a content marketing strategy, but you’re curious to know how to improve it.

Jason Miller, senior manager of content marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, is a natural storyteller – and he has awesome storytelling tips for marketers. (Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client)

In his session at Social Media Marketing World 2015 in San Diego, Jason kept the audience captive, sharing what seemed like a million excellent insights on storytelling to inspire and motivate marketers.

In addition, he gave key insights on how to better use LinkedIn (his area of expertise) for more effective content publishing and promotion.

Tell stories in your voice.

John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever is the best-selling album ever. At the time when disco was becoming a phenomenon, punk rock bands like the Sex Pistols and The Ramones were buried underneath disco fever. They had to drum up their own excitement. During this time Dead Kennedys’ lead singer and songwriter  Jello Biafra said, “Don’t have the media, become the media.”

It’s the digital age, and we are the media. Content marketing allows us to tell our own branded stories in our own voices. Are you telling your brand’s story?

Tell relevant stories.

Your number one job is to answer the top questions your customers have. With today’s ease of content creation, we don’t need more content – we need more relevant content.

In a survey Miller cites, 44% of respondents say they would consider ending a brand relationship because of irrelevant promotions, and an additional 22% say they would definitely defect from a brand. Why would marketers want to lose these people?

It’s a marketer’s job to get into the head of a prospect, empathize with their pain points, and speak to them in a relevant way.

Tell the story you own. 

After coming to LinkedIn several years ago, Miller realized there was a big problem: people were asking “How do I market on LinkedIn?” but LinkedIn wasn’t answering. Everyone else was telling their story for them – the search results were full of answers from other publications.

To win back the conversation, Miller’s team created The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn – “A beautiful piece of content.” It’s 65 pages giving a robust answer to the question. Now LinkedIn has taken back the conversation they know intimately.

Tell a re-purposed story (it’s allowed!)

Miller is a proponent of the “big rock” – a substantial ebook, video, etc. (like The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide) that will fuel your demand generation and fill your various content hubs for several months. Repurposed content isn’t cheating – it’s incredibly smart – and not only that, but it can increase the profitability of your content campaigns tremendously.

For example, The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide generated 18,000% ROI and $4.6 million in revenue in one quarter alone, largely due to all the ways they could slide and dice it – into:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Slide presentations

What do you have that you can republish? Marketers continually struggle to create enough content. If you don’t have a “big rock” or time to start something new, Miller advises that you look around.  Fuel your content hubs with smaller subsets of a larger piece.

Bonus Tip: A “big rock” on LinkedIn can become organic updates for your company page, sponsored updates, content for a LinkedIn group, and a Slideshare presentation.

Tell a continuous story using your blog. 

Your blog is not your resource center. Your resource center is an indexed directory of content for visitors browsing for a certain topic. It’s a necessary place to store all your assets, but “the blog is so much better,” Miller says.

The blog is the social media rug that ties the room together. It provides a running narrative of your story. It goes in one direction.

How do you keep the variety fresh and fun on your blog? Miller recommends the blogging food groups.

A few examples:

  • Healthy content (i.e. Raisin Bran, spinach – the stuff that’s good for you)
  • Spicy content (Kick things up a notch with some Tabasco! Get some blood boiling!)
  • Sweet content (i.e. Chocolate Cake – something fun and totally unnecessary, something that will just make your audience smile. Everyone likes to smile!)

Tell a visual story.

One Chinese Proverb has said that “A picture is worth ten thousand words” but a study showed that really, it’s really only worth 8.4, Miller says.

Either way, the visual is the new headline. Compelling, provocative visuals are the way of the future.

Bonus Tip: Slideshare is the most underutilized platform for B2B marketers, in Miller’s opinion. It’s a great place to test visual content in an easy-to-consume manner for your prospects.

Just tell a story. 

You may have noticed the proliferation of content on LinkedIn these days. With the expansion of LinkedIn Publishing in early 2014, anybody can write and publish long-form content – which has led to over 1 million articles as of early 2015. Miller notes that content on LinkedIn receives seven times the pageviews of profiles.

What should you write about? Write what you’re thinking. Got a thought? Write about it. Miller calls these “punch-in-the-face-blog posts.” An example of this is Seth Godin, who writes 250 words a day with admirable discipline.

If you’re not telling your stories, your ideas are trapped and sitting. Why not tell them?

Bonus Tip: LinkedIn’s feed is a real-time personalized newspaper. Experiencing writer’s block? What are your peers publishing and sharing? 

What’s your best storytelling tip? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | How Content Marketers Can Tell Better, More Strategic Stories | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post How Content Marketers Can Tell Better, More Strategic Stories appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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All New Sophisticated B2B Marketing Guide for LinkedIn http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/02/b2b-marketing-guide-linkedin-2015/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/02/b2b-marketing-guide-linkedin-2015/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:03:13 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18062 B2B Marketing Guide LinkedIn

B2B Marketing Guide LinkedIn

It wasn't that long ago that most business marketers thought of LinkedIn purely as a place for online resumes and prospecting future hires. Today, with nearly 350 million members world-wide, LinkedIn has become a formidable marketing and sales resource for B2B marketers across the web.

In fact, LinkedIn is evolving as a full marketing funnel solution through it's mix of content and advertising solutions. In particular, through the LinkedIn Lead Accelerator that serves as a lead generation and nurturing service.

full funnel marketingWhile new product and service offerings are fine and good, there's a saying I live by when it comes to tools. "A tool is only as useful as the expertise of the person using it."

That's why this updated version of The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn is so timely.

For sophisticated B2B Marketers that implement integrated marketing programs, I have no doubt this eBook is going to be a very useful resource.

Before I get into what you'll find in this free eBook, here's a little more about LinkedIn Lead Accelerator:

"As a new lead generation and nurturing product, LinkedIn Lead Accelerator connects companies to the right professionals with the right content as they make their way through the purchase decision process. Think of it as an advanced nurture engine, one that goes beyond the inbox to allow marketers to reach unknown prospects (anonymous website visitors) and known prospects (through captured contact info), nurture them with display and social ads on and off LinkedIn, and convert them when they're ready to buy."

Think of LinkedIn Lead Accelerator as marketing automation for display and social advertising that you can use to identify audiences, sequence ads, increase conversions, optimize your creative and of course, measure impact.

Now on to the updated Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn: It's essentially all about how to use LinkedIn as part of you integrated approach to marketing - updated for 2015.

optimized linkedin profileAt 58 pages, it's a soup to nuts resource on everything from the thinking behind full funnel marketing on LinkedIn and the ad network to practical advice on:

  • Opening letter from Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at LinkedIn
  • How to optimize your LinkedIn profile
  • How to grow your network of influencers
  • Tips on staying current on industry news
  • How to expand your reach
  • Advice on nurturing leads
  • How to use the LinkedIn publishing platform
  • How LinkedIn partner programs work

Wrapping up the guide is a fine list of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts you need to know.

You might be wondering who is giving all this advice? Internal marketing experts at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions of course. There are also a mix of quotes and expert opinions from a selection of sophisticated marketing influencers that includes:

Lastly, this eBook is full of useful stats that you can use in blog posts, presentations or in a brief to win budget for the LinkedIn Lead Accelerator :)

  • 47% The value of purchases are 47% higher from nurtured leads (BuzzBuilder)
  • 10 An average of 10 pieces of content are consumed before a purchasing decision is made (Google ZMOT)
  • 95% of website visitors leave without leaving an email address (Sirius Decisions)
  • 80% of marketing emails go unopened (MarketingProfs)
  • #1 LinkedIn is the number one social network for driving traffic to corporate websites (Invents IQ2)

And a few stats about and from LinkedIn:

  • 347,000,000 million The number of LinkedIn members worldwide as of Q4 2014.
  • 182 million The number of unique visitors to LinkedIn in Q4 2014
  • 2 per second The rate of new member sign ups
  • 2 million+ Unique publishers using the LinkedIn share button to send content into the LinkedIn platform
  • 50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn
  • 80% of LinkedIn members want to connect with companies
  • 94% of B2B Marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content
  • 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn
  • 150% The increase in leads B2B marketers are generating on LinkedIn since 2010
  • 200% The increase in leads B2C marketers are generating on LinkedIn since 2010

If that's not all, here's a mini-interview I did with LinkedIn for the Sophisticated Marketer's Guide on how I use the platform and advice on how to get more out of it:

Do you regularly check your Pulse feed? If so, how do you use it?

I check LinkedIn daily including the Pulse feed. I follow a number of the thought leaders and also look for the news stories my network is engaging with. The feed offers content that I can interact with through liking, commenting, sharing on LinkedIn or curating to our broader community.

What’s your best advice for writing a compelling company page update?

This might seem like a cart and horse situation, but it’s important to have an audience. Updating a company page to 2 followers vs. 200 just isn’t the same. As with any other publishing platform, think of who your network is and what they’re interested in. What do they expect?

Giving people what they want in the form of useful content, tips and information about changes at your company is a great way to attract more followers and better engage those that you already have.

From a writing standpoint, write snappy, compelling titles. Check ubersuggest.org for popular keywords
and consider using specific phrases in the title and description, but only if they make sense and add value to the message. You can attract more followers to your company LinkedIn page through search on LinkedIn as well as organic search.

How can a business take advantage of LinkedIn as part of a content marketing strategy?

Content participation on any social network or web platform should be informed by a company’s business
and content marketing strategies. Are customers there and what are they doing? What are they interested
in? What opportunities are there for the brand to be valuable to those prospective customers?

For most companies that sell into the business market, participating on LinkedIn should be a no-brainer.

The specific way LinkedIn is used depends on the company, industry and product mix. It also depends on what kinds of opportunities there are to be “the best answer” on LinkedIn for the things customers are interested in.

At a minimum:
1. Ensure executive LinkedIn profiles are filled out and optimized
2. Make sure the Company Page is robust.
3. Curate useful news as status updates and on the Company Page
4. Use LinkedIn as a follow up after meeting people online and especially at offline events where business cards are exchanged

Beyond that, LinkedIn’s social network platform provides many opportunities to engage with prospects, support individual and brand thought leadership and connect with other groups like industry media and prospective employees. Whether it’s targeted advertising or curating a mix of industry and company news on the brand page, companies that want to attract and engage other businesses need to be on LinkedIn.

As I mentioned, this is a meaty guide at 58 pages. You can get more info and download the free guide from LinkedIn.

Disclosure: While this is an unpaid post, LinkedIn is a client of my agency, TopRank Online Marketing.

The post All New Sophisticated B2B Marketing Guide for LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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B2B Marketing Guide LinkedIn

B2B Marketing Guide LinkedIn It wasn't that long ago that most business marketers thought of LinkedIn purely as a place for online resumes and prospecting future hires. Today, with nearly 350 million members world-wide, LinkedIn has become a formidable marketing and sales resource for B2B marketers across the web. In fact, LinkedIn is evolving as a full marketing funnel solution through it's mix of content and advertising solutions. In particular, through the LinkedIn Lead Accelerator that serves as a lead generation and nurturing service. full funnel marketingWhile new product and service offerings are fine and good, there's a saying I live by when it comes to tools. "A tool is only as useful as the expertise of the person using it." That's why this updated version of The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn is so timely. For sophisticated B2B Marketers that implement integrated marketing programs, I have no doubt this eBook is going to be a very useful resource. Before I get into what you'll find in this free eBook, here's a little more about LinkedIn Lead Accelerator:
"As a new lead generation and nurturing product, LinkedIn Lead Accelerator connects companies to the right professionals with the right content as they make their way through the purchase decision process. Think of it as an advanced nurture engine, one that goes beyond the inbox to allow marketers to reach unknown prospects (anonymous website visitors) and known prospects (through captured contact info), nurture them with display and social ads on and off LinkedIn, and convert them when they're ready to buy."
Think of LinkedIn Lead Accelerator as marketing automation for display and social advertising that you can use to identify audiences, sequence ads, increase conversions, optimize your creative and of course, measure impact. Now on to the updated Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn: It's essentially all about how to use LinkedIn as part of you integrated approach to marketing - updated for 2015. optimized linkedin profileAt 58 pages, it's a soup to nuts resource on everything from the thinking behind full funnel marketing on LinkedIn and the ad network to practical advice on:
  • Opening letter from Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at LinkedIn
  • How to optimize your LinkedIn profile
  • How to grow your network of influencers
  • Tips on staying current on industry news
  • How to expand your reach
  • Advice on nurturing leads
  • How to use the LinkedIn publishing platform
  • How LinkedIn partner programs work
Wrapping up the guide is a fine list of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts you need to know. You might be wondering who is giving all this advice? Internal marketing experts at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions of course. There are also a mix of quotes and expert opinions from a selection of sophisticated marketing influencers that includes: Lastly, this eBook is full of useful stats that you can use in blog posts, presentations or in a brief to win budget for the LinkedIn Lead Accelerator :)
  • 47% The value of purchases are 47% higher from nurtured leads (BuzzBuilder)
  • 10 An average of 10 pieces of content are consumed before a purchasing decision is made (Google ZMOT)
  • 95% of website visitors leave without leaving an email address (Sirius Decisions)
  • 80% of marketing emails go unopened (MarketingProfs)
  • #1 LinkedIn is the number one social network for driving traffic to corporate websites (Invents IQ2)
And a few stats about and from LinkedIn:
  • 347,000,000 million The number of LinkedIn members worldwide as of Q4 2014.
  • 182 million The number of unique visitors to LinkedIn in Q4 2014
  • 2 per second The rate of new member sign ups
  • 2 million+ Unique publishers using the LinkedIn share button to send content into the LinkedIn platform
  • 50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn
  • 80% of LinkedIn members want to connect with companies
  • 94% of B2B Marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content
  • 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn
  • 150% The increase in leads B2B marketers are generating on LinkedIn since 2010
  • 200% The increase in leads B2C marketers are generating on LinkedIn since 2010
If that's not all, here's a mini-interview I did with LinkedIn for the Sophisticated Marketer's Guide on how I use the platform and advice on how to get more out of it: Do you regularly check your Pulse feed? If so, how do you use it? I check LinkedIn daily including the Pulse feed. I follow a number of the thought leaders and also look for the news stories my network is engaging with. The feed offers content that I can interact with through liking, commenting, sharing on LinkedIn or curating to our broader community. What’s your best advice for writing a compelling company page update? This might seem like a cart and horse situation, but it’s important to have an audience. Updating a company page to 2 followers vs. 200 just isn’t the same. As with any other publishing platform, think of who your network is and what they’re interested in. What do they expect? Giving people what they want in the form of useful content, tips and information about changes at your company is a great way to attract more followers and better engage those that you already have. From a writing standpoint, write snappy, compelling titles. Check ubersuggest.org for popular keywords and consider using specific phrases in the title and description, but only if they make sense and add value to the message. You can attract more followers to your company LinkedIn page through search on LinkedIn as well as organic search. How can a business take advantage of LinkedIn as part of a content marketing strategy? Content participation on any social network or web platform should be informed by a company’s business and content marketing strategies. Are customers there and what are they doing? What are they interested in? What opportunities are there for the brand to be valuable to those prospective customers?

For most companies that sell into the business market, participating on LinkedIn should be a no-brainer.

The specific way LinkedIn is used depends on the company, industry and product mix. It also depends on what kinds of opportunities there are to be “the best answer” on LinkedIn for the things customers are interested in. At a minimum: 1. Ensure executive LinkedIn profiles are filled out and optimized 2. Make sure the Company Page is robust. 3. Curate useful news as status updates and on the Company Page 4. Use LinkedIn as a follow up after meeting people online and especially at offline events where business cards are exchanged Beyond that, LinkedIn’s social network platform provides many opportunities to engage with prospects, support individual and brand thought leadership and connect with other groups like industry media and prospective employees. Whether it’s targeted advertising or curating a mix of industry and company news on the brand page, companies that want to attract and engage other businesses need to be on LinkedIn. As I mentioned, this is a meaty guide at 58 pages. You can get more info and download the free guide from LinkedIn. Disclosure: While this is an unpaid post, LinkedIn is a client of my agency, TopRank Online Marketing.

The post All New Sophisticated B2B Marketing Guide for LinkedIn appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Social Media Advertising for Content Marketers: Insight from Salesforce’s ‘2015 State of Marketing’ report http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/01/social-media-advertising-2/ Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:31:53 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=17897

Social Media Advertising

Salesforce recently released its annual “State of Marketing” report, in which the company surveyed 5,000 marketers worldwide. Results of the survey point toward a significant investment in social media advertising in 2015.

According to the CRM company’s report (gated download), 70% of marketers will spend more budget on social media advertising this year. As numbers of customers on social channels increases, it is increasingly imperative, as the survey results show, to have a social media marketing strategy in place.

It is clear that digital marketers are increasingly valuing social media advertising to help promote their content marketing efforts. In 2014, 25% of marketers saw social as a critical enabler of products and services. The number leaps to 64% in 2015.

Social media overall is on the rise in both SMBs and large corporations. The 44-page Salesforce report says that 78% of marketers stated that they have a dedicated social media team. This number is up from just 57% in 2014. As digital marketers focus more on social media, it is important stay abreast of the reach and power of social networks.

Here is a look at the top three:

Facebook

Salesforce’s report showed that Facebook had continued to be “the most popular social channel for marketers to engage customers around the world.” With 1.35 billion active monthly users on Facebook as of Sept. 2014, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook to engage with their audience.

Here are a few stats to keep in mind:

80% of marketers are using Facebook
74% of marketers use Facebook to engage customers
73% rated Facebook 'very effective'
19% rated Facebook 'somewhat effective'
8% rated Facebook ‘not very effective / not effective at all’

Facebook is by far no stranger to B2B marketers, even though some still think it’s a place to connect with high school classmates. Facebook for business offers tips for getting started with Facebook advertising. Both B2C and B2B marketers will find resources to help you on your way to create awareness, launch products and services and drive sales. Facebook also offers tips specific to advertising on the social network.

Targeting options help Facebook advertisers reach not only the consumer audience that B2C marketers are after, but the B2B audience as well. Targeting by interests, connections, behaviors and location can help B2C marketers reach an audience that is more likely to include key buyers and decision makers they are after.

The video marketing service Wistia seeks to reach a B2B audience with this ad:

Wistia ad sample

Twitter

Second to Facebook is the micro-blogging social network Twitter. Marketers using Twitter totalled 70% of those surveyed for the 2015 report. However, Twitter ranks higher than Facebook in terms of use by marketers to engage with buyers. Salesforce’s survey showed that 79% of Twitter users engage customers on the platform, more than Facebook’s 74%.

More numbers about Twitter:

68% of marketers rate the platform ‘Very effective / effective’
22% say Twitter is ‘somewhat effective’
10% say Twitter is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’

Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users also serve as a target-able audience for digital marketers in both B2C and B2B roles. Twitter offers campaigns that work in a number of capacities, depending on your objectives. Twitter ads (some still in beta) can:

  • Grow followers
  • Facilitate conversations
  • Encourage app downloads
  • Collect email addresses

Twitter ads also can feature in-stream video as well as clickable offers. Twitter cards allow marketers to attach media experience to Twitter ads. In the example below, Uberflip uses a Twitter card to gather email addresses for a free eBook download.

uberflip ad sample

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) announced in 2014 that it was going “all in on content marketing” it resonated with marketers. LinkedIn has developed platforms that allow for the promotion of sponsored content. LinkedIn has used content marketing itself to promote the network’s ability to connect B2B marketers and buyers. LinkedIn’s collection of eBooks and videos have helped marketers understand the possibility of reaching a B2B audience.

LinkedIn’s numbers from the 2015 Salesforce report:

62% of marketers are currently using LinkedIn
69% call LinkedIn ‘Very effective / effective’
21% of marketers say LinkedIn is ‘Somewhat effective’
10% of marketers say that LinkedIn is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’

Through LinkedIn sponsored updates, marketers are reaching a B2B user-base that is highly in tune with the business of the day. Rarely are LinkedIn users on the network to be social. The focus is careers, networking and industry insight.

Adobe uses LinkedIn to raise awareness of digital marketing solutions through sponsored updates.

Adobe ad sample

Many more social channels

Every time a social media network pops up on the scene, there is no doubt savvy marketers will look for the best way to utilize that network. Social network advertising and engagement  to catch up with a buyer base in order to raise awareness and drive buyers toward their products or services. While the top three networks mentioned above are just the tip of the social network mountain, there are certainly others to keep an eye up with, from standards such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, to Snapchat and other messaging apps.

Have you found luck reaching your audience through social media? If so, tell us about your experience. If you would like more information about how TopRank Online Marketing can help you reach these audiences, reach out to us here.

Top image: Shutterstock.

The post Social Media Advertising for Content Marketers: Insight from Salesforce’s ‘2015 State of Marketing’ report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

Social Media Advertising Salesforce recently released its annual “State of Marketing” report, in which the company surveyed 5,000 marketers worldwide. Results of the survey point toward a significant investment in social media advertising in 2015. According to the CRM company’s report (gated download), 70% of marketers will spend more budget on social media advertising this year. As numbers of customers on social channels increases, it is increasingly imperative, as the survey results show, to have a social media marketing strategy in place. It is clear that digital marketers are increasingly valuing social media advertising to help promote their content marketing efforts. In 2014, 25% of marketers saw social as a critical enabler of products and services. The number leaps to 64% in 2015. Social media overall is on the rise in both SMBs and large corporations. The 44-page Salesforce report says that 78% of marketers stated that they have a dedicated social media team. This number is up from just 57% in 2014. As digital marketers focus more on social media, it is important stay abreast of the reach and power of social networks. Here is a look at the top three:

Facebook

Salesforce’s report showed that Facebook had continued to be “the most popular social channel for marketers to engage customers around the world.” With 1.35 billion active monthly users on Facebook as of Sept. 2014, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook to engage with their audience. Here are a few stats to keep in mind: 80% of marketers are using Facebook 74% of marketers use Facebook to engage customers 73% rated Facebook 'very effective' 19% rated Facebook 'somewhat effective' 8% rated Facebook ‘not very effective / not effective at all’ Facebook is by far no stranger to B2B marketers, even though some still think it’s a place to connect with high school classmates. Facebook for business offers tips for getting started with Facebook advertising. Both B2C and B2B marketers will find resources to help you on your way to create awareness, launch products and services and drive sales. Facebook also offers tips specific to advertising on the social network. Targeting options help Facebook advertisers reach not only the consumer audience that B2C marketers are after, but the B2B audience as well. Targeting by interests, connections, behaviors and location can help B2C marketers reach an audience that is more likely to include key buyers and decision makers they are after. The video marketing service Wistia seeks to reach a B2B audience with this ad: Wistia ad sample

Twitter

Second to Facebook is the micro-blogging social network Twitter. Marketers using Twitter totalled 70% of those surveyed for the 2015 report. However, Twitter ranks higher than Facebook in terms of use by marketers to engage with buyers. Salesforce’s survey showed that 79% of Twitter users engage customers on the platform, more than Facebook’s 74%. More numbers about Twitter: 68% of marketers rate the platform ‘Very effective / effective’ 22% say Twitter is ‘somewhat effective’ 10% say Twitter is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’ Twitter’s 284 million monthly active users also serve as a target-able audience for digital marketers in both B2C and B2B roles. Twitter offers campaigns that work in a number of capacities, depending on your objectives. Twitter ads (some still in beta) can:
  • Grow followers
  • Facilitate conversations
  • Encourage app downloads
  • Collect email addresses
Twitter ads also can feature in-stream video as well as clickable offers. Twitter cards allow marketers to attach media experience to Twitter ads. In the example below, Uberflip uses a Twitter card to gather email addresses for a free eBook download. uberflip ad sample

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn (a TopRank Marketing client) announced in 2014 that it was going “all in on content marketing” it resonated with marketers. LinkedIn has developed platforms that allow for the promotion of sponsored content. LinkedIn has used content marketing itself to promote the network’s ability to connect B2B marketers and buyers. LinkedIn’s collection of eBooks and videos have helped marketers understand the possibility of reaching a B2B audience. LinkedIn’s numbers from the 2015 Salesforce report: 62% of marketers are currently using LinkedIn 69% call LinkedIn ‘Very effective / effective’ 21% of marketers say LinkedIn is ‘Somewhat effective’ 10% of marketers say that LinkedIn is ‘Not very effective / not at all effective’ Through LinkedIn sponsored updates, marketers are reaching a B2B user-base that is highly in tune with the business of the day. Rarely are LinkedIn users on the network to be social. The focus is careers, networking and industry insight. Adobe uses LinkedIn to raise awareness of digital marketing solutions through sponsored updates. Adobe ad sample Many more social channels Every time a social media network pops up on the scene, there is no doubt savvy marketers will look for the best way to utilize that network. Social network advertising and engagement  to catch up with a buyer base in order to raise awareness and drive buyers toward their products or services. While the top three networks mentioned above are just the tip of the social network mountain, there are certainly others to keep an eye up with, from standards such as YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, to Snapchat and other messaging apps. Have you found luck reaching your audience through social media? If so, tell us about your experience. If you would like more information about how TopRank Online Marketing can help you reach these audiences, reach out to us here. Top image: Shutterstock.

The post Social Media Advertising for Content Marketers: Insight from Salesforce’s ‘2015 State of Marketing’ report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips to Optimize Your Presence http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/06/linkedin-profile-features/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/06/linkedin-profile-features/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:00:48 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16943 Never one to rest on its laurels, LinkedIn recently announced some interesting new profile features that can help you stand out, be found and measure the impact of your LinkedIn presence (disclosure, LinkedIn is a TopRank client). Here are 4 ways you can take advantage of the new LinkedIn profile updates:  Stand out With New [...]

The post New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips to Optimize Your Presence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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LinkedIn Profile Optimization

Never one to rest on its laurels, LinkedIn recently announced some interesting new profile features that can help you stand out, be found and measure the impact of your LinkedIn presence (disclosure, LinkedIn is a TopRank client).

Here are 4 ways you can take advantage of the new LinkedIn profile updates: 

Stand out With New Profile Image Options

The trend towards getting more visual has taken hold of all aspects of social media and LinkedIn profiles are about to get the same treatment.

Some new image features to be on the lookout for are:

  • Larger headshot photos
  • Expanded profile headers
  • Free gallery of background images

When deciding on which images to include in your profile, think about what kind of imagery could add a tasteful yet personal touch and tell a story about you and your professional background. Some great examples of this are:

  • Richard Branson: His upward gazing profile image on a background of clouds symbolizes his reputation for sky high ideas (and also that he owns a very successful airline).

Richard Branson Optimized LinkedIn Profile

  • Lee Odden: The background header showing his book Optimize speaks to his reputation as an author and marketing subject matter expert.

Lee Odden Optimized LinkedIn Profile

Get Found With Keyword Optimization Suggestions

Including the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile is one of the best ways to increase your chances of showing up in relevant search results (for prospects, customers, recruiters, etc.). However, for folks who may not be experienced with keyword research or search optimization, this can be a challenge. LinkedIn is aiming to help by providing personalized keyword suggestions.

Some key areas of your profile to include keywords:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Experience
  • Skills

With the recent rollout of LinkedIn’s ‘Galene’ search architecture that improves the speed, relevance and scope of internal searches, it’s extra important to make sure you are optimizing your profile with the right keywords.

Open Up Your Profiles Accessibility

One of the defining characteristics of LinkedIn has been the privacy of your profile details and inbox from members who are not close connections with you. In what could be a dramatic shift, LinkedIn is introducing a new setting called Open Profile. This option allows you to make your full profile visible to all LinkedIn members as well as allow anyone to send you direct messages.

LinkedIn Open Profile

Whether this update will result in more connections with customers or a deluge of spam remains to be seen, but it’s certainly worth testing Open Profile. After all, you can always turn it off.

Measure and Compare Your Visibility

A popular feature of LinkedIn is the ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ report, and it’s about to get an upgrade that allows for viewing a full 90 day time range of profile views.

Curious to see how popular you are compared to your LinkedIn peers? The new ‘How You Rank’ report will show where you fit into the top 100 most viewed profiles among your company and first degree connections.

LinkedIn How You Rank Report

LinkedIn has been making some major updates this year that impact both members and brands. Smart marketers should take notice.

What do you think about these new LinkedIn features?


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TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2014. | New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips to Optimize Your Presence | http://www.toprankblog.com

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5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips That Rock from Jason Miller of LinkedIn #SMMW14 http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/integrate-linkedin-digital-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/integrate-linkedin-digital-marketing/#comments Sat, 29 Mar 2014 19:22:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16635 Once called the “ugly duckling of social media”, rising stock prices, an active community, a lucrative advertising platform and a heavy focus on content have made LinkedIn into one of the most attractive platforms for b2b marketers today. (Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Content Marketing client) In a fast paced, entertaining and metal-infused presentation (the [...]

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Jason Miller LinkedIn Marketing #SMMW14

Once called the “ugly duckling of social media”, rising stock prices, an active community, a lucrative advertising platform and a heavy focus on content have made LinkedIn into one of the most attractive platforms for b2b marketers today. (Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Content Marketing client)

In a fast paced, entertaining and metal-infused presentation (the Kiss army appeared on several slides), Jason Miller of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions showed off the compelling opportunities which LinkedIn offers to marketers and businesses at Social Media Marketing World 2014.

If you haven’t taken advantage of the awesome marketing power of LinkedIn for your business, there has never been a better time to start. Here’s how:

1. Establish an Optimized Presence

It all starts with your brand page. Given the huge adoption of LinkedIn within the business community, there’s a good chance people are already researching your company on LinkedIn, so it’s important to make sure that your page makes a good impression.

Some key areas of your business page are:

  • Images
  • Profile copy
  • Products / Services

Similar to your website, you should be including your target keywords throughout your copy to make sure it’s visible for relevant concepts. You should also be linking to your other social channels and company site to drive referral traffic.

For inspiration, check out the great company pages maintained by Capital One, Marketo, or Secret Deodorant.

2. Attract a Following

The key to growing your following on LinkedIn is to provide value to the community. Regularly posting interesting and useful content is a great way to do this, but you should also be interacting with others content. Don’t treat LinkedIn simply as a broadcast media channel by only talking about yourself.

Another excellent opportunity to grow your audience is to create one or more LinkedIn groups. Many brands such as Hubspot have grown very active LinkedIn groups which are paying huge dividends in terms of brand exposure, market research, and the opportunity to engage with their target audience in a very natural and helpful way.

However, before starting a LinkedIn group, it’s important to consider:

  • Resources: growing and maintaining an effective LinkedIn group requires dedicated community management to ensure the conversation stays relevant, avoids painting the brand in a bad way and doesn’t turn into a ghost town.
  • Message: with some exceptions, the most successful brand owned LinkedIn groups are those that avoid being overly sales focused. Answering questions, providing insights, and engaging in conversations are what LinkedIn members join groups for, not hearing sales pitches. Members who find your group useful, fun and engaging will find their way to your brand page or website on their own when the time is right.

3. Empower Advocates

In traditional media, brand content is broadcast to an audience. In social media, content is broadcast to an audience who also has an audience. By engaging with the right people in social, brands are able to achieve much greater reach through exposure to audiences outside their immediate circles. This kind of marketing is hard to put a price on.

The key is finding advocates who not only know and love your brand, but who will amplify your content to their circles on their own volition. The best place for any business to start looking for brand advocates is under their own roof. Happy employees can be your best brand advocates.

In order to see the benefits of social advocacy, brands need to empower their advocates to freely spread the message, which means being comfortable giving up some control, but the potential gain in audience size and sentiment makes it well worth the compromise.

Kiss Advocate

4. Amplify Through Paid Promotion

For brands looking to achieve more amplification to their presence or generate leads, LinkedIn advertising is worth looking into.

The keys to effective LinkedIn advertising are:

  • Targeting: LinkedIn advertising provides a multitude of flexible targeting options, from very broad to uber-specific, including by region, industry, title, company or group.
  • Compelling offer: always keep your audience at the forefront of your mind when planning out your Linkedin advertising offers. Meatier content like whitepapers or Ebooks tend to do well with the LinkedIn community.
  • Testing: you should always be testing variations of your ad copy, imagery, fulfilment, targeting options and bids. Minor tweaks can make a big difference in impressions, clicks and conversions, and regularly testing variations will help you get the most value from your ad spend.

5. Analyze and Refine

LinkedIn has powerful analytics capabilities built into the platform, including their recently launched Content Marketing Score and Trending Content reports, which together help to quantify the impact of your content across areas of LinkedIn (groups, influencer posts, sponsored updates, etc), rank you against competitors and show which topics are resonating with specific audiences.

Those are all extremely valuable insights that can help you:

  • Optimize your content plan for maximum relevance to your audience
  • Identify areas of LinkedIn which you should be spending more effort
  • Benchmark your performance and find areas for improvement
  • Measure and optimize your competitive advantage

In the ultra-competitive world of digital marketing, if you’re not consistently improving, you are falling behind, so make sure to always be monitoring your performance and finding opportunities to optimize.

Brands such as Adobe, HubSpot and Social Media Examiner are investing in their presence on LinkedIn and are seeing huge returns, and all businesses should be taking notice.

How are you utilizing LinkedIn in your digital marketing strategy?

You can connect with TopRank Online Marketing on LinkedIn here.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2014. | 5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips That Rock from Jason Miller of LinkedIn #SMMW14 | http://www.toprankblog.com

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5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips to Optimize Your Social Media Success http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/5-linkedin-marketing-tips/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/03/5-linkedin-marketing-tips/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:01:01 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16553 Last week we published the first Social Media Marketing World conference eBook and while it’s had over 15,000 views on Slideshare and many thousands of views here already, I think we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg. As a robust sized eBook, it’s full of practical advice including platform specific tips like the following [...]

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LinkedIn

Image source: Slideshare

Last week we published the first Social Media Marketing World conference eBook and while it’s had over 15,000 views on Slideshare and many thousands of views here already, I think we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg.

As a robust sized eBook, it’s full of practical advice including platform specific tips like the following 5 nuggets about LinkedIn.

With over 277 million members, 3.5 million active company profiles and 187 million unique visitors across LinkedIn web properties, there’s a remarkable opportunity for companies to connect with business professionals on LinkedIn. Luckily, when we interviewed a selection of SMMW14 speakers, 5 of them gave specific tips about how to optimize LinkedIn for social media marketing. Here are their excerpts from the SMMW14 eBook:

Martin Jones
Martin Jones (@MartinJonesaz)
Senior Marketing Manager, Cox Communications

The Real Value of LinkedIn:
No single social platform will define your personal brand and clarify the unique value that you bring to an organization or project as well as LinkedIn.

Use your personal profile page to tell your story, and do so in a way that is clear, concise and engaging.

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for establishing your personal brand, but only if you take the time to learn it, optimize it and use it.

Jill Rowley
Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley)
Social Selling & Social Business Evangelist

Optimize Your Reputation:
2014 is the year of #ProfessionalBranding and the #SocialEmployee.

It’s time to move from using LinkedIn as a resume to using LinkedIn for your online reputation.

If you’re in Sales, optimize your profile for the Buyer versus the Recruiter.

Eliminate the #QuotaCrusher #ExpertNegotiator language. Include rich content (videos, infographics, podcasts, eBooks, blog posts) that inform your buyer and helps establish your subject matter expertise.

Always be connecting & curating quality content!

Connie Bensen
Connie Bensen (@cbensen)
Global Social Strategy & Governance, Dell
(TopRank client)

Optimize LinkedIn for Lead Generation
LinkedIn can be more effective than Twitter and Facebook for B2B lead gen with these tips:

Relevant and timely content. Leverage LinkedIn’s demographic segmentation features to develop content for various audiences and deliver it on time for maximum sharing.

Engage frequently and directly. Post and respond to comments. This will help build your company’s influence and the targeted communication fosters trust and loyalty.

Post company updates and news. People enjoy reading new information about their favorite brands. Post frequent status updates to keep your customers up-to-date on events and offers.

Great brand examples to learn from on LinkedIn include: Dell, Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zipcar.

Viveka von Rosen
Viveka von Rosen (LinkedInExpert)
Author & Founder, Linked Into Business

Inbound Marketing on LinkedIn
The key to successful selling on LinkedIn is moving from people “knowing” you to “liking and trusting” you.

  • Make sure your profile accurately represents you and your brand.
  • Establish connections with your target market.
  • Share useful content through the use of updates, group discussions and messages.

Do this and stay top of mind with your connections and before you know it, your prospects will be coming to you!

Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer (@NealSchaffer)
Author & Founder, Maximize Social Business

Social Selling With LinkedIn:
LinkedIn, more than any other platform, is most effective when your entire company is behind your efforts.

Don’t just stop at marketing your Company Page: Get your salespeople involved with using LinkedIn for Social Selling.
Get your employees involved as part of an Employee Advocacy program.

Don’t forget the targeted status update opportunities you have for Paid Social on LinkedIn too!

Social Media Marketing World 2014 eBook

To access ALL of the tips from our 38 eBook participants, just visit our Slideshare page where you can view or download the full PDF.

Also, if you want to hear all of these tips and much more in person, then be sure to check out the Social Media Marketing World conference website.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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3 Tools to Help You Find Influencers in Social http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/tools-finding-influencers/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/tools-finding-influencers/#comments Mon, 25 Nov 2013 12:00:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16087 Influencers are influential. They have a significant following on their social channels and are so knowledgeable about a topic that people not only like to consume their content, but share it. Engaging an influencer and being promoted by them is a great way for your brand to increase visibility, grow a following, and rank in [...]

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Finding Influencers on Social MediaInfluencers are influential. They have a significant following on their social channels and are so knowledgeable about a topic that people not only like to consume their content, but share it. Engaging an influencer and being promoted by them is a great way for your brand to increase visibility, grow a following, and rank in search. Sounds simple right? It’s actually something many brands struggle with.

There are over 500 million registered Twitter accounts, 300 million active monthly Google+ users, and 1.26 billion Facebook users. Add to that the 150 million people that are active on Instagram in any given month, the 70 million on Pinterest, and the 238 million members on LinkedIn and it’s no wonder finding influencers is a bit like playing “Where’s Waldo?”

But it doesn’t have to be. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of tools out there that can help find influential people in your industry in an easy, cost-effective manner. The problem becomes how to choose from all of those tools. Don’t worry; we’ve made that easier too. Here are three tools we love for finding influencers on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn:

For Twitter: Followerwonk
A picture is worth a thousand words. Followerwonk knows that, and shows you a majority of data in visual formats to make it easier to understand.

The tool, which delves deeply into Twitter analytics, can show you things from who your followers are and where they’re located to when they tweet, what keywords are used most often by your followers (or those you follow), who you’re following relative to someone else, and when your most active hours for retweets are.

FollowerwonkFinding influencers is made easy by the search Twitter bios function. Enter a keyword – a product name, a topic, an industry, whatever seems relevant – and Followerwonk generates a report for you of everyone who uses that term or phrase in their Twitter bio.

The list bolds the word you searched for, shows the name and avatar of the account, how any followers they have, and their social authority. Sorting by relevance, or social authority can help you pinpoint people who are influential on Twitter for that phrase.

The tool makes it easy to follow the people you find by including a “Follow” button next to the avatar of those who show up in your search. The free account has some reporting limitations that can be circumvented by ‘subscribing’, which is free for 30-days.

For Google+: Circle Count
Designed to help you understand Google+, the homepage of the tool shows popular categories like: people with highly engaging content, most followed profiles and pages, and today’s cream of the crop which highlights interesting profiles. All of the categories are great places to look for inspiration and creative ideas.

How it works: you can search using a name, location, or the URL of a profile to generate a list of results. Click on any one of them, and you’re taken to a profile of information.

Circle CountWhat you’ll see: The profile has a ton of useful information in it including:
• Links to their other social channels
• Bio & Occupation
• Profile rank (where their profile ranks out of all Google+ profiles)
• Number of followers and following
• Follower history graph
• Average activity numbers for the last 50 posts
• Stream of latest posts

Feature we really like: the profile also shows how many public circles the person has been shared in. Taking it one step further the Circle Count reports who shared, the number of followers they have, the date of the share, how many users are in the circle they shared to, and how many comments, reshares and +1s the share received.

That feature is a great way to identify the influencers that are engaging with your content and have a noticeable interest in that topic. You can click on any name in the author column and be taken to their Circle Count report and follow their page from there.

The tool is also a great way to search for influencers you’ve identified on other channels to determine their klout on Google+.

The numbers of each profile are the public numbers shown on Google+. However, the platform caches the numbers so the profile generated by Circle Count isn’t always the most up to date data.

Not all profiles will show up in Circle Count but can be added by using the URL or profile ID on the homepage.

For LinkedIn: Influencers Program
Launched a little over a year ago, the Influencer Program on LinkedIn allows thought leaders to share their original content directly with LinkedIn users. Users in turn can follow influencers to read and interact with their content, along with sharing it with their own networks.

Social Media Tool for LinkedInThere are over 300 influencers in the program. Their average post receives around 30,000 views and is read by entry-level professionals all the way through to director-level and above.

You can browse influencers by a list of them all, or by channel which sorts the posts by topic. The channels cover a wide variety of information from accounting, customer service, the economy, and green business to healthcare, online advertising, retail and technology.

Not only are the authors influencers themselves, but make sure to pay attention to the people who interact with the post. People who comment, like and share content have shown an interest in the topic, and demonstrated their own knowledge in their posts. Those kinds of people are likely to engage with your content, and can be great people to cite and connect with!

Influencers have the ability to help your brand reach its audience in a personal, honest way that doesn’t take a huge bite out of your budget. There are tools out there to help you narrow down the arena of social media users to a manageable list of people worth connecting with. But it’s up to you to build a relationship with them through engagement, support, and conversation.

What tools have you used to find influencers? What are some unique ways you’ve begun to engage with them? Let us know in the comments!

 


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