LinkedIn is the largest social network for professionals. The platform has 467 million users and 106 million monthly active users. The proliferation of this platform can be seen from the fact that it is available in 24 languages in over 200 territories.
LinkedIn was the brainchild of Reid Hoffman, who created the platform with the aim to connect professionals around the world. In 2003, Reid collaborated with old friends from SocialNet and PayPal.
Initially, LinkedIn managed to attract only 20 signups per day. However, then it was successful in securing an investment of $4.7 million from Sequoia Capital – the venture investor behind Yahoo and PayPal.
In late 2003, LinkedIn introduced a new feature of uploading address book, which increased members to 1 million. A group feature was also introduced in partnership with American Express to cater to small business owners.
2006 was a good year for the company as it became profitable and launched more features such as ‘Recommendations’ and ‘People You May Know.’ Also, it introduced public profiles, which transformed it into a ‘go-to’ place for online resumes.
The company started experiencing exponential growth in 2010. Its members touched 90 million and it had hired 1,000 employees in 10 offices around the world. In 2011, the company achieved yet another milestone as it got listed on the New York Stock Exchange. On its 10th birthday, LinkedIn reached 225 million members and was growing at 2 members per second.
LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion last year. Its success can be measured by its sales that hit $975 million in the first quarter of 2017. Today, LinkedIn is not only a place that connects job seekers and employers; it has transformed into a marketing hub along with Facebook and Twitter that various brands leverage to generate leads.
LinkedIn is a haven for B2B marketers. In fact, it has become more important than Facebook. According to Social media marketing industry report, LinkedIn surpassed Facebook as the number one social platform.
LinkedIn generates 80% of B2B leads and is used by 94% B2B marketers for content distribution. This is because on an average, customers read 10 articles before making a purchase decision and LinkedIn provides them with just the information they need.
In 2015, around 1 million people were sharing 130,000 posts every week using LinkedIn’s publishing feature. These posts are usually read by managers and CEOs. The reach of these posts is also quite impressive as an average post is read by people in 21 industries and 9 countries.
Neil Patel, the founder of Crazy Egg, believes that LinkedIn has an edge over other social platforms since unlike other social platforms people don’t use LinkedIn for entertainment purposes.
LinkedIn members have clear-cut objectives. They use the platform to gain knowledge about their industry, get better career opportunities and build their brand. Also, as per a study, LinkedIn traffic conversion rate stands at 2.74%, which is way higher than Facebook and Twitter’s conversion rate of 0.77% and 0.69%, respectively
Owing to its success and proliferation, many businesses are using the platform to drive traffic to their websites and blogs. Here are 10 ways that can help you boost traffic to your website.
1. Complete your profile
This is probably quite basic, but it is perhaps the most important step. Your company’s page is like a business card and gives the first impression about your business. Hence, it should be complete and have a professional look.
Include your logo to increase brand recognition. Your company’s profile should also have a clear description of the product or service you offer.
Also, include your website’s URL so that people are directed to it. To make your page more appealing to users, you can share your employees’ personal profiles or some behind-the-scenes photos etc.
Your personal profile is as important as your company’s page. Whether you are a CEO of a large company, a small business owner or a blogger, you need to be on LinkedIn to build connections. Also, when people know a face behind a business, they are more likely to trust it. Include a professional summary along with a headshot.
2. Build Connections
The more connections you have, the easier it will be for you to gain traction. The first thing you need to do after completing your profile is to connect with all the people you know on LinkedIn, which includes your office colleagues, your school mates, people you have met at events, your customers and email contacts.
You can easily import your email contacts on the platform. However, make sure that you don’t send all of them a generic invitation message. Go through the list and determine who is more relevant. LinkedIn’s ‘People You May Know’ and ‘Alumni’ are also useful for growing your network.
3. Join Groups
Groups are an excellent way to direct people to your profile. You can find relevant groups through the search option and start participating in them to connect with people relevant to your industry and potential customers.
However, you need to take off your marketing hat once you join the group. The objective of joining a group is not to promote your product; you are not supposed to spam group members with advertising. Instead, engage in discussions to provide value to the members. The more you participate, the more profile views you will get.
You can also share your blogposts. If they are good enough, they will be liked and shared by other members.
However, to achieve that you have to prove that you are a real member of the group. Spend initial days liking and sharing other people’s posts. But don’t go overboard; share content that you find worthy.
4. Create a community
You can leverage LinkedIn groups not only as a member, but as an owner as well. LinkedIn Groups provide you with the perfect opportunity to create a community of your own.
The best part about creating a group is that it can assist you with email marketing. The frequency of emails can depend on the activity of your group. The link first directs users to the discussion on the group, but users can also read full articles on your website. This way you can save time and money and let LinkedIn help you with email marketing.
To create a group that is active, advertise it by sending invites to your email contacts, and LinkedIn followers. Make sure to add a descriptive title so that it is easily searchable.
Also post informative content regularly. Try to involve industry leaders and experts who can provide some insights and tips to your followers.
5. Write engaging content
Writing content for LinkedIn is similar to writing for a blog. You need to keep in mind the interests of your target audience. Stick with a topic that supports your business. Write captivating headlines and combine them with compelling images to make your posts appealing.
Keep in mind keywords to improve the SEO of your articles. Search for relevant keywords using online tools and incorporate them into your articles.
Research confirms that readers appreciate brevity and give importance to content that is inspiring and to the point. To increase engagement, you can hold contests and sweepstakes, where by you can give away services/ products for free.
6. Use LinkedIn plugins
A few LinkedIn plugins out there can help boost traffic to your website. The most important one is perhaps the sharing button that allows users to easily share your website content and blog posts on their LinkedIn page.
Once they do that, their connections will also be able to see it on their homepage. Also, embed a ‘follow’ plugin on your website so that visitors can easily follow you on LinkedIn.
You can also include your profile on your WordPress website through WP LinkedIn plugin. This plugin gives you access to simple short codes through which you can include your profile anywhere on your site. To include your company’s profile, you will need a premium extension to the plugin.
7. Get featured on Pulse
LinkedIn bought Pulse in 2013 for $90 million. Initially, the platform used to feature articles only from big names. After its acquisition, Pulse started featuring articles from everyone who posted on LinkedIn.
However, to get featured on Pulse, your article needs to be popular. Getting featured on Pulse is important because the platform can get you as many as 200 subscribers with one post.
The quality of your content is judged by the number of likes, shares and comments it gets. You will be lucky if you can get featured more often since it can make a huge difference.
You can increase your chances of getting featured by selecting an interesting topic that will resonate with your audience. Your content should be informative and actionable.
8. Follow Influencers
LinkedIn has another useful feature called ‘LinkedIn Influencers’ that invites people through invitation. The list comprises more than 500 prominent thinkers and leaders. Each of these people have large followings.
They usually discuss trending topics and information in the form of articles or blogposts. The idea is to only follow influencers who are relevant to your industry, and may be the right fit for your brand.
Your search might bring up articles written by powerful influencers. The best way to connect with these people is by taking part in discussions in the comment sections of their content.
When you send requests to influencers, write personalized messages. Avoid using the general, automated message “I’d like to add you to my professional network…” Your first impression would determine the quality of the relationship you will have with the influencer.
9. Try LinkedIn advertising
Apart from generating organic traffic, you can also use LinkedIn paid advertising through LinkedIn Ads platform. This platform lets you create two types of ads: sponsored updates and text ads.
You can create a sponsored ad through LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Campaign Manager allows you to select a target audience and budget. However, you need to be careful with your budget since LinkedIn ads cost a little more than Facebook’s and Twitter’s. Make sure to add an interesting headline and a compelling image.
People who see these ads can click through to your website via the image. You can also reach your target audience by delivering personalized messages in their Linked inboxes. Monitor your analytics closely. Your ads will be of no use if they don’t bring in any results.
10. Be active
The key to driving traffic through LinkedIn is to be active on the platform. You can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t provide them with value on a regular basis. Post status updates a few times a week. The more visible you are, the more trust you will be able to gain. You can also post links to other articles that are relevant to your industry.
While posting, keep in mind the optimal time. The best time to post on LinkedIn is during the middle of the week, particularly between Tuesday and Thursday. For a higher clickthrough rate, try to post during mornings and evenings commute times, that is 7 am and 5 pm. You can also target lunch hours.
If leveraged correctly, LinkedIn can prove to be quite a useful resource for generating traffic and leads, especially for B2B marketers. LinkedIn’s edge is that people don’t use it to kill time. Hence it can generate more engagement with the right kind of content that is targeted to the right audience.
LinkedIn users log in with a specific goal in mind. They are professionals who are looking to gain insights, which makes it relatively easier to grab their attention.