When you look at the LinkedIn posts made by most professionals and most firms in our industry, they generally fall into three categories:
- Promoting their content – a recent blog or an invitation to a webinar
- Office news – a company anniversary or the hiring of a new employee
- Or a sales pitch!
And because most firms aren’t producing content very often or haven’t hired someone in a while, they’re left with selling. Far too much. Of all the things you can do on LinkedIn, selling should be the lowest priority. One rule of thumb I’ve heard says that, ‘Only one in five social posts should be a sales pitch.’ Frankly, even that is too often. Social media is – first and foremost – a ‘social’ platform. It’s about connecting with people and building relationships. Sharing will help you do that… selling will not.
One of the best things to share is content. The trouble is, if you’re only writing one blog each month, for example, there’s just not much to share. So, in that case, share someone else’s content*. Finding appropriate content to share on LinkedIn serves several purposes:
- You’re still sharing useful/valuable/beneficial content. Remember the old phrase, “Seek first to help, then to sell.”
- It provides you with a consistent presence in the marketplace… helping you to build and maintain a high level of awareness.
- It supports your position. That is, the content you share should be aligned with the reputation you’re trying to build. For example, if you want to be seen as an expert in Hispanic market research… then curate and share content about the Hispanic market.
* Just make sure it’s not content from a direct competitor!
With those key benefits as the foundation, there are four categories of content to curate and share on LinkedIn:
- News: if there is timely news about happenings in the industries you serve or about a large company in the industries you serve, share it. Let buyers and potential buyers know that you’re on top of what’s happening in the marketplace. This sort of information is easily found by setting up Google Alerts.
- Informational: these are generally ‘how to’ or the ‘listicle’ articles. For example, ‘How to get the most from an online bulletin board’ or ‘Seven kinds of research that hospitals should be doing.’
- Trends: pay attention to what associations, magazines and online portals are publishing about trends in the industries you serve. Their broad reach gives them a unique perspective on coming trends and micro trends in your industry. And when you share this information on LinkedIn, don’t just post it with no commentary… post it with some context and ask your followers what they think the impact of the trend will be. It’s important to engage your followers on LinkedIn.
- Thought leadership: who are the well-respected authors/speakers/pundits in your industry? Keep an eye on them and share their unique perspective. And when you post content from them, state your position in response to their opinion: ‘agree’/’disagree’ and ‘why.’ Then ask your LinkedIn followers what they think.
Social media marketing can be – and should be – an important tool in your marketing toolbox. And like every other marketing tactic, it works best when done frequently and consistently. So, when you curate and share good content on LinkedIn (frequently and consistently, of course), it will become a strong, foundational part of your overall marketing program. Good luck!
By the way, if we’re not connected on LinkedIn, hit me up on my profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenphenke/