seedlings in a row
PHOTO: CHU TAI

LinkedIn was built for business networking, so it makes sense that marketers look primarily towards the platform for generating B2B leads. 

Having a meaningful presence on LinkedIn, therefore, is crucial to customer acquisition and B2B lead generation. But many companies struggle to scale their LinkedIn strategy organically (and despite their reported effectiveness, LinkedIn ads are pricey).

We brought together five marketing executives to ask them one question: How can a brand grow on LinkedIn?

Optimize Your Personal Profile

Paul Farmer, VP of marketing at Himrod, NY-based Woodtex, suggested "focusing your time and energy on a personal profile linked to the company, rather than the business page itself." People prefer to engage with humans, so you'll get a much better response if there's a face to your brand and you focus on personal connections.

“Choosing someone within your company that already has a decent following can really help promote your company’s content,” added Tammy Duggan-Herd, director of marketing at San Diego-based Campaign Creator. She calls this person an “internal influencer,” and believes optimizing their profile, and having them interact with your content broadens the reach of published content.

If you want to network with people to advance your business, then "give them a reason to accept your LinkedIn invitation," said Jacqueline Burns, chief marketing officer of Sydney-based Market Expertise. She believes having a lot of people in common isn't a compelling reason to connect, so you need to create a personal, yet professional, profile that intrigues potential connections.

Related Article: Why Marketers Think LinkedIn Is On the Rise

Produce Quality Content

Corey Cohen, VP of marketing at Chicago-based TBI, recommended "posting a healthy combination of three types of content: thought leadership content, cultural content, and information that demonstrates your general business know-how." Having the right balance of different content helps your brand stand out as an expert in your industry. She said you need to have a plan in place to post high-quality content, so you facilitate engagement and drive business opportunities.

The content you produce should also include other types of content, such as videos. "The video could summarize the content your sharing, a book review, client testimonies, a teaser for a longer video series," said Duggan-Herd. Having an actual face on screen makes the content you're sharing more personal, and therefore, more likely to be shared by your audience.

Related Article: Enough With the Spam: 3 LinkedIn Networking Tactics for Marketers

Share Content Frequently

Along with producing quality content, you want to get more LinkedIn users engaged. "Rather than create one-off videos released infrequently," suggested Farmer, "focus your energy on a burst of content promoted and published as a four-part series." This lets you guide potential leads through the sales funnel without a sudden jump from them first discovering your brand to receiving a purchase CTA.

Cohen agreed, "It's critical to plan a manageable amount of postings so you stay on target and of course, avoid annoying your connections." If you share content that's not relevant to your connections, they won't be as engaged with your brand, and may even remove you as a connection. That’s why focusing on consistently sharing high-quality content is a great way to grow your LinkedIn organically.

Related Article: 5 Ways to Stand Out in a Sea of Content

Engage With Your Connections

"Gary Vaynerchuk's $1.80 strategy is a great point to start," said Marine Klein, head of digital marketing at London-based Commusoft. This strategy means leaving a thoughtful comment (ie. your two cents) on 90 industry-related posts per day. Doing this every day builds your reputation in your industry, and keeps you up to date with the latest industry news. “If you don't see any traction,” she continued, “you can always tag someone you know is an expert or has valuable insight to nudge them into starting a conversation.”

Tagging someone that's quoted or mentioned in a post is a great way to engage with another person's connections. "If you tag someone in a post," explained Duggan-Herd, "their connections and people who follow them will see that content as well." Tagging allows you to interact with new audiences and gain greater engagement with your content.

Similarly, Cohen believes you need to become part of the conversation. She said it's crucial to "branch out and join groups relating to your field of business as well as engaging with posts of partners, peers, etc." You want to read what your connections are posting, and proactively interact with them. Organic LinkedIn growth stems from high-quality community interactions.

Losing engagement affects how you rank algorithmically, and the perception of your brand amongst your LinkedIn connections. That’s why Farmer believes you shouldn’t risk disengaging with your community to grow your numbers. “Maintain your connection with community members to the best of your ability,” concluded Farmer, “and you'll only be rewarded for doing so.”