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December 11, 2019 - Scale

How to get the most out of LinkedIn: best practices

LinkedIn is evolving. What used to be a formal and rather boring medium on which people just uploaded their resumé, is now becoming the brewing epicenter of the professional business world. It’s the perfect place to share reliable insights, where professional relationships come into existence and where lucrative deals are closed. LinkedIn already has nearly 660 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide and is still growing rapidly. And you don’t want the good ol’ FOMO to catch you, right? We totally get it. But with a constantly evolving platform, it’s interesting to go back to the basics for a moment and look at the best practices of LinkedIn.

The most trusted social platform

There are many reasons why people engage with content on social media. 55% of the Flemish population claims to use social media as a news source (Imec, 2019). Especially LinkedIn exists in the first place to connect the world’s professionals in order to make them more productive and successful. The consumer invests time to find industry news, peer insights or expert advice on the one hand and to invest in their personal status and career on the other. People achieve their life goals through valued knowledge. People are hungry for information. LinkedIn has been voted the most trusted social platform for 3 years in a row now by the Business Insider Intelligence Digital Trust Report, so it’s the perfect medium to provide knowledge and to profit from it yourself too.

By turning your brand into a newspaper instead of the ad that’s usually found within it, you create content that focuses on the needs and values important to your audience. Instead of selling a product and purchasing in one single transaction, you will be able to build long term partnerships.

“LinkedIn has been voted the most trusted social platform for 3 years in a row, so it’s the perfect medium to provide knowledge and to profit from it yourself too. ”

Ebel Jonckers

Online Marketing Consultant at Duke & Grace

Advertising on LinkedIn

When it comes to advertising on LinkedIn, the cost is much higher compared to other social platforms. Even though the CPC (cost per click) is more expensive, the quality is a lot better. An example of a recent job campaign:

The CPC on Facebook is €0,88, while LinkedIn comes in at €20,67. When you take a closer look at the cost per applicant, LinkedIn is a lot more interesting with €57,9 compared to the €206 of Facebook.

An interesting way to reach your target audience is to target everyone involved in the purchase of your product or service. When leasing a car for example, instead of just targeting the person who will drive it, you can also target the fleet manager. Keep in mind that different audiences call for different messages.

Content Marketing best practices

Next to the professional and sometimes ‘formal’ content, we’ve noticed that LinkedIn has become a very good employer branding platform. Based on our personal experience, we see that the posts which include our own ‘Duke & Gracers’ receive much higher engagement. The posts that at first sight might seem irrelevant to share on LinkedIn, could actually turn out to be your best scoring posts. These types of posts are usually the ones your own users will be more likely to share when it is fun yet professional. For example, cool trending topics such as ‘bring your dog to work day’ are always a good idea!

When thinking about your social media strategy, think about what motivates the users to engage. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. For LinkedIn in particular, the top 5 reasons for member engagement is the following:

Sounds like there are enough reasons to give your LinkedIn strategy some extra thought. But how do you use this platform most effectively as a brand? Some tips and tricks on how to implement video, image and text.

(Sponsored) video

Audiovisual content has never shown to be the most effective way for bottom-funnel conversions. It is, however, an interesting format to engage viewers with your brand. LinkedIn members spend almost 3 times more time watching video ads compared to Static Sponsored Content. Video ads also receive 30% more comments per impression than non-video ads. It is the perfect way to communicate longer messages in a fun and interactive way. First of all, ensure you use visual brand cues (e.g. logo) early on in your video as possible clients might not stick until the end of your message. Also, include a call to action (CTA) at the end. The length of the content doesn’t matter, just be concise and keep it relevant. Always use subtitles as 80% of video content on LinkedIn is consumed without audio. As formats are blending and media is merging, anything is possible! Be as creative as you can but keep in mind that all viral videos have 3 things in common:

  1. Participation: Add an interactive element and provoke a reaction.
  2. Unexpectedness: Create content with a hook in order to grab the audience's attention.
  3. Distribution: Great content is worthless when it’s not reaching the right audience. Think about a strategy to increase your reach through organic or sponsored posts, influencers, etc.

“Use visual cues, include a CTA, be concise and relevant, and always use subtitles. ”

Elke Swinnen

Marketing Officer at Duke & Grace

Take the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge for instance. The purpose was to raise money ànd awareness for the ALS disease. Everyone remembers it, meaning it went viral. It was absolutely everywhere. Several factors caused this, with participation being the most important one. When you were nominated by someone for the challenge, you had 24 hours to complete the challenge or they had to donate to the ALS Foundation. Or - even better - you would both need to. This was also a big benefit for the distribution factor. By tagging others, the reach automatically increased and people were more likely to react to it when they’re publicly challenged on social media. Many celebrities, CEOs and politicians took the challenge such as Jeff Bezos, Chris Pratt and Mark Zuckerberg. The videos were quite surprising and the short video length was ideal. All those factors created an interesting snowball effect, of course enhanced by the fact that it was for a good cause.

Image

LinkedIn doesn’t have a text ratio limit on images, so images have become the new headline. There is more to it than simply using a pretty picture. Stay away from stale stock photos and use it as a good opportunity to mark your brand identity. Depict your own people and follow consistent brand guidelines. This repetition makes your content recognizable and adds that familiar feel to it. LinkedIn doesn’t support animated GIFs, but as moving images are receiving more attention, you can create short and snappy videos of 30 seconds with a 5-second animation loop.

When sharing data visually, the classic infographics won’t do the trick anymore. Instead, create a carousel. The go-to format here is the Sponsored Content Carousels. They receive approximately 4 times the amount of engagement than a static image post usually does. This makes carousels the perfect format for increased interaction. When using statistics, make your data big & bold.

In general: use visual cues like borders, logos or icons that can easily be connected with your brand.

“Follow consistent brand guidelines, depict your own people and use recognizable visual cues like borders, logos or icons.”

Elke Swinnen

Marketing Officer at Duke & Grace

Text

At all times it is important to call out to your audience to start a conversation with them. Key tip here is to make it personal and bring back the social to social media. Therefore when you mention a brand or influencer, tag them. Do not forget to use #hashtags, both hashtags you own and use community or topic hashtags. Make sure that on top of that, you include a CTA. These tips will help increase your reach and the probability of people sharing and/or engaging with the post.

“Make it personal, tag people whenever you can, use hashtags, keep it concise and include a clear CTA. ”

Elke Swinnen

Marketing Officer at Duke & Grace

Also, ensure that the promises of the post are delivered by the content. Explain what you have to offer but in doing so, stay within the small range of 150 characters to avoid truncation. Note that this can be a tricky linguistic exercise that demands creativity.

Targeting

Creating tailored content is one thing but when the right distribution is missing, the effort is worthless. Your message deserves to come across. Therefore it is vital to target your ideal audience.

Specify in which geographical region you want your ad to appear. Reach members based on their location. This is a mandatory field so LinkedIn forces you to think this through. From then on it is up to you to further specify your audience based on the following characteristics: Company (Company Connections, Company Followers, Company Industry, Company Name, Company Size), Demographics (Age and Gender), Education (Degrees, Fields of Study, Job title, Member Skills, and Years of Experience) and Interests (Groups and Member Interests).

But it doesn’t stop there. Do A/B-testing, adapt and optimize. This process never ends. Stay in touch with the market as platforms keep launching new features that may or may not help you reach your audience.

Timing

When is the best time to share your thoughts on LinkedIn? Stats show that the number of active users is higher during weekdays, but the average session duration peaks during the weekends, especially on Sundays. With this in mind, it could be interesting for your business to share a link to a long read or white paper on Sunday morning. Besides the day, the time also matters because LinkedIn users are quite the early birds. They have the habit of checking their feed before arriving at work or during the first hours of the working day, preferably via desktop. Between 7pm and 9pm there’s another activity peak, but at this time tablet is the preferred device.

Let’s recap

LinkedIn is a very valuable platform for professional reasons. People go there for its relevance, educational or informative reasons, to stay on top of the latest market developments or just to stay inspired. We advise you to take a step back first and analyze what your main aim is as a brand. Is your main focus thought leadership, raising brand awareness, generating leads or expanding your team? There are several reasons, but every single one of them ask for a different approach. When you’ve sorted out what your main focus will be, go and try it out. Test, analyze, optimize. And while doing so, keep in mind the basic best practices seen above.

Really want to become a true LinkedIn Wizard? In this blog post you'll learn everything there is to know about the platform's newest features. 

Curious to see what the best practices are for Pinterest Ads? Take a look at our blog post.

Elke Swinnen

Elke Swinnen

Marketing Officer

Ebel Jonckers

Ebel Jonckers

Online Marketeer

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