Social Media Marvels | October 10, 2019

The Portrait Of A Brand Image Via LinkedIn Marketing

Picture of Jagruti Bhargav

by Jagruti Bhargav

Our guest for this episode is a LinkedIn marketing expert - Karen Yankovich. We discuss about the general outlay of LinkedIn as a marketing platform, leveraging native content as well as ads. How to build the right network which helps you bring more conversions for your business.

Find the summarized  transcript from the interview down below.

What do I Expect from this Video :

  • LinkedIn can be used beyond the purposes of recruiting and building professional contacts.
  • Comparison between Facebook and LinkedIn as marketing platforms
  • One feature that helps one establish LinkedIn presence.
  • Balancing between personal brand and business brand on the same page.
  • Basics of LinkedIn Ads.

Q - When did you first start using LinkedIn as a platform for marketing rather than recruiting?

A - My background is relationship marketing years ago before social media. So you know, meeting people, keeping notes on them, getting to know them. So even when I started to teach digital marketing, I was drawn to LinkedIn because I liked the corporate aspect of it. 

I liked the fact that we could use it to build relationships and actually get to know people and actually have conversations with people. I observed that while working with clients - I wanted to talk about their general digital strategy, while they straight away wanted to jump into talking about their products and get people to know what they were up to.

But I always brought people to getting to know more about the people they are working with. Building relations with those people before investing in their products and services is what I was more interested in. And so I kept bringing them back to LinkedIn.

Who is the one person that you think can really bring value to your business? Let's use LinkedIn to connect with and build a relationship with that one person and then we'll do another one, and another one. LinkedIn gives us access to these people that we never had before. But I like to really still do it one relationship at a time.

Q - Has LinkedIn become a social platform over just a recruiting platform?

A - I don't know that I would refer to it as more formal. I think that it's important that you are who you are. Don't try to talk like somebody you're not because you think this is what people want to hear from you. You can build in a little human interest. So I think that, and that's a good thing because it's your personal brand. I love building in personality. At the same time, we also need to keep in mind that it isn’t a platform to share pictures from your last keg party. 

Q - Do Facebook and LinkedIn serve the same purpose now that we use both platforms to build relations?

A - They are both just different platforms sharing the different purposes. On Facebook, you do want to share about your personal life. Your personal profile is meant to speak about you rather than just your business. Sure, you can share snippets of your business content, but by large it remains personal. Your business page is what you should be working with on Facebook to talk business.

With LinkedIn, it’s also the same - a personal profile and a company page. But with your personal profile, it’s more about your personal brand. It is designed to speak about the image of you as an entrepreneur/marketer, etc. I’m not saying you only talk about the products on your personal page. Yet it is more appropriate there to share articles and stories of business. It is still less personal than Facebook - the essence is the same, but the conversation is different.

Q - One favorite thing about LinkedIn as a platform?

A - My one favorite feature on LinkedIn, you know, honestly, the one thing I love more than anything about LinkedIn is my ability to reach anybody there. Back when I first started marketing, we learned sales, we learned about the gatekeeper, the person that answered the phone. You had to get past the gatekeeper and there was the gatekeeper that answered the main number, and then it'd get past the gatekeeper that was the assistant to the CEO, right? With LinkedIn, there was no more gatekeepers, we can go right to the CEO. And if you're positioned properly, right, if you're positioned properly, you look worthy of their time and their conversation. To me, that's the most powerful feature of LinkedIn.

Q - And a must-use tactic to build a solid brand via LinkedIn?

A - I think that don't overlook video. What's really important is that it should be native video. For example, for my podcast, I do a recap as a Facebook live and try to keep it under 10 minutes so that way I can upload it to LinkedIn and also on YouTube. 

If I drop that YouTube link on LinkedIn, it is not going to get anywhere near the amount of reach as it will, if I take and upload it as a native video. Although it’s an extra step, uploading native video on LinkedIn is incredibly powerful. And a lot of people might not know this but it also allows you to upload an SRT file with the captions of the video. People need not put on the volume to consume your content.

That's all built into the LinkedIn platform. It is the best way to get eyes on your content. With native content you are eliminating that extra step of clicking on the link for the audience to consume your content. 

It also holds a lot of intrigue. The audience gets only a piece of your content, and then would be more willing to go through the extra steps of clicking links to consume your other content. And all this because you could add value with a piece of native content.

Q - You also run a podcast of your own - Good Girls Get Rich. What was your idea behind it?

A - The podcast is another peg in my brand-building. People want to interact and do business with the best in the industry. In order to build credibility around business, one needs to create a strong positioning on LinkedIn. Because that is where people vie to build business relations.

My podcast also surrounds the same idea of people talking about the business they’ve put efforts behind, and how they have positioned themselves to be the best in the industry.

Q - You always suggest a person or a brand to start with LinkedIn as a marketing platform first. Why is that?

A - So it has all to do with the gamification that LinkedIn has built-in. You can have an all-star profile, yet being discovered is something you still lack. This is where I come into the picture.

We re-write several profiles. Add elements that make the road to discovery a little less bumpy. Add that strong statement, telling all about who you are, but hasn’t made it to your profile yet. And after that, we profile keywords that people might search for.

This list of keywords are the ones you want in your profile in order to make it easier for people to discover you. 

In the end, the most important step - make your profile about the people you want to help. Although, your profile should be about your skills, your worth, and personality; it should also showcase how would you add value in the lives of people discovering you.

For example, my profile reads - I’m a financial planner. I have made X people Y amount of money. Versus it reads - I'm a financial planner and I help women over 50 create enough wealth to retire at 60.

Which statement would resonate more with your target audience? So these are a few things you need to think about while creating your LinkedIn profile.

Q - How can you leverage LinkedIn to build a business brand along with a personal brand?

A - Let’s chalk out a customer journey. Have you ever seen a call to action - like ‘interested? Call me’, and taken action immediately? Did you call a stranger just because a button told you to do so? No.

But we do chat, or download content. So think about ways to get your audience to take the desired action. You could start with building your email list. Share your blog or gated content on LinkedIn and ask for them to give their emails.

If you provide value, and at the correct time, your audience will be ready to give their emails. This is how you start with growing your business/brand. So plan your content or profile around the customer journey.

Learn what your audience does on a particular platform, share appropriate content leading them to give you their email. For LinkedIn, it could be the content on your business page. That’s where most of your visitors start with in the beginning of their journey.

The next step in the journey would either be towards your personal profile or on to the website. This is how the same content being shared on your business page and personal profile builds your brand. The personal brand helps the audience connect a face to your business, while the business path is paving way for more audience to reach you either organically or via LinkedIn Ads.

Q - Why is it important to upload native content on LinkedIn?

A - Traction. Visibility. Reach. It’s as simple as uploading an image. You can upload an SRT file to caption your videos. Bear in mind that LinkedIn doesn’t automatically caption like YouTube. You need a separate file.

Another way to increase your organic reach is tagging the relevant people. If your video has another person, tag them to reach their audience as well. But don’t tag people when the content is not directly related to them. For example, You share something about LinkedIn marketing and keep tagging me. Although, the content is relevant to me, it is bothersome to be tagged in every marketing post.

LinkedIn is recently adopting hashtags as well. So you might be able to leverage them to make your content those extra set of people.

Q - LinkedIn Ads have been there all along. But why aren’t they utilized as often as Facebook Ads?

A - Because it's expensive. If you're paying $2 a conversion on Facebook, you're probably paying $30 a conversion on LinkedIn. So it is 10 to 20 times the price. But if you have the right content and a targeted niche, it can prove to be advantageous for business. It's not as flooded with ads as Instagram and Facebook is. 

It’s a great monitoring strategy and build a qualified audience base. But as is the case with every new strategy, you are bound to make mistakes. You will experience a learning curve. But with this platform it is going to be an expensive affair. So make sure you have the budget to back this exercise. 

Q - So LinkedIn ads is something that small businesses can't aim at? Like on a solo level maybe?

A - They absolutely can. Provided they have the appropriate budget. With Facebook ads, I can start A/B testing with a budget of $100 a month. With LinkedIn ads, you're probably going to need $1,000 a month. And that's probably going to last you three days. Nevertheless, you will be learning. You learn and take your learnings on to the next month. And maybe you might get it just right at your $10,000 mark.

Jagruti - And also maybe because LinkedIn users are also a little bit limited, LinkedIn is not as big as Facebook, but the leads that you get are pretty hot.

A - Exactly. And I've tracked it,  I do a weekly work webinar, live webinar. The leads that I get on LinkedIn through LinkedIn ads to my weekly webinar are ones that convert better than the ones I get on Facebook. For example, on Facebook I’m building my list for a $100. I get around 50 people with that. On LinkedIn, I might get 3 new leads. But these 3 have a higher chance to convert over the 50 I found via Facebook.

But it takes time. So you need to be willing to make mistakes and have the budget to afford those mistakes. You can hire agencies to run campaigns for you, but it is still both a time-consuming and an expensive affair.

Q - While building the right network, one also needs to send cold requests. How do you make cold requests more personal so that you do get connected with them?

A - Why do they have to be cold leads? You already have connections in your profile. And from what I’ve seen so far, people keep accepting requests that come their way. And once your visibility grows, the number of requests as well.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t accept those. But you can’t be sure to leverage each of them for your business. When you want to build your brand, you need to take a very targeted and proactive approach.

By proactive I don’t mean send requests in bulk. You need to target those requests, so they end up being 20 or 30 a week. For example, if you’re going to attend an event, get a list of speakers, companies, participants maybe. Now, pick and choose which ones you can leverage. Take a couple of weeks to reach out to them.

Now, in your pitch you have a common thread. The event you attended! It’ll be easier and more credible for them to trust and accept your connection request.

These targeted connections are the reason your business will skyrocket. With Twitter or Facebook, I might get leads enough to sell smaller sized tickets. But with LinkedIn, I build a longer termed relation that could translate towards bringing 20 new clients on-board.

Instead of spamming profiles, and getting spammed, try this highly targeted approach. Spam might get you an occasional sale. But with this targeted approach, your conversion rates would soar. And that’s how you grow your business.

Jagruti - Exactly. Yeah, that's the thing. Like even for me personally, if I'm trying to build my own personal brand, I gravitate more towards LinkedIn wherein I can showcase my content as well. I can showcase what I'm currently doing or what I have achieved and not sound full of clout or something like that and not get lost in the world of spamming because with Facebook and Instagram, it's easy to get lost and people don't take you seriously over there either.

A - I have tried this on my own. And once the ball started rolling, I couldn’t keep up with it. I couldn’t take calls from people who might have converted because we already had a pretty full pipeline. So try it, and you won’t regret it.

Q - LinkedIn is great to build strong, personal relations. But what are the other benefits of using the platform?

A - Being discovered on Google. When someone searches your name, what comes up? Your website, PR that you might have done, and your LinkedIn profile.

When people are searching for you, they are looking for information. With your LinkedIn profile, you can maneuver the people to get the information you want them to get. When you search my name - I have about 10 pages on Google, my LinkedIn profile comes in second.

Q - How does the platform help marketers or social media managers build awareness for their product?

A - It works on the same principle. As the CEO of any agency, make sure the employees also have a strong LinkedIn profile. Train your employees to build relations with relevant connections, the same way you do.

For example, your accountant needs to collect information from the clients, or vendors. Instead of emailing them, he can start by building relations with them via LinkedIn. This way, the communication is more streamlined as the other person is invested on a more personal level.

Q - Can you also retarget or resell using LinkedIn?

A - Certainly, I think that if you have existing clients, you should use LinkedIn to share their comments and promote them where you can, provides value. Besides connecting with people and building relations, what is the next step? Staying in the minds of your connections. And a part of that can be sharing and being valuable to your existing clients, to your prospects, to potential partners.

It’s the same as being an influencer towards them. They have an audience who could be your prospects. By sharing their content, you not only come the radar of the client but also their audience.

Another source that you might have missed out are journalists. They are constantly sharing content in your field. Follow it, share it, and tag the journalist, so they know how appreciative you are of their content. 

Building ties with journalists helps you become a credible source to their articles. They would be happy to use you as one, since your profile showcases your expertise plenty well.

This is how you leverage your employees’ brand value as an agency or as a company.

Q - I've never been able to understand, endorsements and recommendations that LinkedIn has. It's like a client testimonial sort of a thing, that's what I relate it to. But how effective does your profile look to somebody with hundreds of endorsements or maybe five, seven recommendations?

A -Endorsements and recommendations both are 2 different things. Recommendations are like customer testimonials. They add value to your profile.

For example, if you have worked with a client and they write you a recommendation on the profile, it adds to your social proof. It makes your profile stronger.

On the other hand, endorsements are different. They are under-utilized. Before you couldn’t control their visibility. Sometimes people could endorse you for things, you didn’t do. But now, you can select your top three endorsements. And only these 3 are viewed on the top of your profile.

You can leverage these like those keywords I mentioned before. If you’ve been endorsed a lot for a particular skill, LinkedIn fetches your profile in top searches of those skills. So go on an endorsing binge. Your connections would also endorse you back. Make sure you make your top 3 endorsements easily accessible.

Leverage the free features, they are bound to add value to your profile.

The #SocialMediaMarvels is a podcast series that invites digital marketing influencers from across the world to celebrate their journey and get a glimpse of their contributions to the field. Get actionable tips, learn directly from the practitioners, and imbibe it to help your business.

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