However you slice it, LinkedIn is huge. It has more than 660 million users worldwide. It says 46% of B2B website traffic comes from the network. And 61 million of its users are senior-level influencers.

Impressive, right?

If you’re looking for a new job, definitely. But if you want to generate quality leads, LinkedIn isn’t a slam dunk.

That said, you can use LinkedIn to drive demand for B2B products and services. Here’s how to use LinkedIn for B2B marketing, including three tips from our social media experts.

Using LinkedIn for B2B marketing

LinkedIn as Part of a B2B Marketing Plan

LinkedIn is not a standalone lead generation machine, at least when you’re using it as an organic social media platform. It was originally an “online resume service.” Since then, it’s become more interactive. Companies use it to recruit talent, grow networks, keep customers informed and promote content.

But here’s the key: LinkedIn is about personal relationships.

The best way to build a LinkedIn presence that supports your lead and sales goals is to focus on your leaders’ personal pages.

You want (and need) a solid company page. (That mostly means posting company news.) But using LinkedIn for B2B marketing is really about better personal pages for your “thought leaders.”

Who Are Your Best Brand Spokespersons on LinkedIn?

B2B businesses can identify their LinkedIn thought leaders by looking at a few factors:

  • They like using the channel and have lots of connections
  • They understand how to post on the channel
  • He or she knows how to engage with others on LinkedIn in a professional manner
  • They visit the channel daily to check on updates and comments

Got some superusers in mind? Awesome. Here are LinkedIn B2B marketing tips to put their social media superpowers to use.

Tip #1: Do a Profile Checkup

Their profiles should be complete. That means including a professional name (no fake names), an image, and a clear and concise description of the user. The thought leader’s profile needs to be public and viewable to all users of the platform.

Make sure the profile is up to date with work history and that companies are properly linked. In addition:

  • Customize the profile URL with the user’s name.
  • Click “on”: People are notified when the user is in the news.
  • Click “on”: Connections can see your connection list.
  • Optimize the profile with keywords for the target industry.
  • Add links to sample work.
  • Seek endorsements from others for skills. Use a personalized message, not canned or a mass message, to ask for endorsements.

Tip #2: Engage, Engage, Engage

The foundation of LinkedIn for B2B marketing is connecting with potential or current customers.

When finishing communication with prospects, tell them you’ll be reaching out through LinkedIn. When they see your connection request, they’ll be more likely to accept – which may help move them down the sales funnel.

Be sure to visit prospects’ profile pages before engaging. This gets them curious about who you are and what you do by visiting their pages. They will know you viewed their profile and could end up viewing your page.

Additionally, make sure you join groups. These are a great way to raise a personal profile and expertise, as well as mine for leads.

  • Join groups with your own name, not your company’s name.
  • Don’t be solely influenced by a group’s size — also consider its activity level. Smaller groups tend to produce more referrals.
  • Target groups with few or no competitors.

Tip #3: Post Relevant Content

To grow your network post consistently. Ideally, you’ll want to post a few times a week.

Make an effort to split content into 50% about your brand and 25% about the sector you operate in. Make the final 25% about the themes and issues that personally inspire or engage you, so people see you as an individual.

Tag other people or companies as appropriate.

You can also repost others’ content, such as:

  • Business page posts (but only with insightful commentary).
  • Industry insight or news (but avoid reposting from or about your competitors).

Potential original content topics include:

  • Comments about conferences and trade shows you attend.
  • Your business’ new product, new services and new hires.
  • Relevant developments in the industry
  • Addressing questions, problems and concerns that your audience faces on a regular basis.

You usually want to avoid politics or other controversial topics.

The Bottom Line

Organic LinkedIn engagement can be a valuable tool for B2B marketing. Just be sure to use it how it’s intended: As a personal platform. Build your thought leaders’ personal brands and watch it support your marketing goals.