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The Evolution of LinkedIn: From Job Searches to the #1 Business Marketing Platform

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LinkedIn is for more than recruiting and job-seeking these days – it’s a veritable powerhouse for business marketing.

Key Takeaways: 

  • LinkedIn started its journey as a recruiting and networking tool, but today, it’s one of the most powerful tools you can leverage for business marketing. 
  • Your marketing options on LinkedIn include paid ads, networking, and thought leadership promotion.
  • You can succeed by optimizing your posts, tracking their performance, and promoting like your life depends on it. 
  • Quality matters! You can throw all your effort into LinkedIn marketing and still fall on your face if your content sucks.  

    If you knew LinkedIn in 2003, you probably knew it as a job-seeking and recruiting service. The evolution it’s been through over nearly 20 years is shocking when you compare the two! 

    Today, LinkedIn serves over 800 million users across 200 countries and regions – many of whom are not looking to switch jobs anytime soon. 

    Instead, millions of LinkedIn users login to: 

  • Follow their favorite businesses and brands 
  • Discover and share great thought leadership content
  • Find B2B solutions and tools that might be valuable to them

Millions more log in to publish their thought leadership content, develop their brand’s social media presence, and even manage paid ad campaigns. 

Don’t get us wrong, LinkedIn is still a fabulous place for networking. Over 45 million people still use it to search for jobs every week! But it has evolved a lot in two decades, and today, it’s one of the best places on the web for marketing, especially B2B. 

The numbers don’t lie: LinkedIn for business marketing

If you’re curious about just how much marketing activity goes on via LinkedIn, look no further. According to the latest LinkedIn Facts and Statistics Edition:

  • Marketers reached 790.4 million users with LinkedIn ads in October 2021, nearly a 3% boost from the 3 months prior  
  • 94% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn for content marketing 
  • 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for lead generation 
  • 82% of B2B marketers report that they find the most social media marketing success on LinkedIn 
  • Nearly half of the social media traffic to company websites comes from LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn’s audience reach for advertising grew by nearly 9% between 2021 and 2022

Want to know who you’re most likely to reach on LinkedIn? The LinkedIn Facts and Statistics report says that: 

  • LinkedIn has more American users than any other nationality at 170 million 
  • More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn 
  • 60% of LinkedIn users are between 25 and 34 years old
  • 37% of all American 30 to 49-year-olds use LinkedIn  
  • 37% of global millionaires are members of LinkedIn 
  • LinkedIn users have twice as much buying power as other online audiences 


3 ways to use LinkedIn for business marketing

There are three primary ways that people use LinkedIn for business marketing. The first is paid advertising, which works pretty much as you’d expect on any social platform. 

Where LinkedIn really shines is with networking and thought leadership. People come to LinkedIn to build connections and share ideas, and you can do that while promoting your message. 

#1: LinkedIn advertising

Ads on LinkedIn have a unique power, since 4 out of 5 users can make buying decisions for their respective companies. LinkedIn supports a bunch of different ad formats, including: 

  • Sponsored posts
  • Sponsored messaging
  • Sponsored text ads
  • Dynamic targeted ads
  • Photo carousel ads 

#2: Networking

Networking has been LinkedIn’s M.O. since day one. It’s just that nowadays, you can use networking on LinkedIn for a lot more than recruiting and catching up. 

Beyond private messaging, you can use LinkedIn Groups to join private discussion groups and promote your cause. You can share Company Page content in Groups, which is a great place to get more Page followers. 

#3: Thought leadership

LinkedIn lets you post long-form content as articles or blogs, which is fantastic for cementing your reputation as an influential voice in your industry. 

You can post long-form content as a personal account or as a Company Page – for promotional purposes, you’ll probably want to publish from your Company Page. Alternately, many CEOs choose to post thought leadership content from their personal page, then share it to the Company Page for more exposure. 

How to succeed at LinkedIn marketing

Like any marketing platform, you can’t just throw random trash around on LinkedIn and hope something sticks. You have to take the same measures for success that you’d take anywhere else on the web. 

Secure your LinkedIn success with these tips: 

  • Optimize your posts: Don’t come to LinkedIn and post like you’re on #Twitter… because you’re not. Every social platform has unique best practices, so learn what makes LinkedIn posts tick and optimize them for max engagement. 
  • Track your analytics: LinkedIn gives you insights into your post performance. Check out metrics like engagements, discovery (impressions), and impression demographics. For videos and articles, you have even more access to insights like peak live viewers and minutes viewed. 
  • Post at the right time: That means CONSISTENTLY above all else – figure out your ideal posting schedule and stick to it. That can be weekly, biweekly, monthly, or whatever works for you. Besides that, watch your performance and post when you get the most engagement. 
  • Be original: Great content takes a stand. Instead of copying what you read elsewhere, decide what you think about the topic and go from there. LinkedIn is great for thought leadership, but the only way to make it work is by being honest and authentic. 
  • Promote, promote, promote: As LinkedIn’s audience grows, so does the content competition. Share the crap out of your posts (especially thought leadership) from day one, and don’t stop! Keep sharing your library of already-published content as long as it’s relevant. 

The secret to better LinkedIn marketing is content that sizzles 

Here’s some free knowledge for ya: Like any marketing endeavor, your LinkedIn journey only gets you as far as your content. 

That means if you spend 25 minutes hammering out a thought leadership mess, it’s going to perform like the mess that it is. Even if you post it at the right time of the day and promote it. You can’t cover up poor content quality, period. 

That’s why it’s so important to have a kickass content partner on your side. When you work with ContentBacon, you get a team of expert writers, editors, and strategists who know how to elevate your brand through content and give your leadership a voice. That’s the kind of content you need for LinkedIn success. 

We have an easy button for that – spend an hour chatting with us, and we’ll deliver you sizzling content that sets you up for marketing success. 

Let’s get it going with a content conversation! It comes with a FREE content assessment, real insights into how to boost your content plan, and a chance to ask the content marketing questions that are burning you up. 

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