How to find new opportunities on LinkedIn
Right now I think LinkedIn is the single most powerful social media marketing platform for B2B businesses. Facebook and Instagram have a fantastic advertising product, but from an organic engagement point of view LinkedIn is amazing.
Over the last 6 months I’ve noticed a huge rise in activity on the platform, connections that I know well but never used to hear from, are now coming out of their caves and sharing content on their profiles. And, in line with marketing trends and predictions from the last few years, I’m seeing a massive amount of video content being created and shared. From experience, this type of content often yields the most attention.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF SHARING CONTENT ON LINKEDIN?
This is not something specific to LinkedIn but rather a problem across all social media platforms; that still, even now, so many people are trying to calculate the ROI of a single post. Now sure, any marketing activity, certainly in SME land, needs to drive business growth, we just can’t warrant spending £1000+ a month and get less than £1000 back.
The trouble with this mindset though, is that there are too many variables at play: the creative, the topic of discussion, relevant audience, cultural timing, what others are doing at the time the post was shared.
There is no way that you can guarantee that a single piece of content will directly lead to financial gain, and in truth, that is not the point of the post. Social media advertising products exist to drive content for leads and certain posts are certainly designed to find leads.
However if you’re trying to get people to buy a ticket to your next workshop, one singular post simply isn’t going to do it, you need to be selling this event for weeks, if not months ahead of time.
Posting daily content on social media is about building brand, building credibility and increasing visibility. Do these things and they will lead to business growth because you will certainly be everywhere and become front of mind for people looking to invest in your services.
SO, WHAT ARE THESE OPPORTUNITIES?
Much like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn has a pretty good direct messaging feature, and of course prospects and leads can contact you directly through this, and they will if you’re using LinkedIn effectively. However there are a whole host of “invisible” opportunities that we can take advantage of if we’re paying attention.
Now LinkedIn Premium offers a number of great tools to help you understand in greater detail who’s been looking at your profile, track suspects and prospects you would like to connect with, and I myself personally use it.
However there is a triad of data you get on your LinkedIn posts that are incredibly powerful to explore, and something that Premium won’t do for you. This is the data that I want to focus on, I want to help you to understand what the data is, what it tells us, and how to use it to create opportunity.
WHAT DATA ARE WE LOOKING AT?
LinkedIn isn’t the greatest platform when it comes to data, their advertising product certainly isn’t as comprehensive as Facebook, however when looking at the data we receive from our organic posts – and wee don’t get loads, – but the data we do get can be very powerful.
LIKES & COMMENTS
Likes and comments are a staple of all Social Media platforms. They are kind of vanity metrics, likes certainly are and people hold onto them too tightly when analysing content, however what they both tell us is who from our network and beyond are paying attention to and engaging with our content.
VIEWS ON YOUR POSTS IS THE UNTAPPED GOLDMINE
So likes and comments are great and they certainly give us an insight into who is engaging with our content. However there are so many people across the internet that consume content in its entirety, without ever liking, commenting or sharing – they’re called lurkers.
Lurkers watch in the background, which sounds creepy, but for whatever reason they evidently don’t feel comfortable liking a post or leaving a comment, perhaps they don’t know what to say. Yet regardless of their reasoning, they are paying attention, big time.
To me the data LinkedIn gives you on who’s viewed your posts is an absolute untapped goldmine, and a mine I believe no one is really paying attention to.
Now if you going to mine this data effectively, you’re going to have to put in a bit of manual work, as far as I know there is no social media analytical or social listening tool that will give you this level of data within their own platforms. We use Sprout Social which has an agency led social listening, analytics and publishing tool, and we certainly can’t pull this data through.
SO WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR IN THIS POST DATA?
LinkedIn won’t tell you who specifically has viewed your post, you won’t get names, but it will give you 3 very important data sets: Company Name, Job Title and Location.
If we look at the data from these three sets over a monthly basis, we can start to spot trends, we’ll start to notice specific companies coming up time and time again. We now need to turn these trends into actionable lists of opportunities.
Here’s how to do it.
STEP 1: Create a list of all of the people who have engaged with your content over the last month. We’re looking for likes, comments and shares. These will likely be people you are connected with, but depending on how far your post spread, it will include people you aren’t connected with.
STEP 2: Create a list of all of the Companies who have viewed your posts over the last month using the Company Name data, and write down how many posts they have viewed and how many people from the company have viewed them.
STEP 3: Create a list of the Job Titles that have viewed your posts over the last month. This won’t necessarily help on this, but it is useful data to have long term when you’re looking at your marketing as whole and looking to understand your audiences in greater detail.
STEP 4: Once we have these 3 lists, we next want to look at our connections to understand if we can match these anonymous views to people we are connected to.
As you’re going through, ask yourself – who do you know? Who are you connected with from those companies? Of course we don’t know for certain that it was Steve from The Video Experts that’s been watching our content, but if we understand the LinkedIn algorithm that will on its first pass, only show our content to our 1st connections, then it’s a fairly safe bet to assume that it was him.
STEP 5: Next, we want to look for ways that our connections can help us decipher who the individuals were at Companies who viewed our posts, whom we don’t personally have a connection with.
As we look through our connections we’re looking for people who know someone from one of the companies that viewed our posts, but who we’re not connected to. Again, by understanding the LinkedIn algorithm, the only way that Sally could have seen the post, is because Jack, who is connected with both of us, engaged with it in some form – this opens up our content to her.
Once we’ve done this, we will have 3 lists of potential opportunities that we can begin to reach out to.
- People we are connected to who actively engaged with our content.
- People we are connected to who viewed our content but didn’t engage.
- People we are connected to who can help us to define people we don’t know, who viewed our content but didn’t engage.
HOW DO YOU REACH OUT?
How you reach out to these people will vary depending on who they are and how well you know them. However regardless of this the goal here is not to sell anyone, it’s to start a conversation.
Think of a constructive reason to reach out; remember they viewed your content so they are evidently interested in what you have to say – why not find out their opinion. What did they think? What did they find most interesting? Did they have any questions around what you were talking about?
Find a way to help them, and they will find a way to help you.
Do this consistently every month and you will find opportunities for yourself and your business. Bare in mind though that in order for this data to be made available for you to mine, you need to be putting out content – people need something to view. If there’s no content then we don’t know who is lurking in the background.