The Power of LinkedIn for Business-to-Business Marketing (Part 2 of 2)

Construction_marketing_association_linkedin_logoThis is part two in a two part series on the power of LinkedIn for construction marketing. The Power of LinkedIn for Construction Marketing Part 1 discussed why you should join LinkedIn, LinkedIn profiles, company pages, and provide you with a LinkedIn To-Do list. Part 2 covers LinkedIn Groups, InMails, and applications.

LinkedIn gives us so many powerful features that the best way to learn is through experience. Understanding that the more you use LinkedIn, the better you will get is very important. Over time more features will be released for LinkedIn, but you will be able to learn and adapt how to use those quickly and easily once you understand the basics.

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn was created for business professionals to communicate within a trusted network. These discussions happen within LinkedIn groups and fuel most of the interaction that happens across the whole site. LinkedIn Groups opens a world of possibilities on the site and allow you to accomplish several business activities using the group features. Your personal profile allows you to join and show up to 50 groups that you belong to, which you can use as a way to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge areas. Groups can either be open or closed. If you join an open group you immediately become a member. Open groups are important because they allow search engines (e.i. Google, Bing, Yahoo) to index the content displayed in those groups, and closed groups do not allow this. Closed groups are good for controlled content, membership oriented groups/associations, or even alumni networks that require you to have actually attended a specific school. These closed groups also allow you to capture emails if you are the group administrator (this will be discussed further under the category of owning a group). Overall groups are an important strategy to attract industry professionals to a specific topic, and use the group as a marketing vehicle.

Join, Introduce, Participate

LinkedIn will always list groups in order of relevance and size when you conduct a search within groups. Joining larger groups is always a good idea, because it means your posts will have a larger reach. However, larger groups may mean that interactions may not be as valuable when it comes to building a business relationship. Whenever you join a new group be sure to introduce yourself to all of the members and let them know why you have joined the group, and what your professional interests are. The more transparency you invite into your LinkedIn activity, the most succesful you will be. If your intentions are to announce webcasts on a regular basis to the group, let them know so they understand your actions and your purpose for joining the group. No one likes to feel like they are being baited and switched. The number one rule behind any social media interaction is to give value, then ask for value in return. Before you ask for people to sign up for and attend your webcast, be sure to post articles and comment on discussions happening within the group. If you do this, people will be much more likely to attend your events because you spend time building that business relationship.

Build your LinkedIn Network through Groups

Some people are inherently social and have no issues with increasing the size of the LinkedIn network because they have so many contacts outside of LinkedIn before they joined the site. For those of us who don’t have a large network of connections, LinkedIn allows us to network with anyone in the entire world at the click of a button. LinkedIn limits our ability to connect with someone by forcing us to tell them how we know them. Groups give us the bridge to connect with someone that we may not have a previous connection with. If you are within any group you belong to, you have the ability to look at the members list. Within that list you can see who you are already connected with, and those who you are not yet connected to. You can request a connection with anyone in that group by going to group member profiles, click on “invite to connect”, then select Groups, and what group you would like to connect with them through (you may belong to multiple groups with one person). If you already have joined your maximum of 50 groups, you can leave a (e.g. smaller) group and join another and continue to grow your network with the steps above.

LinkedIn Group Administration

Understanding how to start and manage a group yields several opportunities for the person who is the group administrator. Content control and management falls onto your shoulders, and if you feel like someone is abusing the group guidelines or policies the administrator can remove their post, and even remove them from the group if the post was egregious. If you are a group administrator you capture everyone’s emails who joins your group (if it is a closed group, if it is open you do not receive their email information). If the group is branded, or covers industry relevant, or company relevant content it will show up in Google results (if the group is an open group). Lastly, owning a group showcases your industry expertise and elevates you to be seen as a subject matter expert within your network on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn InMail Strategy

Once you leverage LinkedIn Groups to increase the size of your network you can engage your connections with direct contact through InMails. InMails act as an email within LinkedIn, and send a message to the users email notifying them of the message you just sent them. Often times, individuals on LinkedIn will have their personal email attached to their profile so they are more likely to read the message you sent them. You can send up to 50 people an InMail all at once, and make it seem like you sent it directly to one person. Please refer to the screen grab below where you can see the “box” where you can check that you do not want the others receiving the InMail to see who else was receiving the message. Be sure to have a descriptive title for your message, as well as a “short and sweet” body paragraph that gets to the point. Let them know you understand their time is valuable and thank them for taking the time to read your message. InMails are great for several things, here is a list:

  1. Thank someone for connecting.
  2. Group Invites
  3. Event invites
  4. Company page invites
  5. Research (poll, question, survey)
  6. Business Opportunities
  7. Corporate Web Site Invite
  8. Social Media Invite (Please Like, Follow, Watch, etc.)

Be careful about spam, that is InMail that is too self-promotional or frequent. As always, provide value in your offers and communications.

LinkedIn Applications

LinkedIn has a number of powerful applications that allow you to maximize the effectiveness of your personal profile on LinkedIn. These applications include SlideShare, Google Presentations, Behance (portfolio display), Events, and Amazon Reading List. All of these applications have their strengths. There are more applications on LinkedIn than listed above, but these are the most business friendly, useful applications.

  • SlideShare – This robust application allows you to upload any size PowerPoint presentation you want to your LinkedIn profile. However, PDF’s can also be uploaded to SlideShare (their orientation can be either portrait or landscape). This is a great application to show off presentations you’ve given, and a way to highlight your expertise through a presentation. You can also show off the company you work for by uploading a presentation that they’ve given in the past.
  • Google Presentations – This application is just like slideshare, however it gives you the functionality to add video to your profile on LinkedIn.
  • Events – Do you attend a lot of live events? If so this is the application for you! Events gives you the functionality to add a running list of the events you are planning on attending, as well as the events you’ve already attended. Show off all that travelling you are doing to your peers and add a little bit more character to your personal profile by showing where you are spending your time.
  • Amazon Reading List – If you do a lot of reading, I suggest adding this application to your profile. If you constantly have a book that is inspiring you to work harder and smarter, show it off to your professional colleagues! Often times knowledge is a springboard for business innovation, and it comes from dedicating time to those books on your shelf. Show off the books you are devoting time to, and how they are influencing your career and company.

LinkedIn Today

Recently LinkedIn released their news platform called “LinkedIn Today” that aggregates content from around the internet. This is a great source to find industry articles, relevant industry information, and what the people within your professional network are interested in. The best articles that are shared the most, and have the most comments are elevated to the top of LinkedIn news, so you see only the most important articles first. The first time you go to the LinkedIn News portion of the site they will suggest industries that have news that is relevant to you. Be sure to follow these and tell LinkedIn what industries you are interested in. These news articles are aggregated primarily from twitter, so you will see a 140 character format for article descriptions. This is a great resource for anyone that is interested in real-time news.


LinkedIn is important for every business. Training your employees is the key to obtaining success on this social media site. LinkedIn can seem overwhelming at first, but training your employees on the basics and how they can use it on a daily basis will unlock opportunities across the whole organization. Lead generation is another primary reason to utilize LinkedIn. Groups are the strongest way to grow and expand your network, and often times can turn a cold lead into a warm lead. People present themselves in a professional manner and knowingly announce what company they work for, and what their position is. If executed correctly, anyone on LinkedIn can be a potential lead. Inmails on LinkedIn allow you to directly contact other members, and can be an optimal vehicle for your marketing messages. Be sure to not overuse the functionality of Inmails because they can be seen as spam. Use applications to build your profile, and optimize the amount of content on your profile. This is a great way to expand your profile and make it much more interesting and representative of your career and company. Be sure to log-in to LinkedIn at least daily to stay current on your group discussions and to expand your network. 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn will add up over time, and will make you one of the most influential professionals on the social media site!