By Ryan Malone

Many B-to-B companies get so wrapped up in other social media efforts, like Twitter and Facebook, they forget how targeted LinkedIn is for reaching business buyers.

Investing time in LinkedIn marketing, can supplement other content marketing and inbound marketing strategies. Here are five reasons why B-to-B companies can’t afford to forget about the business network:

1. The buyers and decision makers are there

LinkedIn is heavily populated by decision makers and business buyers, and these users are very active on the site. Just look at these data points from recent HubSpot research:

  • executives from every Fortune 500 company are members
  • 50% of users are business decision makers in their company
  • members browse an average of 42 pages on the site every month
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2. Business is the topic of conversation

According to an Emarketer.com study, 43% of employees at US companies report using LinkedIn for business purposes, compared to only 11 % using Facebook and 3% using Twitter for business purposes. Business buyers flock to LinkedIn, because unlike Twitter and Facebook, it is openly geared toward promoting business success and talking about products and solutions is encouraged.

3. Opportunities for lead generation and thought leadership

Activity on LinkedIn is a good way to establish thought leadership among colleagues and to be seen as an expert by potential leads. Hubspot reports that today 41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business from their efforts. One way to generate new business, is to search the Answers forum for questions about keywords and phrases that align with your offerings. Each question is basically a member of your target audience raising their hand and seeking help. Providing answers can lead to sales conversions. Post discussion questions in LinkedIn groups, where your colleagues and target audience are present. Use the discussion forum to link to your related blog and educational content.

4. Links contribute to your SEO and page rank

URLs posted on Facebook and Twitter contain the no follow attribute, so while these links do improve a user’s online influence within the social network, these links are not counted by Google. On LinkedIn.com, some links do contribute to your SEO and page rank. When you list websites on your profile, customize the links, choose the “other” option and use more specific anchor text keywords than “My website” or “My blog.” Make Answers submitted to LinkedIn Answers keyword rich, because these are also indexed by Google and may come up in future search results.

5. LinkedIn integrates with Twitter

LinkedIn integrates beautifully with Twitter so that you can grow your presence on both sites simultaneously while directing valuable traffic back to your blog, product landing pages and website. Both social sites make it seamless to send updates to both your Twitter and LinkedIn networks. You can also add a “Buzz” widget to your LinkedIn dashboard that shows real-time updates of what’s being said around certain keywords and company names on Twitter. The Buzz add-on makes social media monitoring and commenting easy

While Facebook and Twitter have high potential for B-to-C marketers, LinkedIn is the most promising social media platform out there for B-to-B marketers. Have you secured any new business yet from interactions on LinkedIn?

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Ryan Malone

About the author

Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.

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