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5 Ideas for Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

I was recently asked by a Cisco partner which social platform was better for B2B marketing – Facebook or LinkedIn?  My response went something like this – We’re all using Facebook to connect and share with our family and friends and with 800 million users, Facebook is hard to ignore, but do we really want our professional networks and personal lives to intermingle to this extent? There is always the option to create a separate Facebook page solely for business purposes. However, these types of pages are more likely to be successful for B2C companies where the target audience is already a regular Facebook user and  the product or service they’re selling is a lifestyle fit.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is a social platform designed specifically for the business professional.  It’s used by over 160 million people worldwidewho did nearly 4.2 billion professionally-oriented searches within the platform in 2011 and are set to surpass more than 5.3 billion this year. If I only had $10 to spend on social marketing and I had to choose between LinkedIn and Facebook, I would choose LinkedIn. The audience is more targeted, more qualified for the B2B technology market we focus on and the platform offers many ways to engage with this audience.

Here are five thoughts on how to maximize LinkedIn for business:

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Technology Buyers are Increasingly Social

According to SiriusDecisions, 70% of the buying process is now completed before the prospect is ready to speak with a sales representative. This means that marketing is moving further into the buying process as the prospective buyer uses new – and decidedly online – sources of information instead of a relationship with a sales professional to guide their purchasing decisions.

As B2B marketers we know it’s important to leverage social media as part of our marketing efforts and most of us are. However, it’s more important to pay attention to how our target buyers’ online behavior is changing overtime. How do IT professionals leverage social networks? What sources of content influence their purchase decisions?  Do IT professionals have a preference for certain formats of content over others? 

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 Toolbox.com/PJA Social Media Index. Read More »

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