Should You Use LinkedIn in Your Content Distribution Plan?

Where is your audience most active?

As simple as this question is, many businesses distribute content on LinkedIn and other social media platforms without considering its answer. While it might seem like a great idea, it isn’t always the best course of action, especially when you take the specifics of your company into account. 

If you’re having a hard time deciding if it’s right for your company, we’ll sum up this entire article like this – an obvious indicator that LinkedIn as a content distribution channel might not be a great fit is if you’re constantly receiving poor returns on your content. However, poor return on your content efforts could also be a result of many other factors including quality and how much reach you have on the platform.

So, should you really reconsider using LinkedIn in your content distribution plan based on a single metric? In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth answer to that question and cover the best ways for you to use LinkedIn properly as a distribution channel.

Is LinkedIn the Right Content Distribution Channel for Everyone?

The short answer is no. The long answer is trickier but here are some of the nuances around why LinkedIn might not be suitable for every company.

LinkedIn as a Content Distribution Channel: An Analysis of Redbull and Microsoft

To help put things in perspective, we’ll place two very well-known brands from different industries side by side: Redbull and Microsoft. 

The former is widely known as an energy drink company and the latter is a prominent developer of software and applications, among other things. In 2021, a Forbes article estimated Microsoft’s market value at almost 2 trillion dollars, second only to Apple. Similarly, Forbes put Redbull sales at 75 billion cans since the company’s inception in 1987. Granted, the difference in revenue between these two companies is far too significant to ignore. But, it’s still safe to say that they’re both behemoths in their respective industries.

Despite their size and extensive marketing budget, it is interesting that they have different approaches to their LinkedIn content distribution plan. A quick analysis of Redbull’s LinkedIn page shows that the company has had no more than a maximum of ten posts per month in the last six months give or take one or two extra each month.

This isn’t because the company is generally low on content or because they do not have an active social media presence. In fact, they’re quite noticeable across digital platforms with over 30 Instagram posts in the last month and no less than 10,000 likes on practically every post.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has nearly fifty posts on its LinkedIn page in May 2022 alone. This easily beats practically all of Redbull’s LinkedIn content distribution efforts in the last six months without considering Microsoft’s earlier work.

Microsoft vs. Redbull: Number of LinkedIn Posts between March 1 and May 25, 2022
Number of LinkedIn Posts by Microsoft and Redbull between May 25 and March 1, 2022 (Est.)

Why There’s Such a Big Difference

The stark difference between these two companies’ posting patterns can be attributed to one major factor – their audience’s dominant platforms. Redbull’s target market is primarily made up of B2C buyers and, given the brand voice and persona, their content is often driven by entertainment in one form or the other. 

This isn’t to say that people who usually fit into B2B categories do not consume Redbull. But, most professionals on LinkedIn hardly follow companies like Redbull to see nice pictures of caffeine-fuelled athletes performing impressive feats.

Unlike Redbull, Microsoft’s target market is a combination of B2B and B2C buyers. Their software is used by both individuals and businesses alike for different purposes. But, because of their unique position in the tech space and as a key driver of innovation, their content often appeals to professionals across multiple fields. For the same reason, while their LinkedIn content does have its appeal among the right people, B2C audiences don’t often rush directly at it, which is the exact opposite with Redbull.

This might explain why Redbull has less than 900,000 followers on LinkedIn but 16 million on Instagram while Microsoft has 3.7 million on Instagram but over 16 million on LinkedIn.

What it Means

Everything we’ve discussed above points toward the fact that regardless of business size and marketing budget, every business has different needs. This is evident in the follower count observed between Redbull and Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Instagram pages respectively. An understanding of this fact is what drives the amount of effort that both brands put into their content distribution across the relevant channels.

How it Applies to Your Company

While your company might not yet be as large as either of the case studies above, the point about companies having different needs still applies to you. Your company’s audience might be exclusive to LinkedIn or they might enjoy hanging out on less professional platforms.

If the former is the case, then the answer is yes, LinkedIn is the right content distribution platform for your company. On the other hand, if the latter is the case, you might want to reconsider putting so much effort into LinkedIn. 

This doesn’t mean that you should pack your bags entirely and let your social media presence on the platform fall off. You can post every once in a while. But, it would be more advisable to focus the bulk of your efforts where you’d see reasonable returns.

Granted, we can’t paint every business under the same broad stroke. Nevertheless, we’d retain some degree of accuracy if we said that B2B marketers (as well as those in the tech space, among a few others) could benefit immensely from using LinkedIn as a content distribution platform. This is primarily because B2B marketers are often marketing to key decision makers and other professionals who often spend time on LinkedIn. 

How to Properly Use LinkedIn as a Content Distribution Platform

Having read all of the above, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine whether or not LinkedIn should be a part of your content distribution plan. If it is or you’ve simply decided to double down on your LinkedIn efforts regardless, then you should at least do it right. The following are a few noteworthy points that should help you out in the process.

1. Use Your Personal Account

In an earlier article about scaling your content marketing strategy, we discussed turning your employees into your company’s promoters. There, we gave an example of Microsoft’s most recent post at the time that gained less than 200 reactions and 20 shares, despite the company’s massive follower count. This was to highlight the peculiar inability of LinkedIn company pages to gather enough engagements to make an impact, regardless of the size of the company’s LinkedIn presence.

Between then and now when we wrote that blog post, this fact still hasn’t changed.  For context, Google has about 50% more followers than Microsoft on LinkedIn with an impressive 24 million people keeping tabs on the company. However, one of its most recent posts shown below has received less than 1000 reactions and even fewer shares and comments in five days. That accounts for roughly 0.004% of the company’s total followers. 

Microsoft company account engagement remains low despite its high follower count.

For this reason and more, it’s a much better idea to use your personal account to distribute content on LinkedIn. While posting your content on the company page, it’s best to make a careful effort to rewrite the content in your own words and share it again on your account. That way, you can reach a wider audience that would likely see your content as more than just marketing material.

This post discussing our article on how to repurpose webinars for social media and web is a great example of using your personal account to promote content on LinkedIn:

If you want to take things a step further, invest a little time and energy in building up the employee advocacy culture within your team and company as a whole. Employee advocacy describes the consistent promotion of a company and its works by its employees. It’s a growing topic in the marketing community. LinkedIn has an entire ebook discussing the subject and a study has found that it can positively impact your sales by increasing brand awareness. If you can make noticeable impact with your personal account, imagine how well your content will do if your entire team was contributing towards its promotion on LinkedIn.

2. Have a Plan

One of the most repeated phrases in content marketing is “strategy.” While it can get tiring, depending on how often you’re exposed to marketing lingo, it gets its repetition from its relevance. That is, if it wasn’t important, people would hardly be talking about it.

Before you go ahead to include LinkedIn in your content distribution efforts, ensure that you have a plan to inform your actions and decisions. For starters, you’ll want to understand who you’re talking to, what you’re saying and how you’re saying it to them. In other words, define your key target audience, your type of content and your brand tone. This might seem a bit tricky at first, especially because you’ll also be using your personal account to do the majority of the talking. 

We’ve found that trying and finding out the pros and cons of one method before moving to another helps make the best decisions and gain the best insights while distributing content. Basically, you shouldn’t shy away from experimenting with new things in the process, discussing topics in fun new ways, etc. Your experiment could even be as simple as using emojis in your post as opposed to making it text-heavy. Whatever the case is, it would be a great idea not to overthink it and to keep an open mind.

Once you’ve identified your course of action, decide what your objectives and KPIs are. This might seem overwhelming, especially because you already have a cloud of KPIs and objectives hanging over your head constantly as a marketer. But, it doesn’t have to be. As opposed to cooking up yet another strategy document, simply scribble a few things you’d like to achieve with your LinkedIn content promotion over the next few months. 

If you have Google Analytics or any other high-quality analytics tool installed on your website, it should be able to attribute LinkedIn’s traffic to the platform, enabling you see just how well your efforts are panning out. 

You shouldn’t let your voice get drowned by your company’s tone. If you’ll be following our advice and using your personal account to promote your content on LinkedIn, you should make it as unique to you as possible. Your audience is reading because they want to listen to your expert opinion. Becoming a robotic entity with no personality would entirely defeat the purpose.

Your audience is reading because they want to listen to your expert opinion.

3. Build Genuine Connections as Opposed to Merely Using People to Get Engagements

Many marketing efforts often start out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm as marketers work to ensure that their content is not only consistent but it resonates with the audience. Unfortunately, a trend we’ve noticed in the industry is that, especially when a few marketers have one too many responsibilities in a growing company, things like sincerity in content begin to take a back seat.

Eventually, some content marketers drone on in the same way they always have with “click below to read/listen/view” while expecting actual engagements. Related but worse is the act of simply sending out connection requests with the hope of reaching a larger audience for marketing as opposed to building genuine connections.

This method of marketing is impersonal, impassionate, and largely disliked by many people on LinkedIn. It’s the reason why so many sales pitches in DMs are ignored.

If you want your audience to take you seriously, do your best to create a genuine connection with them through your content. Whenever you get a comment, respond to it. If a person reshares your content with a notable contribution, thank them for it. You don’t necessarily need to pull down a building for them. Simply make small gestures that help them feel acknowledged. 

4. Follow LinkedIn’s Best Content Creation Practices

When you turn LinkedIn into a channel for sending out content, you’ll want to ensure that what you’re distributing to your audience is as high-quality as every other asset you create. To achieve that, however, you’ll have to do a few things specific to LinkedIn, some of which you might be used to already.

For starters, ensure that your grammar is as clear and accurate as possible. Few things put off a professional audience more than consistently poor grammar. You don’t necessarily need to be a spitting image of perfection all the time. But a conscious effort towards writing well can go a long way.

If you find yourself posting from your mobile phone most of the time, you can install the Grammarly keyboard to help you pick up mistakes in your writing. If you’re more inclined towards writing on your desktop, use the desktop version just before proofreading it yourself.

Beyond that, you want to ensure that your content is not overly salesy. LinkedIn is a great place to generate leads but constantly pushing your product promotions in front of your audience could backfire and turn them away from you. Rather than a hard sell, nudge them gently in your direction. That way, they can get through the stages of the buyer’s journey on their own terms.

You’ll also want to use hashtags as appropriate while keeping your audience engaged. Hashtags are used on social media as gateways to specific topics. When readers or audiences need a diverse point of view on a topic, they can simply look up a hashtag on LinkedIn and get posts from different people on the subject. 

Hashtags are used on social media as gateways to specific topics.

Using the right hashtags could potentially give you access to an audience beyond your limited network. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overuse hashtags in your posts and you can only use those relevant to the topic you’re discussing directly. Hootsuite offers a guide to using hashtags on LinkedIn

Finally, be consistent. The bane of every marketing strategy and effort is inconsistency and the last thing you want is to fall off the rails before you can get rewarded for your efforts.

Different Ways to Distribute Content on LinkedIn

1. Post a Status Update

For clarity, an “update” is a regular LinkedIn post. The most basic way to distribute your content on LinkedIn is by simply sharing a status update.

The limit on LinkedIn posts is 3,000 characters. That’s about five to six hundred words. However, just because you can write a mini article in your update doesn’t mean that you should.

Instead of divulging every possible detail to your target audience in one update, try a few other things first. As a general rule of thumb, you should post an excerpt of the actual content on LinkedIn and share a link for the audience to go view the rest at their convenience. 

Here’s an example of this done by a YouTube content creator:

As an alternative, you could create multimedia posts. Extract key statistics or general pieces of information from your content, turn them into an infographic of some sort and have them on LinkedIn with the option for your audience to view later.

2. Post a Full Length Article

A lesser known aspect of LinkedIn content marketing is that it can be a great place for you to host full length articles that are search engine-worthy. This post by Shama Hyder, for example, ranks at number two on the first page of Google at the time of writing this article. 

LinkedIn articles can rank well on Google.

If you’ve already written a piece of content on your blog, it might feel a bit tedious to rewrite the same piece of content again for LinkedIn. So, our advice would be to instead write articles there as a form of content repurposing.

When you publish a new webinar that you believe has a lot of potential, you can convert it into an article on LinkedIn and post it on your personal account. The same applies to podcasts. You don’t need to worry about making it a lengthy piece with as many as 4000 words. A quarter of that word count should do just fine.

The benefits to your company are obvious because you’d essentially be giving your content marketing efforts more publicity. But, beyond that, you’d also have a stellar piece of content under your belt with direct credit to you.

3. LinkedIn Groups and Communities

LinkedIn is filled with multiple groups that you can leverage for content promotion. One of the popular ones is the Content Marketing Group for marketers with over twenty-two thousand members. Another example is the AI for Marketers group. 

In LinkedIn groups, much like your personal status update, you can share a link to an article or any other piece of content that you’ve written.

Here’s an example of someone posting a simple link to a piece of content on the Content Marketing Group. (Request to join this group, if you haven’t already).

If you’ll be sharing your content in LinkedIn communities, it’s important to note a few things. The most important of them all is that it’s not your personal account. On your account, you essentially have the freedom to post what you want and get away with it. 

On a LinkedIn group, however, most admins insist on helpful and valuable content. So, you’ll need to hold off on any type of content promotion that comes off as overly salesy and focus on providing value to those at the others in the group.

Once you’ve gotten past this, you’ll find that LinkedIn groups offer quite a few benefits. Specifically, groups can have several thousand followers, providing you with a potentially large pool of readers for your content. Beyond that, groups are often niche-based. So, if you find one that is popular and directly related to your target audience, you don’t need to worry about sending your content to the wrong people.

4. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t often discussed as a method of promoting content – or anything else – on LinkedIn. But, that doesn’t make it any less viable.

If your company has the budget for it and you’re able to find individuals who have a considerable following and are willing, you should certainly go for it. Their audience would likely comprise individuals who fit into your ideal customer base, too. The Influencer Marketing Hub offers an in-depth guide into influencer marketing

5. Create a Newsletter

A LinkedIn newsletter is a free feature available to practically anyone who uses LinkedIn. It allows you to send your subscribers a tailored list of content. Many professionals in the marketing industry are already doing it and receiving noticeable returns from it. If you find yourself publishing multiple pieces of content per week, you can compile them into a newsletter for your audience to read at the end of each week.

A great example is the B2B Excellence weekly newsletter published by Christoper Peters.

B2B Excellence - a LinkedIn newsletter example by Christopher Peters

Final Thoughts

Earlier in the article, we mentioned that poor returns on LinkedIn content distribution efforts could be caused by factors other than the absence of your target audience on the platform. Among others, these factors include inconsistency, poor content quality, salesy content, etc. Keep all these in mind and do your best to avoid them when using LinkedIn in your content distribution plan. Where possible, get help to remain efficient at producing high quality content. Automata’s AI engine can assist with repurposing your content into text-based LinkedIn posts.