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How to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Strategy [Free Template]

Build a LinkedIn strategy that will help you grow an engaged community and effectively promote your business on the leading professional network.

Hannah Macready March 25, 2024
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Standing out online as a business owner is harder than ever. Not only are there more platforms, algorithms, and content types than ever before—but there are also more businesses competing for attention. In fact, more than 2.7 million companies post on LinkedIn, the most business-y of networks, every day.

Strategy matters, especially in the world of LinkedIn marketing. But, how do you know if you’re doing it right? What should you be prioritizing in order to leverage LinkedIn for your business or brand?

This cheat sheet will give you the do’s and dont’s of creating a stand-out LinkedIn marketing strategy, so you can get your brand noticed, followed, and loved.

Bonus: Get a LinkedIn marketing strategy template to build and grow a winning presence on the platform. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.

What is LinkedIn marketing?

LinkedIn marketing is the process of using the professional networking platform, LinkedIn, to promote and advertise your brand or business.

This can be done in a few different ways, from creating and sharing content, connecting with other professionals, joining groups and communities, and using paid advertising options.

Why is LinkedIn marketing important?

LinkedIn boasts over 950 million users, making it the largest professional networking platform in the world.

Not only that, but LinkedIn is also known for having a more engaged and affluent user base compared to other social media platforms.

This makes it an ideal platform for businesses and professionals looking to build their brands, generate leads, and establish thought leadership in their industry.

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9 best practices and tips for LinkedIn marketing

Itching to get your LinkedIn strategy off the ground? Start with these best practices and tips.

1. Set clear goals

Like any marketing strategy, it’s important to have a clear goal for your LinkedIn presence. This could be anything from:

  • Increasing brand awareness,
  • Generating website leads, or
  • Establishing thought leadership.

Once you have a goal, identify your target audience and tailor your content and messaging to appeal to them.

For example, if you’re an emerging entrepreneur looking to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, focus on sharing insights and knowledge related to your niche. If you’re a B2B business looking to generate leads, highlight case studies and customer success stories.

Keep in mind, people use LinkedIn differently from other social networks. Here’s are a few ways people use the platform:

  • Keeping up with news and current events: 29.2%
  • Following or researching brands and products: 26.9%
  • Posting or sharing photos or videos: 17.7%
  • Messaging friends and family: 14.6%
  • Looking for funny or entertaining content: 13.8%

LinkedIn is also the social network most commonly used for recruiting, as well as the top platform for B2B lead generation.

Don’t know where to start? Check out our blog post on how to set goals for social media marketing.

2. Optimize your profile and page

No matter what goals you’re working towards, make sure you have a complete LinkedIn Page that takes advantage of all relevant tabs and sections. LinkedIn data shows that complete Pages get 30% more weekly views.

For larger organizations, Showcase Pages can be used as an extension of your main business page, to highlight specific business units, brands, or initiatives. For example, if you have an exciting Q4 campaign launching, or important resources you want to highlight, creating a Showcase Page can help draw attention to it.

arrow pointing to showcase page of covid-19 resources on hootsuite linkedin page

Don’t let your main Page content get stale: LinkedIn recommends updating your cover image at least twice a year.

3. Share valuable content

LinkedIn is all about networking and building connections, so it’s important to share valuable content consistently. This could be blog posts, articles, videos, images, or even curated content from other sources.

The key is to provide value and insight to your audience, rather than just promoting your products or services.

Some tips for creating and sharing valuable content on LinkedIn include:

  • Use eye-catching visual elements like images, videos, or infographics
  • Share relevant industry news and trends
  • Engage with other users’ content by commenting and liking
  • Use hashtags to reach a wider audience

4. Understand your audience

LinkedIn user demographics differ from those of the other social platforms. LinkedIn users skew older and tend to have a higher income.

But that’s just a starting point. It’s important to understand who your specific audience is and what kind of information they’re looking for from your LinkedIn Page.

LinkedIn analytics are a good way to find the demographics specific to your audience. Within your Visitor and Follower dashboards, you can see what industries your followers are in, their job titles, and their location.

arrows showing visitor and follower tabs on linkedin analytics

Use these insights to tailor your future content, but also to understand if your existing content is resonating with the right people.

For example, you might notice that your followers are mostly in the tech industry but most engaging with your posts about marketing.

list of visitor job functions in linkedin analytics

5. Track and refine your performance

The best way to improve your LinkedIn strategy over time is to track and analyze the results of your efforts. LinkedIn Analytics provides a good overview of your page and post-performance, but platforms like Hootsuite Analytics help you go even deeper.

hootsuite analytics dashboard showing engagement metrics across four platforms

Use the insights from these tools to refine your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Experiment with different types of content, posting times, and messaging styles to see what resonates best with your audience.

For example, a quick look at your analytics might uncover that your page performance is dwindling.

hootsuite analytics linkedin page engagement graph showing engagement decreasing over time

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Did this happen just after you introduced a new content type? Or maybe a new campaign? Performance might also be the result of a recent algorithm update. Or, your audience engagement might be dropping off because you’re not actively engaging with them through comments or direct messaging.

All of these insights can help you make adjustments to your strategy and stay ahead of the curve.

Always remember to share your results! Social media doesn’t exist in a silo, and sharing your LinkedIn marketing results with key stakeholders can help you gain buy-in for future initiatives and investments.

Hootsuite offers LinkedIn report templates you can customize and schedule to keep everyone in the loop.

6. Focus on leads, not sales

LinkedIn is more about social selling than social commerce. As mentioned earlier, it’s the top brand for B2B lead generation. It’s a perfect platform for building and nurturing connections that will lead to sales over time.

It’s less effective as a platform for spur-of-the-moment purchases. It’s just not the place people go when they’re looking for the latest trending items to buy.

So, rather than trying to sell directly on LinkedIn, focus on building relationships and credibility. Reach out when you see an opportunity, but offer expert advice rather than a hard sell. You’ll be front of mind when the time is right for a buyer to make the purchasing call.

That said, using LinkedIn to drive online sales is not impossible. If you want to take this approach, position your product or service in a business-appropriate context. It might be helpful to work with an appropriate influencer, KOL (key opinion leader), or brand.

7. Build your employer brand

Building your employer brand is about more than just job postings. It’s all about showcasing what it’s like to work at your company so candidates feel motivated to join your team.

A strong employer brand makes life much easier for everyone working in your recruiting department. After all, no matter how great a particular role might sound, no one wants to work at a company that gives them doubts or seems like a poor cultural fit.

One of the best ways to show off your culture is to harness the enthusiasm of your existing employees. For example, at Hootsuite, employee advocacy accounts for 94% of organic employer brand content impressions. An employee advocacy tool makes it easy for employees to share approved brand content with their networks.

And a chorus of ringing endorsements of the corporate culture from people who work there provides exceptional social proof for potential new recruits.

Businesses can also add a Trending Employee Content galley to their LinkedIn Page. It’s based on associated hashtags, like this example from Google.

various employee ugc photos shown in grid on google linkedin page

Source: Google on LinkedIn

8. Be human

LinkedIn research shows employee networks have an average of 10 times more connections than a company has followers. Not to mention, employee content gets twice as many click-throughs when posted by an employee rather than on the company’s business page.

On the recruiting front, employees are likely to have LinkedIn connections in their areas of expertise. When they share job opportunities, they reach a much more targeted audience than your LinkedIn company page.

That’s one of the many reasons why it’s important to include personal profiles in your LinkedIn marketing strategy. That might mean training your C-suite on how to use LinkedIn effectively for thought leadership content. Or it might mean encouraging your employees to share their work life on LinkedIn.

Remember that users can choose to follow personal profiles. This way, they see content from people they want to learn from but don’t know well enough to send a connection request. That further extends the reach of everyone who works for your company, from entry-level employees to the CEO.

Always make it easy for employees to share content on their LinkedIn profiles with an employee advocacy program. Hootsuite Amplify helps you manage and share approved content. You can also use this social media advocacy and marketing tool to measure results and increase employee engagement.

9. Engage with the community

Think of LinkedIn as a digital networking event. You wouldn’t just sit in the corner and wait for people to talk to you. You would actively join conversations, introduce yourself, and contribute valuable insights.

The same goes for LinkedIn marketing. It’s not enough to post content and hope people engage with it. Actively engaging with your audience shows that you value their opinions and are interested in building relationships.

Replying to comments on your posts, congratulating colleagues on their achievements, and showing support for those who may be newly looking for work are all ways to participate in the community and build a positive reputation.

linkedin comment thread showing hootsuite replying to every comment

Hootsuite Inbox makes it easy to stay on top of comments and direct messages on your LinkedIn content. You can also assign these tasks to team members or integrate your CRM for a complete view of your buyers’ interactions.

hootsuite inbox showing all comments in replies in one dashboard

But don’t just focus on your own content. LinkedIn recommends sharing an update from an outside source and four pieces of content from others for every piece of self-promotional content you share. Using social listening streams in Hootsuite can help you find relevant content to share with your audience.

In addition, creating your own LinkedIn group can also help build your reputation as a thought leader and expand your network. Just make sure to actively contribute valuable insights instead of solely promoting yourself or your company. Remember, building relationships is key to long-term success on LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn offers various paid options for businesses and professionals looking to reach a wider audience. Here are some of the most popular LinkedIn ads that can be used on LinkedIn.

Sponsored content ads

This type of ad allows you to promote your company’s content, such as blog posts or videos, directly in users’ feeds.

Currently, there are six types of sponsored content ads on LinkedIn:

Single image ads

Best for driving traffic to your website or landing page.

linkedin single image ad shown in full screen and mobile version

Source: LinkedIn

Carousel ads

Carousel ads allow you to include multiple images in one ad, which can be useful for showcasing products or telling a story.

Video ads

Perfect for capturing attention and engaging viewers with dynamic visuals.

Event ads

Promote your upcoming event and drive registrations directly within LinkedIn.

linkedin event ad for flexis harnessing data webinar

Source: LinkedIn

Document ads

Share your company’s whitepapers, case studies, or other informative materials with a targeted audience.

Thought leader ads

Target and promote content from influential industry professionals or thought leaders.

linkedin thought leadership ad showing linkedin ceo promoting talent connect

Source: LinkedIn

Sponsored messaging ads

LinkedIn’s sponsored messaging allows you to send personalized direct messages to targeted audiences, making it an effective way to nurture leads and drive conversions.

There are currently two types of sponsored messaging ads on LinkedIn:

1. Conversation ads: These use LinkedIn’s chatbot technology to deliver a guided experience for recipients.

linkedin conversation ad giving users links to different company landing pages

Source: LinkedIn

2. Message ads: This allows you to send targeted direct messages with customizable CTAs.

linkedin messaging ad showing a user inviting another user to join their fixdesk product

Source: LinkedIn

Lead gen forms

With LinkedIn’s lead gen forms, you can collect valuable information from potential customers without them ever leaving the platform. Users simply click on your ad, and their profile information is automatically populated in a form they can submit with one click.

linkedin lead gen form ad showing a form where users can enter their name and business information

Source: LinkedIn

Text and dynamic ads

Text and dynamic ads allow you to create highly targeted and personalized ads based on user data, such as job title or company size. These can be an effective way to reach niche audiences with tailored messaging.

There are currently there types of text and dynamic ad options:

  1. Text ads: Simple, text-based ads that appear on the side of users’ LinkedIn pages.
  2. Spotlight ads: Great for sending direct traffic to your website or landing page with more prominent placement on users’ LinkedIn pages.
  3. Follower ads: Used to target and attract new followers for your LinkedIn Page.

How to create a LinkedIn marketing strategy

Now that you understand the various options available for LinkedIn marketing, it’s time to create a strategy.

Need help? Download our FREE LinkedIn marketing strategy template.

1. Define your objectives

Start by identifying your business objectives and how LinkedIn can help you achieve them. This could include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

2. Identify your target audience

Use LinkedIn’s targeting options to identify who you want to reach with your content and ads. Consider factors such as job title, industry, seniority level, and location.

You may want to create two target audiences:

  1. The audience your content is currently reaching. Use this to determine the effectiveness of your current content strategy.
  2. The audience you would like to reach. Use this to identify any gaps in your current strategy and how you can adjust your content and targeting to better reach them.

3. Check out the competition

Take a look at what your competitors are doing on LinkedIn and identify any opportunities or gaps in their strategy. This can help you differentiate your content and stand out to potential customers.

4. Build a content calendar

Planning your content out in advance can help you stay on track and ensure you are consistently posting. Use a content calendar to map out what type of content you will post, when, and who will be responsible for creating it.

social media posts drafted and scheduled in hootsuite content calendar

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5. Create great content

As mentioned earlier, consistently posting valuable and engaging content is key to successful LinkedIn marketing. Use a mix of written, visual, and video content to keep your audience engaged.

6. Prioritize audience engagement

Engaging with your audience is just as important as creating content. Make a plan for how you’ll respond to comments, messages, and mentions on LinkedIn. Set aside resources and talent to handle this aspect of your strategy.

7. Leverage LinkedIn-specific features

Your strategy should include utilizing LinkedIn features such as:

  • Spotlight Pages
  • Employee advocacy program
  • LinkedIn newsletters
  • LinkedIn events
  • LinkedIn ad campaigns
  • and more

Innovation on LinkedIn is constant, so it’s important to stay updated and take advantage of new features as they become available.

8. Measure and adjust

As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to regularly measure and analyze your results.

Use analytics tools like the native LinkedIn analytics, as well as more robust tools like Hootsuite Analytics or Hootsuite Advanced Analytics, to track the success of your LinkedIn marketing efforts.

Experiment with different types of content, targeting options, and ad formats to see what works best for your LinkedIn page.

graph showing link clicks to page cart additions in hootsuite advanced analytics

LinkedIn content strategy tips

Need some LinkedIn content strategy inspiration? Here are a few tips to help you create compelling and effective content on the platform.

Write long posts (sometimes)

While other platforms may favor shorter posts, LinkedIn is known for its long-form content. From thought leadership articles to industry insights and personal stories, longer posts tend to perform well on LinkedIn. However, don’t just write long posts for the sake of it. Make sure they are relevant, valuable, and engaging for your audience.

Feel free to repurpose longer blog posts or articles and post them natively on LinkedIn. But don’t go too long too often. LinkedIn recommends articles be around 500 to 1,000 words.

Be sure to add SEO titles, descriptions, and tags for LinkedIn articles. This helps other users find your original content. If you regularly post long-form content, consider creating a LinkedIn Newsletter. LinkedIn saw 150 million newsletter subscriptions in Q1 of 2023.

Experiment with different content types

Don’t limit yourself to just written posts on LinkedIn. Experiment with different types of content to see what resonates best with your audience.

Keep in mind the types of content that perform well on LinkedIn:

  • Text-based posts: shorter posts (around 25 words) tend to get more engagement.
  • Long-form articles: Thought leadership pieces that dive deep into a topic.
  • Carousel posts: A series of images or videos that users can swipe through.
  • Video posts: According to LinkedIn, video posts are 5x more likely to convert.
  • Newsletters: Use the LinkedIn newsletter feature to share long-form content with your network.
  • Interactive content: LinkedIn polls, PDFs, and events can all help boost engagement and drive traffic to your page.

Stuck on what to post? Try this free AI-powered LinkedIn post generator to beat writer’s block.

Include a hook above “the fold”

Remember newspapers? As in real physical newspapers that were sold at newsstands? To grab your attention, they put the biggest story on the top half of the front page. That half, of course, is above the fold. You see it as soon as you glance at the paper, without picking it up, and it intrigues you enough to buy the paper to read more.

There may not be a literal fold on your screen, but there is a metaphorical one. In this case, “above the fold” refers to the content visible without scrolling or clicking “more.” It’s the content seen without trying to pick the metaphorical paper up and turn it over.

Make the value proposition for your content clear in this prime real estate. Why should someone read on? What do you have to say that’s worth scrolling for?

LinkedIn posting strategy tips

Strategy is important when it comes to posting on LinkedIn. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your LinkedIn efforts.

Understand the best time to post

Hootsuite research shows the best time to post on LinkedIn is 1 p.m. PST on Mondays. When you’re first getting started with the platform, that’s a good place to start.

But the best time to post for your particular brand depends on your particular audience. Specifically, when they’re most likely to be online and ready to engage.

Hootsuite’s Best Time to Post feature gives you a heat map that shows when your content is most likely to make an impression.

hootsuite best time to post heatmap showing brand specific recommendations

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Schedule your posts in advance

Of course, the best time to post for your audience might not be the best time to post for you. That’s one reason why it’s a good idea to create your posts in advance and schedule them to post automatically at the best time.

Creating your posts in advance allows you to dedicate regular chunks of time to creating LinkedIn content. This is easier and more effective than trying to post on the fly. Especially when you’re creating longer-form content, it’s a good idea to block off time on your schedule and really get your brain engaged.

Creating content in advance also allows you to get more of the team involved, from senior leaders contributing their thought leadership to editors going over your work with a fine-tooth comb.

Finally, planning and scheduling your content in advance lets you see how your LinkedIn posts fit into your larger social media calendar.

Hootsuite lets you schedule in bulk, so you can build weeks or months’ worth of posts in advance.

Set up a regular posting schedule

LinkedIn recommends posting once or twice a day. If that seems overwhelming, consider posting at least once a week—this is enough to double your content’s engagement.

Once you’ve determined the best times to post, post consistently at those times. Your audience will come to expect fresh content from you on your schedule, and they’ll be primed to read it and respond.

LinkedIn DM strategy tips

Sliding into someone’s DMs can be a great way to make new connections and build relationships on LinkedIn. However, there are some etiquette rules you should follow when reaching out to someone via direct message.

Send personalized messages

Bulk direct messages may save time, but they do not get the best results. LinkedIn data shows that InMails sent individually get 15% more responses than messages sent in bulk.

For maximum effect, mention a detail in the email that shows you actually read the prospect’s profile. Did they mention a skill that’s critical to the role? Have a particularly great LinkedIn bio? Highlight something that tells them why you’re interested, and that they’re not just a potential cog in the machine.

Send shorter messages

If you’re sending InMail to a potential connection, collaborator, or candidate, you might be tempted to pack the message with details about the potential opportunity. But LinkedIn research recently found that shorter InMails see a much higher response.

Messages up to 800 characters receive an above-average response, with messages under 400 characters performing best of all.

However, 90% of those recruiting on LinkedIn send messages longer than 400 characters. So sending a shorter message can really help you stand out from the crowd.

Don’t send on Friday or Saturday

It makes sense that weekends would be slower-response days for sending messages on LinkedIn. But, oddly enough, messages sent on Sundays significantly outperform those sent on Fridays.

Other than avoiding Fridays and Saturdays, it doesn’t seem to matter much which day of the week you send InMails. Remember, though, that this is different from the best times to post content to your LinkedIn Page.

Answer all DMs

A healthy LinkedIn presence should involve two-way communication between you and your audience, just like on any other social media platform. So, when people take the time to send you a private message, make sure you don’t leave them hanging.

Responding to messages is an opportunity to build stronger connections with your audience and show your brand values in action. But community management can take up a lot of your time… that is, unless you use a social media inbox tool like Hootsuite.

With Hootsuite Inbox, you can bridge the gap between social media engagement and customer service — and manage all of your social media messages, including LinkedIn comments and DMs, in one place.

templated replies shown in hootsuite inbox

The all-in-one workspace makes it easy to: 

  • Track the history of any individual’s interactions with your brand on social media (across your accounts and platforms), giving your team the context needed to personalize replies
  • Add notes to customers’ profiles (Inbox integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics)
  • Handle messages as a team, with intuitive message queues, task assignments, statuses, and filters
  • Track response times and CSAT metrics
Reduce response time (and your workload)

Manage all your messages stress-free with easy routing, saved replies, and friendly chatbots. Try Hootsuite’s Inbox today.

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LinkedIn marketing FAQs

Is marketing on LinkedIn good?

Marketing on LinkedIn can be extremely effective, as it allows you to reach a highly targeted audience of professionals. 77% of content marketers say LinkedIn produces the best organic results, and ads on LinkedIn can reach 14.6% of the world’s population.

Is LinkedIn marketing expensive?

LinkedIn marketing can be more expensive than other social media platforms, with most reports saying cost-per-click (CPC) lands between $5 and $6. However, it’s important to consider the quality of the audience you are reaching and the potential return on investment for your brand.

If your audience is very active on LinkedIn, or if you see great results on the ads you run, it may make sense to move your advertising budget to LinkedIn.

Easily manage your LinkedIn Page and all your other social channels using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and share content (including video), reply to comments, and engage your network. Try it free today.

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By Hannah Macready

Hannah Macready is a freelance writer with 12 years of experience in social media and digital marketing. Her work has appeared in publications such as Fast Company and The Globe & Mail, and has been used in global social media campaigns for brands like Grosvenor Americas and Intuit Mailchimp. In her spare time, Hannah likes exploring the outdoors with her two dogs, Soup and Salad.

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