Posted by Cognito on Mon, Jun 13 2016

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Eight things Financial Services PRs and Marketers need to know about LinkedIn

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By Yvonne Maher

How the financial services community uses LinkedIn has changed dramatically in the last few years. It is no longer a hunting ground for job seekers and recruitment consultants but a brilliant channel for individuals and brands to share and engage with interesting content. Personally I couldn’t live or do my job without LinkedIn. Not only is it a way of keeping in touch with my connections, it’s my go-to place for research and insights on anything from economic trends to work/life balance topics.

The case for LinkedIn is compelling; it is the world’s largest community of professionals, with over 414 million members and counting, which includes 40m decision makers and 10m opinion leaders. The financial services community has embraced LinkedIn and the most targeted audiences within the sector include CFOs, asset managers, financial advisors and institutional investors.

But when it comes to developing a financial marketing strategy, where do you start?  

I recently attended a LinkedIn Finance Masterclass workshop in London, with a host of communications and marketing professionals, including Cognito’s social media manager, Katie Kinnear, who all shared their expertise and experiences on content marketing, social channels and LinkedIn. Here are my top take outs:

1.     What’s the point?

All participants agreed that there is little point in developing a social strategy if from the outset you don’t have an objective. Ask yourself the most basic question. Why are you investing in social? Is it to build awareness, support lead generation or recruit staff?  This means any piece of content you generate should have a purpose and should be measurable. Everyone should be clear on what success looks like.  

2.     Employees are your digital ambassadors

As a professional social network, LinkedIn is about individuals and these individuals, i.e. your employees are your biggest advocates. Every 6 content shares on LinkedIn result in 6 job views, 3 company page views, 1 new company page follower and 2 new connections. That is powerful, so imagine if the majority of your employees started sharing your content with their connections and friends.

Advise your employees on how to update and optimize their profiles with relevant key words to ensure the company and employee appear in relevant Google search results. Empower your employees to use digital and encourage them to share their opinion, work and life experiences.

3.     Think about your audience first

Good content marketing should have a purpose and help audiences solve their problems. So when creating your content think about your audience first and how you can help them at every stage of their customer journey. Be targeted in your approach, while ensuring you capture the scale of your potential audience. LinkedIn has a very clever function to help you do this.

As you develop your targeting strategy on LinkedIn, consider what your existing page followers want to learn about versus what potential prospects might be interested in. LinkedIn data shows that existing followers who have opted in to follow your page want to see company news and product updates as well as opinion pieces that make connections to broader industry trends. Alternately, those who do not follow you already will not be familiar with your value proposition, so you may need to simplify and streamline your sponsored posts to make your selling points totally clear.

4.     Content is like a turkey

Imagine a big fat juicy roast turkey sitting in the centre of the table waiting to be devoured by family and friends. Your Mum carves up the turkey and everyone is full. But there is still half a turkey left but you’re not going to let it go to waste. You will eat turkey for breakfast (cold turkey on brown bread with cranberry sauce; my personal favourite), lunch (turkey soup) and dinner (turkey curry anyone?).  Now imagine that the turkey is a piece of content. Customers will engage with content 10 times before making a decision therefore ensure your content takes many formats. Think of all the ways you can rework and reuse your content, whether that is infographs, research, listicles, teaser content.

5.     What content works best?

There is no straight answer to this one, it really does depend on your target audience and their interests. Images, infographs, videos all have a role to play. However pieces of advice shared include:

  • Pay attention to trends. Fintech or financial services technology, such as blockchain is a huge topic at the moment.
  • Images work: pieces of content with visuals attract more clicks and interactions than those without. Don’t use stock photos. Create and use visuals that speak to you and your company.
  • The infograph is not dead; it remains a visual tool to communicate a lot of data in a short amount of space
  • Video will continue to grow; the quality needs to high and ensure you grab the viewers’ attention in the first few seconds.

6.     Most popular content on LinkedIn

According to LinkedIn research, macroeconomic trends and topics related to the European Union were the most popular pieces of content. Who knew?! There are a lot of bright minds out there looking for great content. Other popular topics also include new innovations and technology developments (50%), followed by new updates and product launches (48%).  Bear this in mind when creating your content.

7.     Think beyond desktop and the 9-5

50% of users access LinkedIn via their mobiles, closely followed by tablets, then desktops. 76% of professionals spend more time consuming content on LinkedIn at home than they do at work. That means your content calendar shouldn’t run from 9 to 5, you need to be publishing content and engaging in the evening and at weekends.

8.     Nothing ventured, nothing gained

The beauty of social media is that we can test, optimise and measure, helping to inform the strategy on an on-going basis. The world of digital and social is constantly evolving, so take the business on a journey, share progress and enjoy the ride.  

Find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yvonnemaher
Yvonne.maher@cognitomedia.com

Topics
LinkedIn, Marketing,
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