LinkedIn was just acquired by Microsoft for $26B dollars, and change.

In case you missed the news, read more about it here.

So what does this mean for your business? What does this mean, if you’re a marketer that’s hitched your wagon to LinkedIn?

Initially, it doesn’t mean a lot. But over the next 1-2 years, Microsoft will take over and begin using LinkedIn’s platform to promote their products.

And we predict that before long you’ll see another technology giant, like Microsoft, acquire other social media platforms like Twitter. Could Apple, Google, or Oracle acquire Twitter, perhaps?

What this means.

If you’re a business that uses LinkedIn to promote content, then I’d suggest spending less and less time on it because LinkedIn will eventually become a promotional-breeding-ground for all of Microsoft’s products.

After all, why do you think Microsoft bought LinkedIn?

Data. Pure and simple.

Microsoft needs customer data to market and sell their products to. What a better audience than the 433 million business users of LinkedIn.

So if you’re spending money through paid ads on LinkedIn, or are spending time on LinkedIn groups, or utilizing LinkedIn Publishing to share content, then I’d suggest getting away from this and considering other platforms in which to market your business.

You don’t have to completely jump ship tomorrow, but I’d suggest weaning yourself from this social media forum over time.

Promote your content through other social media platforms.

When businesses use only one platform to promote their brand, they severely limit themselves.

The limitation comes when a social media giant, like LinkedIn, get acquired and changes how it works. We’ve seen this before with Facebook.

For example, a few years ago the trend was for businesses to just have a Facebook page, and not a website. Small businesses would create Facebook business pages and post content to these pages. They didn’t have a website, and if they did they were pretty bad. Business owners and marketers posted things to Facebook like coupons, promotional messages, special events and all kinds of free advice.

Then something happened: Facebook needed to start making money by selling advertising. So Facebook changed the algorithm of their platform to only help business pages that had a certain number of follower because the more followers means the more ads can be served to them (our CEO often says everything is about money; we believe him).

This means that your business page with less than 500 followers is irrelevant. It’s irrelevant because maybe 10% of your total followers will see the content you post. And 10% of 500 is 50 people.

Posting multiple times a day seems like a lot of work only to get your messaging in front of 50 people, doesn’t it?

Just like the Facebook example, LinkedIn is no different. If you’ve been putting all your eggs in one basket, like LinkedIn, then it’s time to diversify and start using other platforms to promote your company’s web content.

That way you don’t pigeonhole yourself into one social media platform, that’s undoubtedly going to change and make life harder for you. Here are a few other mediums to consider:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram (owned by Facebook and the paid ad platforms work together to share and promote your content between the two)
  • Snapchat
  • Start a podcast

Have a content marketing strategy.

When it comes to marketing online, especially on social media, we follow a specific process we call the three P’s. The three P’s are persona, publish, and promote.

Using this methodology is the first step to crafting a content marketing strategy that will result in increased traffic, leads, and engagement.

But what do the three P’s have to do with posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter?

The most important part of marketing is understanding your prospects and customers. You need to listen to them and learn from them. You need to know where they spend their time, what their interests are, and how they use information when they make buying decisions. This is paramount to how your company uses LinkedIn and social media to promote your brand.

This process will help you figure out the who, what, when, why and how, of best finding success with social media.

So what’s a persona?

Your persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Imagine your best paying client or customer. The one who always pays on time, and the one who’s best aligned with your company’s values. This is your persona. By identifying this fictional character through a simple persona exercise, you now have a blueprint to effectively sell and market to your ideal prospects.

Download our free guide on how to discover who your ideal customer is.

Magic happens when you know your customer and understand who and what is important to them. This is what inspires prospects, leads to sales, and this is also a key trait of a great marketer.

  • A great marketer listens to their persona and learns what their pain points are, then write about these struggles.
  • A great marketer then sends this content to them, via a strong email marketing strategy, and repeats this on a consistent basis.
  • A great marketer weaves SEO and authority into their content, and includes a thoughtful approach to keyword and keyphrase strategy into the process.

On the other extreme, here’s the consequences with producing content that’s not driven by the demands of your ideal prospect/persona:

  • Typical marketers will write content that’s salesy.
  • Typical marketers will strive to publish content that’s low quality.
  • Marketers who are status quo publish content that’s short, and all about them.
  • Typical marketers treat their prospects like the nail: if the only tool you have is a hammer, then you’ll treat everything as if it were a nail.

By approaching your marketing with this step, you’re setting the foundation for future success in your social media marketing.

What’s the publish part of the three P’s?

Publish means just what it means: publish content online that’s relevant, and publish often.

And don’t worry about perfection. Have standards, but throw perfection out the window and publish content that’s helpful and solves problems for your persona.

Also remember that the web and social media isn’t a direct one-to-one sales interaction. It’s indirect. Consumers, more specifically your prospects, go to the web to get educated and influenced. They don’t go there to buy. Getting your prospects and persona to buy is YOUR job, not some random Facebook post.

If you’re publishing content that’s dripping with compelling copy, designed to move your prospect down a certain funnel, they will reach out to you. Your prospects will convert to filling out forms on your website, and you’ll be able to have a dialogue with them through this interaction, and ultimately make a sale.

What kinds of content should you publish?

  • Social media content. (when on social, be sure and publish video and images)
  • Publish blog content. (the more the better)
  • Publish case studies that are easily downloadable to prospects.
  • Publish e-books that are educational and informational.
  • Publish influencer pieces, from credible sources within your industry.
  • Publish what’s critically important to your persona.

What’s the promote part of the three P’s?

After you’ve developed your persona and have content to publish, you’ll need to know where your audience is spending their time.

Once you feel you have a good handle on this, then you’ll need to start sharing and promoting your web content as an overall part of your content marketing plan. This will help your audience get their eyeballs on your brand and your message.

But it ain’t easy. It takes trial, error and lots of difficult conversations.

Marketing isn’t sales and you can’t treat it as such. You can’t expect to promote your blog on Facebook and Twitter, then see 500 leads come through your door. Promoting your content takes finesse, time and money. But done right, you’ll be able to see results over time.

For instance, let’s say your persona is the partner of a medium-sized accounting firm. He works 60+ hours a week, has two kids, and a wife. He drives a 2013 Chevy Tahoe and resides in Hartford, Connecticut. Let’s call this guy Anthony.

In order to effectively promote your new content, you’ll need to know where Anthony spends his hours. Does Anthony surf his mobile device and read the news on the CNN app? Or Fox News app? Maybe Anthony’s on Facebook for 45 minutes a day, like most other Facebook users.

And when Anthony wants to learn more about IT services, or marketing solutions for his company, where does he go? Does he search online using Google, Yahoo, Bing, or Safari?

Is your persona active on a certain online forum? Do they spend time on Facebook, Twitter, or on certain apps? Where do they go for answers to their buying questions?

Once you’ve researched where your persona spends their time, you’ll want to promote your awesome content there.

Filling your sales pipeline with content marketing.

Let’s recap.

First, move away from LinkedIn, and avoid situations where you’re using one, singular platform, like LinkedIn, to grow your business.

Second, use multiple social media sites, as well as your website, to market to your prospects. Other social media platforms to consider are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram (owned by Facebook and the paid ad platforms work together to share and promote your content between the two)
  • Snapchat
  • Start a podcast

Third, have a content marketing strategy. The best crafted plans are one’s that are flexible and adaptable. Your content marketing strategy is no different. Have a strategy, but be willing to adjust it. Not having some sort of plan equals failure.

Lastly, focus on the three P’s of marketing. Persona, publish and promote. This formula will help your business avoid costly mistakes in your marketing.

Ask us anything.

Shoot us an email, we’ll give you a free consultation and answer whatever questions you may have about LinkedIn, social media or how to effectively market your business online.