How to Have a Meaningful Presence on LinkedIn: Lessons From LinkedIn's Five Most Influential Brands

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for reaching business professionals. Whether you're B2B or B2C, businesses are made of people making decisions, and LinkedIn is a platform to engage with them.

The top five most followed brands on LinkedIn are:

  1. Forbes
  2. World Economic Forum
  3. Inc. Magazine
  4. Microsoft
  5. Financial Times

Why are these brands so popular on LinkedIn? How can other businesses use them as examples to improve their own LinkedIn presence? Here are four lessons on how to better manage your company's LinkedIn profile based on what the top brands are doing:

Image Credit: Forbes LinkedIn Profile

1. Don't just post industry articles. Provide relevant commentary for your target audience. 

Let your brand's personality show through your social posts. When you link to an article, let audiences know why that article stood out to you. Why should they read it? 

Forbes often asks a question in their posts to generate comments and engagement from audiences. World Economic Forum includes meaningful quotes from the article they're highlighting. Inc. Magazine writes conversationally, like "Remember when..." or "If you master this...." Identify your brand voice and let it show in your posts.

2. Provide original content tailored to your market's needs.

Five of the top ten brands on LinkedIn are media companies who have the benefit of promoting their vast supply of original content. But the other five companies are service providers who still promote original content on LinkedIn. While these are all big businesses, the lesson can carry over to businesses of all sizes: Original content tailored to your audience is key to engaging people on LinkedIn.

With Pulse, LinkedIn's media platform that promotes articles to users, you have a great opportunity for free exposure to a wide network. As people engage with your content, you're more likely to get featured in Pulse, and therefore reach even more people. While sharing industry articles from news outlets is a good way to position yourself as a source for timely updates, original content will make you stand out as an authority and "thought leader" (pardon the reference to this overused phrase).

3. Include a URL, or don't include a URL, but please be consistent.

One of my pet peeves is inconsistent use of URLs in social media posts. When you link to a website, a preview will appear with an image, title, and summary. This preview is clickable and displays the web address under the page title. You can then remove the URL from your message body and it will still stay in the preview.

Some brands only have the URL in the preview; others also have it in the message body. Either is okay but please be consistent. Inconsistent use of URLs in message bodies just looks like you forgot a step. Inc. includes the URL in the message body. Forbes does not. Take your pick and stick to it.

4. Post when your audience is online.

When reaching audiences on LinkedIn, consider when professionals are at their computer but not overwhelmed with business tasks. Most studies show that lunchtime is ideal for reaching business professionals because they're at work, on their computers, and likely to check their LinkedIn accounts before or after they take their lunch breaks.

Also, midweek tends to be the best timeframe to reach people. On Mondays, they are catching up after the weekend break, and on Fridays, their minds are out the door thinking about their weekend activities. Also, consider posting just before or just after the top of the hour. People might check their accounts after or before meetings, which usually start at the hour or end just before the hour.

For more information on LinkedIn's top ten most influential brands, check out the article here: 

http://marketing.linkedin.com/blog/10-most-influential-brands-on-linkedin-the-success-stories/.