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Opinion

Influencer Marketing on LinkedIn: Is it a Thing?

When we speak of influencer marketing, two of the first channels that come to mind are Instagram and YouTube. LinkedIn doesn’t make the list of top five influencer marketing channels, so is there a good reason?

Created for business professionals, the platform has been used solely as an employee recruiting tool for a long time. Today, LinkedIn is a major professional social media platform where experts in various fields share their thoughts, grow their network, and most importantly, make money.

With the evolution of LinkedIn, a huge number of professionals have become influencers. They have massive followings, drive authentic engagement, and successfully market their own or their partners’ businesses on the platform.

Like any other channel, LinkedIn marketing doesn’t work for everyone. While some B2C companies manage to find their audience on the channel, LinkedIn is most effective for B2B brands. 

The rapid growth of the platform in the last years resulted in higher competition, making it more and more challenging to catch business professionals’ for individuals and companies without an active audience (we say active, not large). Sound familiar? Then this article is for you.

Let’s dive into the basics of influencer marketing on LinkedIn and then move on to the process of growing your brand exposure with the help of the right partnerships.

Introducing influencer marketing on LinkedIn

The trend for diversifying marketing strategies and going beyond Facebook advertising has been growing lately. 

While some B2B companies are looking toward new and rising channels, trying their luck with TikTok advertising and live streaming on Clubhouse, it’s safer to make the most out of LinkedIn marketing first. And partnering with influencers can become a game-changer for your growth strategy on the channel.

LinkedIn influencer marketing is a tactic that involves establishing partnerships with LinkedIn members with large followings and relevant expertise in order to boost your brand’s reach and strengthen credibility.

The key benefit of LinkedIn influencer marketing

On LinkedIn, there are millions of B2B professionals willing to connect and learn from each other. Many of them are decision-makers. In fact, you won’t find so many business professionals on any other channel.

However, building a marketing strategy on LinkedIn isn’t an easy thing. Being the top channel for lead generation for 42.38% of B2B marketers, LinkedIn forms an incredibly competitive environment for businesses.

To cut through the noise, you need to either invest in a solid plan and follow it consistently for months (without any guarantee it will work) or turn to people who have already gathered your target audience in their network.

LinkedIn influencers have been building their authority for years, and their followers trust them implicitly. Their posts receive thousands of views and hundreds of likes and comments.

LinkedIn influencers usually position themselves as experts in specific niches, such as content marketing, advertising, product development, leadership, etc. This allows them to gather people who are invested in the subject and are highly relevant to what an influencer says in their posts.

Of course, the best part about LinkedIn influencer marketing is that it’s still an untapped opportunity for many companies. By implementing it in your marketing strategy, you still have great chances to stand out and outperform your competition. 

How to find LinkedIn influencers

Rule number one – don’t rely on lists of top influencers. If you search for ‘top LinkedIn influencers’ and related keywords, you’ll find lists that include Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Gary Vaynerchuk. 

These are incredibly successful people with huge audiences. However, it’s not likely they’d be interested in any kind of partnership they haven’t initiated by themselves.

Have you heard Instagram marketing experts recommend partnering with highly relevant influencers with 20K followers rather than collaborating with celebrities? This practice is also applicable to LinkedIn. 

You need to find the right balance between the popularity of the person and their engagement rates to create partnerships that drive revenue.

Let’s look at the types of influencers to prove the point.

  • Mega influencers. These people reach more than one million people with their posts. However, their engagement rates aren’t always as huge as their following. 

    While it’s clear enough nobody would seriously consider turning to Bill Gates with a collaboration idea, let’s take his profile as an example of a mega influencer and calculate his engagement rates. Having almost 40 million followers, Bill Gates gets 10-30K engagements per post. It means the engagement rate is between 0.025% and 0.075%. Now, let’s see how the numbers of macro-influencers differ.
  • Macro-influencers. A macro-influencer has over 100,000 followers. These people usually have experience in multiple topics and therefore reach a wider net.
  • Micro-influencers. These thought leaders have from 1,000 to 100,000 followers and usually get the highest authentic engagement. Surprisingly, the number of interactions below their posts isn’t far behind the statistics of macro-influencers.

Depending on your campaign goals, we recommend that you choose between macro- and micro-influencers. Partnering with macro-influencers can be helpful for brands looking to grow reach and improve brand image. Meanwhile, micro-influencers can help with lead generation and similar sales-oriented campaigns.

Ideas for collaboration with LinkedIn influencers

99.9% of LinkedIn influencers don’t care about the monetisation of their posts. Most of them are founders and board members of the world’s leading companies – having an opportunity to earn a few thousand dollars per post isn’t the reason they have built such a strong online presence.

Thought leaders on LinkedIn usually represent companies they have founded or have been managing for some time. Therefore, it’s important for them to stay credible and be able to influence other decision-makers’ opinions.

When offering collaborations to LinkedIn influencers, make sure you suggest ideas that are mutually beneficial. How will they or their brand benefit from partnering up with your company? Do you offer access to a large audience? Can you share a unique discount coupon with an influencer’s audience? The latter is a good idea only if you offer a quality product a person you want to collaborate with finds valuable.

Webinars and live Q&A’s

Inviting influencers to co-host webinars is an effective method to generate leads online.

Thought leaders are typically eager to co-host online events since it’s a way for them to reach more people and prove their expertise in the subject.

If you have an active community on Slack, LinkedIn, or Twitter, you can gain more members by inviting the LinkedIn influencer to join a Q&A session.

In the era of remote everything, people are looking for more ways to connect with each other. The opportunity to chat with a thought leader for an hour is a great incentive for people to join.

Roundups

This is a foxy but effective technique. By sharing a roundup of influencers in your niche, you can boost your page activity without even establishing any partnerships. People usually interact with the content they’re mentioned in, which leads to increasing the visibility of such posts.

Podcasts

Interview top experts in podcasts. The best thing about this type of content is that you can repurpose it for social posts and add quotes in related blog posts.

Renoun Creative is a customer success agency helping businesses grow. On their website, you can not only find service descriptions and testimonials but also a series of podcasts the company co-hosts with niche experts. The podcast with Rand Fishkin got the highest number of reactions and views on the host’s social media account than any of the previous episodes.

Articles

You can either ask an influencer to write a piece on the topic they’re proficient with or suggest interviewing them for an article. Such content is not only eagerly shared by influencers’ followers but also gets more backlinks from other authors.

Exclusive discounts

Can your tool or solution be useful for an influencer you’d like to partner with? Grant them exclusive access to it. It’s also a good idea to share coupon codes with their audience so that a thought leader will be interested in sharing the information about your product with the network.

LinkedIn posts

There’s no need to overcomplicate things. You can simply ask an influencer to post about your product on their page. The terms depend on your relationship with a person. If you’ve been in contact for some time and feel confident about asking for a favor, go for it. If not, create an offer where you explain the benefits of the collaboration for both sides.

Summing up

LinkedIn for business professionals is like Instagram for fashion retailers – with the right approach, you can make it the key channel for driving traffic, leads, and sales. 

If you have been looking for ways for increasing online visibility for your B2B brand, you should definitely start with LinkedIn influencer marketing. With it, you’ll grow your reach without the need to filter out irrelevant audiences – once you select the right people to partner with, you’ll get access to a wide network of professionals that fit your target audience.

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