Adopt, adapt and innovate – the keystones of successful business

Adopt, adapt and innovate - the keystones of successful business

Business has gone through dramatic changes over the past year and, for those working in the B2B area, LinkedIn has most definitely been one of the most used social networks (and probably one of the few places where business took place since offline interaction wasn’t possible due to the pandemic). For many, the changes from LinkedIn have come as a big surprise and they simply have had to adapt to the new rules of the social network. Summertime is a good time for taking a look back and iIn this article we’ll go through a few things we find should be given some attention and believe would be useful for our readers: 

A few things to keep in mind about LinkedIn: 

*Last year (2020) LinkedIn had increased usage enriched with video momentum and a rise in conversations on the app. 

*LinkedIn gains 3 new members per second.

*There are 2,9 million groups on LinkedIn created focusing on interest communities, company and university alumni groups and professional associations.

*LinkedIn Live streams have increased 89% since March.

In this post we’ll go over 10 things that you can do to become more influential on LinkedIn, including how much you should be posting, when to post, what to post, as well as how to take advantage of some of LinkedIn’s cool features such as LinkedIn Live, discovering hashtags by popularity and post analytics.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to building a stronger LinkedIn presence in 2021.

Considering all the changes made to LinkedIn, as well as the overall market movements and behavioural changes that took place lately, here are a few suggestions on how to freshen up your appearance: 

  • Post regularly – This is the simplest step you could take, yet many times it is one of the hardest things to maintain. It looks as if it takes nothing, yet it does require time, attention, content choice or creation and an execution plan.

This is the easiest way to optimize the number of posts and keep track of the activity and results you are achieving. 

Few ways to do this is to pay attention to the number of engagements on the post, the number of visitors to the post, the cumulative numbers in the period the campaign was conducted and the results on the other side – the percentile increase in sales activities, the differential (percentage) of the number of sales conversations and closed deals. These are parameters you can use to optimize and pivot your marketing and content strategies for communications channels. 

Here are a few experiences gathered from free reports in online research on the topic that you might find useful: 

  • Less than 30 posts monthly is recommended. Statistics show that keeping below 30 posts monthly receives the most engagement and rising the number of posts gradually leads to significant drop in engagement. But keep at least 10 posts monthly since this is the minimum that falls in the good engagement category field on the curve. Cracking this in weekly plans, that is 2-3 posts weekly to achieve the best results. 

Mornings are a better time to share content since the post would be up all day and will allow time for engagement and responses from the target audience.

Boosting posts on LinkedIn has become popular and around 50% of companies in the USA use this practice on their LinkedIn pages. This may be something to consider especially if you are in the USA, EU or generally in the international space and are surrounded by aggressive competition. 

Carefully choose the type of content –  visuals and video content are still winning the game. Visuals generally get 94% more total views than non visual content, so use images, videos, slides and nicely crafted visual documents.

When speaking of LinkedIn, it is better to upload the content directly to LinkedIn ruther than use links that lead to other websites. 

  • Share content and posts from other people or other sources. This shows that you have an understanding for social activity and that you can value someone else’s achievements, opinions and thoughts.  There is one rule by Joe Pulizzi that says: 

“For every one self-serving post, you should repost one relevant post and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”

Share your opinion. We all expect you actually have one! Don`t you? Avoid being just a messenger, share your thoughts , your dwellings, your questions. It is your input in the world wide creative process. There have even been some academic polemics around this subject coming up with interesting names praising or judging the trends and events, but it is how the world evolves. 

  • Go live – Going live has changed a lot. No more hiding on the table. People are looking for authenticity and Live streams give them that sense of reality. 

79% of marketers claim that live videos bring them in authentic audience and interactions and 82% of users would rather watch live video from a brand than read a social post. Live videos receive 7 times more reactions and more than 20 times more comments compared to a simple video upload of content.  

During the pandemic, brands relied on social media prospecting to keep in touch with their customers. This probably even accelerated the breakthrough of Live videos as a way to achieve the real behind-scenes looks of companies. 

  • Hashtags – use hashtags. Using both relevant and popular hashtags will give a broader reach to your posts. Hashtags will enable your potential audience to find your posts easier. 

Few more things that are worth thinking about: 

  • Data literacy – as AI is penetrating in the everyday life of companies and impacting business organizations and processes it will become increasingly important to educate companies and people in reading and understanding data since it is expected that the input and flow of data will continue to grow and this will move the focus from collecting data on to controlling it, managing it and using it.
  • It seems that 2021 is a year of business model innovations. Businesses are impacted by technological influences, the pandemic and the market movements and global geopolitics. All this put together businesses will be pushed into business model innovation. Some industries were completely transformed, like the hospitality and the events industry. With such big changes in bigger parts of economies it is highly expected that all industries will have to somehow innovate their operational and business models.
  • Automation – this is a two sided coin. It is trendu to use it, but we recommend not to overuse it. Automation and AI is becoming more and more incorporated into the daily routines of companies and a necessity to operate promptly and timely as demanded but it has to be balanced with human control and resources and real human input since there is still a part that requires human input and insight. It is expected that many businesses will replace people where automation can take their place – warehouses, supply chains, ships and vehicles, chatbots… all these are all fields where human capital can be replaced by automated systems and it is expected that this trend will expand to white-collar professions.

When it comes to marketing automation tools, there are plenty of solutions that offer automating posts and personalized content delivery through various channels. However, bear in mind that before setting up an automated process, you first need to have a clear plan in mind. In order to do that, you still must go through a process of human insight, updates, research, testing and optimization. It is important to note that LinkedIn and other social networks have means to recognize and block content that comes from automated activities and with using automation you risk your posts being hidden from your audience – automatically. 

Voice of brand- We live in a time when sales and marketing happens all over the place, literally. Everywhere you look there is an ad or a sales pitch and it seems that it is time to change the voice. Avoid being too salesy and try being a thought leader, have opinions on important issues and events, have principles and stand for them. This will help you build real relationships and genuine human interactions. It seems that younger generations recognize the vanity and companies that have no “purpose” struggle attracting people and customers. Companies now have a voice that is wider than just ROI, money, profit, people need to see that companies care for other people, society and the environment.

Thoughts of the author

What happened to LinkedIn and were we ready for so many changes? 

Is it becoming more like Facebook – just brutal marketing through paid ads or will it still keep a part of the old spirit of a network of professionals? 

LinkedIn has grown rapidly in the past couple of years. Latest numbers show that graduates are joining LinkedIn which as some of us remember wasn’t the case a few years back, where the network was predominantly senior professionals and management. So the structure has changed and obviously the rules have changed too. Was this expected? 

In my personal opinion it was more than expected. We have witnessed the change in quality and challenges that come with it with the growth of Facebook. The number of users went through the roof, the quality went down, new tools and new digital solutions have appeared and it all resulted in a new world, one that looks so simple now and was science fiction just a few decades ago.  

There was an obvious growth and abuse of automation tools used for prospecting on LinkedIn as well as a rapid rise of the number of agencies offering LinkedIn prospecting and if we are fair, that competition sort of got unhealthy pushing both agencies and companies to raise the expectations and dehumanize the process of connecting with other professionals.

LinkedIn restrictions come as a solution to this problem and will probably bring down many companies that heavily relied on automation or that have been relying mostly on numbers instead of insight, strategy, content development, adapting to trends and building communities. 

Do the new limitations in the numbers hold back people from networking? I think not, but it pushed them towards a more genuine engagement in commenting, sharing personal opinions in an open environment and creating more direct content. 

It seems that some trends that we got used to in other popular networks such as Facebook and Instagram are now finding a new life on LinkedIn, like LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Stories, video chats simply as a commodity and affirmation of reality that we have acquired living in the digital era. 

LinkedIn restrictions that limit the number of invitations to 100 per week are perhaps limiting the speed of network growth, but they are humanizing the engagement, reading, comprehension and are shining a spotlight on the details and real human conversations. 

This tells us that prospecting and marketing activities will be pushed into different channels and it will become inevitable to nurture all channels simultaneously and harmonize – this will include running the LinkedIn pages, the personal profiles, e-mail channels and web pages and interaction will flow back and forth between all these communication channels and professional appearance will be more demanding. This was already seen in sales as all the reports say one simple thing – sales are becoming harder and conversion rates dropped in general. To put it simply, a few years back around 8-10% from the outreach converted to sales talk and continuously is dropping and today is around 2%. This trend is expected with the growth of digital platforms and channels that are to be managed and the growth of users, content and data that has to be processed. All of these trends and realities are inevitable and the business community will simply have to learn to live with them and be creative in different ways in order to continue to do business. 

It seems that there is some more news coming our way and that only those who adopt and adapt to it will keep on swimming in the business world.