According to Debra Mastaler, blog author of Link Spiel, LinkedIn for B2Bs is a hot ticket. Here are a few reasons why:
- It is populated with businesses and business professionals,
- It provides a neutral setting for companies to post information,
- People use it as a search outlet for vendors and suppliers,
- It is a good venue for establishing oneself or one’s company as an industry leader.
An increase in link-building opportunities is another perk; however, many B2Bs have yet to take full advantage of this benefit. If your B2B company is in the market for quality, relevant backlinks, then here are a few ways LinkedIn can be of assistance:
Company profile pages
LinkedIn provides a link to your company’s website from the profile page—pretty simple. Additionally, it’s worthwhile to ask employees to link to the company from their profiles as well. Suggest they consider linking to your:
- Company’s homepage
- Company’s blog
- Company’s Facebook or Twitter profile
Posting on a profile page
Populated by professionals, LinkedIn is a great outlet for posting business-related updates and content, even information that might be considered a little dry on other sites like Facebook and Twitter. Consider posting updates with relevant links leading to:
- New product or service pages
- Articles and press releases
- White papers and case studies
Additionally, if a LinkedIn member is actively searching for your type of content, then they might post one of your links elsewhere without you even having to ask. One thing to be mindful of however, is not to flood your updates with links leading to your company’s site. Be sure to include a variety of resources, including ones coming from other sites when applicable.
Outreach information haven
One method for acquiring quality links is that of blogger outreach, but between finding targets and creating engaging outreach emails this can be a daunting task. LinkedIn can help by providing:
- An advanced search – This is useful for filtering member profiles by industry. Once the field has been narrowed, check these profiles for links to sites that seem worth reaching out to.
- Common ground– You might have the industry thing in common, but in what other ways do you or your company relate to your targets? Do you both:
- Have affiliations with a school?
- Attend mutual conferences?
- Participate in the same forums?
- Belong to a mutual group?
Scanning a profile can be an easy way to go the extra mile. A thoughtful connection mentioned in an email often makes contacts more likely to provide a link.
- Contact information – Look for that elusive contact information within a user’s profile, or within a blog stemming from a profile. LinkedIn’s InMail may also be an option if no other contact info is available.
Participation on LinkedIn is not only a good way to establish yourself as an expert, but it’s a good way to pave the way for future links to your site. Two ways in which to get involved include:
- Answering questions
- Creating a group
LinkedIn’s Answers section is a means of displaying your area of expertise, by responding to questions posed by members. A “Web Resources” section is available to insert links that support your reasoning. If readers find value in your resources, then they may choose to put your link on their own website.
Creating a group is another way to build valuable industry relationships as well as links. Opportunities include:
- Linking to your company’s site from the group’s profile page
- Including relevant links within messages you send out to group members (within reason and moderation)
Groups are especially helpful for companies in very niche industries. Demonstrating your knowledge to professionals is helpful in establishing relationships, an essential step for becoming a future guest blogger, or for other outreach efforts.
In general, securing quality backlinks for B2B companies has traditionally been more difficult than doing so for B2Cs. While LinkedIn is not a quick fix for this disparity, it’s a key tool for gaining links, but perhaps more importantly, for laying a solid foundation for a quality, ongoing link-building campaign. LinkedIn holds so many benefits for a company’s off-site SEO, and so I ask, if your B2B company is not currently on LinkedIn, then what are you waiting for?!
* Photo courtesy of Adriano Gasparri via Flickr