LinkedIn has something no other social platform does, it’s built entirely on professional networks—and not on funny cat videos. Unlike YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, people come to LinkedIn for one thing:
To connect with a professional network.
This means that people are in an entirely different mindset when they pop up their LinkedIn feed versus when they sit back and scroll through Instagram Reels.
And that’s LinkedIn’s true power. Having a LinkedIn marketing strategy means that you’re marketing your expertise as an agency owner, business owner, or marketer to the people who genuinely care.
People on LinkedIn aren’t there to scroll past your educational marketing post so they can see their cousin’s wedding photos. They want to grow their network, learn from experts, and see how others can help them reach their business and professional goals.
You can do all of that with these 8 steps, perfectly curated by Linkedin expert and Youtube content creator Natasha Vilaseca. We’ll highlight the 8 steps here and add our expertise in digital marketing to marketers and business owners.
Let’s make your LinkedIn marketing strategy for 2021…
Step 1: Know Your Customer Avatar
Before you hit publish on a LinkedIn post (or any social post), you have to know your ideal viewer. If you don’t, it’s like taking a random sentence made in a word generator, paying $15,000 to have it put on a billboard, and wondering why nobody bought your product.
In Natasha’s video, she goes over the importance of starting your LinkedIn strategy with your viewer.
“Who are you marketing to?”
We use the Customer Avatar Worksheet to help our DigitalMarketer Lab members and Certified Partners figure out the goals, values, morals, pain points, challenges, and more of their customer avatars. This worksheet turns “What should we post?” into “Clearly we need to post this!”—which turns into subscribers and conversions down the road.
Step 2: Optimize Your Profile To Answer These Questions
In regards to your Linkedin profile visitors, Natasha points out that “people are looking to answer a few questions for themselves as fast as possible.” The questions include:
- Is this person useful to me?
- Is this person credible?
- Is interacting with this person useful for me right now?
Optimize your profile to make sure you’re answering these questions and moving viewers into followers who want to engage with your content (and opt-in to your lead magnets!).
Step 3: Grow Your Network Strategically
Your LinkedIn requests might be piling up, but that doesn’t mean everybody is a good fit. Your goal on LinkedIn is to grow your network strategically, a strategy Natasha breaks down into two types of readers:
1. Thought Leaders
Thought leaders are your direct and indirect competitors. Natasha puts it perfectly by saying, “Stay curious about your competition.” You want to see what they’re doing so you can always stay a few steps ahead.
Chances are that you’re looking for an ROI from the time you spend on LinkedIn. That’s where curating content for your customer avatar comes in. The goal is to get prospects to either message you about your services (huge win!) or be warmed up to who you are and what you can do for them when you reach out to them in the future.
Step 4: Implement a Content Strategy
Let’s be honest, organic reach isn’t what it used to be. Once advertising hit social platforms, it became clear that pushing organic content wouldn’t be their main priority. While it’s hard*er* to grow on LinkedIn, it’s not impossible. You just have to come in with a strategy and know that crossing your fingers doesn’t count.
Natasha suggests using AnswerThePublic to find content topics your audience would be interested in. We suggest taking those topics and figuring out 3-5 content pillars that you’ll be known for in your niche. For example,
A freelance e-commerce marketer’s content pillars will be:
- The future of e-commerce marketing based on technology and trends
- Strategies for e-commerce marketing (as proven with social proof)
- Your marketing tool stack
This is the foundation of branding. It gives your audience a way to categorize what to expect from you and helps them realize that it’s exactly the type of content they want to read.
Step 5: Create Value in Your Cold Messages
Natasha takes a buyer-first selling approach when it comes to her outbound DMs. She always puts the buyer’s needs before her own and never sends templatized, unimpressive messages.
“If you send cookie-cutter messages, you get cookie-cutter responses (or no responses!).”
She’s big on making sure each message is personalized to show the reader that she didn’t blast out 100 of these at once. She took her time to make sure this message gave value to her cold lead before she started asking them to work with her.
As Natasha explains, “Connect with people like they’re human. Don’t just treat them like a sales opportunity.”
Step 6: Lean Into Your *Free* Sales People
Some of the best sales people for your business have never taken a sales course, don’t spend their time on sales calls, and haven’t touched a CRM. These are the people who can get you the highest conversion, for the lowest rate.
They’re your past and present customers. People who know you do great work and are happy to pass the word on…especially if you offer a commission. Natasha suggests using LinkedIn to reach out to your customers and ask them if they know of anyone that needs your services.
If they do, you can give them a kickback in commission.
Step 7: Use a CRM Right Away
Natasha, along with thousands of other marketers and business owners, has learned this lesson the hard way. Thinking you can keep track of everything going on with your outbound and inbound leads is cute, but it’s not reality.
You’ll need a CRM system to help you keep track of conversations and make sure that leads don’t metaphorically fall into the crack between your oven and counter (the place where nothing ever returns from).
Natasha suggests setting this up right away because it’ll help you with Step 8, which is the part of this strategy that can scale your business… massively.
Step 8: Split Test And Optimize Your Inbound And Outbound Messages
Time for our favorite part. As marketers, it feels like A/B testing must have been one of the first phrases we ever stitched together as babies. It’s the foundation of any scalable marketing strategy (and the reason why you need to set up a CRM yesterday).
With your CRM, you’ll be able to split test and optimize the messages you’re sending. As Natasha explains, “Check out how many people are responding positively, convert to meeting, and close. See how different variable changes can impact those numbers.”
And that’s exactly what a great marketer would do. They’d see what the difference between adding a personalization at the beginning and end of the article would do. Or, they’d see if longer messages convert better than shorter ones. Test, test, test.
Natasha Vilaseca Knows Her LinkedIn Marketing
LinkedIn has a different type of superpower when compared to the other ad platforms available. Instagram is great, but people don’t scroll Instagram with the intention of learning something business-changing, and they definitely don’t watch TikTok with that intention either.
With LinkedIn, people are there to network, find opportunities, and meet people who could change their business (and resolve their pain points). That’s why your LinkedIn content can be one of the highest converting parts of your social marketing strategy.
The best LinkedIn marketing strategy for 2021 follows Natasha Vilaseca’s 8 steps:
- Know Your Customer Avatar
- Optimize Your Profile To Answer These Questions
- Grow Your Network Strategically
- Choose Your Content Pillars
- Create Value in Your Cold Messages
- Lean Into Your *Free* Sales People
- Use a CRM Right Away
- Split test and optimize your inbound and outbound messages
Now there’s only one thing left to do. Start with Step 1 and figure out who your customer avatar is.