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    December 7, 2011 // 4:15 PM

    7 Epic Marketing Uses of LinkedIn Answers

    Written by Kipp Bodnar | @

    LinkedIn LogoWith more than 120 million business professionals registered, LinkedIn is an online marketing must for B2B marketers. While personal and business profiles get most of the attention on LinkedIn, the social network has several other valuable features that can shine for inbound marketers. One of the biggest opportunities for inbound marketers is LinkedIn's Answers platform.

    LinkedIn Answers allows members to ask and answer business-related questions. Sure, marketers can use the tool to answer questions and promote their business' industry expertise, but the potential awesomeness of Answers goes far behind that obvious use case. With all of this awesome, public data, it's about time marketers learned how to get the most out of LinkedIn.

    7 Unexpected Yet Epic Ways to Use LinkedIn Answers

    1. Use Questions to Generate Blog Post Content Ideas: Consisting of countless questions and answers across different topics, LinkedIn Answers is a treasure trove of content ideas. A big part of successful business blogging is starting with a strong idea that resonates with your target audience. LinkedIn Answers gives you just that. Look at the questions posed for your industry, and check out those questions' answer counts to determine which topics are sparking the hottest conversations. Then use those topics as fodder for your business blog.

    2. Develop Clear Marketing Personas Based on Prospect Questions: Marketing will fail without a proper understanding of your target audience. As a marketer, it is critical to have a clear persona (or personas) for your target customers. You need to be able to answer questions such as: "What are my customers' key business challenges?" This, along with many other questions, can help you develop a clear marketing persona that guides all your marketing strategies and tactics. Use the advanced search feature in LinkedIn Answers to find questions and answers directly from your target customers. Stop guessing now.

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    3. Gather Quick Marketing Campaign Feedback: As marketers, we must improve and iterate quickly. One key trait of successful marketers is the foresight to test marketing campaign ideas prior to launch in order to optimize results. With LinkedIn Answers, you have a pool of prospects available to provide feedback on your marketing efforts. Pick key aspects from the campaign -- these aspects could be ideas, images, etc. -- and ask questions on LinkedIn to your target audience to generate quick feedback. This can help ensure that your ideas will resonate as expected to a broader audience once the campaign is launched.

    4. Identify Industry Influencers: In B2B marketing, it often helps to identify influential industry leaders. LinkedIn Answers is one place that industry influencers hang out online. Connecting with these industry influencers can open the door for product endorsements and co-marketing opportunities. Take a look at the top experts on LinkedIn Answers and determine which ones are relevant to your business. Then start building relationships!

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    5. Identify Potential Guest Bloggers: Your business' employees aren't the only ones who can contribute to your inbound marketing content machine. Look at questions related to your industry and identify people who have provided interesting, informative, and complete answers. Reach out to that person through LinkedIn, and ask if they'd be interested in expanding on their answer in blog post format as a guest contributor to your blog. Given that they've already done a lot of the work, many will jump at the opportunity for an inbound link and added exposure. And you'll also benefit from additional content from a fresh perspective.

    6. Kill Content Jargon: A constant challenge that haunts all marketers is communicating in the language of their customers as opposed to the jargon their businesses use internally. Take 20 minutes and read through questions and answers from your target customers. Make a list of the words they are using to describe your industry's issues and products. Use this as a guide to build a jargon-free list of marketing-friendly words for your business and to inform your SEO keyword research.

    7. Become a LinkedIn Expert: As an inbound marketer, it is important that you understand LinkedIn overall and how it fits into your marketing. Fortunately there is an entire category on LinkedIn Answers called "Using LinkedIn," which is entirely dedicated to effectively using LinkedIn. From technical to simple questions and answers, use this repository of LinkedIn content to become a LinkedIn ninja.

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    How do you use LinkedIn Answers? Have you used some of these methods outlined in this post?

    Photo Credit: TheSeafarer

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    Topics: Social Media

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