B2B marketers rate LinkedIn the most effective social media channel, as illustrated in the chart below from the Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute.
What works for B2B tends to work for B2G, although there are important distinctions. Sadly, there is almost no published research on LinkedIn marketing for companies trying to reach local governments (other than one of our own recent blog posts – Unique Challenges using LinkedIn for Local Government Marketing).
Since we live and breathe “B2LG”, we conducted some original research to assess the LinkedIn presence and marketing efforts of local governments marketers to answer several key questions:
- What percentage have a LinkedIn presence? How many of those are actively marketing?
- Which companies are “best practice” LinkedIn marketers on key dimensions:
- Attracting followers
- Creating content that engages their audience.
- Branding/ messaging
- Among the best practice firms:
- What types of content are they posting?
- What are the characteristics of posts that attracted the highest levels of engagement?
Our findings to questions 1 and 2 are below; an extensive post on question 3 will follow soon thereafter (be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss it).
82% of Local Government Marketers are Active on LinkedIn
To assess LinkedIn presence, we selected a random sample of 400 companies from our database of thousands of local government marketers. We searched for them on LinkedIn and found that 95% have at least a minimal company presence.
We then filtered out those with fewer than 10 employees (with employee profiles on LinkedIn), as such smaller firms may lack the resources for concerted marketing efforts, as well as those for whom local government is not a primary focus.
We then reviewed the company pages of the larger firms remaining to assess whether they were “actively marketing” on LinkedIn, which we defined as publishing at least two posts during the preceding 12 months. 86% were.
In other words, roughly 82% of local government marketers (with at least 10 employees) are actively marketing on LinkedIn – 86% of the 95% with a presence*.
(*For consistency, ideally we would have measured LinkedIn presence for firms with at least 10 employees, rather than all firms, but since LinkedIn itself was our source for the number of employees, that filter had to be applied later.)
Which Companies are “Best Practice” Marketers on LinkedIn?
In a perfect world, we would identify the best practice firms based on their LinkedIn results; e.g., the number of qualified leads they generate from their LinkedIn efforts. But with no hoping of getting such data, we settled for four publicly available proxies – two quantitative and two subjective:
- Number of followers
- “Engagement” (the number of likes and comments) with the posts
- Quality of branding & messaging
- Quality of the posts’ content (NOTE – we’ll cover this in our next blog post.)
Naturally, larger firms will tend to have better numbers on the quantitative metrics, even if their marketing is mediocre. To equalize for size effects, we scaled the first two metrics relative to each firms’ number of employees, and also assessed engagement figures as a percentage of their number of followers.
From this analysis, we identified five superstar local government LinkedIn marketers – logos and links to their company pages below.
For reference (and comparison with your LinkedIn results), here are stats for the leaders on three key quantitative metrics:
In the remainder of this post, we’ll highlight three of their critical practices around branding and messaging. In the next post of this series, we’ll do a deep dive into their content practices.
Practice #1: Use the LinkedIn Banner to Capture Attention & Get Your Message Out
A surprising number of companies squander the prime real estate LinkedIn provides for branding and messaging on company pages.
First impressions start with your logo and the banner image that spreads across the top of the page. Almost no one seems to forget their logo, but more than a few marketers have neglected to change the LinkedIn default banner image; e.g.,
Others do slightly better, using the banner space to show their logo (or a variation) a second time
Quite a few others present generic stock photos or illustrations with little or no connection to their brand; e.g.
The “best practice” marketers, by contrast, take full advantage of this space, both with attention getting graphics AND clear communication of brand messaging, as in the two examples below.
Practice #2: Use the Tagline Field to Deliver Your Most Critical Message
The “tagline” is the highly visible text appearing right after your company name.
Best practice marketers use that space do deliver their most critical (single) message in concise, compelling languages, ideally including critical SEO keywords.
Consider the two best practice examples below:
You’ll want to avoid these common mistakes (company names left off to protect the innocent):
- No tagline
- Vague benefits (e.g., “medical quality improvement”, “transforming second chances”)
- Overly complicated messages (e.g., “to illuminate a path forward so that we ignite transformation”, “With highly-configurable automation and a culture far from robotic, _____ champions digital transformation”).
Practice #3: Complete ALL the Elements of Your Company Profile Page – with 3 Key Audiences in Mind
While you’re adding the tagline, be sure to complete ALL the other sections of your company profile (description, URL, address, phone, industry, company size, locations, HQ, year founded, hash tags, etc.) with a similar attention to detail you put into your website.
According to LinkedIn, companies with complete information get 30% more views.
While doing so, keep 3 critical – and distinct – audiences in mind:
- Current and prospective customers
- Current and prospective employees
- SEO for Google and LinkedIn search engines.
Prospective customers are more likely to start at your website, but many will likely check you and your key executives out on LinkedIn as well. Prospective employees will almost certainly research both you and your team on LinkedIn. While doing our research for this post, we noticed that many small companies are overly focused on customers, often neglecting their (prospective) employee audience.
When writing your profile, you’ll want to write in a web-friendly style similar to your website, while employing the same critical keywords.
LinkedIn is #1 social channel for B2B (and we suspect B2LG) lead gen. To maximize your results:
- Learn from the “best practice” leaders
- Optimize your banner and tagline to capture attention and deliver your key messages
- Complete your entire LinkedIn profile.
And of course, don’t neglect the most critical factor of all – engaging, quality content.
In our next post, we’ll reveal do a deep-dive into content practices of these LinkedIn superstars, addressing:
- What types of content are they posting?
- What are the characteristics of (and links to) posts generating the most engagement?
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