By Michele Linn published November 7, 2013

How B2C Marketers are Using LinkedIn: Opportunities and Examples

research roundtable-part oneLinkedIn for B2C? According to our recent B2C Content Marketing 2014: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, 71 percent of B2C marketers in North America are using LinkedIn (up from 51 percent last year). But, only 42 percent of users find this channel to be effective.

While it’s common to hear that B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, is it a good channel for B2C, as well? And, more importantly, how can B2C marketers who are using LinkedIn be more effective?

We set out to answer these questions, and others, in our first of three B2C research roundtables.

Thanks to our participants, Andrew Davis (author of Brandscaping), Julie Fleischer (Kraft Foods), David Germano (Empower MediaMarketing), Buddy Scalera (Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide), and Michael Weiss (Content Marketing Institute/figure18), as well as our moderator, Karen Budell (Imagination Publishing).

Content Marketing World B2C Research Roundtable (Part 1): LinkedIn for B2C from Content Marketing Institute on Vimeo.

The conversation provides a great overview of how B2C marketers are currently using LinkedIn, and what they can be doing better. As is the case with many channels, the increased adoption of LinkedIn seems to be due, in large part, to the fact that brands think they need to have a presence there to be competitive. Of course, without a sound strategy for using this channel, you’ll never get the best results.

So, where is LinkedIn providing the greatest benefits for B2C content marketing? Here are a few suggestions, based on our roundtable discussion:

  • Recruiting: LinkedIn is an ideal platform for recruiting, regardless of the industry. And, as Carla Johnson has discussed in the past, there is a considerable opportunity for content marketing in the HR/recruiting field.
  • Influencers: Over the last year, LinkedIn has been increasing its emphasis on quality editorial with initiatives such as its Influencer program — which gives an exclusive platform to share non-promotional ideas.
  • Market research: SlideShare’s integration with LinkedIn has made it an ideal platform for B2C companies to share market research.

Examples of B2C brands on LinkedIn

The roundtable discussion got me thinking about specific examples of B2C brands using LinkedIn, so I set out to find some. While the task proved to be more difficult than I had expected, I did find several companies that have a strong B2C content marketing presence on their LinkedIn company pages.

Many of these examples place a heavy focus on recruiting, but they all use different mixes of content to achieve their goals. Some focus on the company’s culture and commitment to a greater cause, while others share employee stories. Several pages also include investor relations information. 

Starbucks 

b2c-content-marketing-starbucks

While the main focus on Starbuck’s company page on LinkedIn appears to be its employment opportunities, the company shares many other kinds of content, including investor information, ideas on how to gift Starbucks via social media, and small stories of inspiration.

Nordstrom 

nordstrom linkedin pageNordstrom’s homepage image that focuses on business suits struck me, as it was one of the few pages that touts its products, but does so in a relevant way. In addition to highlighting how to find the right fit for business attire, Nordstrom also shares a mix of content on topics ranging from fashion trends to cause marketing. Unlike other retailers in this space, the company, surprisingly, does not overtly emphasize available employment opportunities.

Walmart 

walmart linkedin pageWalmart’s company page serves up a mix of employment news (such as its commitment to “Hiring Our Heroes” — a program to help veterans find jobs), employee profiles, curated content about being successful, and job announcements.

Unilever

unilever linkedin pageUnilever’s company page is also highly focused on recruiting, and its status updates are composed of a mix of website links and videos that aim to show potential applicants some of the reasons they might want to work for the brand.

Procter & Gamble

procter-gamble linkedin pageProcter & Gamble’s company page is geared toward communicating with its stockholders (investor relations information), current employers (posting a picture of one of their plants/factories and asking people to guess its location) and potential recruits (such as links to articles about what it is like to work for P&G).

I’d love to hear from you: What do you think B2C brands are doing well on Facebook. Please be specific with examples if you can.

You can also see more results from our B2C content marketing research, visit CMI’s Research Page.

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute and a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing.

Other posts by Michele Linn

  • Reshu Rathi

    Great examples Michele! I think that both B2B and B2C marketers should use LinkedIn. Though for B2B marketers, LinkedIn is the top social media site and B2C
    marketers prefer other social media sites like Facebook.

    But, like you said, if used strategically, LinkedIn can be used to reach B2C customers. Here are some points that B2C marketers should keep in mind while using LinkedIn.

    1) Your LinkedIn company page should be completely professional. It’s very important to decide your goals before you start using LinkedIn. Like you have shown with examples, it could be used for recruitment, creating brand awareness or for lead generation.

    2) Create a LinkedIn profile that is written for the audience you want to connect with.

    3) Focus on consumers instead of your product and services. Tell them how your product will benefit them.

    4) Focus on building relationships first than just promoting your brand.

    • http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Michele Linn

      Thanks for the great additions, Reshu. Like you say, I think companies who have a specific focus with LinkedIn certainly do better.

      Do you know of any other B2C brands who are using LinkedIn well?

      • Reshu Rathi

        Though you have covered most of them here, there are few other B2C brands using LinkedIn to their advantage.

        Urban Outfitters – Retail store Urban Outfitters uses LinkedIn to post job openings.

        ConAgra Foods are successfully using their Products & Services tab to showcase what their business has to offer.