From Professional to Personal: Why LinkedIn is the place to B2B

by Kirsty McLaren, Digital Account Director

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, one platform has been quietly but steadily rising to the top, and it’s not the one you might have expected…

With 950 million members as of July, LinkedIn has quietly entered the three-comma club, joining the ranks of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. While it may have started as a platform primarily focused on professional networking and job searches, it has rapidly transformed into something more dynamic, attracting a diverse and engaged user base.

The LinkedIn of today is not the LinkedIn of a few years ago. It has evolved into a platform where personal stories, experiences, and authenticity thrive. As a result, the platform is more popular than ever.

And this shift in LinkedIn’s culture and its growing engagement levels now present a unique opportunity for B2B brands. LinkedIn is the right place, and now is the right time.

The Surge in User Engagement

While many of us may have had a profile for years, more of us are active than ever before. Posts have increased by a remarkable 41% from 2021 to 2023, proving LinkedIn is no longer a digital ghost town where occasional CV updates and trawling for jobs are the norm. It’s now a bustling hub of conversations, stories, and valuable B2B content.

Blurring Work-Life Boundaries

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered the norms around what’s considered appropriate to share on LinkedIn. Remote work saw the lines between professional and personal begin to blur. Those working from home began sharing not only their work-related achievements but also their personal experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Suddenly, it was not just acceptable, but expected, to talk about the joys and struggles of balancing work, family, and life.

This shift in the way we perceive professional spaces is particularly relevant to B2B brands. Your audience on LinkedIn is not just interested in your product or service anymore; they want to know about your story, your values, and your people.

Generational Shift Towards Authenticity

And that deep connection is what Gen Z crave. Younger users are embracing authenticity and vulnerability online, and offline. They’re less likely to adhere to the traditional corporate façade, and more inclined to share their real experiences, warts and all.

B2B brands can leverage this transformation by incorporating authentic storytelling into their LinkedIn strategy. If personal stories now matter as much as professional achievements, then share the journey of your brand, highlight the people behind your success, and let your audience see the human side of your business. Aligning your employer brand with transparency and authenticity can be a powerful way to attract and keep new talent, as well as customers.

Fading Competitors and LinkedIn’s Rising Cool Factor

As Facebook faced controversies and a decline in user trust, and Twitter became subject to the whims of Elon Musk, LinkedIn began to emerge as a platform where regular people actually want to hang out and share their thoughts. Users began to realise that its former “lame” label was perhaps a bit unfair. While not exactly the cool kid on the social media block, the perception is that LinkedIn is, at the very least, a safe place, free from nonsensical rebrands and madcap algorithm updates, where personal sharing is encouraged, and authenticity is celebrated.

This is good news for B2B brands. Your audience is actively engaging with content, seeking meaningful connections, and looking for valuable insights. If they can’t find it elsewhere, make sure you’re providing it for them on LinkedIn.

Opportunity for Networking and Career Advancement

LinkedIn has always been a valuable tool for professional networking and job hunting, and that hasn’t changed. In fact, as the platform continues to grow, so does the number of users who rely on it to find new jobs. Many job seekers are successful, as confirmed hires using LinkedIn have increased by 88% year-over-year in 2022.

By regularly posting and engaging on the platform, your B2B brand can establish itself as an authority in your industry. You can connect with other thought leaders, engage in meaningful discussions, and showcase your expertise, credibility, and position yourself as the go-to source for information and solutions in your niche.

That’s something it’s useful for peers, competitors, wider industry, potential employees AND prospective customers to see.

LinkedIn’s Shift Towards Knowledge and Humanity

Over the past year, LinkedIn’s algorithm has been adjusted to prioritize “knowledge” content—posts that offer valuable insights and help people advance in their careers. However, it’s not just about knowledge – it’s also about humanity.

Previously, posts were rewarded based on engagement, resulting in posts designed as pure clickbait, meaningless polls and cringey sob stories designed to provoke a reaction. Thankfully, the updated algorithm now prioritises posts from first-degree connections, emphasising genuine relationships. LinkedIn aims to foster discussions on expert topics, encouraging valuable posts, tips, and opinions. It uses AI to evaluate post-relevance to the target audience, the author’s expertise, the depth of comments, and the authority of commenters. Insights-driven, thoughtful posts are now favoured over simple information-sharing, as LinkedIn seeks to reduce spam and enhance content quality.

This shift in LinkedIn’s content strategy aligns perfectly with the changing dynamics of social media. People want content that not only educates but also resonates on a personal level. B2B brands can capitalise on this by creating content that combines industry expertise with success stories, challenges overcome, and lessons learned.

Navigating the Fine Line of LinkedIn Posting

While LinkedIn’s evolving culture and engagement levels present numerous opportunities, it’s crucial to navigate the fine line of LinkedIn posting carefully. Oversharing or sharing irrelevant content can turn off your audience. The acceptability of content also varies across industries. What works for tech sales representatives may not be suitable for lawyers. A degree of common sense and social-savvy is needed to craft a social strategy which is specific to your niche.

The facts speak for themselves = LinkedIn is more popular than ever. The platform’s transformation into a dynamic space for personal sharing and professional networking is a golden opportunity to tap into a growing, engaged audience, establish your brand as an industry authority, and create meaningful connections that drive business growth.

Need to call in the experts? You’re in luck. At Clark we combine our PR prowess for B2B storytelling with digital expertise which is second-to-none.

Get in touch and see how we can work together.