LinkedIn's 175 million professionals worldwide are considered a goldmine for marketers: According to the social network, its audience is one of the most educated, affluent and influential on the Web.
But taking advantage of that audience can be challenging—and overwhelming—if you're new to LinkedIn Marketing and its portfolio of features.
LinkedIn's newly redesigned Company Pages is the hub for businesses, featuring a Careers section that's updated with job postings, a Products tab with information on what's new and upcoming, an Employee Insights page and an Overview section with updates from the company.
Company Updates, according to Alison Engel, LinkedIn's global marketing director for Market Solutions, is one of the most important features for marketers.
"This is where you engage with your audience," she says. "These messages that you send out show up on your company's page and in the news streams that are front and center in a member's user experience. It's the pulse professionals are taking throughout the day."
One challenge many marketers struggle with, she says, is finding enough meaningful content to post to their audiences regularly.
"I'm always asked about editorial calendars and whether they need a staff producing content for social purposes," Engel says. "The answer is no, you don't. Companies sometimes don't realize how much existing content they already have at their fingertips."
Tapped for time and resources? Here's a look at four types of content that LinkedIn users crave. A bonus: No content creation required.
1. Company news. The reason people are following your company is because they want to stay up to date on company information, Engel says. And this type of information is generally something you already have prepared: Think company press releases, industry trends, and products and services announcements, she says.
"None of this requires a team of people producing extra content—it's something you probably already have," she says. "Your presence should really be thought of as a more immersive version of your company's website."
2. Interactive content. Engel says you should aim to vary your content so not everything you post is static. Instead, include links or video in some of your posts to get users more engaged.
IBM, for example, teases its company blog posts by posting a snippet that links back to the blog's main site where you can read more, Engel says. "This helps bring people into a richer context and encourages engagement."
IBM also varies its content with video. The example above is a clip from Good magazine that IBM partnered with on data and sports.
3. Timed updates. Not all posts need to be tied to a piece of content, Engel says. Consider posting updates around industry events or conferences. "Marketers generate a lot of activity around events," Engel says.
Salesforce.com, for example, had a lot of success targeting status updates preceding its Cloudforce London event. It posted updates including news about speakers and sessions—information it already had on hand. And while the content was highly targeted to a specific geographic area, its director of content and social strategy says it still reached a large number of followers.
4. External content. If you're pressed for content, look outside company news, event information and videos for something that might interest your audience, Engel says.
Cisco, for example, diversifies its updates with content from third-parties, such as those in the item above.
"There's a real value-add for people who follow your company when you post news articles or a story with an interesting point of view," Engel says. "Everything you post doesn't need to be from or about your company."
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and enterprise collaboration for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org