LinkedIn is a powerhouse for legal marketers for so many reasons. It’s obviously a great place to make professional connections, and it’s an important platform for sharing thought leadership and using account-based marketing strategies. Did you know LinkedIn can also be a valuable tool for conducting market research? In this post, we are covering what legal marketers need to know about using LinkedIn for market research that supports their strategy.
Why Use LinkedIn for Market Research?
LinkedIn is a really unique platform and is ideally suited to gathering information about your audience. LinkedIn can help you access information on your audience’s industry, profession, and location. You can also get insights on how well your LinkedIn audience matches your ideal customer profile and potential audience segments that are worth pursuing. LinkedIn is also great for competitive research, especially how your firm’s LinkedIn presence compares to its competitors. Finally, LinkedIn is helpful for conducting social listening, where you can discover how users talk about your brand and services. You can get access to all of this information using an intuitive analytics interface as well as other tools provided directly by LinkedIn. That makes it a no-brainer when it comes to conducting market research.
7 Market Research Tactics for LinkedIn
LinkedIn has a wealth of helpful information if you know where to look. Fortunately, LinkedIn has several built-in tools that can support your research efforts. Here are 7 ways to use LinkedIn for market research.
1. Understand Your Company Page Audience Insights
Ideally, you have an ideal client persona that is guiding your content and social media efforts. (If you haven’t created one yet, use this free guide: A Law Firm’s Guide to Creating an Ideal Client Persona.)
However, your vision and reality won’t always align. Who is actually following and engaging with your firm online? LinkedIn has extensive analytics that can help you to see if you’re attracting ideal audience members. Start by going to your company page and clicking the “Analytics” drop-down. From there you can select “Visitors” or “Followers” and get oversight into who’s clicking through to your company page. You can also compare metrics to previous periods and look for trends. Do your page visitors match the personas that you created? If not, it might be time to re-evaluate. You can also look at follower data and make sure things are trending in the right way. Look for unusual patterns in activity. This is also where you can look at organic and paid activity and see how they affect company page growth. Finally, this is an area to explore your follower’s demographics like company size or location.
2. Review Your LinkedIn Content Analytics
What’s going on with your LinkedIn company page is only part of the story. When you dig deeper into content analytics, you can see the types of posts that resonate with people, which topics spark the most interest and the kinds of people that engage with your content. Try viewing your company page post analytics to easily track performance for all of the content your team publishes. Under the “Analytics” tab, choose “Updates” and look for the “Highlights” or “Metrics” section. Here you’ll find information like impressions, reactions, engagement rate, etc. You can also dig into information on particular posts and make note of the most popular topics. If you are using LinkedIn’s Creator Mode, you can access helpful summaries of your personal analytics. The “Content Performance” tab is especially interesting because it summarizes impressions and engagement for your personal posts and provides demographics for users who engaged with your content. You can even see the companies where your most engaged followers work, which is really useful for ABM strategies.
3. Look at LinkedIn Mentions
How do people talk about your business (if they do at all)? To see, go to the “Activity” tab and choose “Mentions”. By spending time here, you can see the overall sentiment, identify common topics, and find the most popular questions for your firm on LinkedIn. This data can be used to inform your content strategy, enhance client service, and even guide ideas about new practice areas.
4. Reflect on Competitor Information
It’s great to gather all the information you can pertaining to your own organization, but part of the benefit of market research is learning about competitors. LinkedIn offers specific information that can help you to assess competitor activities and performance on the platform. This type of research will give you a clearer picture of how well your firm really addresses client needs and publishes relevant content. Plus, you can get a feel for how your growth compares to other firms like yours. To access this information, go to the built-in competitor analytics. Start at your company page and then open the “Analytics” tab. In the drop-down menu, choose “competitors” and pick a time range. Click “Edit competitors” to start searching for other organizations and add up to 9 companies to your dashboard for tracking. Then you can use the follower metrics to compare total company page size and audience growth. Organic content metrics will show you the total number of posts and engagement. Have you seen some of your competitors generate a bigger following than your firm? Is their page growing a lot faster than yours? These are the types of things you’ll want to consider in order to guide future decisions about your LinkedIn strategy.
5. Use LinkedIn Posts to Gather Information
As mentioned, there are some great ways to gather overall insights about what your audience wants and values. However, you can use LinkedIn functionality to learn even more specific information. You can use the poll functionality to ask questions where your audience can choose from up to four responses. To do this, simply click to add a poll when you create a post. Pick up to four responses to consider and add an extra content field for free-form answers. Choose how long you want the poll to run and publish the poll to your page. The results of these polls can help you navigate content strategy and other marketing efforts.
6. Be active in LinkedIn Groups
You can’t join a group on LinkedIn as a company page, but you can as an individual user. Doing so can be really valuable for researching using your personal page. If you run a group, you can even create polls using the workflow above. Otherwise, use the general post tools to ask questions and evaluate answers. For example, if you participate in a group centered on certain target industries, you might ask people about their solutions to common legal problems in that sector. Don’t be afraid to simply ask what members’ biggest legal issues are or what solutions would be most helpful. A friendly reminder: in these scenarios, seek to have authentic conversations and be genuinely helpful. No one will take you seriously (or even want you around) if you simply promote your own services all of the time.
7. Analyze Hashtags
Hashtags haven’t been developed on LinkedIn as much as some other social media tools. However, they’re still useful for market research, especially if you use some hashtags that tend to get traction. If your business uses a branded hashtag, start there. Do a search and then scroll through and review the associated content. You might want to sort by recent and set a reminder to do this once a month. Then do the same thing for other hashtags related to your business, industry, services, or competitors. You may need to do some manual work to pull all of this data and chart it in a way that is easily digestible, or you could invest in a third-party tool to make it easier. Either way, the data is available on LinkedIn and it’s worth taking a look.
Obviously, not all of your target prospects or clients are on LinkedIn. You are naturally limited in how applicable the data is – but it can provide a valuable glimpse into audience segments that you care about. If you are looking for new ways to conduct market research for informing your content strategy or other digital marketing efforts, make sure to include LinkedIn. It’s a great place to get new ideas that could be great for your firm. For more tips on making the most of social media, be sure to follow our blog.