The cloud is top of mind for nearly every business today, but clearly communicating the benefits of your specific cloud service or product can be difficult when there’s already so much noise in the market.
Whether your company provides infrastructure as a service, platform as a service or software as a service, brand differentiation is key to becoming competitive. Cloud companies need to build a unique voice in the marketplace and then get that message to a highly targeted audience.
The good news is that you can find a lot of your audience on LinkedIn.
Throughout this year, March has been working with cloud companies to leverage LinkedIn for thought leadership, relationships, and lead generation.
Here are the three methods we’ve found to be most effective:
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1. Join Groups to Get Noticed.
In part, the strength of the cloud industry is in the sheer diversity of services and business models. Because multi-vendor relationships and “coopetition” in the cloud market is so important, cloud industry-focused LinkedIn groups are perfect for connecting with strategically aligned industry peers, both for discussing cloud trends with fellow thought leaders and for sharing helpful content.
Some of the most active cloud groups include:
– Cloud Computing, SaaS and Virtualization: 1,418 discussions in past 30 days / 226,741 members.
– Telecoms Professionals: LTE, M2M, OTT, Cloud Computing Mobile, VAS, Apps & Telecom: 560 discussions in past 30 days / 411,425 members
– Cloud Security Alliance: 199 discussions in past 30 days / 57,719 members
When companies decide to build brand awareness with LinkedIn groups, it’s important to select brand champions who are active on social media and can join conversations around the cloud.
2. Keep an Active Company Page & Experiment with Showcase Pages.
If you’re engaging with prospects and industry pe
ers on LinkedIn, it’s important to have an active LinkedIn page. That way, when people explore your brand on LinkedIn, they’ll be able to see more relevant and compelling content. The ultimate goal should be to drive people to the company website with engaging blog posts, eBooks, videos and other media.
Some major cloud industry players, like Microsoft with its Azure public cloud service, highlight their offerings with LinkedIn’s Showcase pages – sub-pages dedicated to a specific product or service. On a daily basis, Microsoft updates its Azure page with cloud-specific content, a tactic that’s highly aligned with the company’s broader marketing strategy to focus more messaging on the cloud.
3. Leverage LinkedIn Sponsored Updates to Amplify Content.
Once your brand champions have started promoting the company in cloud-related groups and your company page is active, it’s time to experiment with paid social promotions. March has found that LinkedIn Sponsored Updates can be extremely effective if they’re paired with interesting content and a compelling message.
Sponsored Updates run on a cost-per-click basis and can be targeted based on job title, industry, company size, geography and more. When a company Sponsors an update, it appears in the feed of that target audience – the challenge is to create content that will encourage engagement.
Traffic & Conversion
By building a strong presence on LinkedIn, cloud brands can help guarantee that users recognize the company when a Sponsored Update appears. That will ultimately help incentivize people to click the update, a key advantage in a crowded market.
Cloud companies can also invest in research, guides, giveaways or budget checklists around a topic that would interest the target audience and use LinkedIn to promote that collateral. From there, it’s up to the company – and its partner agencies – to create a lead funnel that will capture and nurture the individual prospects who clicked through to the content. All of these LinkedIn tactics will ensure that your brand cuts through the cloud noise and gets noticed as a real leader in the rapidly growing space.