Avoid the 5 Biggest IT Marketing Foibles on LinkedIn

September 9, 2014


Once upon a time, the company’s IT buyer was that genius nerd in a basement cubicle. He was the expert, and the rest of us were happy to let him choose our memory chips and SCSI cables.

Things have changed. Today, IT buying committees have worked their way across the C-suite, and everyone from marketing to finance to sales has two cents to add to the buying decision. With all the innovative marketing software available now, marketers in particular have a heightened stake in IT decisions — in fact, by 2016, CMOs are expected to have a bigger budget than CIOs.

Like any good marketer, today’s IT buyer is smart, savvy, and self-educating. She’s doing her own research, not waiting for you to sell to her. And she’s doing the great majority of that research online — especially on social platforms. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of IT committees using social networks jumped from an already-high 85 percent to a whopping 95 percent, according to a 2013 study from comScore.

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Alienate IT Buyers

So if your company has a presence on LinkedIn, you’re golden, right? Wrong.

IT buyers are online, but they’re not buying into everything they see there. They’re wise to the ways of internet marketing, and they get easily turned off by tactics that pander to the lowest common denominator. In that comScore study, we also looked at the ways tech companies habitually turn IT buyers off. Here’s what we found:

IT Marketing Foible #1: Overload them with marketing messages.
More is not better. If you show up every time buyers look at their screens, they’ll start to tune you out. You’re trying too hard.

Antidote: Establish a compelling presence.
The rules of dating apply: Better to pick and choose when you ping a prospect with messages, and let him come to you. Did you know that LinkedIn content pages receive seven times the page views that job pages do? Pepper your LinkedIn company page with compelling content that’s available whenever he has a moment of curiosity.

IT Marketing Foible #2: Come across as a lightweight.
You only get one change to prove yourself as a worthy source of information, and if you get busted blowing hot air, it's over. Remember, your customer is smart.

Antidote: Be a credible source.
If you want prospects to invest in you, you have to get them to believe in you. Always share verifiable information, and be willing to back up your claims. Symantec does a great job with this, habitually peppering their feed with original and shared content that marries gripping subject matter to proven numbers.


IT Marketing Foible #3: Focus only on your product.
IT buyers have questions and concerns, and if you don't address them, someone else will. While you go on about your great product, your competition is creating a reputation for thought-leadership and high-value content.

Antidote: Wow them with insights.
Remember, someone at the early stage of the buying process doesn’t want to hear about the bells and whistles on your new gizmo. But prove yourself as an expert in your field, and buying your product is the next step. Hubspot is a shining example of this. They have more than 57,000 followers on their company page, because they’ve established themselves as a thought leader in the internet marketing category.

IT Marketing Foible #4: Bore them.
They like you, they really do. But IT buyers don't have a lot of time. They came to you because they're looking to solve specific problems, and they'd like to do that as quickly as possible.

Antidote: Invest in quality content.
Write succinctly, get to the point quickly, and always be relevant. Grab your audience with your headlines, then follow through with on-point content that doesn’t require a heavy duty time investment. And remember Ann Handley’s tried and true content formula:

                                    Useful x Enjoyable x Inspired = Innovative Content

IT Marketing Foible #5: Be a narcissist.
I can’t say this enough: It’s not about you. If all you do is talk about yourself, you may as well stay home and talk to the bathroom mirror.

Antidote: Get to know your audience.
Get to know your specific audience, and find out what concerns them. There are plenty of ways to do this on LinkedIn. One is to simply listen to the types of comments you’re receiving on your content, and notice which content works. You can also use LinkedIn Groups to investigate what your target audience is talking about these days. And, of course, pay attention to what’s working for your competition on LinkedIn.

Then, offer content that speaks to the needs of your audience. Solve their problems. Share related insights, and show them how you can enhance their lives.If you can turn these five marketing foibles around, you're a shoo-in with IT buyers on your LinkedIn Company Page and the content you share there. In my next blog post, I’ll dial in on the top five trending IT topics drawing crowds on LinkedIn this year, and the companies wielding those topics to their advantage.

Are your content marketing efforts truly building trust and credibility with the IT Committee – the diverse group who influence tech buying decisions? Learn how IT marketers can avoid common mistakes and build meaningful relationships by downloading our latest research: