By Jonathan Richards, Digital Director at OgilvyOne dnx

No self-respecting B2B marketer will tell you that LinkedIn is not an important tool for reaching out to potential buyers. As of April 2015, LinkedIn has more than 350 million individual users and business organisations sharing on LinkedIn and averages 187 million monthly unique users. As a B2B marketer, at best, it would be careless to ignore LinkedIn and downright ignorant at worst. LinkedIn provides B2B marketers with a channel to directly reach B2B buyers in an environment that is created mostly for the sole purpose of networking. In some ways, LinkedIn is like a digital marketplace for B2B marketers.

Yet despite the above, many B2B marketers are still making mistakes when using LinkedIn. From badly created company pages to publishing inaccurate content, there are a myriad of mistakes that B2B marketers are guilty of committing. Here are the five mistakes that B2B markets must avoid at all costs when using Linkedin and how to avoid committing them.

1. Creating a company page which isn’t optimised for converting leads

Any organisations must first create a company page which is clear and consistent with the brand. LinkedIn enables you to create special product pages, so B2B markets have that option too. By creating a company page, you allow users to find your organisation, enabling them to view what your company does and what you stand for.

However, you should be strategic when creating your company page on LinkedIn. Just having a logo and short description of what the company does is not going be enough to sustain interest and engagement.

To enhance the effectiveness of your LinkedIn company page, make sure you make it easy for your digital assets to be found. For example, if you know what words customers use to search for your products and services, then use those keywords in your LinkedIn page. Moreover, you can include links to your other owned social media channels such as SlideShare and YouTube which will increase the company’s rank in search results.

Another important tip is to structure your LinkedIn page so it can easily generate conversions. A trick in doing this is to have a click-through to your website in the company description or recent updates.

2. Failing to join groups or create a group.

One of the great aspects of LinkedIn is that you can find groups of people who share the same interests or are searching for the same thing. As a B2B marketer, this is invaluable as it gives you the opportunity to approach potential leads where they hang out online.

Ensure that your company is joining and creating special interest groups on LinkedIn over a sustained period. By doing this, you increase the chances of customers actively seeking the places of mutual interest, ultimately attracting like-minded associates and potential new leads to the company’s page.

However, joining a group is merely the start — you must also contribute to it as well. Contributing can be anything from replying to other users’ posts or posting relevant content such as an infographic, relevant links or video. However, a word of caution, it is important that you don’t spam group pages with sales-led content as you run the risk of becoming a nuisance and potentially damaging your brand.

Once you have joined and interacted with various groups, you may discover an opportunity to create your own groups. From a marketing perspective, creating your own group and becoming a moderator will give your business leadership and recognition. As long as you provide relevant content and avoid being too sales-focused, you can create a group where your target audience can gather and interact.

3. Failing to continue the conversation outside of LinkedIn

It is important to remember that even if your LinkedIn page has fantastic content and is designed to generate conversations and conversions, your prospects are not going to stay on LinkedIn forever and you may need to continue the conversation elsewhere.

Fortunately, LinkedIn can help you target advertising at any LinkedIn member profile you like. So you can target them in the World Wide Web after they leave your LinkedIn page with more interesting content, or even with a call to action. LinkedIn will only allow you to target profiles, down to groups of 100.

4. Creating content which is not targeted or relevant

LinkedIn with a company called Bizo have profiled most members so that means you will find it easier to target them to engage with your content and interest groups, so not only can you do it within the LinkedIn environment with inmail and Sponsored Updates you can utilise display outside of LinkedIn. And they have a new service called Lead Accelerator where you can ‘nurture’ prospects with sequenced communications. If the sales funnel still existed we would call it a bottom of the funnel product.

5. Failing to cross-publish your LinkedIn content

A trick to generate more reach for your LinkedIn content is ensure the content on your LinkedIn profile page can appear in news feeds as well as sit on your company pages. You may find only a few people engage with it but that’s good. B2B marketing is less of a numbers game, it is a quality game. Fewer engagements means you can give them the attention they deserve.