B2B Brands Near Top of LinkedIn's 'Most Influential' List

HP, Salesforce, Microsoft Share What They're Doing Right in Content Marketing

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LinkedIn is trying to offer b-to-b brands pouring time and money into content marketing more ways to benchmark how their efforts are doing on its site.

The social-networking service just released its first "10 Most Influential Global Brands" list, which includes publications like Forbes (#1 on the list) and several top business technology brands, including Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Salesforce.

The list was based on LinkedIn's Content Marketing Score -- a tool launched in March that ranks marketers on the effectiveness of their content from company pages, branded groups and posts by very active users, so-called "influencers."

According to a statement from LinkedIn, the key reasons these brands made the list were that "they continue to update users on industry news; they release new and engaging content tailored to specific audiences; and they insert themselves into conversations their audiences care about."

LinkedIn confirmed HP (#7) was the first business to reach 1 million followers on its company page.

"LinkedIn is an important digital platform for HP that allows us to share our story and perspectives and engage with our customers in a meaningful, business relevant way," said Arpita Sangha, HP's vice president, global media and digital marketing. "HP will continue to push new capabilities with LinkedIn to advance conversations and connect with our customers, partners and potential talent."

Microsoft, while being the highest ranking business brand on the list, is "still figuring it out" when it comes to LinkedIn, according to Kelly Wagman, Microsoft's director of content and messaging.

"Where I do think we're doing the right work is we're engaging the platform broadly, people here contribute to conversations on LinkedIn and it's based, in part, on content we're making available," said Ms. Wagman. "I'm currently putting out guidance throughout our organization on why content marketing is important and we're doing it not only in marketing, but HR, finance and sales on how to have peer-level discussions with audiences."

For Salesforce (#8), content marketing and social media are equally important parts of its strategy, with LinkedIn at the core of its b-to-b content marketing plans, according to David B. Thomas, Salesforce's senior director of content and engagement.

"Our immediate goal is not to have customers download content and buy this now; it doesn't work that way. Content marketing and what we're doing on LinkedIn is about the long game," said Mr. Thomas. "We are finding from our sales team that our [LinkedIn] content is influential in buying decisions. I like the way [LinkedIn is] building an outlet for content created by marketers and we are working on getting more of our thought leadership content on there."

LinkedIn said it created the list as a benchmark for companies using its platform for content marketing.

Jon Lister
Jon Lister

Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn's VP of North American sales and marketing solutions, said the company will be making more content marketing tools available to users.

"The idea of a list came from when we saw there were already some trends and some partners who were really figuring it out, so we felt like it would be helpful to call out these organizations and let them know how they were doing and, at the same time, let others know these particular companies were successful [at engaging their target customers]," said. Mr. Lister.