Social media is a great equalizer. It gives everyone with a computer and a brain the power to reach millions of people. Social media marketing has been a rage for quite some time now. But LinkedIn marketing has been gaining credibility only in the last few years. This is majorly because of changes in the platform and a need for connecting with professionals – which no other social media platform offers.
LinkedIn has become invaluable as a networking and recruitment tool. It separates the personal from the professional while allowing companies the freedom to increase their audience. The users on LinkedIn are looking for quality content that will help them professionally. You can share inspirational stories, business tips, and other useful content on LinkedIn. If your content manages to create an impression on the platform, a loyal following will ensue.
Is LinkedIn really important?
When it comes to B2B companies, lead generation doesn’t work the same way as it does for B2C companies. In case of B2B companies, a relationship has to be forged with businesses which is a tricky affair. The results of a B2B product/service are generally measurable; no company will even consider your product unless it is absolutely convinced of its worth.
Building a positive reputation takes time, effort, and engagement. To appeal to a business, a startup must establish itself as a company that believes in adding value to corporations. For this, it must be a thought leader and nothing conveys that better than quality content. A focus towards influential and clever marketing is the best way to build brand awareness and gain loyal followers.
For B2B start-ups, LinkedIn is a gold mine. That’s where B2B customers are looking to find business expertise and value addition. Despite this, many startups instantly choose platforms like Instagram over LinkedIn to produce content – a massive mistake. A B2B company will have a much wider audience base on LinkedIn as compared to popular platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
A study by the Content Marketing Institute concluded that when it comes to content creation and distribution, 94% B2B marketers consider LinkedIn is the most effective platform.
LinkedIn Marketing: Pay Attention to the Basics first
The potential that LinkedIn marketing provides with its tools for sponsored content is tempting but before you start publishing content, make sure that your audience likes what it will see on your company page. Every tiny detail on your company’s profile can be optimized to incite an appealing impression from a user. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Don’t ignore the summary on the company page
Figure out what you want your company’s image to be and talk about your mission. It is important to convey a sense of thought leadership and dedication to value addition. Even someone who has never heard of your company should be able to instantly comprehend what your company does and how it could be useful to them.
For example: The summary on Evernote’s LinkedIn page communicates the value it adds:
2. Don’t miss out the Follow button
Make sure there is a Follow button for your page. Encourage employees to add the company to their personal LinkedIn profiles. This creates links which lead back to your company’s page and helps from an SEO standpoint.
3. Look at the header photo as an opportunity
Visuals are always the first thing that a viewer notices. Use it to send across a powerful perception and change it periodically to keep your dedicated followers engaged. Upcoming events can be promoted on this space. Adobe uses its cover page to instantly attract users while also reminding them of the value it has added over the last few decades.
4. Make your page SEO friendly
With 500 million users on LinkedIn, optimizing your page for search engines is of prime importance. Using relevant keywords makes it easier for Google to include you in appropriate search results. Take the help of Google’s free Keyword Planner to figure out what your audience is searching for; tailor your content according to that. Add links back to your company page everywhere possible – this boosts your rankings. Encourage employees to share company updates on their personal profiles and vice-versa.
For example: IBM focuses on SEO-friendly content.
LinkedIn Marketing: Sponsored Content
The first thing to note about sponsored content is that it only works when your content is captivating in the first place. Sponsoring all your content will get you nowhere. This is because Sponsored Content translates to native advertising on LinkedIn. It allows you to showcase your updates directly on the feeds of your target audience. Sponsoring all your content will become a nuisance and generate no clicks and leads. It might even dissuade your existing followers.
Therefore, before embarking on a sponsoring spree, establish the resources necessary to send out quality content to your existing/potential users. Make the decision to sponsor your content only when you publish it and it receives higher than average engagement. Moreover, use this as a tool to promote the content that reflects the brand image you are trying to build.
How to Create a LinkedIn Ad Campaign?
LinkedIn allows you to create campaigns of two types – Sponsored Content and Text Ads. Sponsored Content, as discussed above, should be used to boost engagement with company-specific content. On the other hand, Text Ads are used to target a highly specific audience. A few things to keep in mind while setting up a Text Ad are:
1. Your Ad copy should be relevant to your buyer persona
The copy of your ad should be appealing and relevant to the specific type of buyer you are targeting. For example, when promoting a book to up and coming business professionals, starting a copy with “For the ingenious and passionate entrepreneur…” will generate a higher click-through rate than generic content.
2. Always have a CTA in your Ad copy
A Call-to-Action (CTA) can be considered the most important aspect of your campaign. Without an actionable to follow, your ad will have very low CTR. To make it more effective, incorporate the value addition opportunity in the CTA.
3. Take your time to target your audience well
LinkedIn has a lot of parameters you can use to target your ad effectively. These include location, age, gender, job title etc. Do not rush this process; a thoroughly filtered audience can do wonders for your CTA but an incorrect understanding of your target audience can render your campaign useless.
4. Choose the Bidding option that works best for you
There are two ways you can be charged for your ad: Cost Per Click (CPC) and Pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM). The goal of your ad decides which will work better for you. If you’re simply trying to convey some information to your audience, CPM is the way to go. But for lead and traffic generation, CPC will clearly be the best option.
5. Test your company’s market on different campaigns
Before getting carried away and spending a lot of money on one or two campaigns, set a budget for yourself. Do not put all your eggs in one basket; not every campaign is successful even when the company is a big one. Test the waters and figure out what kind of campaigns work best for you and which set of audience responds to your ads. Once you know that, you can allocate larger budgets towards ads which you know will have high ROI.
The trust and credibility that B2B marketing requires cannot happen in a day or with a few campaigns. Simply designing a great product or service will never be enough and convincing a business to buy what you’re selling is much more difficult than selling to an individual. My advice to you would be to constantly keep up with changing trends and explore every avenue possible. LinkedIn marketing is the most crucial platform for a B2B company but simply focusing on that will not give you the best possible results. Figure out the strengths of your company on all forums and build on them in every way possible. A combination of trial & error and perseverance is the only way to get your company where you want.
This is a guest post authored by Aditya Mehta. Aditya has completed his MBA from London Business School and is a seasoned marketer. He is running a digital marketing solutions company that has served over 90 clients ranging from startups to multinationals in 8 countries. We, at InstaTaskers, are immensely grateful to him for sharing his thoughts and expertise with our readers.