LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. Since Microsoft acquired it last year, the career-focused social networking site has been steadily improving the services it offers its users. If you aren’t already using LinkedIn in your marketing strategy, here are a few reasons to consider adding the platform to your mix.
LinkedIn has more than 500 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. More than 111 million of these are in the USA – that’s nearly one in every three Americans who have a LinkedIn profile. The sheer scale of this reach makes publishing and advertising on LinkedIn a very tempting prospect.
What’s more, LinkedIn members have professional incentives to keep their profiles accurate and up-to-date – giving the data quality a real boost.
Several recent new developments by LinkedIn have served to make the platform even more attractive to advertisers, including:
- The removal of the minimum campaign budget
- The launch of lead generation forms in sponsored content
- New targeting and retargeting options
What Sort Of Advertising Works On LinkedIn?
Because of its career focus, LinkedIn is the #1 platform for B2B lead generation, as rated by marketers. As the platform is used for networking with colleagues and business contacts, content is more career-focused. Promoting employment opportunities, e-learning and business topics predominate (no cute kitten pictures here).
But this doesn’t mean that well-considered B2C marketing won’t succeed on the platform – yes, users have careers, but they are people too. Major automobile manufacturers are among some of the most successful B2C advertisers using the platform.
The most essential thing to do when you start using the platform is to create a great LinkedIn company page, encourage all your employees and contacts to follow it, and post regular valuable content and updates.
The case for content marketing is well-attested: 74% of buyers choose the company that was first to add value. But how do you get your content in front of the right people? LinkedIn offers a number of advertising options to help you do that.
What Advertising Opportunities Does LinkedIn Offer?
There are three main types of advertising possibilities on LinkedIn:
- Sponsored content
- Sponsored InMail
- Text ads
Deciding which format is right for you will very much depend on the type of content and campaign you are running.
Sponsored content is essentially a way of promoting posts or pages so that they appear directly in LinkedIn members’ news feeds. It is great for increasing traffic to posts or pages, and for boosting your follower total.
Sponsored InMail enables you to send personalized messages to highly targeted recipients who are not within your existing network of contacts or followers. It is a great way of directly engaging valuable prospects or connections, and can be used to drive downloads of gated assets.
Text ads are commonly used for advertising job opportunities, but can be equally useful for driving traffic to your website or specific landing pages. It is essentially a pay-per-click platform, making it easy to measure campaigns with conversion tracking.
Whichever option you choose, LinkedIn offers comprehensive targeting possibilities and conversion tracking tools.
Great News About Minimum Campaign Budgets
Until recently, LinkedIn has required a minimum $25k budget per campaign when using its Sponsored InMail ads. In order to help advertisers test out some of the ad formats without having to allocate such a significant budget, LinkedIn recently announced that it would be removing this financial stipulation.
This is a great move by LinkedIn because it opens the possibility of testing sponsored InMail ads to many more marketers; allowing them to demonstrate the concept before seeking budget allocation for a bigger project. This channel is really beginning to take off and has the potential to drive high quality leads, especially for B2B companies.
New Opportunities To Maximize Your LinkedIn Lead Generation Success
In April 2017, LinkedIn launched another new feature that improves the possibilities of the channel for marketers. It is now possible to add lead generation forms directly into your sponsored content.
The forms are exciting because they come pre-filled with accurate LinkedIn profile data. When LinkedIn members click on your ad, their profile data automatically populates the form. They can then submit it with one click.
This saves respondents time and effort while ensuring that you are capturing more accurate and complete information about your leads. And the best thing? It doesn’t add any extra cost to your sponsored content campaigns on the platform.
New Retargeting Functionality
April 2017 was a busy month for LinkedIn; it also launched three new retargeting options for its advertisers: website retargeting, account targeting, and contact targeting.
These three options are marketed by LinkedIn under the Matched Audiences feature and have been designed to help businesses re-engage their prospects and contacts.
Website targeting automates the process of serving up your LinkedIn sponsored content to visitors to your website. Account targeting enables advertisers to upload a list of company names that can then be matched against LinkedIn’s user base and targeted. Contact targeting is similar; allowing advertisers to upload email addresses or directly from other marketing platforms in use, such as Marketo.
Initial feedback to these new targeting options has been positive, with the trial revealing a 30% increase in click through rates and a 14% drop in post-click cost-per-conversion using the website retargeting.
Is LinkedIn Right for You?
With seven out of ten professionals describing LinkedIn as a “trustworthy” source of professional content, it’s clear that the platform offers some compelling opportunities for marketers to build their brand, especially in the B2B arena.
These new tools enable advertisers to serve up their content in a more targeted and accurate way using the platform. Together with the lifting of restrictions on campaign budgets, it is now even easier for marketers to test and demonstrate the value of a LinkedIn marketing campaign.