Having used LinkedIn since 2009 it is a platform I am comfortable with. LinkedIn advertising capabilities are continously evolving if you are in business to business space.
While it has gone through many iterations from then to now. I have watched and been a part of the journey.
Just like any tool in your social media arsenal, LinkedIn has its place.
For any brand or company, there is considerable benefit in building your profile on this platform.
But like with any social media platform it is important to understand the platform prior to maximising the benefit.
• LinkedIn has 500 million active users, with 4.5 million active users in Australia
• The user base is typically professionals between the age of 30/49 years old.
• LinkedIn has a higher penetration age between 50 to 64 years of age then the millennial bracket.
• Content that performs well includes articles, mages and slide shares
• LinkedIn has introduced video but to date, this has not performed well.
I suspect because most people use LinkedIn during work hours. Video with the volume up is probably not something they want to alert their co-workers too.
From an advertising and brand perspective, LinkedIn is ideal for business to business selling. It is however not a platform that I would recommend as the first choice for B2C.
The major reason is the cost of LinkedIn advertising is prohibitive to this model if the margin of the product is low.
However if the margin is high, or your brand is very well established, then you would be well served by carving out space on this platform. Even if the only thing you did with LinkedIn was to organically build your brand through content and attract new employees.
We have seen some good and innovative B2C examples like Mercedes-Benz marketing cars, which fit from both a margin and audience targeting perspective. Also, a number of financial services companies have been quite successful too.
However, if you are in the B2B sector than LinkedIn is well placed to support this pursuit.
The areas to consider in establishment and brand building are as follows.
Dedicated Company Page - This is where you establish your content distribution hub. This should be filled out completely and link back to your home website. Every employee should be invited to follow along.
Employee Profiles - Most brands using LinkedIn have not provided employees with a template of how to fill their profiles.
The benefit of doing this correctly is that others will come across their profiles and your company. If those profiles present well, so will your company.
Showcase Pages - A showcase page is where you have a distinct line of products or services that you want to build a separate audience for.
It is important to note that you do have to build a separate audience for these pages. Which also means a separate advertising budget?
LinkedIn Publisher - LinkedIn for some time opened their publishing/blogging platform to everyone. It enables employees and individual to publish long-form articles on the platform. If you even have one employee who is good at writing articles on the platform this can wonderful for building your brand.
In my case using LinkedIn publisher, I have picked up over 1000 followers and my articles have been read in excess of 50k times.
LinkedIn Elevate - A fairly new product to the market and still in beta stage. This product seems focused on allowing your staff to share updates and grow their network.
You can apply for access here here if you believe it is something you would be interested in?
Slideshare - This is a wonderful component of the LinkedIn platform and while it sits separately in its right. The slide deck storytelling platform offers clients a wonderful opportunity to spread your message.
Currently, the cost of doing this is only one of time.
LinkedIn Groups - Depending on your industry there a myriad of LinkedIn groups you can join. From Entrepreneurs, Small Business, HR, Travel, or Social Media there will be a group you can join.
The benefit is that you are networking with like-minded individuals. You are all sharing relevant and useful content and information with each other.
If stuck with a particular challenge, there is probably someone in the group who can help you.
One group I am a part of is the Harvard Business Group, which has over 1m members.
In addition to this, you can email members of the group at no cost, allowing for great networking opportunities.
In terms of LinkedIn advertising, a brand should consider the following options:
Sponsored Posts - This is an article, quote, image or video you can sponsor to run through the newsfeed of your targeted audience.
Sponsored InMail - Uniquely on LinkedIn you can buy packages that enable you to send e-mails to your exact target audience.
These packages purchased in parcel sizes . They have proven to be effective for some brands with direct messaging.
A recent case study saw a 48% open rate. Which is materially a lot better than the 10% most brands are achieving with EDM's.
Direct Sponsored Content - The difference between directly sponsored content and a sponsored post is an important one. Your competitors can not see your direct sponsored content while they can see your sponsored posts.
Again you can target your ideal target audience with these updates.
I am deliberately leaving banner ads out of the above. LinkedIn offers these, but both my organisation and others have found little utility in this offering.
In terms of using LinkedIn advertising for targeting this is where some differentials exist.
Having commenced as a professional networking site. Most individuals have a complete bio, including work history and a strong professional network.
This means a brand can target by job description, company size, and industry. Now if you have been working in the b2b space for some time, you will know just how useful that sort of targeting can be.
LinkedIn advertising finds itself in a unique space in this regard. You can target any job function you like. From CFO’s, CEOs, Marketing Directors to Project Managers.
In business to business selling, this is the ideal model.