Before we start, let’s remind ourselves why we might use LinkedIn as B2B businesses with a few relevant stats.
- 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing purposes (CMI).
- 78% say it’s the most effective social media platform for content marketing (CMI).
- LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook or Twitter (HubSpot).
- 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions, including managers, VPs, Directors, and C-level positions (LinkedIn study).
- 91% of executives rated LinkedIn as their number one choice for professionally relevant content (LinkedIn study).
Working from a solid base
Before you even think about running your next LinkedIn campaign, review your business page. Is is the best it can be?
When did you last post an update? Are your key employees connected to the page?
Check out LinkedIn’s Top 10 Company Pages of 2018 for best practice examples.
1. Target your efforts
Like any marketing campaign, the most important stage is the beginning, putting together a well thought out strategy and a plan.
And the most important part of that strategy is identifying who you want to target.
You could have the best marketing campaign ever created, but if it is aimed at the wrong people, it will be worthless.
Whether you use buyer personas to define your audience or practice account-based marketing (ABM), make sure you understand who you want to reach with your marketing messages.
One of the great advantages of LinkedIn is the relative ease with which you can identify an audience and even individuals.
2. Be human and involve your staff
Not only are your key staff – your experts – more likely to be followed, trusted and listened to, but they help extend the reach of any marketing campaign.
Make sure that they are trained or mentored in the use of LinkedIn, that they are aware of its etiquette and fully aware of your marketing strategy, its messages and it aims.
Give them the time to participate in LinkedIn and to join and engage with groups in a natural way. To contribute without sales messages, but by being helpful, informative and asking appropriate questions too.
Finally, encourage them to create content. You may have specific content creators or outside agencies or consultants writing posts, recording podcasts and shooting videos, but home-grown content has greater authenticity and subsequently, more authority.
3. Use advertising
Although LinkedIn is a business network where generally the community frowns on direct advertising, none the less, it can aid your campaigns when done in the right way and targeted to a receptive audience.
Once again, remember that you need to provide useful content so your advertising should link to this and contain a clear relevant benefit to the audience.
LinkedIn offers three main ways to advertise.
Text ads - appear on the right of the main stream and should feature a compelling headline, short description and a small, square image. They are useful to publicise events such as seminars or product launches. Within the B2B market, they are less likely to work as direct ads for products or services unless you have a very compelling message you can communicate in just a few words.
Sponsored InMail – these are tailored emails that can be sent to individuals, think email marketing. The advantages of using LinkedIn is that you can target very precisely, (including those who have recently visited your website for example) and they are sent through LinkedIn’s own messaging system, which also guarantees they will only receive it when they are on LinkedIn. This is one I would be very careful with, as it is akin to spam. Only send these to people you know will be absolutely interested in your offering, and don’t send them constantly.
Sponsored Content – these are effectively adverts that appear in the main stream amongst other content. The difference between LinkedIn and other platforms is that they look similar to other content and blend in more. Again you can use LinkedIn’s sophisticated filters to target your audience effectively, and their campaign manager tool to manage and monitor campaigns – setting budgets and using analytics to test the best approach.
Need more help?
Not surprisingly, given that it is their best interests, there is a wealth of help from LinkedIn themselves, with examples, walkthroughs and even training videos available – all of a high standard and easy to understand.
Given that 97% of B2B businesses are already using LinkedIn, you are almost certainly using it already, but if you keep these three practices in mind then you can use it more effectively.