Why LinkedIn is a must for B2B marketing

With an ever-growing list of social networks to pick from, it’s tempting to lump LinkedIn along with the rest. We are slightly biased as they are our client, but when it comes to B2B communications and advertising, LinkedIn is in a league of its own. In a fiercely competitive field, LinkedIn has carved out an impressive niche. With an audience of 690 million, it’s an essential platform for anyone looking to reach business-minded professionals worldwide – either organically or through paid promotion.

Users on LinkedIn are looking for business content, as well as a space to network and initiate conversations with fellow professionals. They are not there to pass the time watching their 50th TikTok of the day or look at how cute their friend’s new puppy is. And, most importantly, they are not splitting their time flicking between multiple networks.

The relatively low mobile traffic on LinkedIn is testament to this – 57% of LinkedIn traffic is mobile, compared to 98% on Facebook, meaning advertisers are more likely to get their audience’s full (or at least partial) attention as desktop users tend to be more engaged and less distracted.

Top targeting trumps

LinkedIn has a much broader range of paid options than other social networks. This really sets the platform apart from the crowd when considered together with its additional organic functionalities such as groups, pages, profiles, status updates, resharing, and commenting.

Despite having more options on offer, setting up a LinkedIn campaign is still a straightforward process. There are clear options to choose from at each stage and clear objectives, including brand awareness, video views, lead generation and website conversions.

However, where LinkedIn really differentiates itself from other platforms is in its targeting, offering far more detailed and reliable options than other channels. These targeting options include interests, job title, company, industry, member skills, member groups, and member traits. Data is gathered from the input of LinkedIn’s members, many of whom use the platform as a digital CV, listing their job, company, education, and more on their profiles.

Additionally, LinkedIn allows advertisers to use their own first party data such as website retargeting and contact or company targeting – where up to 300,000 email addresses or companies can be uploaded from a list, such as from a CRM platform. All of this makes LinkedIn’s targeting extremely accurate and means there is less ad spend wasted on irrelevant audiences on LinkedIn compared to most other channels. But unsurprisingly the detailed targeting options come at a premium price.

Engaging your audience

When it comes to advert types, there are again several different options available, some of which are unique to LinkedIn.

The most common format is sponsored content. This consists of text, an image or video, with headline, behind which sits a URL directing users to the webpage of your choice.

Another common format, which you might have noticed if you see a sponsored message in your inbox, is InMail. This is essentially a direct message sent from one individual to another, containing a subject line, body copy, and call-to-action buttons (such as ‘learn more’ or ‘sign-up’). The copy can also be automatically personalised to generate the recipients first name. This personalisation makes for a more human experience as the message can appear to come from an actual person rather than a company.

Driving intent and action

In terms of engagement, nearly half of all traffic to B2B companies’ websites from social media comes from LinkedIn. Looking a step further down the funnel, it becomes even clearer how engaged LinkedIn’s audience is. 80% of B2B leads from social media come from LinkedIn compared to 13% on Twitter and just 7% on Facebook.

At Brands2Life, we found LinkedIn to be a fruitful source of leads for one of our clients, a global consumer healthcare brands, when they wanted to reach tech entrepreneurs and SMEs. By using a combination of targeting options, we identified five audience combinations to reach decision makers in companies with less than 200 employees in the healthcare and technology industries.

We overlaid targeting options like c-suite and senior employees with healthcare interest and those who work in the healthcare industry. We also used retargeting to re-engage with website visitors. By focusing the content on specific audience characteristics, we were able to outperform CTR (click-through rate) and engagement benchmarks by more than 50%, as well as delivering 53 warm leads who had submitted an online form.

Content is King

Much of LinkedIn’s functionality is based around audience segmentation. Taking full advantage of this with focused, timely, relevant, and engaging content is paramount particularly when considering the higher ad costs. Learning from previous campaigns can be extremely useful too, and by using LinkedIn’s incredible insights post-campaign, it is possible to pinpoint precisely who the content most resonated with.

Feeding this type of information back into upcoming strategies can help to consistently improve results and enables A/B testing in extreme detail. When Bayer Consumer Health wanted to upskill pharmacists and pharmacy teams to become more commercially confident, we knew by getting the mix of relevant content and targeting right, we could deliver powerful results. We found pharmacists using LinkedIn’s job title, field of study, work industry and member skills targeting options. Alongside ad copy tailored to pharmacists, we used appropriate lifestyle images to attract our audience’s attention. The results were impressive – a CTR and engagement rate more than five times the benchmark.

Summary

LinkedIn is THE digital channel for B2B, offering unparalleled targeting capabilities and access to an extensive professional network unavailable anywhere else. The wide range of creative options and campaign objectives offer a solution to almost every marketing or communications campaign, and should be considered by anyone looking to amplify their brand and meet their business objectives.

If you would like to further discuss possible LinkedIn strategies available to you, please get in touch – we have plenty of insights to share.

Written by Kinda Jackson, Managing Director, Digital & Influencer.

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