Whatever you sell, whoever you sell it to, whenever you sell it, chances are social media will be a part of your marketing strategy. Even for the most targeted, advanced sales, social media provides such precise demographic specifications that you can target the highest up executives or the most niche consumers. Since we’ve been talking about campaigns this month, it makes sense then to dive into social media – LinkedIn this week – to see just how these networks can be used for your business.
There have already been hundreds of guides written on how to use LinkedIn for advertising your business. Rather than adding one more piece to this already excessive collection, we will focus on some of the specific insights we have learned advertising B2B consulting services on the platform.
BIG has been running ads on LinkedIn off and on for over two years now. For those unfamiliar, LinkedIn offers several different kinds of ads. To run through them very briefly, first there are the text ads. These are tiny banner ads at the top of the user page, right below the navigation bar or to the right of the user’s feed. They allow for a few lines of text and a tiny image, typically a logo.
LinkedIn also offers sponsored content, ads that appear as regular posts in the user’s feed with a link to whatever landing page you set it up with. There is also the option for dynamic ads which are customized with each user’s information and allow them to simply click one button to transfer their email and other information over to your company for easy lead conversion.
Finally, LinkedIn offer InMail ads that use the platform’s native email feature to send sponsored messages to users’ inboxes.
A typical BIG campaign uses sponsored content. We have run this with everything from blog posts aiming to get more followers on our company page to webinar promotions. We’ve also toyed with InMail ads and text ads as well, but sponsored content is our bread and butter.
Test and Then Test Some More
In any campaign involving LinkedIn, the first thing we always do is decide what we want to test. There are countless factors that we can play with here using A/B tests. The text, design, layout, etc. of the ad itself needs to be tested. Historical insights can likewise be brought in. If particular messaging or particular ads performed better in the past, that’s your starting point. Incremental growth means you find a way to improve on those.
Min or Max?
Paying for the ads may be the least fun part of the campaign, but of course without it nothing happens. When setting up ads on LinkedIn, there will be a recommended bid and a minimum bid. Some advise using the automated bidding feature, which will adjust your bid according to the floating market rate to make sure you ads show up frequently. However, we have not had any issues using the minimum bid. This is often a very substantial difference in cost, sometimes as much as two or three times as much. With the minimum bids, we tend to see our ads hit their marks.
What’s the Goal?
LinkedIn allows you to select a goal for advertisements. If your goal is awareness, the pricing scheme changes to cost per mille (CPM), charging you $X for every thousand impressions. If your goal is conversions, then LinkedIn will charge you per click. While these two goals may be overboard, strategically using this feature allows you to find the better pricing setup for your business. If you’re unsure, split your budget and run both! Check back in in a day or two and you can see which is performing better toward achieving your campaign goals. If you can write killer copy, chances are the CPM scheme will be better for you in the long run.
Focus on What Matters Most
Whenever you advertise, there are so many different metrics to comb through. However, jump back to the Four Disciplines of Execution. You must identify one or two different lead measures that you can track and affect. Whatever measure this is – and we ran through the list of them in the first blog point of this series – this has to be your focus on LinkedIn. You shouldn’t ignore everything else, per se, but you need to recognize that it is noise.
A campaign is a unified message to a specific audience over a set period of time across multiple channels. LinkedIn will almost certainly be a critical channel for any campaign an organization runs. Everything from B2B sales, recruiting, and consulting can use LinkedIn to great effect. LinkedIn’s audience tilts towards these professional audiences. However, some companies are looking for a traditional B2C market, and for that they can turn to Facebook, which we will speak about next week.