Few social media's have carved themselves as effective and unique a niche as LinkedIn has done over the last few years, as social media platforms have become the dominant force in online socialising. With a focus more on the networking part of social networking, LinkedIn has defined itself as the digital equivalent of the classic, business-centric networking event that every young marketer is forced to attend and awkwardly eat canapes at, during some point in their career. That being said, its clearly a service that people desired considering it has a user base of 650 million people, just under half of which log in every month.
With the growth of the platform, marketers have done what they do best and implemented marketing and advertising options throughout the service, options that are unique given the business focus and engagement levels of the LinkedIn user base. As such, let's talk about how to get the best out of your marketing at those juicy, LinkenIn-using CEOs, Founders and Directors of something-or-other.
Self Service vs Advertising Partner Solutions
LinkedIn ads come in two flavours; Self Service and LinkedIn Advertising Partner Solutions. Self Service is, as the name implies, the more DIY option, where you have the power to fiddle with all the bits and pieces (schedules, audiences, bids, budget etc.) Comparatively, Partner Solutions pair you with an agency that can either look after the nitty, gritty for you, or show you the ropes and help you skill up.
Self Service ads have a few different variants, several of which you'll probably recognise from other Social Media offerings. Your options include;
- Sponsored Content - the promotion of content on your page so it reaches people outside of your direct network
- Sponsored InMail - basically the opportunity to send DM's, directly into peoples personal LinkedIn inboxes
- Text Ads - Essentially search ads, similar to what you find on Google. They'll drive people who look for certain keywords back to your page
- Display Ads - These are the ads you'll see in the margins of LinkedIn - similar to MRecs or Skyscrapers on regular websites
- Video Ads - Ads that are videos. Duh. They show up in the Feed.
- Dynamic Ads - Take what LinkedIn knows about their audience and personalise your ads to specific people, using their photo, their company name or job title and more.
- Carousel Ads - These are the multiple slide ads that can showcase several products or similar offerings into a single ad. This will show up in the feed as well.
As with all marketing executions, the hive mind also has some tips if you want to follow in the footsteps of past successful campaigns. For the most part, the same general best-practice guidelines you use on Facebook and Instagram will serve you well here, things like 'try and use original photography','use specific calls to action with action verbs' and of course, 'personalise where possible', but there are also some LinkedIn specifics.
- Sponsored InMail gives you unique access to your audiences inboxes. To use it effectively, be sure to personalise your message, don't waffle on, lay out what you'd like them to do clearly and (obviously) be polite.
- LinkedIn themselves recommend bidding 10% above the suggested range. In their own tests they saw a 15% improvement in CTR and almost 30% in conversions. That being said, if ROI is your most important metric, then keeping inside the range might be a better move.
- It can be hard to know what the optimal audience size is on each social media platform given the wildly different numbers of users. LinkedIn reckons if you're hitting between 60,000 and 400,000 people, you're on the money.
- LinkedIn in general has a higher CPC than many other social media marketing options. For example, in 2017, LinkedIn's CPC was US$6.50, compared to US$2.32 on Adwords. That's significantly more expensive, and can be a deterrent to so some for whom ROI is the name of the game. The argument in this instance is that given how business savvy and engaged most LinkedIn users are, you can expect more bang with those extra bucks.
So there it is, a brief guide to the best LinkedIn has to offer us marketers. With a bit of a plan and some forward thinking, LinkedIn can be pretty bloody rewarding to a lot of brands, so jump in and take a look!