For B2B businesses that use social media as part of their marketing strategies, LinkedIn has been the overwhelming favorite. No other social network is as tailored to business professionals, making it the perfect place for B2Bs to connect with their audiences.
Did you know?
People today are turning to social networks, blogs and company websites for helpful information, and LinkedIn is the ideal platform for sharing these resources. As LinkedIn’s own blog put it:
“People spend time on other social media networks, but they invest time on LinkedIn.”
Since people invest time in LinkedIn, should you invest part of your marketing budget in LinkedIn advertising? Probably. Ah, but that begs the question...
If you’re looking to dip your toes into the paid social waters, advertising on LinkedIn is the best place to start for B2Bs, and typically provides the best results. People are more serious about finding business solutions and helpful content when browsing LinkedIn (as opposed to Facebook or Twitter).
That said, getting started can seem like a big wall to climb, and there’s always the question of “how much do we actually spend?” There’s no one-sized answer and, to get to it, you first need to answer some questions.
Each of these factors will impact your final cost, which is really up to you. You can start your ads and stop at any time. According to LinkedIn, “Ads are sold through an auction. When you run ads, you compete with other advertisers who want to reach a similar target audience.”
Starting an ad campaign and choosing your audience is often one of the most daunting parts of advertising on LinkedIn. Once you get started, however, it’s not as complicated as you might think. Just follow these steps:
Note that if you want to promote a revised version of a recent post, LinkedIn recommends just creating an entirely new ad. In fact, try creating a few different variations (similar to A/B testing) to see which gets better results.
The question of how much to spend is one that almost always trips people up. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and it varies based on your marketing budget and your goals. If you’re just getting started, it’s okay to test the waters with some lower-budget trial runs so you can figure out what works best for you.
From there, I recommend two approaches:
Here’s an example for approach #2. Let’s say your ad promotes a landing page on your website. Based on your analytics, you know that 1 out of every 9 landing page visitors becomes a lead and 10% of leads are marketing qualified (MQLs). Using that info, you can expect it’ll take 90 landing page visits for every MQL. It makes sense to budget your LinkedIn campaign for 90 clicks per MQL. However, since you’re typically targeting a more qualified audience, many LinkedIn ad campaigns will attract MQLs at a higher rate.
Target by job function, not job title. You might think “Job Title” would be one of the best targeting criteria when setting up your ad, but not necessarily so. It’s not a bad thing if you know the primary positions you’re targeting, however, it can be tedious trying to think of all the different iterations of job titles. Instead, using a job function like “sales” (combined with the right industry targets) will cover much more.
Create multiple ads for optimal results. If you’re really serious about running a LinkedIn ad campaign, consider running four versions. Why four? For starters, you can’t always be sure how your ads will perform. Having different ads for your campaign lets you track your best and worst performers. In addition, the way LinkedIn ads work, your targets can only see each ad once every 24 hours. By having more than one, you increase your chances of being seen. More than four ads works well when running a large campaign but, for smaller campaigns, going over four can spread your budget too thin and make it harder to notice the nuances in A/B testing.
Use visuals and video to your advantage. Make your sponsored post stand out by using an image or video. Adding these will help your ad take up more real estate in the feed and stand out from typical posts. If you’re going the video route, LinkedIn allows you to create a video ad right in the Campaign Manager.
Promote content that generates leads. It might be tempting to share your new blog post, which might have a CTA for an eBook, but you’ll get way more leads and contacts from your ads if you just promote the eBook (or other advanced content) directly.
Use your best Company Page posts. If you aren’t sure what to promote, use an existing post that has already performed well. Promoting an old post will carry the likes and comments over to the sponsored post. This helps your audience know that the post is interesting to others who follow your company and helps bump engagement even further. Keep this in mind when sharing a post you’d like to promote later and let it rack up some organic likes and comments before converting it to a sponsored post.
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s free ad credits. If you’re the admin of your Company Page on LinkedIn, chances are you’ve gotten some emails offering a free $50 ad credit. While it’s not enough to fund a campaign, 50 bucks is 50 bucks, and chipping in $100 more would get you roughly 20 clicks at $7.50/click. Not a bad trial run for dipping your toes in the water.
For B2Bs, no other social network comes close to being as effective as LinkedIn, and their ad capabilities are second to none when it comes to targeting your audience. Hopefully these tips make it easier to get started. If you want to learn more about using LinkedIn as a B2B business tool, check out our infographic below.