LinkedIn Marketing: The Giraffe Guide
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and has fast become one of the giants among the social media marketing crowd. It’s got a lot of great benefits that can help build and grow your business digitally. But where do you even begin, and what’s the best way to market and advertise on the social media platform?
At the end of 2016, LinkedIn was bought by Microsoft with the idea that ‘the world’s leading professional cloud’ should be combined with ‘the world’s leading professional network’. The social media platform currently has 500 million members, and 260 million of them are logging on each month. LinkedIn is constantly updating and evolving its service so both businesses and customers can benefit from the relationships it builds.
Who is LinkedIn for?
LinkedIn has a very different vibe to the other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s long been thought of as an app that helps potential candidates look for jobs, or helps recruiters search out employees for their clients.
However, it has become an important platform in a social media marketing strategy because of the benefits it can provide to businesses who use and advertise on it. It is extremely helpful to businesses who want to connect with other companies (B2B), because of the networking nature of the social media site. Nevertheless, B2C companies who want to connect with potential customers and candidates can also benefit from the opportunities a LinkedIn company page has to offer.
What are the Benefits of LinkedIn?
A business is not only about sales and profit but building relationships and creating connections in your industry and out of it, and LinkedIn is the perfect place to do that.
Interestingly, LinkedIn is the most used platform by Fortune 500 companies, meaning it is useful to companies who want to grow and expand and for businesses who are already where they want to be. According to Chron, LinkedIn can help you build and enhance your brand, get connected to those you want to network with, collaborate using the social media platform’s community features and grow your business and produce results. You can also increase your brand’s exposure, show off your accomplishments and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Business 2 Community state that, ‘the connections you make on LinkedIn are noticeably more effective than those on other social media networks,’ so if you’re looking for great business to business or business to customer relationships, LinkedIn is the place to be.
What is a Company Page?
A company page is more detailed than just a personal profile. It allows users to access detailed business information about your company so your audience can learn more about your brand and any job opportunities available.
Having a company page on LinkedIn is an easy way to market and promote your company. Your employees can post about your business, put your company information in their bio and tag you in content. Therefore, if you get your employees involved, just existing on LinkedIn is already creating brand awareness.
Having a company page will also make your business seem trustworthy and legitimate, especially if employees have you on their own personal profiles and all your business information is filled out correctly.
How Do I Create a Company Page?
A detailed company page is essential to those who want to grow their business and their audience. All you have to do is log onto LinkedIn using your personal account and access the home page. Then click the ‘Work’ tab, located at the top right of the page to access a menu that will pop up on your right. At the bottom of the list, which also offers the chance to advertise and post a job, there will be a button that is labelled as ‘Create a Company Page’. From there you can begin to fill out your details and build a profile. You can find out more information on LinkedIn company pages in our blog article here.
Different Post Types
Alike to all the other social media platforms, there are a different post types you can share to your company page. For example, video, photo and external links can all be posted to your profile. However, LinkedIn doesn’t have a varied choice like Facebook and Instagram offer with their polls, milestones and photo carousels.
There are many benefits to varying up your posts on LinkedIn. Firstly, your company page will never get stale, so you can attract new target members. You can also start to see what works best with your audience, what gets the most engagement and reach and how your followers respond to the content. For example, video content may work better than images, and some things people may respond to better through their mobile.
In February this year, LinkedIn released news of their Live feature, which lets users stream in real life! However, you can have to apply for the privilege of being a live video broadcaster. Businesses can use the live feature to showcase new products, talk about news and events and hold Q&A sessions for clients and customers.
LinkedIn are constantly adapting and evolving to the modern digital age, with new features being tested. In 2018, LinkedIn announced the new feature that gives users the ability to both record and send voice messages through LinkedIn messaging, but they have to be less than one minute long and created through the mobile app version of the platform.
Although LinkedIn began in 2003, its first ad didn’t appear until 2005 and it wasn’t until 2013, that the social media platform launched Sponsored Content. However, the big advertising boom was in 2016 to present, spawning, Sponsored InMail, Account Targeting, Conversion Tracking, Website Demographics, Matched Audiences, Lead Gen Forms, Dynamic Ads, Carousel Ads, Video Ads, Pages and the New Campaign Manager.
In 2014, LinkedIn acquired Bizo, which provided more ad targeting technology and this year the social media platform introduced interest targeting, lookalike targeting and more. These new features are all helping LinkedIn keep up with its social media competitors.
How much is LinkedIn Advertising?
The amount you spend on LinkedIn ads is solely up to you and your business. You can start with any amount of budget and stop your ads from running whenever you want. You’re just competing with other advertisers who are also trying to reach the same or similar target audience. LinkedIn lets you control your investment into ads by setting a daily budget, a total budget and maximum bids. Each comes with a different aspect. For example, the total budget option lets you deliver your campaign as fast as possible for a specific total, whereas the daily budget option will always be on. On the other hand, setting bids lets you set the max amount you’re up for spending for your objectives (e.g. clicks, impressions or delivered InMails). The ads won’t let you spend more than the price you’ve set, meaning you’ll pay out exactly how much you want to at the digital advertising auction.
But where do you start? Well, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager is your go-to for your advertising needs. All you have to do is create a campaign, add a campaign name and add it to a campaign group.
You must then choose an objective from the list provided by LinkedIn, which all fall under three categories:
Under these three objective types are:
- Brand Awareness
- Website visits
- Video views
- Lead generation
- Website conversions
- Job applicants
After choosing your ad type, you simply create your ad, which LinkedIn will walk you through. When you’re happy with your creation, you have to work on targeting and pick options that suit your audience from a list. This criterion includes company name, industry and size, job title, function and seniority, degrees, years of experience, fields of study, member schools, skills, groups, gender, age and the amount of company followers. It’s a vast amount of factors that helps you get down to the nitty and the gritty of potential clients or partners.
Finally you set your budget, schedule your ad and then monitor the results – easy peasy!
There are lots of different types of ads for you to choose from too:
Sponsored content is the LinkedIn version of promoted posts. The promotions need to be valuable and interesting to your audience if you want them to be successful.
LinkedIn states that ‘Sponsored Content allows you to deliver content to the LinkedIn feed of members beyond those who are following your company. Sponsored Content can be targeted to a specific audience, and can help advertisers reach LinkedIn members wherever and whenever they are engaging on the LinkedIn platform across desktop, mobile, and tablet.’
Lead Gen Forms
What are Lead Gen Forms?
Lead gen forms come with sponsored content. The forms help accumulate LinkedIn users’ profile data that’ll help businesses target and find individuals who are interested in their product or service by pre-filling all the answers with their details. LinkedIn state that, ‘Lead Gen Forms, advertisers can collect leads at conversion rates that typically outperform the LinkedIn benchmark’. They can be an extremely beneficial addition to your promotion if your business wants to collect leads. The lead gen forms are available on both mobile and desktop versions of LinkedIn and at no extra cost! They can also be added to Sponsored InMail ads and campaigns. More quality leads hopefully equal more quality business connections!
How Do I Create a Lead Gen Form?
You can select up to seven fields to include on the form from sectors including company, contact, work, education and demographics, so you have to think about your audience and what you want to know carefully. Under these sections you can select criteria such as job title, industry, the city you live, degree, graduation date and company size. All these will pre-populate when they submit the form.
The advertiser can then ask three custom questions in the lead gen form too, but they will contribute to the total of seven fields allowed. The individual filling out the form must answer these questions in order to submit it, so don’t think of anything too difficult or complex to ask which might deter them from filling it out. You can choose your type of question too, from either a single line text input or a multiple-choice enquiry. The latter allows the advertiser to come up with five possible answers to the question, giving them a chance to understand their audience more too.
You can find out more information on Lead Gen Forms in our blog article here.
Sponsored InMails were first announced to LinkedIn advertisers on the platform in 2016. They allow you to ‘send personalised messages to a target audience within LinkedIn’s platform’. They can be used to fulfil such advertising objectives as generating leads. It’s been compared to email marketing in the sense that you’re reaching your audience through an effective inbound strategy. This means you can take a lot of the aspects and best practices from email marketing and utilise them for InMail. However, InMails are considered better as they are less likely to get lost in email users’ inbox or junk mail.
Text ads help drive traffic to either your company page or website. They are fast and easy to set up and you can choose your audience. You can create variations of campaigns and see what works best. They only work on desktop and should be created with ‘attention-grabbing’ in mind.
Video ads are great sources of engagement and help differentiate and increase awareness of your brand. They’re pretty self-explanatory – they’re just ads with video content. However, the video should be eye-catching, informative and interesting as video content as risen in popularity over the years. This means every business is now doing it, so you need to be different to attract an audience to listen and watch your content. You can also target specific segments that LinkedIn asks users to fill out on their profiles and show your ads to those particular people you’re targeting.
Hootsuite describe dynamic ads as ‘a way to show personalised ads, dynamically generated based on your audience’s activity’. For example, if LinkedIn knows someone is looking for a job in your industry, you can target them at the precise time with the right message. Dynamic ads are perfect for businesses that want to build relationships and get messages out to people who you want to attract. They can help increase your LinkedIn company page’s following and create a more customised call-to-action.
Social media platforms are renowned for chopping and changes their advertising features, so keep an eye on what’s new and up and coming. You may find a new ad that helps you achieve the objectives and goals you want to.
Advertising Tips and Best Practice
As with all social advertising, there are tips and tricks you can try to boost your posts’ success. For example, you should keep an eye on when your posts get the most reach and engagement, so you can post on the same days and around a similar time. Like everything, it’ll be trial and error until you find what works best for your business.
Also, there are some things that are useful to know when advertising on LinkedIn. For example, if you’re sharing a URL in your post, and then promoting it, LinkedIn ‘suggest using 150 characters or less in your introductory text including the URL. All URLs must have the “http://” “or https://” prefix. URLs longer than 23 characters are shortened by the LinkedIn shortener.’
Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn also has an ad review process, which checks your ads against a certain amount of policies provided by LinkedIn. The social media platform states that they try to review them as soon as possible, and normally within twenty-four-hours. These policies include prohibited content such as: illegal products, services and activities, discrimination, offensive to good taste, fraud and deception, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, fake documents and related services, tobacco products, drugs, weapons, fireworks and other violent products or services, adult content, ringtones, counterfeit, gambling and sweepstakes, cryptocurrency, occult pursuits, health matters, affiliate advertising, political, hacking, cracking and circumvention, and incomplete ads. You can read more about LinkedIn’s prohibited content on their website here.There is also a lot of restricted content that has to be worded correctly or run by LinkedIn first, including ads about alcohol, animal products and dating services. There’s also more safety and privacy policies you should look through before you begin advertising and some editorial rules too.
LinkedIn Premium is a service provided by the social media site for both users and businesses. It ‘opens a lot of new doors for users, recruiters and businesses. It has a whole range of new and improved features set to help you achieve your goals, specific to what you’re on LinkedIn to do.’ There are two different options for you to pick from the feature – Premium Career and Premium Business. It all depends on what features you want more and what your objectives are in your strategy.
What Features of LinkedIn Premium Are Useful to Businesses?
One of the paid features on LinkedIn, but included in the Premium Career and Business packages, is the InMail tool. This is one of the most basic but most useful features for businesses. InMail allows you to message other users on LinkedIn, without having to connect with them first. Although this feature may be useful to job seekers wanting to ask questions or request more information about a job and recruiters looking to hire new people for their clients, it’s also greatly beneficial for business owners too. Firstly, you can connect with possible partners through LinkedIn. You can also look for potential LinkedIn influencers to help promote your business through their social channels. Finally, you can look for possible employees that you want to hire too.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile
That’s right, with LinkedIn Premium you can see whose be perusing over your profile. This means you can see who’s interested in your profile, and potentially your business. It’s incredibly frustrating for normal users that get told people have seen their profiles but aren’t allowed to access the information.
LinkedIn Premium gives you access to special metrics because of your ability to see your search appearances and profile views. Although it may not seem like useful information, Make Use Of state, ‘if you’re trying to improve your LinkedIn profile, it’s a great metric for measuring your success.’ LinkedIn Premium Business also gives you company insights that the normal version doesn’t offer. According to LinkedIn, the Premium upgrade ‘gives you an edge over the competition with valuable insights that offer complete access to competitors data, industry news, and analytics’.
Unlimited Browsing Capabilities
With Premium, you can find new prospects faster because of the unlimited browsing capabilities the upgrade offers. You can search without being restricted, which means new prospects for your business!
An open profile lets people easily send you a message, even if you aren’t connected. This transparent approach may make more users reach out and make contact with you.
Another fantastic feature of LinkedIn Premium is the number of courses you’ll have access to when you upgrade. There’s a total of 13,000! These courses all feature advice from industry experts in the business, technology and creative fields.
As social media specialists, we help businesses all around the world reach their digital marketing objectives. If your business needs help with advertising or social media marketing on LinkedIn or any social platform, please get in touch today.