Want to deliver a lead generating campaign with content that the audience will demand? Of course you do. It’s every marketer’s dream for their customer to demand a conversation.
Social networks provide that platform for brands to build one-on-one relationships. For a professional audience, no one does it better than LinkedIn.
Here are three ways to use LinkedIn as a media provider and a social platform:
Building brand awareness to a niche audience
LinkedIn is unrivaled by its competitors in the B2B landscape for targeting. No other channel can offer this level of granular audience targeting for display.
When running either display or InMail, businesses need to ensure they understand what will be delivered. For large business solutions, it’s unrealistic to expect identified prospects.
Advertising objectives should be set for awareness.
Cathay Pacific, for instance, employed a creative way of using LinkedIn’s audience information. To help promote business travel from the US to Asia, Cathay Pacific used LinkedIn targeting to segment the audience that belonged to groups related to business travel in Asia. Display and poll ads were used targeting this specific audience. They achieved 97 recommendations on their product page and 1,324 responses from business travelers.
For selling larger business solutions, LinkedIn presents other lead generating tactics that are unique to their platform.
LinkedIn Groups: building brand influence
The majority of companies have created a LinkedIn group. In some cases, companies will have 20 or more groups, each with only 10 members.
This becomes confusing for an audience interested in a specific topic. Companies need to be smarter when creating groups, and if it’s not providing value, take it down.
A group is a useful tool for influencers within your organisation to build relationships with potential customers and for your sales team to gather audience insights. Over time, groups have the potential to grow into an important tool that will establish your brand in the market as a thought leader.
To create a successful group, you need support within three areas of expertise:
Social marketer: He/she will put together a recommendation for community management and resources for managing the group. If no resources are set aside for social, it will be difficult to harness a productive discussion. Group members will not stay without relevant and consistent interactions.
Media strategist: This is where your audience is going to come from. Don’t expect your group to grow organically. To drive audience, you can run highly targeted group promotion ads throughout LinkedIn. Without it you might struggle to increase numbers and have an engaging conversation.
Content marketer: Some organisations have employed content marketers, but if you do not have one, reach out to your agency for help. Content is the staple of your group and it’s important to ensure that your influencers are posting relevant and consistent content. Content is key to maintaining and growing a successful group therefore invest in resources for content management.
IBM has recently created a group within its growth markets. Smarter Cities Connect is an award-winning example of how best to use this environment.
Smarter Cities Connect developed into an always-on platform allowing IBM’s sales and marketing team to gain insights from a very specific and engaged audience. It also allowed them to invite these civic leaders to events for face to face engagement. In just one year, the group grew to more than 12,000 civic leaders.
SlideShare: A new environment for content distribution
SlideShare is a competitive platform for business decision makers to discover information about products/services and industry information.
SlideShare Ads are the first lead generation offering from LinkedIn. The ad promotes your content through display media. This promotion can only use PPT content, whereas SlideShare can host video and PDF, but this will soon change as the technology develops. This is currently being tested in the US but is available in the Australian market.
Remember what your core objectives are for your investment with LinkedIn. If you want to help build awareness with a niche audience, LinkedIn is a great environment to run your digital advertising. But if your expectations are lead generation and sales enablement, then look to LinkedIn’s social capabilities.
After all, LinkedIn is one of the strongest social networks in the world.
Curtis Tracey is a senior account manager at neo@Ogilvy.