LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success: 3 Keys

The State Of LinkedIn 3Q2015

LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success LinkedIn is the premier B2B social media platform.

LinkedIn laser-focuses on its audience of approximately 400 million members.

If you understand the 3 keys to LinkedIn B2B social media success, you’ll be able to use the social media platform better. It will also provide a model to improve your own marketing.

3 Keys To LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success

  1. Develop a corporate mission to help your target audience improve their lives.
  2. Build a targeted social media audience that starts and deepens personal relationships.
  3. Create a content ecosystem integrated with your business plans.

LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success

1. LinkedIn’s mission

LinkedIn’s mission in its words:

We seek to create value for members by connecting them to the most important people, knowledge, and opportunities in their professional lives. Our members create the core of our platform, and we, in turn, provide members with applications and tools to help them more effectively manage their careers to achieve their full potential.

What’s key in LinkedIn’s mission: They focus on their members to help them improve their lives.

LinkedIn views its audience as real people who have a sense of belonging to an entity that’s bigger than any one individual.

This is in stark contrast to FacebookFacebook refers to its audience as users. This is a dehumanizing term for people who communicate and share personal interactions. It’s ironic when you think about it.

LinkedIn’s distinction between members and customers

  • Members are the people who participate and use the LinkedIn platform to keep up with professional news and to build their careers.
  • Customers are the people and businesses that purchase LinkedIn products.

LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success Metrics

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Focus on your audience and their needs, not yours. View them as real people. They’re not interested in your business. Help them solve their problems and you’ll improve your bottom line. Your business mission: We help [Fill in the blank] to achieve [Fill in the blank].
  • Define your corporate mission by putting your customers at the heart of your organization. Your company must stand for something more important than revenues and profits. Why? Millennials, the major buying segment, believes improving the world is important.

2. LinkedIn as B2B social media network

LinkedIn allows members to create profiles for themselves and their businesses that give them a human face with photos. People can connect with each other and with businesses by direct contact and social media content, specifically shares, updates and comments. As a result, you can build and deepen relationships.

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn allows members to write recommendations for each other.

The 3 main social media elements include:

  1. LinkedIn Profiles. These are individual pages. Take a page from Jason Miller who works at LinkedIn and is a content expert. (Note: The rock photo. It give you a clue as to Miller’s interests.) Example of LinkedIn Profile Page - Jason Miller
  2. LinkedIn Company Pages. These pages give your firm visibility on LinkedIn. Here’s what Citi’s LinkedIn Company Page looks like. Example of a LinkedIn Company Page - Citibank
  3. LinkedIn Groups. These are forums where professionals can ask questions and share content. You have to be active to post links or members will think that you’re spamming them. Here’s an example of Content Marketing Institute.

    Example of a LinkedIn Group Page-Content Marketing Institute

    Example of a LinkedIn Group Page-Content Marketing Institute

LinkedIn is a Top 10 Social Media Platform Globally based on size according to Global Web Index. (Here’s the full global social media analysis.)

Social Media Behavior in 2015- Network size chart

LinkedIn is the top social media platform among the Fortune 500 according to UMass Dartmouth research. (Here’s the full analysis.)

Social Media Use by Fortune 500 in 2015 -Research by UMass Dartmouth

79% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as effective for lead generation versus 15% of B2B marketers who view LinkedIn as ineffective according to B2B Lead Generation Report. LinkedIn trumps other social media entities for business engagement.

LinkedIn trumps for B2B Lead Generation - Chart from B2B Lead Generation Report 2015

  • 1 in 10 online 45-64s are active on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the second oldest social network in terms of its age profile. This makes its member base similar to that of Facebook.
  • 30% of online 16-64s have a LinkedIn account. 1 in 8 have actively used LinkedIn within the last month.

    LinkedIn versus Facebook Audience via Global Web Index

    LinkedIn versus Facebook Audience via Global Web Index

LinkedIn’s fastest growing channel for member engagement is mobile. LinkedIn mobile unique visitors represented 55% of its 3Q2015 unique visitors.

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Help your employees put their best foot forward. Your employees represent your business on LinkedIn. Look at their branding. Take professional photographs of your employees. Provide search optimization support.
  • Make your business visible on LinkedIn. Ensure that your company is human.
  • Participate in LinkedIn Groups. Where appropriate build your own community such as Content Marketing Institute. Alternatively, have members of your marketing team participate in relevant groups.
  • Follow the LinkedIn experts. I get that it’s difficult to keep up-to-date on every social media platform. Therefore let the experts do the legwork for you. I recommend Neal Schaffer, Melonie Dodaro, Viveka Von Rosen and Stephanie Sammons.

3. LinkedIn as mega content ecosystem

In addition to the social media content created by its members, LinkedIn provides 2 content publishing platforms. They’re free to use and support branding and lead generation. Both individuals and companies can use them.

1. LinkedIn Publishing

It’s LinkedIn’s version of blogging. It’s an important platform to include when repurposing your content. Don’t take my word for it, Jay Baer recommends its use. If you’re not convinced, check  How To Dominate LinkedIn Publishing (Includes must-see charts.)

  • 51% of B2B marketers cite publishing as the most effective LinkedIn feature according to B2B Lead Generation Report.

Most Effective B2B Features on LinkedIn - Chart

Example of LinkedIn Publishing - Attracts a bigger audience

Example of LinkedIn Publishing – Attracts a bigger audience

2. LinkedIn Slideshare

Slideshare still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s B2B marketing’s best kept secret. Go beyond extending the reach of your presentations. Create Slideshares to enhance other content, publish infographics and ebooks. (Here are some useful  Slideshare marketing tips including examples.)

Even better Slideshare has a pubic editorial calendar. Slideshare yields real revenue!  SlideShare Calendar

LinkedIn continues to buy and integrate other content formats and distribution systems. It’s got its own content strategy including its blog and LinkedIn Pulse (a social media news aggregator.) Its recent acquisition of lynda.com, provides an extensive, high quality library of professional training videos and courses.

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Publish content on LinkedIn Publishing. It can help extend your reach. Follow the best content creation practices to get the most impact. (Note: This option started out just focused on mega-influencers. Enough said.)
  • Add LinkedIn Slideshare to your content plan. Where appropriate, publish on their monthly topic to increase your reach. At a minimum, test it out.

The State of LinkedIn 3Q2015 – Revenue Generation

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn has a diversified revenue model (another of their success secrets.) This helps minimize risk. Revenues are proof of LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success.

LinkedIn 3Q2015 Revenues

LinkedIn 3Q2015 Revenues

 LinkedIn makes use of a media entity’s 3 revenue streams.

1. Subscriptions

Subscriptions are premium products where your audience pays to receive your information. For online sites, this generally means enhanced functionality.

Additionally LinkedIn sells “Premium Subscriptions”. Members pay for access to enhanced LinkedIn features.

Subscriptions account for 1/5 of LinkedIn’s revenues (specifically $388k YTD).  (Note: LinkedIn also includes revenue from LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions.)

2. Advertising

Advertising is the most common way social media entities monetize their audience by allowing marketers to target their message to specific audience segments. (Here are more insights on social media advertising in general.)

LinkedIn advertising, called “Marketing Solutions”, consists of content-based, graphic display, and text link ads shown primarily on LinkedIn.com and its mobile applications. LinkedIn also sells off-network advertising.

Advertising accounts for 1/5 of LinkedIn’s revenues (specifically $399k YTD). On average LinkedIn advertising contracts run about 2 months.

As a point of reference, over 95% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising. While Facebook continues to make advertising on its platform mandatory to get visibility, it could learn from LinkedIn’s revenue diversification.

Here are 2 self serve advertising options (with data from Marketing Mojo)

1. LinkedIn Self Serve Ads

LinkedIn Self Serve Ads appear in the right hand column on the desktop version. With increased mobile use by members, Self Serve Ads have decreased reach.

  • LinkedIn Self Serve Ads yield a 0.025% click-through rate (CTR) according to LinkedIn. In 3Q2015, Marketing Mojo clients yielded a 0.035% click-through rate.
  • LinkedIn Self Serve Ads yield a $6.96 cost-per-click (CPC), an increase of 15% according to Marketing Mojo 3Q2015 client experience. Note: CPC depends on the competitiveness for a specific audience.

    LinkedIn Self Serve Ad CPC - Chart by Marketing Mojo as of 3Q2015

    LinkedIn Self Serve Ad CPC – Chart by Marketing Mojo as of 3Q2015

2. LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads

Direct Sponsored Content Ads appear in the LinkedIn newsfeed across devices, desktop, tablets and smartphones. These LinkedIn ads tend to appear mostly on mobile devices. LinkedIn reports that 80% of these ad impressions appear on mobile.

Example of LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ad

Example of LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ad

  • LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads yielded an average click-through rate (CTR) of 0.53% in 3Q2015, an increase of 22% based on Marketing Mojo clients.
  • LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads yielded an average cost-per-click (CPC) of $5,74, a 21% decrease based on Marketing Mojo clients.

    LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads - Chart via Marketing Mojo 3Q2015

    LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads – Chart via Marketing Mojo 3Q2015

 

Actionable Marketing Tips:

  • Target your advertising. At a minimum, use Job Function.The better targeted your advertising the better they’ll perform. To this end, create marketing personas.
  • Tailor your ad landing pages to encourage mobile members to act. Let members know that they can get your content on their mobile devices.
  • Offer members the type of content incentive that yields the best results. On LinkedIn, this means white papers and ebooks. Of course, your results may vary so test, test, test.

3. Related products

Related media products can vary significantly. They include products based or associated with your own information such as conferences or products created by other businesses that yield affiliate sales.

LinkedIn created a hiring solution that takes advantage of their professional database. It helps companies reduce talent acquisition costs.

LinkedIn also sells job postings accessible through job searches or targeted job matches. They run for 30 days on average. This is a targeted, database version of traditional media job listings which were considered a form of advertising.

  • LinkedIn has 4+ million active job listings, up from 1 million last year. Monthly job pageviews were up 90+% year-over-year in September.

LinkedIn has recently added Learning and Development to their “Talent Solutions” through its acquisition of the lynda.com learning platform. This platform will help members and customers enhance professional skills cost effectively.

It’s worth noting that education continues to be a bigger factor for businesses. Millennials are better educated.

Related products account for 3/5 of LinkedIn’s revenues (specifically 63%). Year-to-date 3Q2015, subscriptions yielded $1,342k.

 

If you follow the 3 key formula for LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success, you’ll get your business on track to succeed.

Specifically focus on:

  1. Develop an audience focused corporate mission to help your target audience improve their lives.
  2. Build a targeted social media audience that starts and deepens personal relationships.
  3. Create a content ecosystem integrated with with your business plans.

What does LinkedIn B2B Social Media Success mean for your business?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  • Thanks for sharing this Linkedin marketing guide. Well linkedin network gives you really targeted and professional outreach. It is useful and targeted and investing time here will give us high ROI.

  • Great article Heidi! Thanks for the mention as well.