Should you be using LinkedIn in Your Marketing

Just about all marketers know that social media is an essential piece of their marketing playbook.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others can help to drive a significant amount of traffic very quickly.  This traffic is also often very targeted and can convert at surprisingly high rates.  Whether using it for organic traffic or paying for ads, social media is a key tool for marketers today.

Conversion rate concept word cloud background

Conversion rate concept word cloud background

One social media platform that is often overlooked, however, is LinkedIn.  This business based platform is used by millions of members, almost all of which are already working professionals or those looking to improve their career opportunities.  In most cases, this means they are the type of people who will most likely have extra money to spend on product.

In addition, LinkedIn is used by millions of businesses, making it an excellent platform for those who are looking to provide products or services to other businesses.

Different Usage Goals

Another big benefit that LinkedIn brings to the table is that many people using this platform are actually looking for ways to improve their business or their careers.  When this is the case, they are much more likely to click links or even buy products that can help them meet these goals.  With Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, on the other hand, people are typically looking just to get updates and go.  While they can still drive traffic, it is less likely that they will be already in a ‘buying’ mood.

New Report on LinkedIn

If you’re still not convinced, consider a new report that was released concerning people in the Washington D.C. area, LinkedIn is used by more than 79% of business professionals.  This makes it the most used platform in the area.  Facebook is in second place at 77% and 62% use Twitter.  Of course, this is a very local report, but it does show just how large LinkedIn has become in the past several years.

Even in other parts of the country, and around the world, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for businesses and those looking to improve their careers.  These number may even grow going forward since most people today see LinkedIn as an important part of their job search or running their business.

How to Market on LinkedIn

Getting your products or services out there on LinkedIn is not always as hard as some might think.  First, there is the option to run advertising on the site.  This can be very effective and it is quite easy to set up.  LinkedIn has similar targeting options to the other social media networks as well, which can make this an excellent option.

For organic traffic, you can post links to blog posts or other important pages on your website.  To get additional exposure, you can join LinkedIn groups that have sometimes thousands of members.  These groups are segmented by topics, industries and more so you can get your message in front of the exact type of people who will be most interested in what you’re promoting.

The bottom line is you need to make sure you have LinkedIn as a part of your overall social media marketing strategy or you could potentially be missing out on a huge amount of traffic and sales.

LinkedIn Launching Business Focused Ad Network

Over the past several years we have seen just about every social network launch their own ad network to help monetize their traffic. This is a smart move since social networks already do a great job at collecting personal information about users, which can then be used to show very targeted ads. The one exception to this has been LinkedIn. Until now.

LinkedIn adnetwork

LinkedIn has just announced that they have launched their own global display ad network, which will take advantage of the massive amount of data they have collected on their 347 million registered users. In a way it is very surprising that they haven’t done this before, given the fact that their site is primarily focused on working adults, which is a very attractive advertising segment.

To launch the network, LinkedIn has partnered with AppNexus, which already has a number of advertising clients and connections with about 2500 other business focused sites. In addition, the technologies that LinkedIn acquired when they purchased the marketing platform Bizo last year (for a reported $175 million).

One of the most anticipated features of this new ad network will be a product called the “LinkedIn Lead Accelerator.” This is a system where website owners can place a custom LinkedIn pixel on their website, which will allow the site owner to match the data they collect through cookies with the existing data LinkedIn has on file. According to LinkedIn, the average site owner is only able to gain about 5% of available data from browsers based on cookies alone. Adding in the LinkedIn data will dramatically improve that number.

Of course, website owners can then use the information to improve their own marketing efforts, but it can also be used to display more targeted ads. The more targeted the ads, the more clicks they will see.

While there is little question about this being a smart move for LinkedIn, there is some concern about their approach. The biggest worry some experts have is that, at least for now, LinkedIn is looking to have direct meetings with all brands and site owners who want to use their service. This is possible because they are putting restrictions on which websites qualify (they must have a minimum of 20k unique visitors).

Having a LinkedIn ad rep work directly with the brands will likely help to improve the results of their services, but it is a costly and time consuming effort. At this point, of course, it is too early to tell whether or not it is a smart move.

In a recent interview, LinkedIn’s EMEA senior director, Jeff Graff, said, “We see the global b2b advertising opportunity at a $50 billion market. This is very much the next step in this strategy. At its core, we are changing the way b2b marketing operates today.”

There is no doubt that this is an ambitious statement, but it is nothing new for the social network. They came out last year and identified their multi-year plan to create a $1 billion per year b2b marketing plan for LinkedIn. This would help to bring in the money that has been somewhat lacking given the resources they have.