With over 722 million members, LinkedIn has established its dominance as the number one social media site for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. As the name suggests, B2B marketing is about marketing of services or products to other organizations and businesses. This could be security solutions, software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, office supplies, accessories, tools and more. B2B marketing should be differentiated from B2C marketing which primarily focuses on customers.
Why LinkedIn for B2B Marketing?
LinkedIn was voted the most trusted network in 2020 – Business Insider
Since 2020, LinkedIn live streams have gone up by 158% – LinkedIn
In Q3 of 2020, content shared on LinkedIn went up by 50% – LinkedIn
Here are some of the reasons why LinkedIn is the ideal platform for B2B marketing:
- Thought leadership – LinkedIn allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. You can do this by providing high-quality content and answering questions in LinkedIn communities. When people trust you, they are more likely to be interested in your products or services
- Lead generation – LinkedIn is a useful tool for generating high-quality leads for your business. It allows you to send a connection request to almost anyone on the network. You can target connections based on their industry, location, title and even the firm they work for. To market yourself and your business, you could send a message with your connection request
- Driving traffic – Besides generating leads, LinkedIn can also be useful for driving traffic to your company blog. You can do this by simply sharing helpful blog posts in your status update
LinkedIn was voted the most trusted network in 2020
- Uncovering marketing insights – Another benefit of using LinkedIn for B2B marketing is that you can monitor what potential customers are saying. All you need to do is join relevant groups and listen to conversations on different topics. This will give you ideas for content that addresses the specific challenges that prospects are facing
- Industry education – LinkedIn offers a wide range of free courses which can help you learn more about specific subjects. You can also build your own training videos to show your expertise on a topic. Sharing such materials with the public not only creates brand awareness, but also positions you as an authority
B2B Marketing: LinkedIn vs Facebook
174 million workers in the US have LinkedIn profiles – LinkedIn
30% of LinkedIn users reside in urban areas – Hootsuite
Traffic from LinkedIn generated more visitor-to-lead conversions than Facebook and Twitter – HubSpot
There has always been a debate on whether LinkedIn or Facebook is better for business. Here are some reasons why LinkedIn B2B marketing is better than Facebook B2B marketing:
- Lead generation forms: LinkedIn lead generation forms allow you to create ads with a CTA which places the lead’s profile data on a form. Most marketers using the lead gen forms say that it lowered their cost per lead
- Professional thought leadership: When LinkedIn users log in, they are not looking for funny cat videos or memes. Instead, they want technical content on industry topics. It is therefore easier to establish your expertise and build your brand on LinkedIn
- Employee advocacy: LinkedIn provides an environment where your employees can speak engagingly and sincerely on behalf of your brand
LinkedIn B2B marketing statistics
Here are some LinkedIn statistics every B2B marketer should be aware of:
- LinkedIn has over 722 million members
- LinkedIn members are spread out across more than 200 countries. Areas with the largest number of users are the UK, U.S., Asia Pacific and Latin America
- More than half of LinkedIn users (59.9%) are between 25 and 34 years old
- LinkedIn has 61 million senior-level influencers
- 80% of the people on LinkedIn ‘drive business decisions’
- LinkedIn is home to 55 million companies
- LinkedIn has over 10,000 B2B software product pages
- A LinkedIn ad can reach about 13% of the world’s population
- Most B2B content marketers use LinkedIn ads
LinkedIn Marketing Strategy for B2B Businesses
51% of college graduates use LinkedIn – Pew Research Center
LinkedIn lead conversion rates are three times higher than other major ad platforms – LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the most preferred platform for B2B marketers – Content Marketing Institute
Create a company page
Having a compelling page where visitors can learn more about your company is very important. Prospects can follow the page and stay updated with major announcements, job vacancies and company posts.
Here are the steps for creating a company page:
1. Go to your LinkedIn homepage and click the Work icon
2. Click Create a Company Page
3. Choose the page type you would want to create from these options:
- Small business
- Medium to large business
- Showcase page
- Educational institution
4. Enter your page identity, company details and profile details. For your LinkedIn URL, make it the same as your username (handle) on other social sites
5. Add your tagline and upload the company logo. Though this step is optional, don’t skip it.
6. Check the box to verify that you are authorized to act on behalf of the company
7. Once you’ve filled out all the details, click Create Page. You can then start building your page.
LinkedIn is the most preferred platform for B2B marketers
Complete your page
A complete LinkedIn company page will boost your ranking on LinkedIn and Google search results. Here is the information you need to add:
- Company description: In a few short paragraphs, explain your values, mission, vision and a description of your products and services. Tell your potential buyers how you can help them solve their problems and be very clear about the buyer persona you are targeting.
Check out the company page of Collins Aerospace:
Since people search for companies using keywords, be sure to include phrases and words that best describe your expertise, business and industry focus. Finally, consider adding a phone number and email address at the bottom of your description
- Location: Add your office or store location. To add multiple addresses, select +Add Location
- Hashtags: Adding 2-3 hashtags will make your page more searchable. Use hashtags that are commonly associated with your industry or business
- Cover photo: Your LinkedIn company page banner offers a great opportunity to create a branded visual. The image should have your company branding and colors, as well as a tagline or call to action.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to use the same banner forever. You can use different background images for events like product launches, promoting a new case study or sharing recent business awards.
- Custom button: To encourage action, be sure to add a call-to-action (CTA) button to your profile. Options include contact us, visit website, sign up and register. Remember to add a corresponding website address (URL) so visitors who click on the button land on the right page.
- Manage languages: If you have a multilingual audience or global brand, LinkedIn allows you to add your name, description and tagline in over 20 different languages
Once you’ve filled in all the details, let the world know that your LinkedIn company page is up and running. Start by sending an announcement to your employees (if you have any). Explain how they can follow the page as well as add it as their place of work.
To make it easy for people to locate your LinkedIn page, add social media icons to your newsletter or website. As a page admin, you can also invite your connections to follow by clicking the Admin Tools button and selecting Invite Connections.
Create a content marketing strategy
Creating and sharing content on your page is an effective way of increasing visibility and engagement. However, before sharing any content, you must first have a strategy. Here are the steps for building a great LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy:
- Set your goal: Determine what you expect to achieve from your LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy. Do you want to increase leads? Increase brand awareness? Boost traffic to your site? Build B2B partnerships? Once you understand what your overall goal is, you will be able to create a more targeted and efficient campaign
- Research keywords, topics and trends: To get an idea what kind of content you should create, research the latest keywords, topics and trends in your industry. What are people talking about? What is your audience looking for currently?
- Create a content calendar: Consistency is very important for any LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy. Having a content calendar allows you to plan out your publication schedule for the short and long term. For your calendar to be successful, it needs to include the following elements; working title, author, content format, targeted keywords, buyer persona and date of publication
- Analyze results: When you create and post content on LinkedIn, your work is not done yet. To find out what is and isn’t working, you need to analyze the performance of your content. This will help you build more effective LinkedIn B2B marketing campaigns in future.
Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Social Pilot and Rank Ranger could come in handy for LinkedIn analytics.
Leverage different types of content
Here are some of the content options you can choose from for your LinkedIn B2B marketing strategy:
- Videos: A recent survey revealed that 59% of executives prefer video to text content. Therefore, sharing videos on your page is likely to result in more engagement. Your LinkedIn B2B marketing videos could be testimonials, tips and tricks, product reviews, demonstration videos, company-at-work videos, event/webinar promotion videos.
On his VaynerX page, Gary Vaynerchuk regularly shares interviews with business leaders.
- How to articles: People look for ‘how to’ posts when they want to learn something quickly. Sharing such posts will not only position you as an expert, but will also drive traffic to your blog
- Polls: LinkedIn polls are a great way of generating engagement among your followers. You can use them to ask questions, get opinions, get feedback, conduct market research or build excitement in a product launch.
- Infographics: People love images and statistics. A great way of presenting these two kinds of content is in a visually appealing infographic. Mc Kinsey & Company regularly share infographics on their page.
- Short-form content: Social media users often don’t have the patience to read through long posts. Therefore, be sure to leverage short-from content which can be read within seconds. Such posts are ideal for sharing useful tips and tricks, like in the post below on the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) page
- Long-form content: Research has shown that long form content ranks better on search engines. Generally, content is considered long form if it has 2,000 or more words.
- Opinions: You can post articles with your opinion on current events that affect the world or your industry. Followers can then comment with their own opinions, thus providing a great opportunity to engage in useful conversations with your audience. Edelman recently shared an opinion piece after Derek Chauvin’s conviction.
- Company updates: Use your LinkedIn company page to keep your partners and audience informed at all times. You could announce upcoming events, product launches or recent hires
- Awards or recognitions: Getting an award or certification boosts your credibility as a company. Be sure to share such achievements with your audience.
- Employee stories: Sharing employee stories is a great way of humanizing your brand. It makes your employees feel valued and creates an emotional connection with your audience. Adobe took advantage of the recent women history month to share stories of their employees.
727 million individuals can be reached via LinkedIn advertising
To reach a larger and more targeted audience, use LinkedIn advertising. Here are the steps for getting started:
1. Navigate to linkedin.com/ads and click Create Ad
2. To create an account, enter your account name, currency and LinkedIn page
3. Choose your objective
4. Select your targeting criteria
You can choose from over 20 audience attributes including:
- Company name
- Company size
- Member interests
- Member groups
- Job seniority
- Job title
Let’s say we are targeting a user persona named ‘IT Manager Pauline’. We can choose the attributes as follows:
Company Industries: Software and IT Services
Company size: 11-50 employees
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Experience: 3-12 years
To add more attributes, select Narrow audience further. Once you are done, click Save as template
- Choose your LinkedIn ad format
There are four ad formats to choose from; dynamic ads, sponsored content, text ads or message ads.
- Dynamic ads: With a dynamic ad, you can personalize your message for each member of your target audience. These kinds of ads use LinkedIn profile data (photo, job title, company name) to personalize ads. Dynamic ads come in three formats; follower ads, jobs ad and spotlight ad.
- Sponsored content: These ads appear directly in the LinkedIn feeds of your target audience. Sponsored content comes in three formats; carousel ads, video ads and single image ads. With this kind of content, you can build brand awareness, drive leads and build relationship at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Text ads: These are simply cost-per-impression (CPM) or cost-per-click (PPC) ads. With text ads, you only pay for the ads that work (per impression or per click)
- Message ads: Message ads allow you to contact prospects directly via LinkedIn messaging. This usually drives stronger engagement and immediate action.
For sponsored content and message ads, you can use lead gen forms to collect more quality leads. These are prefilled forms that integrate easily with CRM or marketing automation tools.
- Set your budget and schedule
There are three options for setting your budget:
- Cost per send (CPS): This is used for message ad campaigns. Payment is made when a message is delivered successfully
- Cost per click (CPC): This is used for campaigns that are action-oriented such as event registration or lead generation
- Cost per impression (CPM): This is ideal when your goal is brand awareness
Besides choosing the right option, you will also need to enter a daily budget, suggested bid, start date, end date and total budget.
Find and join LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups are virtual forums where individuals sharing similar interests can connect and have discussions on relevant topics. Being part of such a group comes with many benefits. First, you get an opportunity to build relationships with like-minded individuals and widen your network. Secondly, you can position yourself as an expert by sharing useful information and answering questions from other members. Finally, you can then leverage these relationships to promote your products or services, or even find partnership opportunities.
So, how do you find and join a LinkedIn group?
- Enter a group name or keyword in the search bar
- Click Groups from the dropdown
- Select any group and click Request to join
The administrator of the group will review your request and either approve or reject it
Start your own LinkedIn group
Creating your own LinkedIn group is a great way to grow your network, boost blog traffic and generate lots of leads. The good news is that starting such a group is very easy.
- Select a topic that resonates with your customers
Your group should be focused on a specific topic that customers care about. People will join a LinkedIn group because they are interested in the subject, not the company. With time, the audience will build a strong connection with the topic as well as your brand. Ask yourself the following questions when choosing your group topic:
- What are your goals for the group?
- What conversations would your customers be interested in?
- What are the common topics related to your brand?
Once you’ve contemplated these questions, think of your group’s name. To stand out from the competition, be as specific as possible. For example, if you are interested in fitness, you could call your group ‘Fitness for Busy Executives’.
- Go to your LinkedIn homepage and click on the Work icon
- Select Groups from the dropdown menu
- Click Create group as shown below
LinkedIn B2B Marketing: Inhouse vs Outsourcing
727 million individuals can be reached via LinkedIn advertising – DataReportal
Advertisers choose LinkedIn as a trusted method to find warm leads – LinkedIn
94% of marketers rely on LinkedIn to distribute content – LinkedIn
‘Should we build a team of in-house marketers or outsource the work to specialist agencies?’
This is a dilemma that many companies face when it comes to LinkedIn B2B marketing. While each option has its pros and cons, it is generally more advisable to outsource your marketing. Here are some reasons why you should outsource LinkedIn B2B marketing to a specialist agency:
- Cost effective: Hiring an agency to handle your marketing is more cost-effective compared to having in-house staff. When you outsource to an agency, you don’t need to have to worry about finding office space, buying software or paying salaries
- Consistency: Successful LinkedIn B2B marketing requires consistency. When in-house employees are on leave or sick, your marketing schedule can suffer greatly. Hiring an agency means that you don’t have to worry about staff leaves
- Access to a team of experts: When working with an agency, you have access to a team of experts that has experience across different platforms and different industries. Since they know what works and what doesn’t, you can be assured of results
- Access to the latest technology: Most established marketing agencies use state-of-the-art tools for SEO keyword analysis, digital analytics, content management, social media listening, content curation, social media publishing and more. Such tools allow fast and accurate research, analysis and implementation of your business goals. Outsourcing means that you don’t have to worry about paying for such tools, some of which can be very expensive.
- New insights and perspectives: An outsourced marketing specialist can provide a fresh perspective or insight on your brand and its image. They might be able to spot areas that need some improvement better than your in-house staff could ever do
- Up-to-date skills and knowledge: The LinkedIn B2B marketing industry is ever changing and dynamic. What worked yesterday might not be very effective today. Digital marketing experts at agencies are always learning new skills and enhancing existing strategies. Therefore, outsourcing to an agency assures you of an up-to-date and efficient approach.
- Ongoing maintenance and optimizations: Professional agencies go out of their way to help their customers succeed. Such agencies realize that when a client succeeds, they earn a good reputation. Therefore, the agency’s assignment doesn’t end with the creation of a LinkedIn B2B marketing campaign. They will repeatedly test their work and find ways to improve its effectiveness.
- Proven track record: Specialist agencies that have been in business for years have a proven track record of delivering campaigns that work. You can therefore rest assured that your LinkedIn B2B marketing needs will be met.