B2B & LinkedIn: How To Use Paid Social Media For Lead Generation

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Paid search specialist Alison Humphries shares her best practice guidance to setting up and managing LinkedIn campaigns for B2B companies.

If it is your aim to put your business in front of industry, thought and next generation leaders, then there’s only one platform to choose – LinkedIn. The world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has more than 450 million members, of which more than 100 million actively use the platform on a regular basis. That’s a very impressive audience!

Used strategically, LinkedIn can help you get your business in front of thousands of leads in an engaging and effective manner.

Why Use LinkedIn Paid Social?

LinkedIn Paid Social is a great fit for B2B companies, as you can reach out to like-minded professionals. It is also very effective for recruitment and training providers.

Consider using LinkedIn paid social if you are:

  • Looking to expand reach through testing different channels
  • Looking to reach specific target personas with highly tailored messaging

If you are looking to reach specific target personas, then the campaign targeting on LinkedIn allows you get very granular with your target market. This means your budget is used only to target those people you are most interested in marketing to. This precision targeting is one of the biggest benefits of paid social on LinkedIn.

There are three main avenues of paid social on LinkedIn. These are:

  • Text ads
  • Direct sponsored content
  • Sponsored updates

Consider the message you want to promote, and the conversion you want to achieve, in order to determine which avenue or combination would work best for your business’ marketing activities.

Defining Your LinkedIn Target Audience

Before setting up paid social on LinkedIn, we recommend ensuring your buyer personas are clearly defined. If you have buyer personas in place, great! If not, check out our blog on Producing Powerful Buyer Personas For Your Business.

Once you know your buyer personas, your campaign targeting can then be focused on reaching those people specifically. LinkedIn offers a number of targeting options, which will help you define your target audiences clearly, helping you generate pre-qualified leads. LinkedIn targeting options include:

Location – This may be at a country or regional level dependent on how widely you wish to promote your services.

Job Title – It is important to determine which job roles your target audience is likely to hold, e.g. if you are promoting fleet management services, you may be looking to target logistics managers, fleet managers, etc.

Industry – You may also be targeting users employed in a specific industry. This is especially useful if you are using job titles targeting where the job title may be used across a wide range of companies, such as Purchasing Managers.

Company Size – Are you targeting SMEs or large enterprises? If you know the size of the company you wish to target, you can layer in the size of the companies you feel your target audience would be employed in.

Member Groups – Targeting members of LinkedIn Groups is another great way to get granular with your targeting.

Fields of Study and Degrees – If your target audience has a broad product title, you may wish to layer in fields of study and degrees to ensure you reach leads aligned to your target demographics.

These are important targeting options for LinkedIn campaigns. However, please note that the audience must be above 1,000 members to ensure the campaigns are eligible to run.

Setting Up Your LinkedIn Ad Creative

LinkedIn text ads

In our experience, we have found that LinkedIn ads receive fewer impressions than sponsored content. However, using ads facilitates the opportunity to promote your products/services directly. We recommend:

  • Images being clear, featuring people using your product/service. Including people in the images generates a higher engagement rate as it’s more personal.
  • Highlighting your USPs clearly.
  • Using a strong call to action.
  • Testing multiple ad variations.

Sponsored Updates

We have found that sponsored updates tend to get a higher number of impressions and have a higher engagement rate in terms of users interacting directly with the ad, and sharing the ads with their network. This is important as this is where LinkedIn ads will help you with your lead generation objectives.

In order to create effective sponsored content, we recommend you:

  • Consider questions your target audience may be looking to answer, e.g. how will recent legislative changes impact on my business?
  • Use strong thumbnail images and compelling headlines to grab the user’s attention.
  • Be clear about how the user will benefit from the information you are sharing with them.
  • Tailor your sponsored updates to your target audiences, if you are seeking to reach different personas through your LinkedIn campaigns.
  • Optimise your landing pages for conversion.
  • Align your budget with the size of your audience, as small budgets will be exhausted quickly when serving large audiences. Set daily budgets to pace ad delivery over the month or set a total budget, if you are looking for maximum coverage in a short space of time.

Direct Sponsored Content

Use direct sponsored content if there are pieces of content that you would like to share with particular target audiences, but would prefer not to post directly to your LinkedIn page. This is very useful if you are testing the response of a new target audience that may not be representative of current followers of your page.

Support sponsored content with Sponsored InMail. Most advertisers have seen better performance when using these two ad types to support each other.

Reasons for using Sponsored InMail:

  • Most direct way to engage your prospects on LinkedIn through personalised content delivered through LinkedIn messenger.
  • Conversion optimised mobile responsive designs.
  • Reach your target audience when they are only active on LinkedIn.
  • Ideal to boost registrations to webinars, and drive conversions with targeted product/service promotions.
  • Promote downloads of content such as eBooks and infographics.

Technical Tip

It’s important to ensure the LinkedIn Insight Tag is added to your site to track conversions. This is a piece of JavaScript code that will enable campaign reporting and provide performance insights on your ad creatives. The LinkedIn Insight Tag can also be used to track conversions.

Gone are the days of cold calling and sales prospecting. For B2B companies looking to get ahead with their lead generation efforts, paid social is the way forward. It enables you to find and connect with potential leads and, more importantly, through its targeting it enables you to pre-qualify those leads. This saves valuable time and resources in your follow-on marketing efforts.

Try LinkedIn paid social and see how it can help you create a high quality list of leads.

Discover how our paid social media services could help your company market to your core target market. Contact us today to find out more.

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