If you think that LinkedIn is simply a social network for business professionals, think again. With the number of users exceeding 650 million globally, it is a market in its own right, and the company has been searching for ways to monetize its success.
Today, LinkedIn provides its users with a number of advertising option, from budget to premium. When you think about it, it really is an ideal advertising platform – simply because it provides you exposure to a network of working professionals clearly divided into recognizable niches that allow you to focus your efforts on specific groups.
Using social networks as an advertising channel is nothing new – if you run a business chances are you’ve either considered or actually advertised on Facebook, and perhaps you’ve even explored other avenues such as Twitter or Youtube. Even though Facebook is pretty much untouchable as a social network of choice for advertising purposes (nearly 90% of businesses advertising on social platforms choose this channel), LinkedIn has been giving the rest of its competitors a run for their money (now sitting in 3rd place with 21%, just behind Twitter with 24%).
Of course, LinkedIn is still primarily a platform that allows working professionals to network and create valuable contacts, but the introduction of various advertising options allows businesses to combine the network’s features into a full promotional package that can deliver your message to the right addresses. Let’s see how.
Old fashioned networking
While LinkedIn has once been primarily used as a recruiting vehicle connecting the workforce with the employers, it is now widely used as a way to generate sales and increase profits through creating relationships and expanding your network. It is an open channel of communication where you can recognize your target client base and tailor your messages towards specific focus groups.
Another makeover that LinkedIn introduced over the past few years has been expanding its original “network of professionals” identity and becoming more of a media platform, where businesses can make company profiles and spread a variety of contents across their networks. This shift towards content marketing provides businesses with an opportunity to engage their potential client base and get creative in their attempt to generate more leads.
Another trump card which LinkedIn holds – besides its ability to directly connect you to specific target groups – is the fact that over 20% of its users are senior executives and decision makers, making the platform ideal for business-to-business marketing model as well.
LinkedIn is known for its two features for paid advertising, Lead Accelerator and Network Display. Lead Accelerator’s purpose is to deliver your message to the desired target groups, while Network Display aims to deliver your ads to LinkedIn users even when they are not on the website. This means that the company now uses its enormous database to ensure maximum effectiveness of paid advertisements.
Depending on your budget, you have various options at your disposal. A minimum budget of $10.000 provides you with a number of premium options such as Premium Display Ads (targeted banners with dynamic content), Sponsored InMail (direct e-mails to your target audience) or Polls (using user-generated data for more precise targeting).
Budget friendly options include pay-per-click based alternatives such as sponsored updates and text ads. These are less “eye-catching” options, but they do reach your desired target groups, which is the main advantage of advertising through LinkedIn.
Ultimately, LinkedIn is an excellent advertising platform, but it won’t do your work for you. In order to devise an effective marketing campaign, you will need to satisfy a few prerequisites:
- Knowing your audience is essential. You need to have a strong grasp of who your desired clients are – what is their age, gender, their spending habits, personal interests, location, etc.
- In order to draw the attention of your desired clients, you need to offer them something of interest. Make your ads and contents engaging, interesting, informational or entertaining. Formulate clear and concise messages convenient for quick consumption.
- Don’t forget the primary purpose of LinkedIn – keep your company page updated and informational.
Naturally, not everyone has the time or the know-how to conduct market research, pour over stat sheets and design effective ads specific to LinkedIn, so if it all seems like a potential headache in the making, you might consider turning to experienced digital marketing pros for all the groundwork and make sure you leave no stone unturned. It will all be worth your while in the end.