If you’re at all familiar with the world of B2B marketing, you’ve heard this before: Put all (or most) of your eggs in LinkedIn’s basket. After all, the buttoned-up social network boasts an impressive user base including 61 million senior level influencers; 40 million of whom are in decision-making positions. Whether your goal is to raise awareness for your fledgling brand or promote your company’s expert thought leaders, step one is to get your LinkedIn page up and running so you can begin building a rapport with these B2B movers and shakers.
This sage and oft-repeated advice is, in fact, worth heeding. But what exactly is step two? As many LinkedIn users come to find out, sharing, posting and liking content will only get you so far. Establishing a page is far different from cultivating a presence on social media, and to accomplish the latter, you might want to consider enhancing your strategy with paid advertising.
While you can find plenty of tutorials and “beginner’s guides” aimed at getting users acquainted with LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager—the tool that allows users to pay to sponsor their posts—that’s generally where the guidance ends, and the guessing game begins. If you’ve dabbled in paid ads without much success, these adjustments might be all you need to start seeing some returns on your investment.
Fine-tune Your Message
As elementary as it may sound, honing a clear message that compels your followers to take action is crucial when it comes to writing social ad copy. If you’re promoting a case study or eBook, for example, it can be tempting to simply summarize a key point or two from the piece and leave it at that. While providing context is important, the goal should be to tease readers with just enough info to pique their interest. Divulging details in the post itself will deter readers from further action, leading them to scroll past rather than click on your content.
Forget the Forecasting Feature
Even the savviest marketers can get a little skittish when money enters the equation. And who can blame them? No one wants to be responsible for squandering the entire quarter’s marketing budget on an exorbitant ad campaign.
In an effort to combat this issue, LinkedIn added a forecasting feature to help users figure out how much they’ll spend over the course of a given campaign. As you craft your sponsored post, the forecasted price range will fluctuate to reflect things like the size of your audience or the titles they hold. On paper, this is a fabulous tool. In reality, the forecasting feature tends to be inaccurate in estimating how much your campaign will cost you.
On the plus side, the tool typically overestimates your daily spend, which means you could wind up paying much less than the forecasting feature indicates.
Here’s a great example: When creating a recent Scribewise campaign, we targeted users in the tri-state area who worked in a few key industries. Based on these demographics, LinkedIn extrapolated that our 30-day spend would cost us anywhere from just over $100 to six times that amount. In theory, this calculation should have been useful, but trying to plan our proposed spend based on a range that wide didn’t make budgeting any easier.
Compare and Contrast
Instead of putting all your budgeted dollars behind one post, create multiple ads within a single campaign to see which ones work and which miss the mark. LinkedIn’s reporting capabilities are nothing fancy, but they’re effective, and they’ll enable you to track and monitor each ad’s progress over time. If a particular post is underperforming, don’t hesitate to edit the copy or adjust your daily budget—or both—and see what happens.
Target Your Way to the Right Audience
Last but certainly not least, invest in understanding your audience: their behaviors, their vernacular, their interests and their pain points. This will ensure that the message you craft resonates with the right people, which is kind of the whole point, isn’t it?
Much like with the copy itself, don’t shy away from making changes to your audience by targeting a select group, then revisiting the audience and altering it after the campaign has had some time to circulate. Even if an ad is performing well, consider tweaking the audience after a few weeks to expose your content to fresh viewers.
Scribewise recently promoted a blog post detailing why it’s important for organizations of all stripes to have a culture deck, and we promoted the piece via a LinkedIn paid campaign. Our initial thinking led us to target recruiters and human resources professionals, as they are typically the ones charged with facilitating a company’s internal culture. After a few weeks of reaching HR pros, we decided to revamp our audience and skew more towards branding and marketing folks, because culture is a big part of what they do, too. This helped us double the amount of eyeballs perusing our post without expending too much time or energy on the back end.
Just be aware that when you narrow your audience to focus on a specific group or category, you can expect to spend slightly more in order to reach your niche.
Whatever your company’s social media goals are, LinkedIn should be part of your approach—especially if you’re a B2B brand. Sticking to a strategy will give your content purpose, but remember to remain flexible, too. Social media is all about trial and error, so be patient and don’t be afraid to try new tactics.