By Justyna Duszyńska, Managing Director, Httpool Poland
LinkedIn has seen tremendous growth year over year, with recent figures estimating that users have increased by almost 50 million worldwide this year alone.
The past several months has been a breakthrough period for LinkedIn in shaping B2B communications by creating a hybrid format which embraces the shift to the digital sphere. This method enables LinkedIn to achieve set goals and targets, whilst unlocking considerable organic potential, securing them the first-choice position amongst marketers in terms of B2B communication channels, both organic and paid reach.
LinkedIn users are a unique audience, and it is important that the number of users not only continues to increase but that the users are also classed as qualitative. The platform can distinguish between the type and quality of a user based on variables such as professional status, estimated income levels, professional activity, and the industry in which they are from or interested in. The attraction for many users joining LinkedIn is the potential for professional development, career progression, network building, and personal branding.
Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has also played a role in the increasing usage of online forms of communication. According to LinkedIn statistics, more than half of conversations now take place on the platform compared with pre-Covid figures.
LinkedIn also benefits from influential senior level industry users whose actions and recommendations could have the potential to massively impact the development of a brand, product, or service. Leveraging this knowledge and accurately defining target audiences within marketing communications is bound to attract additional B2B marketers to desired websites. It is also worth noting the effects of successfully completed B2C goals, as LinkedIn users are also consumers after all.
LinkedIn offers a wide range of tools, possibilities, and goals
Marketers developing B2B communication via LinkedIn have a wide range of tools at their disposal including company websites, posts, video materials, group discussions, and of course paid advertising opportunities. Research from the Content Marketing Institute suggests that 96% of B2B marketers choose LinkedIn to build their organic reach.
There are several ways marketers can attempt to ensure they maintain a positive result from B2B marketing. Make sure authentic messages are being used in communications, maintain a high standard of materials, and skilfully adapt content to fit the desired audience. It is important not to underestimate the power of ‘word of mouth’ even in these digital times, try to encourage recommendations, comments, and group discussions. Incorporating humour into communications is also a great tool to use and helps to build a positive perception of the brand. Regularity and consistency of brand communication and image is the key to effective organic results.
As mentioned, LinkedIn not only serves organic B2B, but also paid advertising activities as well. Research suggests that LinkedIn is the first choice among 80% of B2B marketers for advertising. This is carried out through the recently refreshed LinkedIn Campaign Manager advertising platform. This tool allows marketers to manage their ads and create campaigns according to specific marketing needs. Targeted ads are not only based on user profiles, but also according to the goals of the campaign.
The lead generation achieved by LinkedIn is considered to be the most effective compared with other social media platforms. A HubSpot study of 5,000 companies found that LinkedIn traffic generated the highest conversion rate of 2.74%, while Facebook was 0.77%. Although acquiring leads is an extremely important element of business development, 70% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn because they believe it is the most important social networking site for long-term advertising strategies.
Combining the positive results produced by paid campaigns with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, has continued to cause a shift towards the digital sphere, and we are witnessing an increase in B2B marketing budgets across the board. Research suggests that 40% of marketers admit a visible increase in the importance of advertising activities on platforms such as LinkedIn.*
When planning B2B communication on LinkedIn, the initial question should be, which strategy will be more effective? Would it be beneficial to adopt a long-term strategy and invest in building brand awareness, or focus on specific sales goals and measurable results achieved immediately? LinkedIn’s experts suggest that long-term goals and the importance of building brand awareness, may in fact become even more crucial in the coming years post-Covid.**
One thing is certain, to achieve success marketers should use a creative and ‘multi-threaded’ approach to B2B communication, utilising the various targeting tools available, and therefore expanding their reach to all potential customers.
*Finite Experts, B2B marketing trends in tech & Saas
**2030 B2B TRENDS, Contrarian Ideas for The Next Decade, LinkedIn, 2021