B2B products and services have a notoriously long sales cycle that often involves winning over key decision-makers at companies like sales managers and executives.
As a result, B2B marketing relies heavily on lead generation, content marketing, and nurture campaigns to draw in potential customers and guide them through each stage of the buying process.
Out of all the marketing channels you can use for B2B (SEO, email marketing, etc.), there’s one that you definitely shouldn’t ignore – LinkedIn marketing.
Why is LinkedIn advertising and content so effective for B2B marketing?
For one, LinkedIn is the #1 platform for generating leads, and every 4 out of 5 users drive business decisions at their companies – both of which are perfect for B2B marketing efforts.
It’s also one of the largest social media platforms in existence, with over 875 million users worldwide and over 58 million companies (which is a goldmine for B2B marketers).
For all these reasons (and more), 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a part of their content marketing efforts.
Read on to learn what you need to know to keep your B2B company competitive by constructing a LinkedIn marketing strategy.
What’s LinkedIn Marketing All About?
Starting in 2003, LinkedIn has been the quintessential social media platform for business professionals. Ever since the beginning, its purpose has been to help professionals network, build their careers, and share their ideas.
It’s the largest professional network that exists today, which is why it’s such a valuable marketing tool.
It’s also far more effective at generating targeted leads than Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
LinkedIn marketing uses the platform to foster new business relationships, raise brand awareness, share content, generate leads, and drive traffic to your website.
The platform is well-aware of its power for marketers, which is why they provide LinkedIn Analytics for marketers. To access them, log in to your company page, and select Analytics from the drop-down menu. Important note: To view your analytics, you must be set up as an admin or an analyst.
The metrics you get to view within LinkedIn include:
- Total number of page views
- Unique visitors (excludes multiple visits from the same user)
- Visitor demographics
- Video views
- CTR (click-through-rate)
- Engagement rate
- Total followers
- Organic followers
- Many others
All these metrics and filters make it effortless to keep track of your marketing efforts, which will heighten your chances for success.
LinkedIn marketing is so popular because the platform allows users to shape their marketing strategy however they want, which is something you won’t find on other platforms. There are also numerous other perks, so let’s take a look at them now.
The Benefits of LinkedIn Marketing Campaigns for B2B
Besides its built-in analytics, LinkedIn has some unique marketing advantages that place it in a class all its own.
That’s especially true for B2B companies, as LinkedIn’s features are perfect for nurturing customers through a long sales cycle.
While LinkedIn may seem similar to other social networks like Facebook at first glance, it’s completely different. If you’re in charge of social media management for your B2B company, you should place more emphasis on LinkedIn marketing than you do on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Here’s a look at some of the unique benefits you’ll enjoy from using LinkedIn to meet your B2B marketing goals.
Reach a more professional audience than other platforms
TikTok and Instagram are fantastic platforms to target if you’re after a younger audience. Yet, most B2B companies will need to target older business professionals, which is why LinkedIn is the way to go.
LinkedIn members tend to be older and more professional than users on Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, and Instagram. Instead of listening to their favorite influencer to find out which shoes to buy, LinkedIn users are more concerned with expanding their network, learning about new products and services, and connecting with other professionals.
LinkedIn users also have higher levels of education and income than the other platforms, so you’re more likely to run into managers, executives, and other key decision-makers, which are ideal targets for B2B campaigns.
36% of US adults aged 30 to 49 use LinkedIn, and half of all adults with college degrees use the platform.
If you advertise on the platform, your ads will reach a whopping 160 million users, which is an insane amount of exposure.
Lastly, 52% of buyers list LinkedIn as being the most influential channel for them when conducting research.
These statistics are proof that LinkedIn is the top social media platform for reaching a professional audience and guiding them down your sales funnel.
Use industry-specific variables for superior audience targeting
Another benefit of using LinkedIn for marketing is how specific you can get when targeting your audience.
Facebook prides itself on its audience targeting, but it only uses interest and behavior-based factors. While that’s more robust than other platforms, it can’t hold a candle to LinkedIn – which uses tons of targeting variables, including the following:
- Job title
- Job function
- Company name
- Company size
- College degree type and name
As you can see, these variables allow you to get hyper-specific with audience targeting, which is an invaluable feature for B2B marketers you won’t find anywhere else.
With these variables, you can pinpoint the exact type of business and professional that you want to target. For example, if you sell software solutions to financial companies, you can tweak your variables so that your ads only display for key decision-makers from financial firms (supervisors, managers, executives, etc.).
Even companies that are more consumer-based can benefit from LinkedIn’s incredible audience targeting variables, especially if they sell to specific job titles.
Take advantage of unique advertising types
LinkedIn ads have some truly unique features that differ from the typical social media ad fodder.
Like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, LinkedIn allows users to leverage traditional sponsored posts, text ads, and sidebar ads to generate clicks, leads, and conversions. Yet, while that’s all the other platforms offer, LinkedIn is only getting started.
One of its most unique advertising types is its built-in Sponsored InMail that integrates into the internal messaging system.
It’s essentially a way to integrate email marketing techniques into your overall LinkedIn strategy. The messages are highly similar to emails in nature but with a twist. LinkedIn’s InMail features open and click-through rates that are superior to traditional emails.
So if you plan on sending nurturing emails, try sending them through Sponsored InMail instead for a higher CTR.
This isn’t the only type of unique advertisement you’ll get to run through LinkedIn, either.
These ads appear in users’ LinkedIn feeds and contain a stand-out image to attract attention.
The ad will seamlessly transition its dimensions depending on whether the user is on a desktop PC or a mobile device. JPG, PNG, and GIF file types are all accepted with a limit of 5 MB.
These are especially useful for B2B marketers, as you can include a video ad at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
The duration is impressive here, as videos can range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to inform and educate your audience.
The video must be an MP4 and no larger than 200 MB to upload.
Carousel ads are a great way to tell a story through a series of images. The possibilities are near endless here, from listing different product options to listing testimonials and everything in between.
File types must be JPG or PNG with a max file size of 10 MB.
Do you have an important business conference or seminar coming up? Then you can use an event ad on LinkedIn to promote it to your audience.
Event ads feature a high-resolution image and a brief text description along with the following:
- The event name
- The date and time
- The location
- A list of LinkedIn users that are either attending or are interested
Due to LinkedIn’s amazing audience targeting, its event ads are a great way to get the word out about an upcoming conference, seminar, or celebration.
This type of ad is unique, as you get to attach a document to it. This is an incredible way to generate B2B leads, as you can include opt-in email forms and messaging lists.
You’re golden as long as the document is 100 MB and less than 30 pages.
Accepted file types include PDF, DOC, DOCX, PPT, and PPTX.
Lead gen forms
Last but not least, LinkedIn has lead generation forms you can use to acquire leads straight from the platform.
That means you won’t have to waste time directing users to your website before acquiring them as a lead.
These pre-filled forms contain vital contact information fields that are superb for generating leads. You’ll be able to collect user names, email addresses, phone numbers, and more.
Superior Lead Nurturing Capabilities
Besides all the unique advertising formats on LinkedIn, it also features incredible lead nurturing. After all, if you can’t guide a lead down your sales pipeline, you won’t stand a chance at converting them.
That’s especially true for longer B2B sales cycles that require follow-up emails and relevant content that helps clients ultimately make a purchase.
Traditionally, this type of nurturing was limited to emails. However, LinkedIn includes a tool specifically for lead nurturing called the Lead Accelerator.
What makes it special?
It enables you to track your most promising prospects while sending them targeted ads and messages explicitly geared at them.
You can even segment your audience based on how they engage with your content.
Lead Accelerator features
For example, you can send a series of targeted messages to leads that only interacted with your homepage. Since they’ve only seen an overview of what you have to offer, sending them more specialized content (such as more significant details about a product or service that’s likely to solve one of their problems) is the way to go.
Conversely, you can send different messages to leads who interacted with one of your product pages. Since they’ve shown interest in something you sell, you can send them content that’s aimed at converting them, such as:
- Product use cases
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- Price comparisons
As a bonus, your ads and messages can reach your audience anywhere online. The platform also supports A/B testing, which will help you discover the types of ads and messages that resonate the most with your audience, which will boost your conversion rates.
The built-in reporting makes it easy to track your success across every stage of the buyer’s journey, so you’ll be able to make any necessary adjustments.
The Lead Accelerator enables you to target both known and anonymous leads, expanding your reach.
In short, LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator should be a staple tool of any B2B marketer due to its effectiveness at converting leads.
B2B marketing is notoriously challenging, with 95% of web visitors bouncing before providing their email addresses and 80% not opening nurturing emails. With the Lead Accelerator’s features by your side, you can nurture your audience in other ways besides relying on email.
LinkedIn has superior conversion rates than other platforms
The final benefit we’ll mention is LinkedIn’s fantastic conversion rate. This is due to many of the benefits we’ve mentioned so far, such as the Lead Accelerator, audience targeting, and unique types of ads.
Here’s a quick comparison of LinkedIn’s conversion rate with other major social media platforms and search engines:
- Twitter: 0.9%
- Google search: 2.58%
- Instagram: 1.85%
- LinkedIn: 6.1%
As you can see, LinkedIn’s conversion rate obliterates the others, even the mighty Google search.
The Basics of LinkedIn Marketing for B2B Companies
Now that you know why LinkedIn is a worthy marketing tool, it’s time to learn how to develop a winning strategy for your B2B business.
First, you’ll need to get a grasp of the basics before moving on to more advanced features and techniques.
That includes things like:
- Hashtag research
- When to use a LinkedIn company page over a LinkedIn profile
- Post content of varying lengths
- Staying consistent with your publishing schedule
- Sharing external articles and blog posts
These are all crucial concepts to master, so let’s take a more in-depth look at each one.
You can think of LinkedIn hashtags as similar to SEO keywords. Just like keywords, they’re terms you use to increase your visibility to your target audience.
Also, like keywords, you need to conduct some research before placing hashtags in your content.
Choose the wrong tags, and you could wind up placing your content in front of the wrong people.
How do you conduct hashtag research?
Start by inputting a generalized hashtag into LinkedIn’s search bar. For instance, if you’re in financial software, try searching for #financialsoftware. Take note of how many followers the hashtag has, as well as how often it’s getting used.
From there, start getting more specific with your hashtag searches while paying attention to who’s following them.
Some examples include #financialtrackingsoftware, #financialanalytics, #financialfreedom, etc.
Hashtag research tips
Don’t place too much emphasis on hashtags that have high numbers of followers, as it’s not the most important metric.
Instead, focus on finding hashtags that relate to your products and services and have followers that you think would be interested in what you offer. Hyper-specific hashtags may reach a smaller audience, but they’re more likely to convert.
As far as how many hashtags you should target for each post, 3 is the magic number. You should opt for two broad tags and one niche tag to get the best of both worlds.
If you’re drawing a blank hashtag-wise, LinkedIn has a workaround that only a few people know about.
When viewing a hashtag, click on the ellipses (…) next to it, and select Discover New Hashtags. This will direct you to the Discovery Hub, which contains dozens of related hashtags and topics. That can be a real lifesaver if you’re having a hard time finding hashtags related to your niche.
Our final tip for hashtag research is to always place your hashtags at the END of your content. They differ from SEO keywords in this regard, as you want to refrain from threading them throughout the post.
When to use a LinkedIn Profile vs. a LinkedIn Page
Next, it’s essential to know that LinkedIn profiles and pages have different features and serve different functions.
The first difference is that users can follow a LinkedIn page without sending a connection and waiting for approval. That comes in handy whenever LinkedIn users share your page with their connections, as they can all follow and interact with your page straight away.
Another distinction is that pages are primarily for companies, and profiles are primarily for individuals.
Not only that, but LinkedIn profiles have the ability to send private messages to connections asking to join your network. The ability to engage in one-on-one conversations is particularly attractive for consultants and coaches, so they’ll definitely want to use a LinkedIn profile.
A profile is also the way to go if you take a more individualized approach to business. If you prefer interacting with your clients personally, you’ll enjoy the features that go along with a profile more than a page.
You can also leverage both to get the best of both worlds. You can list your occupation on your personal profile and link to your company page. That way, whenever a prospect views your profile, they’ll see a link to your company, too.
For most B2B marketers, a company profile page will suffice, but you can make use of personal profiles to interact with your clients through messages, which can be effective.
For instance, if one of your prospects is having second thoughts, it can be advantageous to have the ability to chat with them through LinkedIn. That way, you can address their issues personally and continue directing them down your sales pipeline.
Create a mixture of long and short posts
To achieve thought leader status in your respective field, you should use a combination of short-form and long-form LinkedIn posts.
If you only release longer posts, you risk being seen as too verbose by your clients. Every time they see one of your posts, they’ll know that they need at least 10 whole minutes to spare to read it, which can be cumbersome for your readers.
At the same time, longer posts are the best way to educate and inform your audience, so you shouldn’t ignore them outright.
Shorter, punchier posts do a great job of getting to the point, which readers will appreciate. Yet, if you only release short posts, your prospects may feel that you lack substance and expertise.
Use a mixture of long and short posts to keep your content fresh. Another tactic is to mix things up with the occasional high-resolution image, video, or infographic – as these types of visuals are excellent for engaging your audience and holding their attention.
Maintain a consistent publishing schedule
We’ll start with the good news first. LinkedIn is a much more relaxed platform in terms of content release schedules than search engines.
That means you won’t have to wear yourself out trying to post two to four times a week on LinkedIn. That’s because content on LinkedIn has a notoriously long lifespan, much longer than most other social media platforms.
TikTok and Snapchat’s content begins to decay immediately due to the nature of their platforms. Twitter content only lasts for 15 minutes, and you can squeeze about 6 hours out of Facebook.
On LinkedIn, however, content stays relevant for up to 24 hours, which is certainly impressive.
While LinkedIn doesn’t require 24/7 posting, it needs a healthy amount of consistency.
That’s because a consistent schedule builds trust in your network. If they can rely on consistent release dates from your brand, you’ll be the first company they look to whenever they need something.
Whether you post once a day or once a month, do your best to stay consistent with your release schedule and then monitor the results. After a while, take note of which times yield you the most engagement, and make those times your regulars.
Share external links through LinkedIn
Instagram and other social media platforms don’t allow you to share external links to other websites, but LinkedIn is different.
It’s entirely possible to share external links, not only to your website but also to others. That means you can share blogs from your business partners, as well as other helpful content for your audience.
Besides driving traffic to the sites that you link, this technique serves another purpose – networking.
Similar to guest blogging for SEO, linking a business page from a colleague (including crediting them, of course) can lead them to share your post with their audience – introducing your brand to new prospects.
Advanced LinkedIn Marketing Tips
Once you get a handle on the basics, you can take things up a notch with LinkedIn’s more advanced features.
These include the Matched Audience feature, LinkedIn Groups, and using traditional SEO tactics to bolster your campaign.
The Matched Audience tool
The Matched Audience tool is your secret weapon for audience retargeting. That’s excellent news for B2B business owners because the chances are high that customers WILL NOT convert on their first visit to your company page.
In fact, only 2% of first-time website visitors convert, leaving 98% of visitors that do not. The Matched Audience tool lets you target the remaining 98% to improve your conversion rates.
With the Matched Audience tool, you can upload existing accounts and mail contacts, and you can retarget website visitors to give them a second chance to make a purchase.
Are you having a hard time connecting with your target audience and discovering what they’re talking about?
Then you need to leverage LinkedIn Groups, which are groups of individuals from your niche.
Whenever you take a peek at a new group, you get to see an overview of its highlights, which will help you gauge how active it is at the moment.
By joining relevant LinkedIn Groups, you’ll gain invaluable insights into your target audience‘s behavior, desires, and needs.
The best part?
It’s completely free to join a group on LinkedIn, and groups are massively powerful networking tools, so don’t hesitate to use them.
Make your LinkedIn page SEO-friendly
Last but not least, using SEO best practices will increase your LinkedIn page’s visibility on search engines, which can generate more traffic, leads, and sales.
So, in addition to doing hashtag research, throw some keyword research in there as well. You can use our free keyword planner tool from The HOTH to make things easy.
Use it to uncover some relevant keywords in your niche, and then place them in strategic locations on your LinkedIn profile, such as:
- The headline
- Your work experience
- Your summary
- LinkedIn posts
Using these keywords in the right spots can increase your chances of expanding your influence across the internet.
Final Thoughts: LinkedIn Marketing for B2B Companies
By now, you should better understand how to use LinkedIn to market your B2B company and acquire new leads.
LinkedIn is so popular amongst B2B marketers for many reasons, including its superior lead generation, unique ad types, and advanced marketing features and analytics.
By leveraging these features, you can take your B2B marketing efforts to the next level without putting in too much effort.
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