As Facebook tightens the screw on brands by yet again weakening their organic reach on the platform, it’s time for B2B marketers to take a good look at their LinkedIn marketing strategy. Even as it stands, 80 percent of B2B marketing leads generated on social media come from LinkedIn, and according to the marketing experts we spoke to, you can expect that figure to rise in 2018.
Facebook or No Facebook, LinkedIn Rules The B2B Space
Despite Facebook touting statistics that business decision makers spend 74 percent more time on Facebook than anyone else, and in the face of Facebook loyalists who champion the platform as a marketer’s dream because of its sheer size, Joe LaSala, Vice President of Marketing at NYC-based Analytics Partners, has a different take. He told CMSWire that B2B marketers should be paying close attention to LinkedIn in the wake of Facebook’s algorithm changes — and according to him, that should have been the case regardless of any algorithmic flux. “LinkedIn should have always been a focus for B2B marketers – especially on the paid side,” LaSala shared.
Facebook algorithm or not, said LaSala, LinkedIn is a good place to reach senior business leaders and while it can be higher CPC, it is effective in reaching the right people. "On LinkedIn, the user is in a business mindset and is more receptive to a B2B message. For more mass-market messages, Facebook has a much wider reach and more creative ways of connecting,” he said.
David Richter, Head of Marketing at London-based Ciphr, agreed. “LinkedIn should always have been a focus for B2B marketers over Facebook. In marketing, the channel is part of the message. Facebook is where people go to hang out socially and interact with family and friends so marketing activity for a B2B service on a B2C platform just doesn’t fit,” he said.
These opinions are also backed up by data. According to HubSpot, content consumption on LinkedIn increased by 21 percent between 2014 and 2016, and it is expected that active LinkedIn members who spent time on the platform throughout 2017 have increased. Furthermore, LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies with 500 million total users, 61 million of which are senior-level influencers, while 40 million are business decision makers.
Related Article: Why Social Media Is So Addictive (And Why Marketers Should Care)
3 Effective B2B LinkedIn Marketing Strategies
If you’re looking to bolster your B2B LinkedIn marketing strategy in 2018, these three tips may help.
1. Post Updates Regularly
Brands and individuals alike can post updates and blog post snippets on LinkedIn, just as they would on Facebook. The only difference? Reach. “If you post frequently — 20X a month [or so] — [we have found that ] organic reach can get up to 60 percent, compared to Facebook's 2-3 percent,” said Merridew Smith, Managing Editor of Vendasta Technologies.
2. Dabble in LinkedIn Ads
Similarly, you might want to partake in advertising on LinkedIn. Although Facebook Ads are still highly lucrative and are as powerful as ever, Smith once again revealed the success that Vendasta Technologies is having with LinkedIn. “[LinkedIn] ads are expensive, but quality is second to none. We've spent over 100K on the platform in the last year-and-half and generated thousands of leads with an 90% qualified rate. Strike while the iron is hot. The favorable algorithm is indeed Microsoft's strategy to get more marketers onto the platform. It won't stay favorable forever,” she said.
LaSala agreed sharing, “The ability to target by company, title, geography, etc, makes it a fantastic way to get in front of the people who matter most. The best campaigns are driving user to high-quality content. B2B marketers should figure out who their target is, company type, titles, seniority. Then understand what they want to hear about and then target those people with valuable content,” he said.
He also advised that brands produce content “worth clicking on”, citing that pure brand-based ads aren’t the best way to optimize a LinkedIn ad campaign.
3. Publish LinkedIn Pulse Articles
Another, less costly way to get involved in B2B LinkedIn marketing, is to publish articles on the platform. LinkedIn has a built-in blogging tool — named LinkedIn Pulse — that allows publishers to write, publish and share their content on LinkedIn and outside of LinkedIn under their name or brand. According to Daniel Buchuk Director of Communications at London-based Bringg, LinkedIn Pulse is the ideal way to convey thought leadership on the social network.
“LinkedIn articles are a great way to have a voice in the platform. With Linkedin algorithm prioritizing the content on their platform, it's a much more efficient way to reach your audience instead of sharing a link from an external publication or blog. Secondly, using complimentary tools such as Lusha.co will help you enrich your leads and gain additional information on prospects so you can get in touch right away via phone or email,” he said.
B2B Marketers, Ignore LinkedIn At Your Own Risk
With Facebook freezing out organic B2B marketers, and LinkedIn gathering momentum and popularity among business decision makers, B2B marketers should ignore LinkedIn at their own risk.
What’s your B2B LinkedIn marketing plan for 2018?