The Paid Social Network – Part One: LinkedIn
With the increasing popularity of paid social advertising, we will be publishing a three part series to give you an overview of how the major platforms work.
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LinkedIn has become an essential platform for professionals and a social hub for communicating with existing and new business connections. This makes LinkedIn unique amongst other social networks. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the user is in a more business oriented mindset, which can make LinkedIn a very useful tool for many brands and products. Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn didn’t take long to follow suit with the likes of Facebook & Twitter when it came to the decision of whether to incorporate paid advertising on their platform.
As of March 2015, LinkedIn reported acquiring over 364 million users worldwide. In 2013 they launched their sponsored update ad service, where you can pay to boost your content beyond organic reach to its user database. You can place ad campaigns directly in front of the audience you want to reach – Target by: job title, from trainees to MD’s, regions and cities, by company or relevant industry sectors. The benefit of using LinkedIn is that the user’s profiles tend to be extremely detailed, giving you tonnes of ammunition for creating an effective and accurate campaign.
That’s pretty cool right? Maybe not as cool as sharing cat videos or your holiday snaps but still, it’s certainly got my interest, I’m sure you’ll agree….
There are two types of paid advertising available through LinkedIn; Pay-per-click (CPC), or pay-per-impressions (CPM).
Like Facebook, you can promote content in the main feed by boosting a post beyond organic reach. This type of targeting is great for brand awareness, building new relationships, promoting blog content, product launches, video content, industry news and company updates. If it’s engagement you’re after, this is the best option.
These ads appear on the right-hand side of the page. You can include text and an image, similar to Facebook. This type of targeting might be more suited for lead generation, product or service offering and, is a great way to drive visits directly to your website.
The minimum bid amount is £1.50, with a budget of £20. LinkedIn will also give you a suggested bid amount depending on the audience reach.
A wholesale linen supplier is looking to attract new business connections because they’ve just launched a new colour range of tablecloths. Not only do they want to target specific companies within the hospitality sector, they also want to reach decision makers within those companies to make sure the content is engaged by the right person.
To do this, they choose to publish a post from their blog using LinkedIn paid social to reach an audience beyond their organic members. The content is informative, so sponsoring the post seems like the best option as the goal is to drive awareness and build engagement. Within the campaign manager interface you can set your target location & specify audience. In this example, the client wants to target local restaurant owners in North West England.
Once the campaign is live, a reporting dashboard becomes available to view performance metrics, social interactions and demographics reached. It will tell you how many people engaged with the content, who liked it, user comments, shares and new followers as a result of the campaign.
The minimum bid can be considered expensive compared to some marketing platforms. Ads can also take up to 24 hours to be reviewed so, bear this in mind if you want to get your post out quickly! The reporting side of things is a bit lacking, and there’s no advanced tools like remarketing. But, with its use of demographic targeting features, it certainly presents great opportunities to reach business audiences unlike any other platform and can provide a great asset to your overall paid channel strategy.
Unlike SERP (search engine results page) where you are relying on users searching, which also assumes demand, here you have the opportunity to utilise demographic targeting in LinkedIn and advertise your content, product or service. Once you have defined your audience, LinkedIn can do the rest for you.
Thanks for reading. Expect parts two and three in the coming month. In the meantime if you need any more hints or tips on this subject or anything paid advertising connect with me on LinkedIn.