It’s hard to believe but LinkedIn turned 20 last May (2023), making it one of the oldest still-active social media sites. I’m not sure anyone would have predicted that success for the site whose mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”, especially when you look at the list of once high-flying sites that are no longer, or barely, around (Friendster, Google+, MySpace, etc).
While its active monthly users (<350 million) pale in comparison to the runaway social media leader Facebook (3+ billion), LinkedIn continues to grow and now counts over 2 billion users in 200 countries, making it the world’s largest professional social network. More importantly, LinkedIn has become the undisputed platform for B2B demand generation.
Your B2B audience lives there
For any successful demand generation campaign, you need to find the channels where your audience “hangs out” and gets information they trust. This is where LinkedIn shines. Sixty-five million users are business decision-makers and 4 of 5 members drive business decisions. That’s why 40% of B2B marketers surveyed indicated LinkedIn as the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads.
40% of B2B marketers surveyed indicated LinkedIn as the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads.
But it’s more than that. Each week, 2.7 million companies post on LinkedIn. And more importantly, a million posts go up every day for regular profiles. It’s this sharing of content, which is focused mainly on business topics, that keeps people coming back. Because this information is posted by peers and people in professional networks, the insights shared carry a certain weight and are trusted. Now that’s a captive audience you want to reach with your demand generation campaign.
You can target your ICP and personas
Effective B2B demand generation depends on your ability to target the ideal customer profile (ICP) and personas you need to reach. That requires a solid list of target accounts, job titles and other persona attributes, and then finding a platform that has this information, ensures its accurate and allows you to target based on that criteria. Due to the professional nature of LinkedIn, members have an incentive to keep their profiles accurate and up to date, so the data you can use for targeting is more trusted than on many other options.
This precise and powerful targeting based on job title, company name, industry, interests and many other traits sets LinkedIn apart from other options in the media landscape, which may not have this level of information or it may be inaccurate. With LinkedIn, you can reach your ICP with contact and account targeting or leverage retargeting and matched audience options, too. This is a gold mind for any campaign but extremely valuable for account-based marketing (ABM).
This precise and powerful targeting… sets LinkedIn apart from other options in the media landscape
You can use multiple methods of engagement, not just ads
LinkedIn is about building business relationships: people connecting to people, not passively following companies. So building your network is one of the critical first steps to engagement. You want to connect with as many people as possible since the multiplier effect of second-degree connections is one of the most powerful aspects of LinkedIn. Once you’ve built your network, you need to share valuable content consistently while responding to comments, participating in discussions, and asking for feedback from your audience.
You want to connect with as many people as possible since the multiplier effect of second-degree connections is one of the most powerful aspects of LinkedIn.
These organic activities work extremely well if done correctly. But, there will come a time when you also want to explore some of the paid media tactics that LinkedIn has available from multiple different types of ads to lead gen forms. And keep in mind that there are also LinkedIn groups and LinkedIn Live sessions, which are not paid features but they do take considerable effort. Some of these tactics work better than others depending on the goals of your campaign and your audience, but as you can see there are many to try, so don’t limit your LinkedIn campaigns to a few posts or ads.
Leveraging LinkedIn successfully
LinkedIn is clearly the platform of choice for B2B demand generation. But this is also not a secret. For the reasons I’ve outlined above, competition on LinkedIn for messages and campaigns is intense, with 96% of B2B marketers using the platform for organic social marketing and 80% for advertising. So how do you stand out, get attention and engage with your audience? Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore some tools, techniques, and opportunities you can capitalize on to make your B2B demand generation campaigns more successful.