B2B lead generation with LinkedIn: should you even bother? Managing different social media accounts is time-consuming and not necessarily rewarding, especially if you are trying to keep it active and build brand awareness through content publishing. With over 2.5 billion people registered on Facebook, one billion users on Instagram, LinkedIn’s 250.000 thousand active profiles may not seem worth your time. We’re here to prove you wrong. LinkedIn is, in fact, a powerful tool for lead generation and should be included in any effective B2B marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll explain how to use the business social media platform to establish your brand, build a contact list with quality leads, and use retargeting to reach potential customers.
Why is LinkedIn important for B2B marketing?
When compared to other social media platforms, LinkedIn has both a smaller userbase and less content published daily. According to HubSpot, people spend on average 35 minutes a day viewing content on Facebook, while LinkedIn users scroll through their feed just 17 minutes a month. There is a large difference in the way the two platforms are used, but numbers shouldn’t determine your B2B marketing strategies.
While Facebook offers a wider audience, LinkedIn is a tool designed for people who want to do business together. It is a professional network employed by recruiters, job seekers, companies, and freelancers to reach clients, build a career, or develop business relationships.
Because of this LinkedIn has become the number one tool for B2B lead generation, used by 59% of companies to create quality leads. In 2017, research showed that over 80% of B2B marketing leads from social media came directly from LinkedIn.
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On top of this, the cost of ad campaigns targeted to B2B lead generation are cheaper than Google Ads with the same goal. Thanks to the possibility of targeting audiences specifically interested in B2B relationships, it is easier to manage your budget and lower the cost of each conversion. So, investing in LinkedIn is worth it, but how to go about it?
How do I generate B2B leads on LinkedIn?
There are various solutions for reaching potential clients on LinkedIn, both free and paid. Free and paid tools should be used together to build brand awareness and maintain relationships with your contacts. Let’s start by looking at the free options to find B2B LinkedIn leads.
As for every social media platform, LinkedIn is, first of all, a network of individuals. People do business with people, and that’s why it is essential to take some time and set up a complete profile where people can reach you and communicate with you face to face. Don’t think of your LinkedIn profile as an online resume, but rather a personal sales page where you can show your expertise, your personality, and your “unique selling proposition.”
Remember to keep your profile always updated and connect with people that can help you achieve your goals, whether they involve an active collaboration, an agency-client relationship, or the sale of a product.
Ever heard of Pulse? Pulse is LinkedIn’s internal blogging platform, an essential tool for anyone willing to produce and distribute content with their network. With Pulse you can publish articles, photos, videos, and infographics related to your professional skills or services and get your brand known within the LinkedIn community. Pulse is an excellent tool for B2B lead generation because it sends a notification to your network every time you publish a new piece of content, it allows you to interact with your audience through comments, and get your content indexed on Google.
Pulse can help you increase the engagement with your brand and establish your expertise, letting you curate content as you would on a WordPress blog.
What should you post on LinkedIn? It’s always a good idea to vary your content, but keep in mind the target audience when publishing on Pulse. You can share traditional blog posts that are SEO optimized, company updates, research and news related to your industry, and tips to help people interested in your service or product solve problems they encounter with their business.
LinkedIn Groups are networks within the network. They are useful for staying updated with industry news, but also to make yourself known to other professionals interested in the same topics. Just like on Facebook, there is usually an etiquette tofollow when interacting with LinkedIn groups: post only relevant content, contribute to the discussions, and avoid spamming the other members with self-promotion.
Last but not least, pages. A professional LinkedIn page is meant to show your brand’s work. It must include information about the products and services you offer, ways to get in touch, and updates on events, operations, launches that might interest your customers.
How to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn with paid strategies
Keeping your pages updated, publishing content, and participating in group conversations are all essential starting points of a successful B2B lead generation marketing strategy. However, if you have a budget available and want to speed up the process, LinkedIn offers various paid tools that can be implemented to reach and connect with qualified leads.
Determining your target audience
Before creating any sponsored ad on LinkedIn you should have a clear idea of who your target audience is. Determining your buyer persona happens through market research, survey, and testing. Once you have a defined profile you can use LinkedIn’s targeting tools to reach exactly who you want to speak to. The criteria to use in your ad campaigns to define your audience are:
- Job Title
- Company size
- Membership in specific groups
- Years of work experience and in the same company
Once you’ve set up your audience, you can create your ad or sponsored content based on the goal you want to achieve.
Dynamic and display ads
Ads are calls to action that usually appear on the feed’s sidebar and can show either a page suggestion, a link to a website, or a lead magnet. Based on your objective, you can choose between dynamic or display ads. The first category is designed to improve brand awareness and increase engagement by asking people to interact with your profile, group, or landing page. They can let users download files such as white papers or case studies and allow people to enter your network with a single click.
Display ads are similar to static banners, they appear above the fold and direct the user to your website or landing page. Display ads are particularly effective when used in combination with sponsored content, as they remind the user about a piece of content they might have seen but scrolled past. According to LinkedIn, display ads and sponsored content are three times more effective when used together.
As the name suggests, sponsored content allows you to reach a predetermined audience with an image, a link, or a video that will appear on their feed. These are some of the most commonly used ads inside LinkedIn and they are great to make potential customers aware of your brand and at the same time acquire leads through a call to action. Sponsored posts don’t have to necessarily appear on your profile: by using the Direct Sponsored Content function you can create posts that will only exist on the user’s feed but not on your personal or business profile.
One of the most powerful tools offered by LinkedIn for B2B lead generation is the Sponsored InMail, which allows you to send personalized messages to your target audience directly in their LinkedIn inbox. InMail messages have the highest conversion rates of all sponsored types of content, for a number of reasons: they are delivered only when the user is active, they are responsive, and can be programmed to reach your contacts at the time when it’s more likely that the message will be seen.
Use sponsored InMail messages to promote events, product launches, a new service or to give away downloadable materials such as white papers or digital books. You can, of course, also add a call to action that directs the reader to your landing page. With Sponsored InMail campaigns you can create A/B tests, set up messages in different languages for different audiences, and include images or videos.
Using LinkedIn Matched Audiences for B2B lead generation
What is LinkedIn retargeting? Retargeting is the practice of reaching out to an audience that has already shown an interest in your brand by visiting one of your webpages. Retargeting is one of the most effective strategies available to companies for B2B lead generation and with LinkedIn, this is possible thanks to Matched Audiences.
Matched audiences allow you to retarget potential clients that have previously visited your website, sent a message to your inbox, or that have a similar profile to existing customers. There three ways to use Matched Audiences for retargeting on LinkedIn:
By adding the LinkedIn Insight Tag to your website, you can reach LinkedIn users that have already visited your pages to increase engagement and facilitate conversions. The LinkedIn Insight Tag works similarly to the Facebook Pixel, allowing you to track how users behave on your website and set up specific campaigns based on the actions they have taken.
LinkedIn’s contact targeting function allows you to create a matched audience through a list of email addresses. You can upload up to 300,000 contacts on the Campaign Manager and LinkedIn will match the emails to the relative profiles. Contact Targeting lets you create a custom audience that you can then target with specific ads.
Accounts Targeting relies on LinkedIn’s algorithm to find similar accounts to target to the ones you provide. By uploading a CSV file with a list of companies to LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager and selecting the “accounts targeting” feature, the software will cross the information with the platform’s data to create a similar audience. This will allow you to reach the profiles you are looking for but that you are not able to identify individually.
How do I get my business leads on LinkedIn?
If you’ve ever asked yourself how to attract more customers with LinkedIn, we hope this article has been useful in identifying both free and paid solutions to get your brand out there and be more effective in your B2B lead generation. If you still need help in defining your B2B marketing strategy, feel free to get in touch, we are always ready to chat about great business ideas!