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What you need to know about LinkedIn Advertising for B2B marketing

The social platform LinkedIn, has over 500 million members, of which 260 million are logging in each month and 40% of active monthly users are using it daily. As a professional platform, the typical LinkedIn user looks for valuable content to read and uses it to make connections with businesses and other professionals. This is in marked contrast to your typical consumer behaviour on social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook, which involves scrolling through a feed of your friends’ wedding photos, your cousin’s holiday videos and a selection of Buzzfeed quizzes. If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re looking to engage with professionals, you could be reaching millions of them every day through advertising and sharing content on LinkedIn – and the best part is, they’re far more likely to read what you have to offer.

According to recent research, LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs and 92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their digital marketing mix. What’s more, out of all B2B leads derived from social media, LinkedIn is responsible for 80%, compared to only 13% coming from Twitter and just 7% from Facebook.

With LinkedIn advertising, you’re targeting a quality audience of professionals, including the 73 million users who are senior-level influencers and 45 million decision makers.

 

How to set up self-service LinkedIn advertising
There are three main LinkedIn advertising options available through LinkedIn’s self-service advertising platform, Campaign Manager. These are Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail and Text Ads. To create an ad you will need to have a personal LinkedIn page. You simply sign in to your personal LinkedIn account, click on ‘Work’ in the menu, select ‘Advertise’ and then select ‘Create ad’. This will take you to Campaign Manager, in which you will need to create an account if you do not already have one. Campaign Manager is where you manage your adverts and access dynamic and visual reports of your ads’ performances.

 

How much does it cost?
You can control the costs of a self-service ad (Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, Text Ad) by setting up start and end dates and allocating maximum budgets. Much like Google Ads (as it is now called), you define the costs of these adverts in two ways. First, by setting a maximum daily budget, then by setting a maximum amount you want to pay for each click (CPC) or for every 1,000 impressions (CPM) your ad receives. If you choose the bidding option, Campaign Manager will suggest a bid range based on the current competing bids by other advertisers targeting the same audience. The costs of CPCs and CPMs on LinkedIn are typically more expensive than other social media platforms; however, you would expect the engagement and conversion rates to be higher.

 

Sponsored Content
Sponsored Content is a form of native advertising that appears directly in the LinkedIn feeds of the professionals you wish to target and works on both desktop and mobile. It is the preferred option for sharing rich content that you want to stand out in the news feeds of your targets and often includes either a link to an interesting article, your company website, a video or an audio clip. The natural placement of this style of advertising typically gets more engagement compared to other LinkedIn advertising methods and enables you to use more text and larger images. In order to create Sponsored Content, you must have a company LinkedIn page, as you will use content that have created or shared via your company page to turn into a sponsored post. You can choose to run your Sponsored Content ads on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-1,000-impressions (CPM) basis.

 

Sponsored InMail
Sponsored InMail is a unique form of advertising that allows you to reach users when they’re most engaged. Through LinkedIn Messenger the Sponsored InMail will send personalised messages to targeted individuals which are only sent when they are active on LinkedIn to help the messages get noticed. It’s an effective form of advertising for sending messages with more text, including personalised invitations to webinars and other events or to promote content such as downloadable e-books and white papers. The ads work on all devices and consist of a custom greeting, call-to-action button, body text and the ability to add links in the text. Sponsored InMail ads run on a “cost per send” basis, meaning that you pay per unit for each message you send.

 

Text Ads
Alternatively, you can create Text Ads which are small, straight to the point and usually appear at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. However, they only show on desktop devices and therefore typically have a lower CPM compared to other LinkedIn ad formats. They consist of a maximum 50 x 50 pixel image, which is usually an image of a product, person or the company logo and sits alongside a maximum 75 character limit copy and 25 character limit headline, therefore the call to action must be short and concise. They are suitable for driving prospects to your company LinkedIn page or to a specific landing page on your website.

 

Dynamic Ads
LinkedIn Dynamic Ads are available to purchase through a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions representative. They only appear on desktop devices, on the right-hand side of your home page and use the LinkedIn profile image of the individual you are targeting to attract their attention. Dynamic Ads have a catchy call-to-action such as an invitation to follow a page, join a group or visit a website and there is a small space for a company logo so the prospect can identify who the ad has come from. They are effective for building engagement and followers on your company page by targeting the right prospects based on audience profiling.

 

Display Ads
LinkedIn Display Ads are only visible on desktop and can be purchased through your programmatic buying provider, through either an open auction or LinkedIn private auction. There are two options for targeting audiences with Display Ads, the first is ‘intent-based targeting’; which is used to retarget website visitors, CRM contacts, similar audiences or using your own first or third party cookie data. Alternatively, ‘professional identity targeting’ uses LinkedIn’s audience segments to reach professional audiences based on their company size, seniority, career type, education and more. Display Ads are suitable for creating engaging and eye-catching content and reaching audiences on high-traffic LinkedIn pages.

 

Why B2B marketers should think about using LinkedIn advertising
• Advertising through LinkedIn enables you to target audiences based on their company, job title, seniority, qualifications, age, gender and more. From the perspective of a B2B marketer, it has the potential to generate more focused, high-quality leads and conversions. There is a maximum of 100 selections per targeting option and you can also enable ‘audience expansion’ to increase the reach of your campaigns by showing your ads to audiences with a similar profiling to your selected target audience. Unlike Facebook Ads, LinkedIn allows you to drill down to reach more specific and targeted users based on their professional background.
• You can also test your ad methods by using A/B testing methods or by rotating ad variations to test your ads’ performances over time. You can vary your ads by changing the image, headline, text or destination to see which ad performs best.
• You can measure the success of your ads using the Campaign Manager to track the performance of clicks, impressions, costs and other metrics. The reports also provide a detailed view of the demographic categories of the LinkedIn members who saw and engaged with your ads.
• You are in control. You define what you will pay for each click or 1000 impressions and you won’t pay more than the budget you’ve set.
• Furthermore, a study by HubSpot revealed that LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rates (2.74%), compared to Twitter ( 0.69%) and Facebook (0.77%), making it the number one social network for lead generation.

 

Without a doubt, LinkedIn is the top performing lead generating social platform for B2B marketers. The advertising costs may be a little more expensive than other networks, but with LinkedIn advertising, the stats all show you are likely to get a higher quality and greater volume of leads compared to the likes of Facebook or Twitter. If you are not already utilising LinkedIn advertising, we hope we’ve given you something to think about…

#MarketingTitbits – YouTube, LinkedIn, billboard campaigns

youtube-linkedin-billboards-smaller1. YouTube tops the list as favourite digital brand among children
Childwise, a market research company, has published a report highlighting that YouTube was the most popular site for 5 – 16 year olds over a 7-day period following a survey of the age group.

YouTube visits outnumbered the likes of Facebook, Snapchat and Google, and children / teenagers rate the video streaming platform as their favourite website (23%) and favourite app (8%). Amongst the children surveyed, 11-16 year olds were more likely to put video sites and vloggers at the tops of their favourite brand lists, whereas 5-10 year olds preferred social gaming brands.

It was notable that the popularity of Facebook amongst younger audiences continues to deteriorate. Do these findings indicate a changing of the social media guard?

To read more about the survey, click here.

2. How to use LinkedIn’s publishing tool to increase your social reach

Last year, LinkedIn released its publishing tool which allowed users in the US to create and post blogs on the platform. It has now granted publishing power to those outside of the US too, which means LinkedIners in the UK can now benefit from the function. You can add a headline, insert images to support  the blog and header, and copy and paste directly into the text box, which will preserve any links you have. How can you use this to your advantage?

One way of doing this is explained by Matt Owen from Econsultancy. The concept involves multiple people posting different blogs to their own LinkedIn pages, covering a wide range of connections.

For a thorough explanation on how you can make the most of LinkedIn’s publishing tool, just click here.

3. Bruised woman on London billboard heals as people pay attention to her

Canary Wharf in London saw the first in a short series of billboard campaigns surrounding the issue of domestic violence last week. Using facial recognition technology, the ad is designed to catch the eyes of busy passers-by.

The poster promotes a simple message, informing people to look at the bruised face of a woman and watch as the bruises heal when more people pay attention. The campaign was brought together by ad agency WCRS, charity Women’s Aid and the photographer Rankin.

To take a look at the striking adverts, head to Mashable.

#MarketingTitbits – writing tips, LinkedIn, marketing fails

writing-linkedin-fails-smaller1. 12 handy tips for writing better web copy
Some people consider writing for the web more difficult than it actually has to be. If you fall into this camp, Econsultancy may be able to help. They have put together some handy tips to keep in your mind when writing web copy.

If you haven’t heard of the inverted pyramid method, you have now! Put simply, include everything an individual would need to know in the opening paragraph. As the reader progresses through the article more in-depth information can then be revealed. It is a common journalist trick to engaging the reader quickly.

Other important factors for better web copy include: knowing your audience, using short paragraphs (in web terms this is a mere one or two sentences) and numbering or bulleting to format and break up chunks of text.

The tips don’t stop there. To see the remaining tips,click here.

2. LinkedIn to let marketers use more of its data to track users

As the biggest business-orientated social networking service, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn is expanding its offerings. The latest development is the introduction of advertising products that allow marketers to track their 300+ million users across the internet, followed by a targeted send of personalised messages to those users.

It comes as LinkedIn reveals plans to merge with its latest acquisition, Bizo, a digital marketing group bought in 2014 for a sum of $175m. Brands like Groupon, Lenovo and Salesforce are currently trialling the new product, with Groupon marketing executive Stephan Heller revealing the success that it has brought them.

If you would like to find out more about LinkedIn’s new venture, click here.

3. Five marketing fails

After the unfortunate mistake of the Hull Branch of Krispy Kreme relating their promotional club to the KKK a few weeks back now, PR Week has given us a round up of some top historic marketing fails.

You’ll find some use of mistaken language from not one, but five brands! Named and shamed in these mistakes are Sharwoods, Wang, Honda, Umbro and an Italian mineral water company.

Click here to see how these brands got it wrong.

LinkedIn Changes: April 2014

blog-imageSince its launch in May 2003, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for business professionals and companies. As well as being a networking tool and virtual CV for users, the Company Pages have developed hugely over the years and now enable significant brand development potential. They allow your company to connect and engage with followers interested in your brand.
Currently, if you have a Company page on LinkedIn, you have the ability to display the products and services that your company has to offer. Alongside the specific products and services images, links and descriptions can be added. However, as of April 14th 2014 this will change. LinkedIn have announced that they will be removing all “Products and Services” sections from company pages. To help overcome this, LinkedIn have recommended ways of conveying the same information to your followers. 

Company Updates

Company updates can be seen both on your Company Page as well as on the newsfeeds of your followers; they can be added to and updated on a daily basis. Not only this, but they give you a chance to engage with your followers and the people who are interested in your brand. To take advantage of this, it is important to ensure that the information you are sharing is appropriate for your brand and target audience. Remember it is your Company not you or your individual employees speaking.

Showcase Pages

Similar to the soon-to-be defunct “Products and Services” section, these are subpages of the Company Page. Here, companies can showcase the specific services they offer and post regular updates to their followers.  Contrastingly to the “Products and Services” pages, these can be followed by users in the same way they would follow an individual Company Page.

Other features include:

  • Analytics are available so that you can track what content your followers are interested in and engaging with. This is separate to the Company Page as a whole.
  • Groups can be featured on the page, allowing you to promote networks that you are part of or are linked to your company.
  • Just like the Company Pages, you can add the Showcase Pages to your Hootsuite account, making sharing content that little bit easier.
  • If an individual is following one of your Showcase Pages this does not mean they will automatically be following the Company Page. This means users can be segmented and only be informed of the news that specifically interests them.

Company Recommendations

Company Recommendations are currently a part of “Products and Services” pages. When these disappear there will be nothing to replace them, or if there is LinkedIn have given no indication as to what this might be yet.

If you are an admin for a Company page, you can easily save the recommendations by copying them into a document. If you’re not able to do this before the 14th April deadline, you can still request a copy of the recommendations direct from LinkedIn through their Customer Support Centre until 30th May.

Although the section of the Company Page dedicated to recommendations will be gone, there is nothing stopping you from creating a Showcase Page dedicated to these testimonials, keeping them all in one place and easy to find for your followers.

What your SME can learn from social media

Last month, we introduced the first instalment of our three part blog, ‘What SMEs can learn from big businesses’. Part 1 highlighted ‘Guerrilla marketing’ and how larger organisations are adopting innovative campaigns in order to raise brand awareness and create that vital social buzz.  This month, part 2 focuses on social media and how more and more companies are including the likes of Facebook and Twitter into their marketing mix to help grow their business and attract potential customers.

Out of the total 7 billion people living on the planet, 1.5 billion use social media. From Twitter and Facebook to Google+ and Pinterest, social media has now become ingrained into our contemporary lifestyles, making it easier to engage and share content with individuals online, no matter what the social and geographical boundaries. But social media is no longer just influencing our personal lives; one in three businesses now use social media, with 58% of consumers ‘liking’ at least one brand on Facebook.

Companies are now harnessing the power of social media to build their brands within the landscape of status updates, pins and tweets. To create successful social media campaigns, an investment of time is essential. However, this alone is not enough. A note of caution – it is easy to rush into tweeting and posting pictures, without really understanding why you are doing it and what you hope to achieve. Like any marketing activity, researching, planning and implementing strategies are critical to turning a great idea into great results.

Here are some good and bad examples how some well known companies have used social media to engage with their audience.

1. In October 2012, Cisco, the multinational networking equipment giant, wanted to make sure that they were listening to their customers and responding to questions and queries in ways that were relevant and accurate. With this in mind, Cisco launched their Social Media Listening Centre. On a daily basis, the centre monitors around 5,000 social mentions across 70 company-related platforms, from Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn and YouTube, to company blogs and forums. According to a recent independent evaluation of these listening activities, Cisco achieved a 281% return on their investment over a 5-month period, amounting to an annual cost benefit of over just over £991 million. This was calculated by comparing what Cisco spent on implementing and training staff to use social marketing tool with the benefits received, the avoidance of marketing and customer service costs to achieve the same results, along with indirect benefits, such as increased staff productivity. The results indicated that the new centre helped Cisco employees deal with more enquiries at a faster rate.

2. To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Oreo posted 100 adverts on their Facebook page over 100 days. During the campaign, Oreo’s Facebook friends went up from 26million to 27million and its Facebook interactions increased by 195%. The posts included relevant topics, quotes about Oreos, humorous cartoons and even Oreo themed recipes. The time invested in developing their Facebook campaign paid off as Oreo won the top Studio Award prize from Facebook.

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3. However, interacting closely with consumers online can backfire if you have not planned your campaign successfully.  Earlier this year, Tesco posted on their Facebook page “Click LIKE if you love getting your groceries delivered.” Alongside people liking the post, there were numerous comments from customers explaining their bad experiences with Tesco’s home delivery service. Tesco did not ignore or delete the comments, instead they responded to every single user, asking for details so they could look into each case and try and solve the problem.

4. Unfortunately, Waitrose’s attempt at #hashtags wasn’t exactly what they had planned either. In 2012, Waitrose invited customers to complete the sentence ‘I shop at Waitrose because… #WaitroseReasons’.  What Waitrose thought was a great way to showcase the affordability of the brand backfired, with Twitter users mocking the brands position within the market and their target audience. For example, ‘I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being around poor people #WaitroseReasons. ‘I shop at Waitrose because I was once in the Holloway Rd branch and heard a dad say ‘Put the papaya down, Orlando!’

For a company embarking on using social media as part of their marketing, the seemingly endless choice and possibilities can see daunting. However, adopting the right platforms to represent your brand is important.  Twitter and Facebook are good for creating conversations with customers and responding to queries, complaints or praise. For the brands that are more visual, sites like Pinterest and Instagram provide an array of creative opportunities. The key to successful social media isn’t just about how many fans, followers or mentions you have, instead the secret to building your brand is the interaction between your business and your online community. For your campaigns to run smoothly, creating a social media strategy is essential. It will help your brand stay in the right direction, generate a return on investment, as well as increase your visibility online.

#MarketingTitbits – e-books as a marketing technique, entrepreneurs on LinkedIn and ‘Good to Great’

1. Using free books as a marketing strategy
As more and more blogs flood the internet, it is becoming even harder for bloggers to stand out from the crowd. However, a new trend is emerging in the world of blogging and this is the creation of free e-books.

It would be fair to say that some e-books are used as a tool to capture potential customers’ contact data so they can be subscribed to marketing lists, but they don’t have to be used this way. We have found an interesting article that explains the benefits of creating an e-book and exactly how to do it. If this takes your fancy then click here.

2. How these leading entrepreneurs use LinkedIn

It would be fair to say that one of the most frequently asked questions we get about LinkedIn is how to use it effectively if you are not in the recruitment industry. The benefits of LinkedIn for recruiters are plain to see by all; however, other professionals can struggle to understand how to harness this powerful social media platform to raise their profile and enhance their business.

Rather than us tell you what we would do, we thought it would be helpful to hear from the horse’s mouth how these 9 successful entrepreneurs are using the platform to increase the engagement and consumption of their content,  to aid the achievement of their professional and business goals.

How we use LinkedIn

3. ‘Good to Great’ – a must read for business owners

Jim Collins’ ‘Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t’ is one of those business books that is a must read for all entrepreneurs and business owners with intentions of building a special business.

The book identifies 8 key traits and experiences that have helped a number of well known companies make the jump from being merely good to standout performers in their industry. What makes the findings so important and credible is that they were the result of a rigorous 5 year research exercise, not the subjective opinion of one person, as is so often the case with these type of books. Whether you are a business just starting out or an established SME looking to make that leap, we guarantee you will take something away from this book, which will help transform your business.

To take a look, visit ‘Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t’.

#MarketingTitbits – Choose the Perfect LinkedIn Photo, Tips for Company Colour Schemes and Tennis: a history in ads

How to choose your LinkedIn profile photoAs you know, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, with over 200million members in over 200 countries. Now the odds are, you probably have a profile on it (if you don’t, it would be a good idea to get on it today) but it constantly amazes us how frequently we find profiles without a profile picture associated with them. It’s a bit like turning up to a networking event with a balaclava on. Studies bear out the importance of having one, finding that profiles with a photo received about 50%-70% more enquiries than profiles that don’t have one. So having a photo is better than not having one; however, it is equally important to choose a photo for your profile that conveys the right message and not the wrong one! A photo of you at the local pub with a pint in your hand may be a true representation of how you spend your time but it’s not exactly appropriate for LinkedIn. After all, they do say “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

We’ve found a great article with 11 top tips on choosing your LinkedIn profile photo, and another showcasing 10 examples of terrible LinkedIn profile photos.

http://www.careerealism.com/linkedin-photo-tips/

http://andrewmacarthy.com/andrew-macarthy-social-media/10-terrible-examples-of-linkedin-profile-photos-bad-linkedin-profile-pics

 

Tips for Company Colour Schemes

Different colours have different meanings, for example, white connotes innocence and purity, whereas red connotes love and passion. We all know that colours and the connotations associated with them are very important to consider when choosing a colour scheme for your brand; however, there are many other things to consider.

Designers frequently use the 60-30-10 rule, which suggests that you choose three different colours and use them in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%. The rule provides a simple way to develop an appropriate colour scheme for your brand.

This week, we came across a great article with top tips for company colour schemes. So whether you’re starting up a business from scratch or redesigning your current brand, we think this article is definitely worth a read.

http://mashable.com/2013/06/09/color-schemes-business/

 

Tennis: a history in ads

Britain is the home to the world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon. Each year, nearly 500,000 people attend the two week event and its impact is felt right across our day-to-day life, as prominent brands jump on board the tennis bandwagon for the period. With Wimbledon into it’s second week and with two Brits into the 4th round, there is no better time to celebrate the history of tennis-related television adverts:

 

Marketing Titbits – an unusual job on LinkedIn, what makes companies great and Trello

Pope Job advertised on LinkedInIf proof be needed that LinkedIn has become a fixture of the global business community, the fact that the recently vacant position of Pope was advertised on the social media site should be evidence enough.

There is some question as to the authenticity of the position, not least around thepapalheadhunter@gmail.com email address you are requested to contact to express interest in the role. We; however, would like to think that it is genuine. 🙂

‘Good to Great – Why some companies make the leap and others don’t’

With the sheer multitude of personal and business development books out there, we’ve tried to identify those that really standout as beneficial and warrant you spending your precious time reading them, ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins is one of them.

For anyone interested in understanding why some companies excel whilst others are merely good, this must-read book gives readers an insight into the research findings uncovered by Jim Collins and his team when analysing over 1,435 companies.

The book gives readers a route they can follow with their company to unlock its potential and be the best it can be. If you are a business owner or involved in growing a business, we think reading this is a must.

Click here to find out more

Trello

Trello is an app for collaborating on to-do lists and projects. It’s a great little free app we’ve found, which is available on PCs and via your Android or iPhone mobile / tablet. It is ideal to use when working alone or jointly on a project, allowing individuals to stay organised and teams to easily collaborate remotely on tasks and activities.

Described as ‘a whiteboard with superpowers’, we’d strongly recommend you take a look at this free app, which lets you:

  • List, manage and collaborate on tasks
  • Create checklists
  • Assign task responsibility and deadlines
  • Add images and attachments to projects

You can find out more about Trello here.

 

Top Marketing Tips – November 2012

1. Instagram Web ProfileInstagram is about to launch a web based profile for its users. This will allow Instagram users to directly edit and create pictures through their PC and laptops rather than through a mobile phone. Instagram released an official statement through their blog post on Monday: “You’ve asked for Instagram on the web and we’ve listened, over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out Instagram profiles on the web.”
The Web based profile is set to look similar to the current Facebook profiles; however, one of the major differences is the design layout. Instagram’s web profile will also allow you to use more than just one picture as your cover photo; it also updates itself on a regular basis, once you have taken a picture and uploaded it through your mobile it will automatically be updated on the web profile. To set up your web profile click here http://instagram.com/

 

2. GIMP – The GNU Image Manipulation Program
Want to edit images but don’t want the expense of Adobe Photoshop? GIMP is an open source (
and therefore free) image management program. It is great for tasks like:

  • Photo retouching
  • Image composition
  • Image authoring
  • To find out more and to download it, click here.

3. LinkedIn Company Profiles
LinkedIn have finally listened to users about the social media site’s company page feature. For so long, users have been unable to make their company’s profile page more attractive. LinkedIn have finally rectified this with the addition of functionality that allows you to add a cover photo to a company page. If you haven’t updated yours, take a look today athttp://www.linkedin.com/

Are your Lead Generation campaigns LinkedIn?

You may be aware that we regularly discuss the importance of social media for a business, providing you with insights into the latest social media trends and top tips about how to engage effectively with your consumers within the variety of social media platforms available.
From our experience of working with SMEs, the same questions pop up time and time again, ‘How can social media fit with my industry’? ‘How is social media going to generate sales for my business?’

Not all social media sites are relevant for every business, for example, product based B2C businesses are more likely to engage with consumers on platforms, such as Facebook and Pinterest, where a business can take advantage of the visual functions available. If you want to communicate to a B2B audience and business professionals, then LinkedIn with its 150 million members is a good place to start.

LinkedIn enables members and businesses to create profiles, connect with like-minded individuals, share blogs and news items. However, more and more businesses are now discovering the hidden powers of LinkedIn, not only as a social networking site, but also as a platform that can be the foundation for marketing campaigns and a vital component in a company’s lead generation efforts.

So how can your business use LinkedIn for lead generation? Think of LinkedIn as a treasure trove with over 150 million contacts that can be used to support your business activities. LinkedIn is rich with information you can use to help qualify prospects, target businesses and research competitors.

Below are some examples of how your business can use LinkedIn effectively:

  • Do you have a list of potential companies that you wish to target? Are there contact names missing or is the list simply out of date? If so, LinkedIn is a great tool for identifying key decision-makers working in the organisations you are keen to engage with.  This helps eliminate the dreaded entry phrase ‘I can’t put you through; we work on a no name basis’.
  • Is your business launching a new product or service and you are keen to research your target audience? We use LinkedIn as a valuable market research tool. It gives you access to a range of groups and contacts, many of which are keen to share their opinion. Post a question on a relevant group and engage with your target audience to get their thoughts and ideas, there’s nothing better than a service or product that really addresses the challenges and problems customers face.
  • Join groups and develop yourself as an expert in your field. LinkedIn enables you to join and set up industry and career specific groups. Groups of like-minded professionals are excellent for gaining knowledge, sharing news and conveying your expertise. LinkedIn groups allow you to see the issues that your target audience are facing, providing you with an opportunity to share your knowledge and build relationships with potential customers.

A great example of a business getting to grips with the power of LinkedIn is Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific Airways is an international airline based in Hong Kong, offering scheduled cargo and passenger services to over 140 destinations around the world. Cathay Pacific faced the same challenges that most businesses face, how to crawl through the jungle that is an overcrowded marketplace and reach their target audience with a message that is compelling. In order to achieve this, Cathay Pacific turned to LinkedIn to help target people who would fly business class between the United States and Asia. The aim was to identify members who belong to LinkedIn groups related to business travel in Asia, such as Global Workers, China Networking Group and Hong Kong Connection, in order to engage with time-strapped business travellers in an environment where they were already comfortable, engaged and spending time.

Cathay Pacific established a company page in LinkedIn and started to engage with the groups and individual members, providing regular status updates. As well as increasing the brand awareness, Cathay Pacific’s LinkedIn activity generated a total of 1,324 responses from business travellers, produced 97 LinkedIn page recommendations and increased the clickthrough rate on to their main website.

With the ever increasing array of social networking sites available to businesses, large and small, and the constantly evolving digital world, a business must establish the platforms that offer their business most value. Social media is free but your time is not. You need to use it wisely. We believe that increasingly, if you operate in the B2B sphere, LinkedIn represents an effective investment of your time. It is now so much more than just an online CV; it unlocks the doors to millions of opportunities for your business.