CEO of AdStage, Sahil Jain, recently had a chat about LinkedIn with Viveka von Rosen, author of “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day”, and publisher of “LinkedIn Advertising Fundamentals” on Lynda.com.
Having been featured in the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide, and named a Top 50 Social Media Influencer by Forbes, it’s clear that she lives and breathes LinkedIn.
Below are some of the highlights:
Should a company consider LinkedIn?
Viveka: You have to be on LinkedIn, if you’re in B2B. Especially if you’re doing sales and marketing. It depends on the audience of the clientele.
What do you not like about the direction of LinkedIn?
Viveka: The value of any social network is their membership. LinkedIn, with all the restrictions they’re putting on their free accounts – which makes up around 83%. You could lose your base. That’s the base paying users are marketing to.
I love their acquisitions, such Bizo, that brought us Lead Accelerator.
Viveka: People forget they need to treat their LinkedIn company page like a product. They need to promote it as much as another other service they have – and they aren’t doing it.
Big companies, with so many verticals and silos, they don’t know what to share. For big brands, they can create showcase pages for all their different verticals, and assign administrators.
What’s the right type of content that performs well for Sponsored Updates?
Viveka: Creating a timeline works very well. The end of the timeline is the click through to the bottom of the funnel – such as a webinar or whitepaper. Back it up. How do you get someone to know, like, and trust us?
You need to build up trust. Whether it’s an heart-string pulling infographic, an engaging video, or a get to know us piece. Understand you will need to make mini-campaigns, within the larger campaign.
Sahil: So it’s a content strategy, that marries a nurturing funnel. At the top, you recommend sponsored content almost like Google Display. Promoting brand awareness.
What are some of the misconceptions of LinkedIn Ads?
Viveka: Unfortunately, most people get on LinkedIn Ads and they get the $50 – $100 credit and think they’re going to sell their $5,000 product with one text ad.
Sahil: The biggest issue we see with LinkedIn Ads, is that it’s working, but you have to be very sophisticated with your tracking mechanisms. LinkedIn on a cost per click basis, can be seen as very expensive. However, sophisticated marketers know it’s not about the cost per click, but the LTV (lifetime value).
Viveka: People need to be bought into it and engaged. When they receive the $50 for ads, they don’t know how to do it – they haven’t visited a Lynda course or referenced fact sheets.
In Facebook you can play around for $0.25. On LinkedIn, if a lot of people are clicking through and not converting, it can be super expensive.
What we’ve found is that if you can micro-target and test 1,000 – 1,500 groups of individuals, it’s more work intensive, but gets us better results and let’s us play. We can expand upon that market after we see performance.
Sahil: So you will break down targeting into micro-sections, creating a campaign for each. The campaigns are essentially audience shells?
Viveka: Yup; exactly. Seeing what sticks, and using that to build really powerful and high converting funnels.
Do you think it’s accurate to say Marketing Solutions might be the next $1B business unit?
Viveka: I think it’s accurate; but in order to do it, they must change the culture. Right now, unless you are part of the $25k per month club, Marketing Solutions is almost useless to you.
If LinkedIn changes it culture. Opening up Lead Accelerator, and allow you to choose what you’d like to spend. Then, show you what to do in order to be successful, and the sky’s the limit.
It has all the pieces in place: you’re creating content, your building networks, and you’ve got marketing and HR (talent solutions). But, they’re not letting 90% of their audience play.
Sahil: I think a lot of that comes from LinkedIn being a historically field sales driven business. They need to shake that to reach mass penetration in the market.
The good news is that through acquisitions (Pulse, Bizo, Lynda), they’ve been able to bring in some very bright minds who are a bit more edgy in how they run their business. I’m hopeful that they will start to shake some of those traditions.
Out of the acquisitions they’ve made, which one do you think will make the most material impact?
Viveka: It really depends on my mood that day. I really thought the solution for them was going to be the CRM, when they bought Connected HQ. This affected Sales Navigator, which really played well with Salesforce, but they’ve pulled the API. So my guess is that will develop into its own CRM system. Which would bring LinkedIn to a whole new level.
But on another day, Publisher; content marketing is where it’s at. If they start doing things like allowing us to create promoted posts, well then it’s another Facebook type explosion.
Then, they bought Lead Accelerator. The potential for retargeting is huge.
This very minute, I’d go with their ads platform. It will either be the biggest fail or make them billions of dollars. If they change their culture, think longer term, and open up.
We saw you launched an intro course on Lynda.com. Could you tell us a little bit more about it?
Viveka: The whole course is on the self-serve ad platform, and some of the best strategies to get ROI on your spend.