LinkedIn B2B Marketing Facts You Need to Know
One of the many things I enjoy about helping people with LinkedIn, is their genuine relief when they realise just how straight forward it is to navigate as a platform for business. Too often, I see people with a mental block about LinkedIn, which I affectionately call ‘LinkedInitis’: they know they need to spend more time on LinkedIn for their business, but are not sure what to do when they are there. Since the LinkedIn.com re-design I’m enjoying observing (and in many cases also helping) businesses take a fresh look at LinkedIn as a way to research, attract, acquire and engage their potential clients.
Why You Need to Take a Fresh Look at LinkedIn
In this article LinkedIn makes the argument for ‘Why B2B Marketers Net Undeniable Results on LinkedIn‘, stating that with “more than 430 million professionals gathering on LinkedIn, it makes it the most effective place for B2B (Business to Business) marketers to engage with decision makers, influencers and leaders of today and tomorrow”.
Okay, so of course LinkedIn is going to tell you that you need to be there. Let’s dig a bit deeper and understand what other authorities say about how you can make LinkedIn an effective touch point for your business to generate leads and convert sales.
Let’s consider who’s on LinkedIn in Australia (assuming, for those reading this, that the majority of your ideal clients reside in Australia). The Sensis Social Media Report 2016 (an Australian resource) indicates that 4 out of 5 professional Australians are on LinkedIn, they tend to be more educated, 30+ and skew slightly to males. This statistic may knock out some B2C (Business to Consumer) marketers and those who are targeting a younger demographic (who you are more likely to find on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat).
Content Marketing Planning for B2B Marketers
For those who are still here, let’s talk about your Marketing and Sales strategy and the role of your Content Marketing Plan to help you achieve your results. One of the key authorities on B2B marketing, The Content Marketing Institute (American resource), in their 2016 B2B Content Marketing Report defines Content Marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
What’s important for you in this report is that only 30% of B2B marketers say their organization is effective at content marketing, down from 38% last year. I find this an interesting statistic, for two reasons. Firstly, because it demonstrates the potential complexity associated with content marketing and secondly, quality content marketing requires a clear strategy and consistent focus, which is sometimes hard to achieve.
The report supports this, referencing ‘effectiveness levels are greater among respondents with documentation, clarity around success, good communication, and experience and that fewer B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy compared with last year (32% vs. 35%), even though the research consistently shows that those who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing”.
B2B Marketers’ Content Marketing Maturity Level
A new question asked of marketers for the 2016 B2B Content marketing Report was their organisation’s content marketing maturity level. It is no surprise that, in general, effectiveness levels are greater among marketers with higher levels of content marketing maturity:
- 64% in the sophisticated/mature phase say they are effective at content marketing
- 23% in the adolescent phase say they are effective at content marketing
- 6% in the young/first steps phase say they are effective at content marketing
The Facts LinkedIn Wants B2B Marketers to Know
LinkedIn has also digested The Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2B Content Marketing Report and provided some very compelling statistics about LinkedIn and B2B Marketing which I have shared for you below.
- 80% leads sourced through social media came from LinkedIn
- LinkedIn is B2B Marketer’s No. 1 Social Media channel, with 92% of B2B Marketers leveraging LinkedIn over all other social media platforms
- LinkedIn leads the pack in lead generation by a long shot, with 59% of respondents reporting it delivered leads (vs 28% for Twitter and 24% for Facebook)
- LinkedIn drives awareness and traffic with over 46% of corporate website visits being reported as coming from LinkedIn
- 79% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as an effective source for generating B2B leads
- LinkedIn is the top channel for B2B product launches
My Role as an Independent LinkedIn Consultant
At this juncture it’s important to me that you know I am an independent LinkedIn Consultant and do not get any direct benefits from LinkedIn for suggesting you pay attention to this powerful professional networking and content marketing platform. While I do believe there is great value in B2B marketers paying attention to LinkedIn, I also know that LinkedIn’s goal in sharing these statistics with you is to encourage you to invest in what they call their ‘Marketing Solutions‘, which can involve your business investing in options including Displays Ads, Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMails.
Two LinkedIn Options for B2B Marketers to Choose
I believe B2B Marketers have two options when it comes to maximise the opportunity LinkedIn presents for your organisation.
Option One – Outsource
If you or your team are simply too busy to allocate resource to engage with your network and potential clients on Linkedin, outsource it. If you are extroverted, hate detail, love vlogging, and want to generate a lot of leads and transact relatively quickly, outsource it. There are service providers available who will take over your LinkedIn efforts for you. This means you are choosing to broadly remove yourself from the process (which may be exactly what you want) and you will not learn LinkedIn for yourself and adapt to this platform as it evolves without it costing you a substantial monthly investment. If it’s a numbers game and transactions you want, and you are at the point in your business where you need 100s or 1000s of leads in your pipeline to enable you to convert, then outsourcing the management of your LinkedIn content marketing plan may be worth the investment.
Option Two – Develop the Skills of Your Marketers
This option prioritises relationships over transactions and your team learning LinkedIn and adopting my ‘teach you how to fish approach’ where I show marketers, digital communication managers and social media managers how to amplify their marketing strategy via LinkedIn. I work with your team to build their knowledge of LinkedIn, based on your organisational goals and the nuances of the B2B relationships relevant for your industry. I believe no one knows your business and clients like you do and the outsourcing option restricts your ability to leverage this.
This approach is best suited to those who wish to take a closer look at how they can use LinkedIn to leverage and build their relationships, amplify their marketing and sales efforts, raise their online profile and position themselves better in the market. I develop tailored coaching and training to teach you how to use LinkedIn to achieve the results valued by B2B marketers who have worked with and understand the LinkedIn platform. It’s a slower dance and a slower pace, and as much about the journey as the destination.
The work I do with my clients; developing their team’s profile, showing them how to navigate LinkedIn and developing relevant content plans (via Company Pages and LinkedIn Profiles) is a key enabler for their organisation to to embrace LinkedIn to start meaningful conversations, explore strategic collaborations, and, yes, to win business. I work with clients on their initial LinkedIn strategy and content plan and then work with their teams (as required) to implement the LinkedIn plan. I can initially update the profiles of your teams, source content for you to post from your profiles and/or company page, set up a content plan via your preferred or my social media scheduler to do this, and even co-write blog posts / LinkedIn articles with you.
Sounds helpful? Please contact us today to discuss your plans for LinkedIn.
As a storyteller, I help quieter and thoughtful folk communicate better online (and offline). I enjoy the complexity of people and helping others through my coaching, training and online courses.
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