Monday, February 13, 2017

LinkedIn Ads 101

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If the idea of attending a networking event makes your stomach flip, you’re in luck. Thanks to LinkedIn ads, now you can make connections and grow your business from the comfort of your office.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 430 million members, including executives from every Fortune 500 company. Even for small businesses, LinkedIn is no longer an option. It’s essential.

Why suffer through small talk at a cocktail mixer, when you can build better relationships faster online? LinkedIn advertising allows you to target decision-makers with relevant and customizable content.

According to a Pew Research Center study, LinkedIn usage is especially high among people with a college degree or higher, and among those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more. It is also the only social networking site that has higher usage among 50 to 64 year olds than those between the ages of 18 and 29. So if you want to attract the right people, put down the martini and learn how to use LinkedIn ads with the following guide.

Bonus: Download a free guide to discover four time-saving tools to help you grow your LinkedIn network faster. Includes one tool that lets you schedule a week’s worth of LinkedIn updates in just three minutes.

Does LinkedIn advertising work?

Expert social media marketers know that personalizing online interactions is critical to successfully connecting with a target audience. If that audience is interested in your content, they’ll be more inclined to engage and respond.

LinkedIn ads comes with features that allow you to reserve your preferred audience and make sure your message reaches your target. LinkedIn ads even offer guaranteed impressions. Before you pay a dime, you can create your LinkedIn ad and see exactly how big of an audience you are going to reach.

But does it work? Do people use LinkedIn to discover and engage with content? According to LinkedIn’s own data, content gets 15 times the interaction of job postings. Here’s a few quick and dirty tips to get your LinkedIn account set-up (if you don’t have one already).
Types of LinkedIn ads
Campaign Manager ad options (self-serve)

LinkedIn ads Campaign Manager allows you to schedule campaigns in advance, target the right audience, and see detailed charts that show the industries, job functions, and seniority level of users who click your ads.

Learn how to get even more out of LinkedIn with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

There are two types of easy ad formats.
Sponsored Content is a Company Page update (shared posts with company news, promotions, relevant industry articles, SlideShare presentations, and Vimeo and YouTube videos) promoted to a specific audience. The ads appear in the homepage feed (on desktop, mobile, and tablet) and on the right side of the desktop homepage. If you have a one-day-only sale on bagels or a video of a recent company charity event, a sponsored update is the best way to share that content.
Text and Image Ads feature a compelling headline, description and, if you like, an eye-catching 50×50 image. You can choose your target audience with laser sharp B2B filters and set your own budget. Text and image ads are only available on desktop. They may appear under “Ads You May Be Interested In” and as text link advertisements found at the top of the homepage. If you are trying to grab the attention of a busy professional, checking LinkedIn on a lunch break, the text and image ads are your best bet to pique their interest. Instead of using your business logo, include a compelling image with your ad to grab the prospect’s attention.
Other ad options

Ready to spread your wings a little further? LinkedIn ads offers features such as Sponsored InMail, Display Ads, and Dynamic Ads to get you on the radar of your desired customers.
Sponsored InMail gives you the opportunity to deliver sponsored content directly to LinkedIn user inboxes. A Sponsored InMail only gets delivered when members are active on LinkedIn so this feature gives you 100 percent deliverability. It’s an effective option for those looking to create personalized messages and drive conversion rates.
Display Ads help you get your business in front of your desired audience early in the buying cycle and increase awareness on a large scale. You can leverage LinkedIn ads to find the right professionals based on relevant profile data.
Dynamic Ads are highly customizable. You can write your own ad copy, choose your call to action, and use dynamically generated images from LinkedIn member profiles. This kind of advertising is especially useful for building relationships and prompting the most influential members of your audience to wake up and pay attention to your business.
LinkedIn advertising tips

If your business is hoping to attract your first million LinkedIn followers, you are going to need to create a powerful advertising strategy. Here are a few tips for making LinkedIn advertising work for you.
Strong copy

Strong copy demands the attention of the reader. The best way to accomplish this goal is to offer interesting insights while keeping your message simple. Demonstrate your understanding of the industry, but keep jargon to a minimum or you’ll put everyone to sleep.
Relevant images

Relevant images are essential. But finding a great image to catch the eye of your prospect can be tough, especially when you are hoping not to break the bank. Our 20 free photo sites for stock social media images guide is a great place to start.

Targeting by group is a great way to reach people who may be interested in your product or service. To make sure you target the right groups, you’ll need to dig around a little before you get started. It’s helpful if you’ve already taken some time to build audience personas. Discover which groups your ideal buyers belong to and then compile a short list of professional or trade associations you want to target.

Learn how to get even more out of LinkedIn with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

According to a webcast with LinkedIn content campaign strategist Pavels Kilivniks and team lead Katerina Ram, breaking up your B2B target audience by demographic can be a helpful tool for targeting. Here are three good ones to examine.
Job title and function are key professional attributes of your audience. LinkedIn ads allow you to search and create audiences composed of specific criteria. So if you want to sell specialized medical equipment to radio brain surgeons in Kalamazoo, Michigan, LinkedIn will help you find them.
Industry and company size tell you who your next buyer could be. Do you want to sell to a large company or a small business? Are you targeting all the software engineers in Silicon Valley or dairy lobbyists in your home state? Refine your aim with a precise target.
Seniority is a great way to target influencers with your LinkedIn ads. LinkedIn pulls data from member profiles even if they don’t have the word “senior” in their title. For example, if a person has been with a company for more than two years, that person will be mapped as an individual contributor and will appear as “senior” in the Campaign Manager tool. The algorithm is able to determine if a particular member is entry-level or not because it accounts for their entire career path.

Test a different version of the ad to see which one brings in the most business. With the text ad option, you can you can create up to 15 variations of one ad. Change the image, headline, text, and destination to see who bites and when.
Budgeting and bidding

Budgeting and bidding effectively is a very important step. You can choose to set your bid and campaign budget by cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM). If you choose to go the CPC route you can specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click. This is the best option if your campaign is direct response.

If you decide to go with CPM, you pay up to your maximum bid each time your ad is shown 1,000 times on LinkedIn, no matter how many clicks you receive. This is the method LinkedIn suggests if your advertising strategy is creating brand awareness.
Measuring performance

Measure performance to maximize your social media return on investment (ROI). Using the LinkedIn ads campaign manager, you can keep track of your performance by monitoring your impressions, clicks, costs, and other metrics. With each new campaign you’ll learn what’s working and what’s best left behind as you move forward. The cost of LinkedIn tends to run a little higher than other social media platforms so you will want to pay close attention to your analytics.

Connecting with active, influential professionals is essential to the success of any B2B marketer. Don’t underestimate the power of an effective social media campaign to bring in new business. You might connect with a career-altering colleague on LinkedIn or forge a lasting bond with your brand through LinkedIn ads. So forget the ice cream social, and get your message out on every device.

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