Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you know that LinkedIn has risen to the top of the social media pile to become the grown-ups version of Facebook.
The recent changes introduced on LinkedIn are a boon to marketers and especially to content sharers. If you like using Facebook for business and content marketing, you’re going to love the new and improved LinkedIn.
Two of the most innovative changes are Sponsored Updates and the Publishing Platform. We’ll examine the incredible marketing opportunities offered by today’s LinkedIn, and it looks like there is something for everyone.
Sponsored Updates Provide Focused Marketing
A relatively new type of advertising for LinkedIn members, Sponsored Updates, launched last year giving advertisers a leg up on the regular ads on LinkedIn. From there, entire advertising campaigns can be launched with the help of some pretty impressive measuring tools.
Sponsored Updates are the perfect way to boost your company updates, allowing them to penetrate the newsfeeds of your target audience. If your content is given higher visibility for a longer period of time, you’ll start to see more engagement, better marketing leads, and invaluable B2B lead generation.
The second-biggest concern of the savvy marketer – after the procurement of head-turning content – is how to get your brilliant content in front of the right people. LinkedIn members average $83,000 a year in salary, so it’s a good place to start.
Does “pay for play” seem familiar in the world of internet marketing? It should, because Pay Per Click is the call of the aggressive content marketer. Think of LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates as Google AdWords for the thinking man.
The main difference between Google AdWords and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates is distribution; you do not need keywords and search engines on your side to spread the word. You distribute your content and build your brand exclusively through LinkedIn.
How To Get The Ball Rolling On The New and Improved LinkedIn
- Set up a company page – if you already have a personal career page on LinkedIn, creating a company page will be a snap. You create a brand profile, and seek recommendations from customers, vendors and business contacts. A company page on the new and improved LinkedIn can be so much more than a lead-generation tool. It’s an ideal recruiting strategy to attract the top people in the field, so make sure your company page outlines your philosophy and mentions job openings and upcoming career opportunities.
- Create a business account – you will need an advertising account in order to pay for your marketing campaigns. Go to LinkedIn Ads and click on “Create Your Business Account” in the drop-down menu. There’s a one-time $5 “deposit” charge on the credit card you provide for billing, but after that you only pay for the actual number of clicks you get.
- Sponsor an update – if you have more than one Company page, you’ll be prompted to assign the new campaign to a specific page. Then you can either choose an update you’ve already created, or you can create new campaign-specific content and sponsor the posts afterwards. The LinkedIn set-up for Sponsored Updates could not be easier to use.
It’s important to note that you can turn off the Sponsored Updates feature anytime, or you can exclude any updates from the campaign. Just un-click the updates you want in the “Manage Sponsorship” menu, and you can have complete control over your content distribution.
Choose Your Advertising Weapon
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates (aka native advertising) offer two ways to generate leads; you can subscribe to the cost-per-click (CPC) program, which charges you only for the actual clicks, or you can choose CPM, which stands for cost per thousand impressions, where you pay for according to the number of times your update appears on the user’s screen.
CPM is a great way of increasing your brand awareness which gives you the maximum exposure for your investment. If your goal is to bring in new prospects and increase conversion rates, CPC is the best way to bring in new customers.
Here’s the best part: there are no CPC charges incurred when a user shares your content or adds a comment. That means LinkedIn in the perfect platform for sharing content – or spreading it like wildfire – because sharing is contagious and you may soon see your content take off very quickly.
Yes, the secret of LinkedIn’s CPC appeal is that it yields a good deal of organic (free) traffic and exposure in addition to what you paid for, provided your content is up to snuff.
Establish Your LinkedIn Budget
In setting up your budget, you’ll find that Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn is a cross between Google AdWords and eBay auctions.
When you outbid another member by $1 for a CPC campaign, the system automatically bids for you in increments so you’ll end up paying just a penny more per click than the next highest bidder. This saves you money and the frustration of having to stay logged in to your account all day to bid on CPC rates.
You may find yourself bidding against some heavy hitters on LinkedIn, so never lose sight of the fact that interesting and relevant content (which is targeted and focused) must be at the heart of any successful marketing campaign.
LinkedIn’s New Publishing Platform Is for Everyone
To complement the Sponsored Updates feature, the new and improved LinkedIn has just launched a Publishing Platform, so it’s a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
When you publish a post on the site, your original content becomes part of your professional profile where it can be seen and shared by millions of LinkedIn members.
LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform is intended to match the right content with the right professionals, giving your posts a fighting chance in a corporate world. As such, it is the ideal vehicle for long posts which will be distributed through member feedback and sharing.
However you take advantage of the marketing-friendly features on the new and improved LinkedIn, consider it an advanced tool to target and segment your audience, and another just another direction to throw your marketing dollars.