0

How to use LinkedIn in B2B communication

Share

The LinkedIn community in Poland already has 1.5 million users. There are over 80 of them in Europe and over 300 million in the world. Below are some ideas on how you can reach potential customers in the B2B segment with the help of this tool.

Social networking sites for professionals, such as LinkedIn, are eagerly used by recruiters to search for job applicants. Employees, in turn, can use them to present their virtual CVs to potential employers. We wrote more about personal branding on the internet here. Of course, nothing is for free. The possibility of using very advanced search options may mean up to five-digit expenses per year for the recruiting company. What to do if we do not want to spend such a budget, and we want to reach a selected base of professionals?

Multiple Roads Which One Should You Choose?

If you run a company and direct your offer to a business client, you know that reaching the right people with a message can be a challenge. The challenge becomes even greater when the product or service you offer is completely new to the market. In this case, you have several “standard” solutions at your disposal:

  • you employ salespeople who will call all potential customers and perform basic work in the field of education about your offer
  • you place ads in the press and industry portals
  • you send mail to a database you have bought or collected yourself
  • you participate in industry events such as conferences, training, or fairs
  • you conduct PR activities
  • you advertise in the search engine

Each of the above activities requires at least one resource: time or money. Most often both. Before you start involving large budgets in the above activities, it is worth preparing the right “ground” in the form of precisely directed communication.

Building authority

If you already have a personal account on LinkedIn and have managed to attract dozens of friends (preferably your clients), you can start actively contributing. LinkedIn, like Facebook, has a board where you can add posts, links, and photos. Your friends can like, comment, and share them. The main difference between these portals is that the LinkedIn dashboard is not yet cluttered with information. Fewer people are active here, and the shared content is adapted to the nature of the place, i.e. more related to what we do professionally. If you post regularly and gain activity from your friends (e.g. likes), you have a chance to reach a group of so-called 2 circles (friends of friends).

For example: on Monday, on my board, I posted an announcement that the newsletter would be sent, among others with this entry. There are two comments to the post and one like. Thanks to this, the news reached not only the group of my 53 friends (13%) but also 55 people from the 2nd circle. In this simple way, I reached with the message to people who probably do not know yet, but maybe interested in what I have to convey.

The main advantage of this solution is that it is free. However, it requires time, a well-thought-out strategy, and an action plan to constantly increase the range of communication impact. The main disadvantage, however, is the lack of direct control of who the message will reach. My post was read by those friends who just joined LinkedIn on that day and viewed the posts on their board. If someone came a day later and has a large group of friends or groups to which they belong, the entry may have been moved lower by other messages.

After all, on LinkedIn, tell me how many logistics directors do you know in the world?

If you want to reach people other than your friends, you can use Sponsored content, which LinkedIn introduced in mid-2013. It looks very similar to Facebook – a Sponsored post appears on the user’s wall that corresponds to the selected target group. Such posts are posted as company posts, and to prepare them, it is necessary to configure a Campaign Manager account.

A sponsored post may contain a description, photo, and an external link leading to e.g. a previously prepared landing page. Having prepared the content, we then choose the target group to which our posts are to be displayed. At this point, we can see just how precise the targeting opportunities LinkedIn is. We start with the geographical range (continents, countries, regions), then select the type of company (specific name, industry, size), position, etc. While we specify our target group, the right column shows the number of people who correspond to the selected by us criteria.

How much does it cost?

Payment for this type of advertising can be done both in the model per click (CPC), as well as for 1000 impressions (CPM). The advertiser independently determines the max. per click or impression rate, however, LinkedIn has a lower limit. In the CPC model, our experience shows that it is not lower than 2 EUR / click. The minimum daily ad budget is EUR 10. Compared to CPC rates in the Google Display Network, the cost of clicking an ad on LinkedIn is up to 10 times higher, but in return for the higher cost of a click, we receive a precisely targeted message. Social options (commenting, liking, and sharing) are free – thanks to this, we can gain additional organic reach. In our opinion, it is worth allocating a part of the advertising budget to test this tool, because it may turn out that the cost of acquiring the client will be lower than on Google or Facebook.

Don’t go that way

Finally, a small warning for those who would like to take a shortcut. Now and then I get friend requests from people I have never really met. They are very social people – they usually have a few or a dozen or so thousand friends. At best, they will use their relationship with you to further reach your friends and invite them too. Over time, they will start spamming you (on the board or in the form of a message) about their offer, organized events, products, etc. I do not accept invitations from people I have not met in real life, by phone, or even by exchanging e-mails. And I advise you to adopt this tactic as well. And I completely advise against following their path, because in the long run, it will turn out to be a dead-end – not only will you not gain potential customers, but also alienate them.