Why LinkedIn is ‘the special one’ when it comes to B2B marketing

Why LinkedIn is ‘the special one’ when it comes to B2B marketing

Phil Szomszor

Phil Szomszor

The best social network for business is LinkedIn. There, I've said it. Yes, Twitter, Google+, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest (the list goes on) all have their place, but if you're looking for the social network that is most effective for marketing, PR and lead generation then I've come to the conclusion that LinkedIn is 'the special one'.

Why do I say this?

LinkedIn has evolved from being a job search tool, to being a personal CRM system, to now being a publishing platform in its own right. Thirteen million UK users can't be wrong.

There are tons of reasons for prioritising LinkedIn for B2B marketing, but here's five important ones:

  1. It's the channel that senior decision makers use - Recently we've been conducting audience research for a number of clients (in the B2B sector) and found that when it comes to reaching decision makers, then they're all pretty much using LinkedIn, but very few use Twitter (for one client it was 5%), and even fewer use Google+.
  2. It's easier to target people - Have you tried searching for people on Twitter? It's a right pain (I usually do it through Google, or even LinkedIn). LinkedIn's search tool is much more sophisticated, particularly for Premium members. Its advertising platform has Facebook-like profiling capabilities, that also has merit for B2C (e.g. if you are looking to profile high salary earners).
  3. Insights at your fingertips - LinkedIn gives you loads of data about your pages and content, from finding out who's visiting your page (worried about LinkedIn all being about recruitment? Not for Firefly - only 5% of our page visitors are from "staffing and recruitment") to seeing how many people view your status updates and how many click-through. Coupled with tools like Google Analytics for content hosted on your website, you've got a lot of data insight.
  4. People buy from people they trust - When it comes to a buying decision, executives are much more likely to pay attention to a link from someone they know on LinkedIn to the thousands from people they don't know on, say, Twitter. This is borne out by research of US IT decision makers conducted by ComScore, Starcom MediaVest and Mashwork on behalf of LinkedIn (embedded presentation below).
  5. Sharing works - and your competitors might not be doing it yet - Using the status update feature for both company status updates and individuals sharing news is a real no-brainer. If you have a new piece of content or an announcement to make, it makes sense to use your employees to amplify the message. For example, 3,217 people engaged with the LinkedIn status update about Salesforce's acquisition of ExactTarget. Could media coverage, email marketing or Twitter updates match this for views and engagement? And here's the good bit: it's a really under-utilised method of communication. A third of FTSE companies and more than half (57%) of the UK's fast growing tech companies, the TechTrack100, don't use status updates yet (let alone encourage their employees to share). Of course, there's a danger that people start to 'over-share' and it gets as crowded and congested as Twitter, but we're not there yet.

Companies Using Linkedin - Firefly research, October 2013

The reality is that businesses will use a variety of social networks. Our own insights from Google Analytics show that for Firefly, Twitter gives LinkedIn a run for its money, but the important thing is to work out where your target audiences hang out and provide them with content that they find useful and trust.

In the meantime, check out the aforementioned "Social Bridge" presentation below. Also have a look at Why LinkedIn should be your first port of call for B2B marketing and How to engage your LinkedIn followers, both on the Guardian.

Finally, keep an eye on this blog. Tomorrow we'll be hosting our own event about LinkedIn marketing. It's sold out, but we'll be putting up presentations and highlights in coming days.

The Social Bridge to the IT Committee from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
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