As Account-based Marketing continues to transform the world of B2B Marketing, LinkedIn becomes an increasingly critical tool for reaching your target accounts in an effective way. But what is the secret to ABM success on LinkedIn? In this article we’ll outline:
- What makes LinkedIn such an invaluable tool for Account-based Marketing
- LinkedIn best practices to ensure ABM success
- The importance of analytics in assessing performance
- How to establish your organization and your personal brand as a trusted advisor on LinkedIn
LinkedIn - powering B2B Marketing
LinkedIn has quickly become a must-have tool for B2B marketers.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that staying connected has never been so important - and that’s just as true in business as it is at a personal level.
The lines aren’t as rigid any more.
As a result, more emphasis is being placed on professional social channels like LinkedIn, to recreate that human experience, network, and build an authentic online relationship with your customer, peers and prospects.
With over half a billion users worldwide and 94% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn as a content distribution channel, it’s easy to see why it’s become the ‘lingua franca’ of B2B Marketing.
But what about Account-based Marketing and social?
Where does LinkedIn fit in with ABM?
From tight audience targeting and robust analytics, to the ability to run multiple campaigns - LinkedIn is any ABMer’s best friend!
The secret behind LinkedIn's success
LinkedIn has transformed the way we all learn, share knowledge, and build business relationships.
And with this transformation has come a whole new era of B2B marketing.
Whether connecting with fellow thought leaders in your industry, building social selling campaigns to reach your target accounts, or simply creating a social media presence to build brand awareness - LinkedIn answers these questions and much more.
It’s the key B2B platform where your target accounts, buying committees, decision makers, influencers, and industry leaders are.
Which makes it the perfect platform to connect, advertise and share valuable insights!
“If you are active on LinkedIn you are more in touch with your audience” - Gerry Dapergolas, Senior Strategist at strategicabm
And with additional tools like Sales Navigator, it’s easier than ever for businesses to identify and engage with their target accounts.
In fact, LinkedIn’s new account mapping feature allows you to save leads and view them in a tiered format, providing you with a clear view of your decision-makers.
Not to mention the fact that, when used organically, LinkedIn is essentially a free marketing tool - allowing you to reach your target audiences without using up all of your marketing budget.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some LinkedIn best practices to help support your ABM efforts.
Do your research
First and foremost - do your research!
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool in the right hands, and provides you with invaluable information when used correctly.
Users on LinkedIn provide all the information you need to inform your strategies. You can access job titles, education, verticals and industries, what kinds of content people are engaging with, and so much more.
Being able to see what your audience is engaging with, what’s important to them, and interacting with them in a natural, organic way will be the key to LinkedIn success.
Before you even think about launching campaigns and targeting specific audiences, you need to take a deep dive into your target accounts and see what interests them - are there commonalities in pain points? What kind of content are they sharing?
These kinds of insights will be invaluable to creating your campaigns.
Introduce social selling to your ABM strategy
Social selling is all about establishing a reputation as a brand and building meaningful relationships with your audience through social media.
In this case, through LinkedIn.
And it’s extremely effective; with 64% of salespeople that do invest in social media hitting their team quota, as opposed to only 49% of reps who stick to the likes of cold-calling or email outreach alone.
Not to mention the fact that social media is becoming an increasingly important step in the buyer’s journey, with 97% of buyers turning to social media to research brands before buying.
In fact, we’ve been seeing the impact of effective social selling here at strategicabm, with connection rates as high as 45% from some of our social selling campaigns run through LinkedIn.
So what’s the secret to social selling success?
It all comes down to knowing your audience.
“Have a hard look at your audience. With LinkedIn, you are able to be really specific with your targeting - from job titles, to seniorities, to keywords , and even education if that’s relevant for your audience” - Gerry Dapergolas, Senior Strategist at strategicabm
Researching your audience is vital if you want your social selling strategy to succeed.
From their pain points, to the kinds of content they’re engaging with - this level of insight is what will ultimately inform the entire campaign, from the people you target to the content you promote.
Experiment with content
One of the many strengths of LinkedIn is the ability to run a variety of campaigns and experiment with different content.
Of course, the advertising format and content your business chooses to promote will greatly depend on your campaign objectives - do you want to generate leads? Drive website traffic? Increase conversions? Or are you simply wanting to generate awareness?
“When using LinkedIn as a channel for your ABM strategy, start with top-of-funnel awareness content and then think about introducing some gated elements” - Natasha Hemmings, Strategist at strategicabm
Getting that content right is so important if you want to succeed.
You can use the insights and data from Sales Navigator to inform these decisions and adapt your messaging strategy to fit your target audience’s interests.
And when gating content, it’s essential to ensure you have that value exchange.
You must offer content of value if you are going to request contact details (i.e. form fill). We strongly advocate limiting the amount of ‘form fills’ that you do and provide as much content openly available as possible, limiting gated content to ‘high premium’ content.
And of course, different content and ad formats will work differently depending on your campaign type and what the ultimate objective is.
So what different messaging formats can you choose with LinkedIn?
1. Sponsored Updates
These might be what you class as the ‘standard’ messaging format. They’re ideal for building brand awareness and just getting your brand’s content seen.
These ads will appear on your audience’s newsfeed, and usually focuses on more top-of-the-funnel content that addresses your target account’s pain points - something to pique their interest and stop them from scrolling down.
This is where your research will come in.
Make sure the content you’re promoting in these sponsored ads are relevant and engaging to your target audience / account - aim to inform at this point, not convert.
2. Conversational Ads
These are perhaps a more playful and interactive advertising format, where you’re able to assess what your audience are interested in and what kind of content they engage with.
Here at strategicabm, as part of our One-to-few and One-to-one ABM campaigns, we are seeing up to 60% open rate for conversation ads and campaigns generating high quality ‘conversations’ that lead to closed-won opportunities.
By giving multiple options for the audience to choose from, they are able to navigate their own story and access the content that interests them most.
3. Video Ads
Video is one of the most effective and engaging types of content on LinkedIn, with the top three most effective content types for B2B being webinars (64%), videos (60%) and blogs (also 60%).
These are a great way of raising awareness and getting some initial engagement, with or without sending your audience to your website.
Of course, the secret is to keep the videos short - 30 to 90 seconds, ideally - to maximize the amount of people that watch the whole video.
You also want to keep the content fairly top-to-mid-of-the-funnel, dependent on your account’s level of awareness. Lead with the account - address their unique focus and briefly touch upon how you solve those challenges.
“Video is our strongest engagement tactic when for building awareness” - Natasha Hemmings, Strategist at strategicabm
4. Sponsored InMail
These messages appear directly in the recipient’s inbox, and allow for high levels of personalization and engaging CTAs driving to the content you are promoting - whether that’s a white paper, your website, a webinar or even a piece of gated content.
Sponsored InMail allows you to reach out with a long-form message to your audience, although in a somewhat limited way due to restrictions on the number of messages that can be sent (with a maximum of 5 InMail messages per month from a Premium LinkedIn account).
Account-based Marketing on LinkedIn
Whilst there are countless tools and technologies that can support your LinkedIn ABM efforts, the absolute key tool here is Sales Navigator.
“Whilst Sales Navigator is primarily used by Sales, it can be an amazing tool for a marketer’s tech stack” - Gerry Dapergolas, Senior Strategist at strategicabm
This tool can inform your targeting and messaging strategy, allowing you to look at key job titles within your audience, recent activity of target accounts, and overall allows you to build out a lot more granular filters than in regular LinkedIn.
Within Sales Nav you can track target accounts and, when used alongside tools such as Smart Links, you can see who’s viewed your content, how long they viewed it for, etc. providing an in-depth view of how your target audience is engaging with your content.
This insight can then be used to inform your messaging strategies, showing what works and what doesn’t, meaning you can reduce ad waste and only focus on pushing out content that really resonates.
Of course, there are also other tools that you can invest in to support your ABM campaigns on LinkedIn, including reporting software like Databox, or intent data platforms like Cyance.
Constantly review analytics
Both natively within LinkedIn and by integrating supporting software, ABMers on LinkedIn have access to rich and detailed analytics that can help to inform your campaigns.
You can use these analytics to analyse both traffic to your website, but also to analyse traffic after/during an advertising campaign.
You can see who’s clicking, interacting, responding to your content and assess why that’s happening.
Do videos receive more engagement than sponsored updates? Or are conversational ads particularly successful for One-to-one campaigns?
For example, one of our clients here at the Agency received an above average lead form completion rate of 16.73% on one of their LinkedIn campaigns, and from this they can assess why that campaign was so effective.
Was it because of the messaging used to promote it? Was it the asset they were offering?
By constantly reviewing these analytics you can learn things about your content and what is engaging to different audiences or personas, and ultimately tailor your content accordingly.
Show your human side
To really succeed on LinkedIn, you need to build your personal brand.
That doesn’t mean constantly posting about your business!
In fact, it’s the opposite.
LinkedIn is no longer just a platform for job-seeking. It’s evolved to become a platform for professionals to share their experiences and their expertise.
Your audience is far more likely to trust and engage with you if they see you as a human being, as opposed to just another salesperson plugging their brand.
In fact, 92% of B2B customers are willing to engage with Sales reps who have positioned themselves as an industry thought leader.
So don’t be afraid to post something that isn’t business-centric - it may just be what’s needed to establish yourself as a trusted advisor on the platform.
Unleash the full potential of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a world of endless possibilities for B2B Marketing.
So take the opportunity to experiment.
After all, when done correctly, an ad on LinkedIn can reach 13% of the world’s population - so what are you waiting for?