Once upon a time, a social media network was born — one that seemed geared to two audiences: employers looking for new employees, and employees looking for work.
Unlike Facebook and other very personal social media networks, LinkedIn was all about being professional, showcasing skills, and leaving the cat photos and funny kid videos to the other guys.
Then businesses began to wake up to the potential of this incredible network. Literally, thousands of companies in any given niche could be found on LinkedIn. You could find out who worked for them and even contact them directly through messaging.
Besides simply posting links like Facebook, a business or individual could actually write articles on LinkedIn and link to posts on their own blog. The platform turned out to be a great way to build influence and have a pretty amazing resume and skills showcased in one location.
The little job hunting social media network suddenly became a go-to place for businesses looking to network, seeking new vendors for services, and searching for the best talent in their niche. LinkedIn even added ProFinder, a great platform for companies to hire freelancers and for freelancers to find work.
LinkedIn has turned into a powerful and amazing marketing tool. How did that happen?
1. The Ultimate Employee Recruiting Tool
It used to be that if you really wanted to get a job and to stand out from other applicants, you walked into a place of business in a suit, dressed for the position you eventually wanted — not just the one you were applying for.
Even if a company offered an online application process, the best applicants would appear in person, physically mail in materials, or execute a creative combination of both.
No more. Online applications have become the norm, and those candidates who can’t follow instructions and apply through a website are often rejected on that basis alone. “Face to face communication is giving way to instant messaging and social media,” says one survey.
Almost as soon as an individual starts job hunting, whether looking for a new job or coming right out of college, the immediate advice they are given is to beef up their LinkedIn profile.
The top channels people use to look for new jobs are job boards (60%), professional social networks like LinkedIn (56%) and word of mouth (50%). LinkedIn actually falls into both of the latter categories, as employees are 46 percent more likely to accept InMails if they are connected to an employee of the recruiting company.
Linkedin started as, and has continued to rise as, the ultimate employee recruiting tool.
2. The B2B Connection Machine
As a result of the success, LinkedIn has had as a hiring platform, not only are there thousands of employees on LinkedIn, there are also thousands of companies there. This creates a great opportunity for networking.
“Success is often the combination of hard work, a good education, and knowing the right person,” says a Northeastern University article about how to network effectively. “Having an up-to-date and accurate LinkedIn profile will help you connect with your colleagues.”
This same principle applies to businesses. There are businesses on LinkedIn that need the specific services or products you offer, and there are others whose services and products you need. Since you are both actively on LinkedIn, it provides a great platform to connect for your mutual benefit.
At the same time, the network offers ads, of course. That is how they make money, and there is no reason to not use the platform to increase your discoverability, especially if much of your marketing is B2B.
Think about who is on LinkedIn. Everyone from C-Level executives who make major purchasing decisions to inventory managers and others are there, and the LinkedIn ad platform allows you to target by company position (more on that in a moment).
Consider that 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions. That is a huge potential audience to market to.
LinkedIn has evolved into a B2B connection machine, and that network is a powerful place to market your company and what you do.
3. The B2C Market Is Growing
From company recruiters to employes, LinkedIn members have wants and needs that your company can satisfy. One prominent example of this B2C marketing trend on LinkedIn is real estate. Agents are using LinkedIn to market houses and even create articles about home benefits.
Not only are they selling homes, but they are increasing their referral network, establishing authority as an influencer in their field, and directly reaching professionals who can afford to purchase homes and will do so.
This is just one example. Car companies, insurance products, accounting and other services — all of these are using LinkedIn to reach out to potential customers. LinkedIn has 562 million members (as of September 2018), and 260 million of those are active every month. An astounding 44 percent of those users make more than $75,000 per year.
LinkedIn is a rich market, and advertising options are extremely robust. When it comes to reaching customers, the network is a powerful marketing tool.
4. LinkedIn Advertising Options
One of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn is that the targeting options for their advertising can be narrowed specifically, and it is pretty easy to run A/B testing and check the results you get.
This unique targeting has made LinkedIn among the top internet marketing trends, in the mix with both Facebook and Twitter. There are a number of types of ads you can use as well. Here are a few of them:
- Display Ads: If you have spent any time on LinkedIn, you have seen these ads just like you do on other social media networks. They are effective and operate on a similar PPC basis to Google ads.
- Text-Only Ads: You have seen these too on Google and elsewhere. They usually appear in search results and sometimes in the center of relevant articles.
- Sponsored Content: Perhaps one of the most powerful of ads, this feature allows you to boost content, but unlike Facebook, this can be an actual article you have written on LinkedIn.
Content marketers use LinkedIn to share content 94% of the time, making it the number one place they share their content. Despite this high percentage, of the 500 million users, only 3 million share content weekly.
What is even more amazing is that 50 percent of B2B blog traffic comes from LinkedIn, and 91 percent of marketing executives list LinkedIn as the top place to find quality content.
From a content marketing perspective, LinkedIn is invaluable, and from a simple marketing and ad testing perspective, the targeting makes it one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.
LinkedIn did not start as a powerful marketing tool, but job seekers and companies flocking to the social network and expanding features turned it into a networking site with a fantastic audience.
All these things combined to help LinkedIn evolve into a powerful marketing tool. Is your company using LinkedIn to reach their true potential?
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her with any questions or suggestions.