Following trends from previous years, LinkedIn once again takes the top spot for the most relied-upon social media channel for generating leads among B2B marketers.
Up against networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, it may not be too surprising that the highly targeted business professionals in B2B show more trust in LinkedIn, but the race was close.
The 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report from Sagefrog forecasts marketing trends for the year ahead. It found that of the B2B marketing professionals surveyed, 86% will rely on LinkedIn for generating leads. Facebook (79%), Twitter (60%), and Instagram (60%) aren’t far behind, but they lack the reputation and professionally focused capabilities that help LinkedIn stand out.
The report also examines how COVID-19 dramatically impacted marketing spending and shows how ABM is making a major comeback.
Let’s take a look at the top marketing options LinkedIn offers B2B marketers, which have pushed the social media channel over the edge in terms of engagement, open rates, and lead generation.
In LinkedIn’s own words, they help people “do business where business gets done,” and that’s undoubtedly true for marketers who have used the platform for networking and lead generation. LinkedIn provides various tools that allow marketers to quickly develop and launch effective ads without spending tons of money.
In 2021, B2B marketers are looking to increase sales leads and convert those leads into customers, and the platform’s highly focused targeting capabilities accelerate that process.
As marketers dial in their personas, they can optimize their ads based on traits like job titles, company names, industries, professional interests, personal interests, and more. LinkedIn’s term for ads is Sponsored Content, and it comes in a variety of sizes and formats, including:
- Single Image Ads
- Video Ads
- Carousel Ads
- Text Ads
- Follower Ads
- Spotlight Ads
- Job Ads
- Content Ads
This flexibility offers content and creative strategists an inspiring range of possibilities to work with for designing exciting ads that connect with your ideal customers.
Typically, you have to approve a connection to another user on LinkedIn before you can send each other direct messages. Versions of this restriction exist on other social media platforms as well, but LinkedIn InMail allows you to sidestep that barrier to connect directly with business professionals.
InMail lets B2B marketers craft brief, clear messages to the exact people they need to address while avoiding the look, feel, and approach of standard ads that would appear normally in the user’s feed. InMail messages are a traditional ABM approach that’s thriving amidst the challenges of the pandemic, with more than 1 in 2 prospects opening up a message ad, according to LinkedIn.
They’re conversational and make people more receptive to the information you’re sharing. They give recipients the sense that there’s a real person on the other end, which can be infinitely more effective in building trust and engagement than traditional digital ads.
Throughout the pandemic, InMail has also been vital in promoting the tsunami of webinars and video conferences that have taken over the professional world. It has allowed marketers to get the message out directly to their highest-priority contacts with highly personalized invitations, dramatically boosting attendance.
On Twitter, brand accounts are able to connect with people through jokes and memes and entertaining personalities. However, in the professional atmospheres of LinkedIn and B2B marketing, it’s the person-to-person connection that often makes the difference.
If you know how to make the most of LinkedIn Groups, you can forge great relationships that help generate leads and sales. To increase engagement on LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn suggests:
- Inviting your 1st degree connections and allowing members to invite theirs as well
- Sharing the group publicly to your LinkedIn feed or privately via LinkedIn Messaging
- Sharing the group URL in any other channels where you engage with potential members
Like InMail, Groups is a tool that has found increased value amidst the pandemic. With so many people working remotely, digital avenues of communication are booming. But to thrive in LinkedIn Groups, you need to have a good understanding of the communities you’re involved in and be mindful of group etiquette and policies. Follow the rules, share relevant content, and limit blatant self-promotion to avoid being ignored or getting yourself banned. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Thank members for their contributions with a like or comment
- Send private messages to members to follow-up on a specific topic
- Recommend a member’s post on a weekly basis to highlight their contribution
Most B2B marketers find that having an assigned person to handle all company group contacts goes a long way in ensuring you’re a welcome and valued member of the groups you start and join.
Start Generating More Leads
Whether you’re beginning a new campaign, re-strategizing an existing campaign, looking into LinkedIn Stories, or simply looking for more ways to generate leads, it’s clear that LinkedIn is your best social bet.
Curious where all other marketing channels fall on the modern B2B marketers’ priority list? Download the 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report for a full breakdown of the trends and tactics that marketing professionals are looking to for their 2021 campaigns.