Social media marketing is getting bigger and bigger by the day. With Instagram opening its doors to advertising, Facebook creating separate ad compartments for Google UTM tags, and Twitter starting poll tweets, social advertising is all around us.

The big social channels are constantly changing the way adverts are created and managed (yes, I’m talking about you, Facebook) and it’s all too easy to just see Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as the main contenders. But let’s do something different – how about LinkedIn advertising?

the main three social channels

Now, before you go running to your Head of Digital saying that LinkedIn advertising is the next big and best campaign for your client, there are a few things to consider.

The other social channels are very versatile when it comes to ad campaigns. LinkedIn is somewhat different, and far from a “one size fits all”. (Not that any of your other social ads should fit into this category, either!)

So, let’s start at the beginning with the ins and outs of LinkedIn advertising for beginners:

Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

The positives:

  • There are over 380 million LinkedIn users worldwide.
  • You can target specifically by job title, employer, role, skills, and interests.
  • User profiles contain more up to date “professional” information than Facebook.

The negatives:

  • Less B2C friendly; it is typically seen as a B2B platform with a professional tone of voice.
  • Although the audience exceeds 380 million, that is still a lot smaller than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • It’s not known as a “content sharing” platform. (Although LinkedIn is beginning to address this.)

Ask yourself, “is LinkedIn advertising for you?”

This is where LinkedIn advertising differs from other social media advertising: with LinkedIn, you can be highly specific with who and how you target.

Everyone’s first thoughts when it comes to targeting by job title and career paths are recruitment, but LinkedIn advertising can be used for so much more than just job promotions.

  • Why not use LinkedIn advertising to target people in the industry that your company features in, getting your business in front of the audience that you wish to sell to?
  • Use the platform to advertise seminars and webinars.
  • Use the social channel to highlight how well your company has done this year.

Weetabix Company Linkedin page

You can also use LinkedIn advertising to promote your business in a different light, showcasing your achievements to reach a wider, higher, and somewhat more influential audience than usual.

When deciding if this is right for you or not, the main factor you need to establish is whether or not LinkedIn advertising is the right social platform for your campaign. Ask yourself why you want to promote this. Ask yourself if this is going to reach the right audience. Ask yourself if this campaign is going to gain the right engagement, reach, and results from LinkedIn advertising.

If the answer to these questions fits, then you might be onto a winner. The next step is finding out what you know about your audience; do you know their job title? Do you know what their skills and interests are? Do you know what level they are at in their career? 

But how do you advertise on LinkedIn?

Once you have your message and audience set out for your campaign, you can begin to create your ads. There are two types of ads that you can create on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn advertising: sponsored updates
Type one: Sponsored Updates

Sponsored updates are the LinkedIn version of Facebook’s boosted posts. With these sponsored updates you can “boost” posts that have been previously published to your company page.

You can set a budget for how much you want to spend, who you want to target, and how long for. A sponsored update allows you to be more in-depth with who and how you target your audience, compared to a Facebook boosted post.

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Sponsored updates are a great way to easily boost your content to the right audience on LinkedIn. Its step-by-step guide allows you to simply select and find your audience, decide how long you want the ad to run for, and how much you want to pay.

Linkedin advertising: how you pay for adverts You can choose to pay in two ways:

  • Cost per click (CPC) – You pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Cost per impression (CPM) – This way you pay when your ad is viewed, and the cost is per thousand impressions.

From LinkedIn’s advertising breakdown they have advised how your budgets will be spent depending on what option you go for:

“Setting budgets (the maximum total amount you want to spend per day). Setting bids (the maximum amount you want to pay for each click or every 1,000 impressions). There are two bidding options:

With both options, Campaign Manager shows you a suggested bid range which represents an estimate of the current competing bids by other advertisers who are targeting the same audience. In general, the higher you bid in this range, the more likely you are to receive clicks and impressions.

Pay-per-click (CPC): You specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per click (Example: $3.00 per click) and set a daily budget to identify the most that you’re willing to spend each day.

Pay-per-1,000 impressions (CPM): You specify a set cost for each 1,000 times your ad is shown, no matter how many clicks you receive. This is a good option if you care more about the number of times your ad is shown than the number of clicks.

Once you’ve decided how you want your money to be spent you can then set a daily budget, the dates for the campaign, and a bidding price. When all the information has been added (remember to double-check the budget and make sure start and end dates are in the right place!) you’re now ready to launch your sponsored update.

Type two: Ad Campaigns

Type two brings us onto a full ad campaign. To begin this campaign, when you are in Campaign Manager select the “I want to drive targeted leads across multiple LinkedIn pages” option and begin filling out the information step by step.

LinkedIn advertising provides a step-by-step guide so you cannot go wrong. It won’t allow you to move forward until all information has been entered correctly.

Once you have given your campaign a name, you can then begin to create your ads.

You can also preview how your ad will look as square, tall, horizontal, and long. It is advised to check through each of these sections to ensure that your ad works in all formats, as that is how it will feature in timelines and news feeds.

Setting Up LinkedIn AdvertsYou can choose if you want users to visit your LinkedIn company page or website. If you do send users to your website, it is a good recommendation to UTM tag your links. You can learn how to use UTM tagged links here.

Then you can enter your headline (25 characters), image, and copy (75 characters). It is best practice to fill out all of these, including an image. LinkedIn notes that ads with images get up to 20% more clicks than those without.  

Once you are happy with your ad you can then save it and move onto step three, where you can make up to fifteen variations of your ad.

I would recommend that you create different variations of your ad, enabling you to create split tests for your campaign. By creating different ads, you can test different wording, images and headlines, and compare how well each version does against each other to learn more about your audience. You will be surprised how one word or one image can change the engagement results on your campaign.

When you have created all of your ads you can then choose who and how you target. Similar to the promoted posts, the targeting options are the same.

LinkedIn Promoted advertsWhen you have narrowed down your audience, you are then ready to add in your budget options and launch your campaign. It’s as simple as that!

But does LinkedIn advertising work?

With the right consideration, message, and wording for your audience, LinkedIn advertising is a great way to showcase your business in a different, more professional light.

LinkedIn requires more thought and consideration than traditional social ads, but I strongly believe it can work, for B2C industries as well as B2B. It all comes back to your message and your audience.

The trick is to constantly question your campaign. Ask who you are targeting, ask why, ask how, ask yourself all the questions you need to in order to make sure you get the most for your money. LinkedIn advertising is considerably more expensive than Facebook and Twitter: £5 / £10 will go much further on Facebook and Twitter than it will here.

Crowd in a forest

You can target the masses on Facebook and Twitter, but use  LinkedIn’s more specific targeting to your advantage. From experience, highly targeted ads on LinkedIn have had a much better success rate than more general ads promoted to larger audiences. Having a small audience isn’t always a bad thing; you have more control over a smaller audience, as you can better anticipate their characteristics and behaviours.  

Get your audience and your message right and you’re onto a winner.

LinkedIn advertising is a great way to showcase your business as an industry leader. Use the professional tone to your advantage. You’ve worked hard to build up your business, now it’s time to show it off.

What’s your LinkedIn company page looking like, and what are you doing to improve it?

To find out more about advertising your business through LinkedIn, give Zest a call on +44 (0)1865 684999 or contact us online.