1 How to Win More Customers with LinkedIn Marketing 2015 Edition
2 Introduction Beginning in the fall of 2012, LinkedIn began experimenting with influencer content and micro-blogging. This move led to the creation of LinkedIn Pulse, accelerating LinkedIn s transformation from a social network to an ecosystem for content sharing and thought leadership. The initial roll-out of the influencer program focused on high profile business leaders like Richard Branson, Walter Isaacson, Tony Hsieh, and Bill Gates. While LinkedIn has capped their influencer program, in early 2014 the tech giant opened up long-form publishing on Pulse to another 25,000 professionals. Today, a diverse mix of professionals have the opportunity to post written content to LinkedIn. Distributing compelling creative on LinkedIn can be a powerful way to build your company s brand, showcase products, demonstrate thought leadership, and boost your own career. At Percolate, we were able to use some creative methods to identify hundreds of top performing content across LinkedIn in the fall of 2014 to share key trends and takeaways with you. We ve combined these learnings with additional insights from LinkedIn, as well as AdStage, the largest third-party ad platform for LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.
3 How to Create Irresistible LinkedIn Content
4 Before diving into specific tactical recommendations about LinkedIn creative, we should first look at broad similarities that appear across nearly all posts: Strong visuals. LinkedIn creates a space for images to appear in every update. Not including an image in the post means your post s icon becomes a generic grey flame, which is far less visually engaging than a topically relevant photo or chart. Virtually every top performing post on LinkedIn includes a photo. Invest in the time and resources to obtain a strong, licensed image, preferably with a human face in it. Need help finding a good image? We created a free list of 78 great places to look on the Percolate Blog ( blog.percolate.com/2015/01/78-sources-for-free-marketingimages/). Lists. Publishers like Buzzfeed and Unworthy have perfected the art of the list or listicle, precisely because these posts win readers. The best performing LinkedIn post by views, likes, and comments are no different. 20% of top performing posts on LinkedIn include a number ( Three Words ) or signal a quantity ( The One Thing to Remember ). Overall, list posts are the most likely post type to attract more than 100 shares on LinkedIn. Career-Oriented. Unsurprisingly, the content that performs the best on a professional social network is about people and their careers. A full 70% of top performing posts focused on content related to hiring, firing, managing, negotiating, and other career success topics. Use this to your advantage - write about things that will help your target audience succeed in their career and it will get read and shared.
5 47% Percentage of top 250 LinkedIn posts (views) in Q12015 written by LinkedIn Influencers difference in number of views for influencers versus other 20KAverage content creators LinkedIn Influencers. In 2012 LinkedIn began experimenting with a new program to give their recently launched social news platform, LinkedIn Today (now LinkedIn Pulse), engaging business content. This program, dubbed LinkedIn Influencers, allowed users to follow any of roughly 300 business leaders, journalists, writers, and celebrities. It is an invite-only program with more than 500 participating thought leaders publishing content today. 46% of the Top Posts Written By Influencers Characteristics of the top 250 posts on LinkedIn LinkedIn Influencer Non-Influencers Of the top LinkedIn performing long-form posts, nearly half were written by LinkedIn influencers. In general, LinkedIn influencer posts enjoyed about 20,000 more views than non-linkedin influencers. 47% 53% While being a LinkedIn influencer gives one a unique advantage in personal brand reach, was this by no means a requirement for achieving truly enviable LinkedIn results. The other half of topperforming content simply employed many of the strategies we will continue to discuss in this report. Percolate and LinkedIn February 2015
6 Top Performing LinkedIn Posts by Type Title Controversial Personal Tactical Views Why I Won't Accept Your Linkedin Invitation 1,574,145 Here s Why Good Employees Quit 1,373,859 How Successful People Handle Toxic People 1,222,035 My Personal Formula for a Winning Resume 872,655 Six Toxic Beliefs That Will Ruin Your Career 654,683 How to Lose a Great Employee in 10 Ways 644,337 The Real Harm in Multitasking 591,472 5 Things on Your Resume That Make You Sound Too Old 585,046 The Genius Way Coca-Cola Employees Manage Their s 565,055 7 Things Employees Never Tell Their Bosses About Their Pay, But Should 533,807 If Your Boss Talks Like This Quit 519,492 He Quit Google And Did It Big 481,659 Percolate and LinkedIn February 2015
7 Analysis of top-performing content titles. Broadly speaking, the most popular trending content on LinkedIn has many or all of these characteristics: Title Hacks - Lists, You or the 6 W s Work A controversial title Personal Reference to a celebrity, influencer or successful company Tactical recommendations to improve your job or career Relevant image Characteristics of the top 250 posts on LinkedIn Yes No Going deeper, the top-performing post titles often try to answer a specific question. For example, Why I Won t Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation or Here s Why Good Employees Quit. These types of 72% 73% 80% titles account for nearly a third of the best performing content on 61% LinkedIn. For post personalization, use You or Your in the title. 27% of the 250 best content pieces use either of these pronouns. This trend was also reflected in our analysis of most commonly used title 39% words in the top 1,000 content pieces. 28% 27% Posts with titles about Google and Apple draw a lot of attention on 20% LinkedIn, which is unsurprising due to the strength of their brands. More interesting though, was the fact that posts about women s business issues are finding their mark. Analysis of the top 1,000 List Post Title contains Who, What, When, Where, Why, How Title contains "You" LinkedIn posts found that the word women is one of the most Post in at Least One of the Previous Categories commonly used words in LinkedIn post titles, and averages about 40,000 views within the top 250 posts. Women s business issues also rank above posts regarding work-life balance, getting fired and resumé advice in terms of audience. Percolate and LinkedIn February 2015
8 Personalized Posts Get Attention Top 1,000 LinkedIn Posts - 30 Most Common Words in Title Your You How Why Job What Business People Google Apple Work 5 Not Things About This New Will Should Women Career One Most CEO Get Ways Best Microsoft Employees Percolate and LinkedIn February 2015
9 19% Percentage 16% of top 250 LinkedIn posts (views) in Q12015 written about the topic of career management Percentage of top 250 LinkedIn posts (views) in Q12015 written about workplace psychology Topics. Posts about career management - defined in this analysis as posts about non-specific career-related content (e.g., 5 Career Tips I Wish I Knew at 21 or How Much Is an MBA Degree Really Worth ) - are the single most popular LinkedIn post category. On average, within the top 250 LinkedIn long-form content pieces, these posts average about 200,000 views, 2,000 likes, and 600 comments. Workplace psychology, often dealing with issues around developing empathy, conflict resolution, personal productivity, and personal happiness - average approximately 240,000 views, 1,900 likes, and 500 comments. Talent management (e.g., The Way Most Companies Hire is Still Laughable, Six Steps to Effectively Develop Your People ) and leadership (e.g., Are Leaders Born or Made? A True Story, The No. 1 Leadership Lesson I Learnt From My Wife ) are also top performing categories with an average of 170,000 views and 100,000 views respectively. Write About Psychology and Career Management Top 250 LinkedIn posts (views) by category work-life balance 2% resumé advice 3% getting fired 3% women in business 4% leaving job 4% marketing 4% celebrity 5% future of business 6% interview advice 7% other 9% workplace habits 12% leadership 14% talent management 16% workplace psychology 16% career management 19% Percolate and LinkedIn February 2015
10 LinkedIn Advertising Best Practices
11 LinkedIn also offers an incredibly powerful ad platform that lets you target your ideal audience of professionals with ads and promoted posts. For example, a business intelligence company could use LinkedIn to promote a whitepaper to IT Directors. Ad Types There are two main ad types on LinkedIn: Text Ads and Sponsored Updates. Text Ads Text Ads include a small thumbnail image along with a snippet of ad copy and are placed throughout desktop LinkedIn pages including: Profile Page when members view the profile of other LinkedIn members. Inbox the page where members see messages and invitations to connect. Search Results Page the page that results when you search for a member by name. Groups when members view pages in their group. Text Ads can also be shown without images as text links at the top of the home page. Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn Businesses with LinkedIn company pages can also promote posts with Sponsored Updates. Sponsored Updates are LinkedIn s native content marketing ad type and display creative directly within the LinkedIn feed across desktops, tablets and mobile devices.
12 LinkedIn sponsored updates can help brands promote content within a LinkedIn feed and get the right content in front of the right audience. When creating sponsored updates, brands should first consider their targeting parameters. Adding too many targeting parameters can severely limit impressions and unintentionally exclude desired audience members. Writing effective copy - including a short introduction, clear headline and call-to-action are critical to effective sponsored updates. Other tips include: Include an image. Images capture attention within the feed, and research has shown images lead to a 98% higher comment rate than updates without images. The maximum file size on LinkedIn is 100 MB or 20 megapixels. Image thumbnails display at 180 x 110px. Eye-catching and unique images. These do better than screenshots from documents, or static images of people. Choose a relevant thumbnail image. Add links to a targeted landing page where a user can take action. Use your best content for sponsored updates. Include a YouTube video. YouTube videos can lead up to a 75% higher share rate and play directly in the feed. Use short, high-value content. Easily consumable content (like top 5 list posts) are more shareable. Incorporate relevant current events. Relevant news and content can make updates more engaging and useful.
13 Targeting When creating an ad, you can choose to display it to specific viewers based on their industry, job function, seniority, geography, and more. LinkedIn won t show your ad to members who don t meet the targeting criteria you specified. As you select your targeting options, you ll see an estimate of the audience size you re able to reach. Location. For example, you can target people who work in the San Francisco Bay Area. Companies. For example, you can promote your business to employees of Salesforce.com or to companies that are in the Computer Software industry with 10,001+ employees. Job Title. For example, if your decision makers tend to be IT Directors, you can enter Director of Information Technology as a job title, or enter Information Technology as the job function and Director as seniority. School. For example, if you re trying to reach Stanford graduates, you can enter Stanford University. Skills. For example, if you re trying to reach online marketers, you can enter PPC, SEO and online marketing as skills. Groups. For example, if you re trying to reach wedding photographers, you can enter Wedding Professionals Networking Group, Photography Industry Professionals and This is Wedding Photography as groups. Gender. For example, if your typical customers skew female, you can select Female.
14 Conclusion LinkedIn is one marketing s most powerful and popular customer acquisition channels, particularly for B2B companies. In fact, according to Percolate s own research with more than 250 marketing executives, LinkedIn is the third most popular distribution destination for brand content after Facebook and Twitter. Marketing automation company HubSpot also found LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-tolead conversion rates compared to Facebook and Twitter, with leads that were also almost three times more likely to convert. Best practices for marketers on LinkedIn include: For long-form content, use strong visuals, lists, and focus on professional storytelling. Enlisting LinkedIn influencers can also help increase reach. When it comes to specific content topics, career-management, psychology and content targeted to specific audience issues (e.g., women s business issues, getting fired, interview advice, etc.) are most effective in terms of attracting readers and customers. For sponsored updates, strong visuals and copy are fundamentals. Brands should also consider carefully their targeting parameters being careful not to target too broadly (or narrowly). Test, use analytics to learn about what works, and optimize for performance.
15 Percolate is the system of record for marketing and a LinkedIn Certified Partner. Our technology helps the world's largest and fastest-growing brands increase sales, elevate their brand, manage marketing campaigns and increase productivity. AdStage is an easy-to-use cross-network advertising platform that helps you create, manage, and optimize campaigns across LinkedIn Ads, Facebook, Twitter, Bing, and Google AdWords in one place. Want to learn more? Request a demo today at percolate.com/request-demo Want to learn more? Sign up for a free 14-day trial at adstage.io/linkedin