LinkedIn is the dominant social network for many B2B companies. 58% use the platform for marketing, building relationships and lead generation. Since LinkedIn began as a personal networking and job site, everything has revolved around personal profiles. Company features have been slow to roll out, but Mike Gamson, SVP of sales has indicated that more advertising features will be available soon. According to an article in AdWeek, an announcement will come next week during Advertising Week in New York.
Gamson talked about the coming expanded company features, and suggested companies build their followings now, because LinkedIn users are unlikely to follow many companies on the platform. So just for fun, we thought we would predict some of the company-based features that will be announced next week.
1. Business Accounts for Advertising
Currently LinkedIn self-serve ads are connected to personal profiles, which means multiple people at a company cannot share responsibility for ads in one account. Each needs to post ads from their own accounts, which means results data is not centralized in one account. Guess what? This exists now. It apparently was soft-launched in the forum and FAQ Pages and not announced anywhere else. Go to linkedin.com/ads/home and click on your individual profile to create your business account. This means that ads will no longer show up on the site connected with a personal profile as “the advertiser,” but can be from your B2B company.
2. Status Updates on Company Pages
Just like people have begun sharing status updates on LinkedIn, we expect they will allow companies to share updates with their followers. B2B companies will post these update on their pages and they will also appear in all the places you would see other company updates. Those would be the home page updates, mobile app updates and emails of your network updates. Once B2B companies start sharing links, these will most likely be included in the LinkedIn Today aggregation of shared stories by industry. Oh wait, this one exists too. For some companies. It seems that companies that have a premium careers page have the ability to post updates to their page. This may not be the reason, but the pages with status updates have a paid career page. All company pages already include a filter for All Activity that includes Status Updates, so we expect the ability to post updates will come to all pages soon.
3. Targeted Messaging to Followers and their Network
Individuals can already target their ads by industry, seniority, geography, job function, age or gender and companies can show their display ads with the same targeting to highlight jobs and promote recommendations. The recommendation ads are network aware, meaning these ads can be shown with network stats in them (24 people in your network recommended OurCompany). One of the big announcements we expect next week is the ability for companies to be able to target their followers with ads. And their followers’ networks. When you add the demographic targeting already available, you get a pretty good picture of “people like you.” B2B marketers need to promote their company pages now so they can grow their potential target audience on the platform.
“We believe there’s an incredibly important moment right now in the world of online advertising,” Gamson said. “Right now is the moment of acquisition of a follower base.”
If LinkedIn execs have been paying attention to Facebook, some of the most successful ads on the world’s largest social network have been to people already following a company’s page and those people’s friends. Facebook is proving that affinity is a key element to higher response rates to ads. LinkedIn will take that into account in their company updates.
What do you think LinkedIn will announce next week for B2B marketers?