In late 2002, a team of old colleagues from SocialNet and PayPal begin working on a new idea. Six months later, LinkedIn launches. Growth is slow at first—as few as 20 signups on some days—but, by the fall, it shows enough promise to attract an investment from Sequoia Capital.
Throughout 2004 growth accelerates with the introduction of address book uploads. LinkedIn also introduces new features like Groups and partners with American Express to promote its offerings to small business owners.
In 2005, LinkedIn introduces its first business lines: Jobs and Subscriptions with the launch of public profiles in 2006, LinkedIn begins to stake its claim as the professional profile of record. LinkedIn finally achieves profitability, and the core features we all love, like Recommendations and People You May Know are introduced.
In 2009 Jeff Weiner joins LinkedIn first as President, then CEO, and brings focus and clarity to LinkedIn’s mission, values, and strategic priorities. Under Weiner’s helm, the very next year 2010 LinkedIn shifts into hyper-growth! By the end of 2010, LinkedIn has 90 million members and nearly 1,000 employees in 10 offices around the world. By 2014, in just 10 years, LinkedIn has reached 225 million members and is growing at more than two members per second.
In June of 2016 Microsoft acquires LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, betting the professional social network can rev up Microsoft’s revenues. Growth at LinkedIn, which in the first quarter claimed 105.5 million monthly active users of its web and mobile apps, has decelerated in the past two years climbing a bit more than 25% in 2016, which is down from more 35% growth in 2015 and more 45% growth in 2014. In a very short time, LinkedIn has changed from a small community networking site to an enormous worldwide portal.
Ever since its beginning, B2B marketers have been trying to crack the code for B2B success. With all these millions of professionals in one place, surely there’s some way to open up the floodgates to leads, isn’t there?
The answer is, yes there is a way to open up the floodgates to success. However, the conventional LinkedIn advice isn’t detailed enough: 1) Join 2) Be active 3) Get leads. Follow this advice and sure, you might accidentally catch a few falling leads, but in order to really win you need prospecting. And then you need to figure out how to cut through the job seekers, and find qualified people to do business with, and that’s the “what” you need to do, and “what” I am going to try and do next is give you some tips on the “How” to open up the floodgates to LinkedIn success.
Before I go all technical and start giving you all my killer tips, let me step back and do a little cheerleading number. LinkedIn does work for B2B leads.
- B2B companies get twice as many leads from telemarketing than B2C companies do (8% versus 4%).
- B2C companies get 3X more leads than B2B companies do through traditional advertising (9% versus 4%).
- The best three lead sources for B2B companies are SEO (14%), email marketing, (13%), and social media (12%).
- The best three lead sources for B2C companies are social media (17%), SEO (16%), and email marketing (15%).
- The worst three lead sources for B2B companies are traditional advertising (3%), PPC (6%), and direct mail (6%).
- The worst three lead sources for B2C companies are telemarketing (3%), trade shows (6%), and PPC (6%).
- B2B companies are allocating 12% of their budget to trade shows but only getting 9% of their leads from that source.
- B2B companies are getting 14% of their leads from SEO but only allocating 12% of their budget to that source.
- B2B companies are allocating 8% of their budget to PPC but only getting 6% of their leads from that source.
- B2C companies are getting 15% of their leads from SEO but only allocating 13% of their budget to that source.
- B2C companies are allocating 13% of their budget to traditional advertising but only getting 9% of their leads from that source.
Social media platforms as a whole aren’t scoring high on the lead awesomeness scale. But among the low-scoring social sites, there is one that stands out as a success marker. You guessed it: LinkedIn. To put that into real numbers, LinkedIn is responsible for more than 80% of a business’s social media leads! All the other social media platforms put together only amount to 19.67% of leads! The bottom line is this: LinkedIn works for B2B lead generation. All that remains to be done is to leverage LinkedIn in the best way possible.
1. Turn your company page into a lead generation page. – In order to make leads from LinkedIn, you have to be intentional. Leads don’t just fall into your lap. You work for them. The best way is to turn your business or company page into a lead generation page. This is a course reversal from the typical company page, which shows basic information and facts about the company. Who reads that stuff anyway? Your company page is a pipeline for LinkedIn leads to visit your actual company website. What you can do is structure your company page in such a way that it leads up to a conversion action. The conversion action is a click through to your website, landing page or an automated calendar link like this, http://LearnMore.FullStackTLC.com .
2. Create a showcase page.- Showcase pages are the perfect way to segment your inbound LinkedIn traffic. If you can create a business unit that is directly connected to a specific target audience, then you are in a position to create a Showcase page. From your company page, click “Edit” and “Create a Showcase Page.”
7. Publish Content – LinkedIn has a powerful content publishing platform. LinkedIn members, who are publishing, (that’s me), report they have has a lot of success.Conclusion – LinkedIn offers opportunity, and is the ideal resource for B2B marketing. And while these are very broad strategies, and they work, you might want a little more detail. If you would like you can schedule a time for us to talk on my calendar link here – http://LearnMore.FullStackTLC.com
What is your experience with B2B marketing on LinkedIn?