Build high-value customer relationships with LinkedIn

Social Media Marketing - LinkedIn Success StorySocial media marketing is playing an increasingly important role in business marketers’ plans. A recent Webmarketing123 report shows that 90% of marketers will increase their social media marketing (SMM) budgets this year.  The big question for many marketers, however, is with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks available, which provides the most bang for their marketing buck?

According to the report, 40% of companies with SMM budgets are using more consumer-oriented social media communities, such as Facebook, to connect with customers. However LinkedIn, with over 200 million users worldwide, attracts 39% of B2B companies surveyed. One of the key reasons for LinkedIn’s significant slice of the SMM pie is its marketing tool set, which goes far beyond status updates and paid advertising.

One of the companies using LinkedIn as a key component of its online marketing campaign is GE. The multinational company has seen great success leveraging the various marketing tools offered by LinkedIn, to build not only visibility but valuable customer relationships, as well.

With a diversified portfolio of  B2B and B2C business units encompassing finance, healthcare, energy, and transportation, GE is one of the world’s most visible and recognizable brands. However, its strengths can also be its weaknesses; companies the size of GE run the risk of seeming impersonal. Brands this large, with wide-ranging operations, must also take care to get the right messaging in front of the right audience.

These challenges led GE’s director of global digital marketing, Paul Marcum, to LinkedIn as he searched for ways to establish relationships with business and government policy leaders. They needed to make GE more accessible to customers in general.

According to Marcum, the greatest value of LinkedIn for brand marketers lies in the opportunities it offers to build valuable business customer relationships. Companies and audiences come together around mutual shared interests and values, with openness and conversations that simply haven’t taken place before through traditional media or consumer-oriented social media.

Delivering Content and Context

Marcum has been able to effectively utilize LinkedIn outreach tools such as sponsored InMails and targeted content ads. They use a variety of content types, such as video case studies and downloads created for industry professionals and government policymakers, for example. This allows the company to provide valuable, relevant content in the right context, demonstrating a deeper understanding of GE’s diverse business units and their audience’s needs.

He said LinkedIn works because it attracts people looking to do business, start dialogs, and establish relationships. As a result of its LinkedIn marketing program, GE has experienced active growth in target audience engagement and a achieved measurable business goals, including a robust sponsored InMail open rate of up to 13% and an average content ad interaction rate of 5.75%. In fact, content ads alone accounted for over 1300 unique content downloads.

Managing LinkedIn Advertising Challenges

There are, of course, some potential issues for marketers using LinkedIn. For example, some advertisers report low ad click-through rates (CTR) and low leads using the company’s self-serve advertising program. As with any advertising platform, LinkedIn campaigns should be monitored closely and adjusted as necessary. Keep ad creative fresh and experiment with bids to achieve the lowest cost per click and more importantly, cost per acquisition.

LinkedIn Ads targeting options

Also, targeting too narrow an audience can reduce your click-through rate. While choosing a more general audience may seem counter-intuitive to most marketers, just adding one more criteria to your target audience may help improve your CTR.

If you’re interested in making LinkedIn part of your social media marketing program, here are three things you should consider:

Company Page

A Company page provides the ability to send updates to followers, gather insights from current and potential customers, and start conversations to help you build brand identity, visibility, and value.

Sponsorships

Sponsor ads, groups, and polls to establish a presence in locations and ways that appeal to your target audience.

Analytics and Research

These tools enable you to gain insights into both your audience and your campaigns, to help you create more value for your customers and your organization.

Are you already using LinkedIn for relationship building? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section!

Connie Bensen

Connie Bensen

Global Digital Marketing, Social Media and Community Executive at Dell
Connie Bensen is a leading Community Strategist who has provided resources and mentorship for Community Managers since 2007. Her definition for the Community Manager role is linked from Wikipedia and has been referenced by many organizations. She can be found presenting at leading social media conferences around the world. She has authored a series of ten white papers on the ROI of Social Media.
Connie Bensen
Connie Bensen
Connie Bensen
Tags: Business,Social Media