LinkedIn is the social network of business professionals. With more than 150 million members, it can be an extremely important and effective advertising opportunity when used correctly.
The demographics and targeting options of advertising on a social network are powerful and a key differentiator of other PPC advertising outlets. It's those differences that get people excited, but often times they seem to be the reason why people give up too quickly on them. A mindshift has to occur no matter which paid search outlet you use so you can understand your options, adapt your targeting, and achieve your goals.
LinkedIn Ads are painfully easy to get started using and it's one of the smoothest systems for quickly getting you going. That said, that ease can easily lead to misteps and result in your campaigns not running effectively. So when you sit down to do this, take your time!
Setting Up LinkedIn Ads
Once you sign in to LinkedIn Advertising you will immediately be prompted to start your first ad. Stop right there!
You should question whether you're running your ads for yourself or on behalf of a company. Almost 99.9 percent of the time it's probably going to be for a company. If that's the case, you'll need to create a business account. This is hidden under the dropdown of your name in the top right of the screen.
When you start typing a company name, LinkedIn automatically drills through its database to find the company. And by choosing that company name you state that you're authorized to represent that company. On the honor system. Surely nothing bad could ever happen with that. *cough* *cough*
But since you're a nice person you'll probably want to add a representative of that company (if it's not your own as a user). Just start typing their name and if they have a LinkedIn account, they will be found and notified. You can set permissions and notifications as well:
- Standard Access
- View Only
- Make User the Billing Contact
- Make User the Campaign Contact
A note on Admin Access: Once you make someone an Admin, you won't be able to undo this without contacting customer service. You should keep this in mind before passing this out to potentially disgruntled future ex-employees. Standard Access should be fine in most cases.
Creating Your First LinkedIn Ad
You can do this is three easy steps, but each one comes with a choice:
- Ad Campaign Name: Your ads in LinkedIn are grouped by Campaign so if you'll be testing multiple targets and goals, you should name your campaign something relevant. There can be up to 15 ads in each Campaign.
- Ad Destination: Are you going to send them to a page on your website or one of your company pages on the social media network? This all comes down to what your goal is for advertising in the first place.
- Ad Copy & Image: LinkedIn Ads allow you:
- Image: 50x50 icon (tiny!!)
- LinkedIn Ad Title Headline Length: 25 characters
- LinkedIn Ad Body Description Length: 75 characters across twolines.
There's not a ton of room to work with due to these ad limits, but you can still craft effective calls to action, branding, and visual impact. Remember to test your Ads! Try different pictures, headlines, and offers depending on your goals.
Targeting Your LinkedIn Advertising
Now comes the fun part of social media advertising, figuring out who to serve your ads to. The possibilities are staggering to say the least. Without delving into the specifics of the above displayed options here are some suggestions on best practices.
- Know who you're looking to influence. Are you trying to reach people early in the buying cycle or later? Reaching the right people with the right message is what you are after here. So know who makes the decisions and how those are processed in your target customer. If you're trying to sell pencils, hitting up the CEO of a company is probably not the best idea.
- Job Titles - Ack! Every organization seems to have a different naming system for the same role so while you're searching for various positions be open to trying similar roles. You might be trying to target a role but it's not called what you thought it was. For example a Cost Accountant, Accounting Manager, Financial Cost Controller are all similar roles (depending on the company) and they might all fall into the same targeting bucket.
- Targeting Groups with LinkedIn Direct Ads is another tricky one as groups can be named all sorts of different things. You might want to try searching for group names based around job positions crossed with your target industry or Professional or Trade Associations that your audience might be members of outside of LinkedIn might have a group here as well. It's also important to note that while you are searching groups, you should open up a tab in another browser and research the groups you are looking to add. This can take a lot of time but save you money and help guide your campaigns and your messaging for ads as well.
- LinkedIn Audience Network Advertising is your last option for targeting. It runs basically like any display/content network would and comes with the same pitfalls. If you're just getting started, I'd likely turn this off. I would also advise that if you want to test this, you think about creating a seperate campaign for management purposes.
Setting a LinkedIn Advertising Budget and Billing
Your budget is a campaign strategy component that should be in place before tackling something like this. It would be foolhardy to specify hard figures, but here are some minimum guidelines:
- LinkedIn will set a Minimum CPC for each of your ads and the lowest is about $2.00.
- They also will give you a Suggested CPC Range that might be a good starting point for you. These vary wildly based on your targeting settings.
- There is a minimum daily budget requirement of $10 (~$300/month).
After that, its giving them your credit card info and clicking go.
As with all forays into online advertising, don't forget to test everything. Always.
Don't be discouraged if your first try doesn't get you the results you wanted. Lots of opportunities are available. Each pitfall is a step on the ladder to success if you learn why things did or didn't work.
Top Image Credit: Nan Palmero/Flickr.