Mike Orr, COO, Grapevine6
With 650 million professional members, LinkedIn must be considered in any social marketing strategy. LinkedIn is often overlooked by marketers because its professional ‘personality’ does not lend itself to glitzy consumer campaigns that win awards and attract press coverage. As marketers we would be wise to explore the untapped potential of LinkedIn to drive revenue.
The starting point in any marketing strategy is to think about the nature of your customer’s journey. It matters less who you sell to (businesses, consumers, or governments) and more how your customers experience your company. Is it a one-off experience (transactional) or is it a long-term relationship (relational)?
Relational experiences in B2B is where LinkedIn shines brightest. In fact, LinkedIn is consistently ranked the number one source for B2B lead generation by marketers. The success of LinkedIn as a marketing platform is directly related to its success as a recruiting platform. Members are incented to complete detailed profiles to increase their attractiveness as potential job candidates. LinkedIn profiles give marketers an unparalleled ability to target a marketing message to a very specific professional audience, enabling ABM and other advanced marketing approaches.
But limiting your thinking to advertising misses the big opportunity in relational businesses. Marketing needs to think beyond the buyer’s relationship with the brand page on LinkedIn. As buyers begin to engage with your company they’ll start to check out your company’s leadership team and research the profiles of the sales people with whom they come into contact. LinkedIn is the platform that sales professionals use most often to research buyers. Understand that this goes both ways. Modern buyers are also researching those who represent your company.
Marcom teams need to help customer-facing employees, especially sales and executive leaders within your organization, project a professional brand image on LinkedIn, commensurate with that of your company. Instead of building one brand, marketers need to think about building hundreds or thousands of individual brands for those people who are in contact with your customer base. The common thread for all of those individual brands will be the content marcom produces. Marketing must get creative in producing and curating content that makes their customer-facing teams look smart.
What content strategy will drive value in social? According to Forrester analyst Laura Ramos, buyers are looking for short content, ideally from credible sources, and reflecting peer experiences. These principles apply to B2B content generally, but are also useful when creating content for your teams. Our clients also find that sharing third party content along with branded content generates the highest engagement rates.
When social marketing meets sales the result is a social selling program that produces the highest ROI for marketing spend. LinkedIn is B2B’s dominant network, hands down, as a gen source and ultimately as a revenue generator – Numbers don’t like. Case in point, SAP, a Grapevine6 client, attributes over two billion Euros in pipeline revenue to their LinkedIn social selling program!
About the Author: Mike Orr co-founded Grapevine6 with four long-time friends to make content valuable to sales. They developed the G6 mobile app and content engagement platform that applies AI to accelerate sales and marketing efforts. Mike applied design thinking to develop an app that delivers relevant content for business professionals, in an easy-to-use experience. Before launching Grapevine6, Mike worked with the team that would eventually found Grapevine6 to create a martech startup that was acquired by Cundari. As the strategic leader of Cundari’s digital team, Mike’s work won a number of global awards including two Cannes Lions, a Fast Company Innovation by Design award and Best of the Best in World from MAAW (Marketing Agencies Association Worldwide). Mike earned a B.A.Sc. from UW and an MBA from Rotman. Contact Mike at Morr@grapevine6.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeorr/