LinkedIn and B2B Marketing: Marriage or Splitsville?

LinkedIn is synonymous with B2B marketing. How much time and money do you spend on it every month?

If you have read our blogs, you’ll know that we hate marketing spend that does not deliver RoI.

B2B companies are spending tons of money on LinkedIn for lead generation. Should they continue with the courtship?

To put it bluntly, almost all popular social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok) are useless for most B2B businesses’ lead generation.

LinkedIn is the exception. A very limited one, at that. Yes, I am aware that there is a lot of ‘data’ out there that swears by the utility of LinkedIn for B2B lead generation.

Let me explain why.

Is LinkedIn effective for b2b lead generation
Is LinkedIn effective for b2b lead generation?

Audience ceilings and spend

The overarching limitation for all social media effectiveness is the audience ceiling inherent to each platform. LinkedIn, and marketers, overestimate audience size. Take the audience numbers on LinkedIn campaigns with a grain of salt.

Most of them are likely not decision makers. Many of the remaining are probably not looking to buy. A large number stick around to ‘network’ or opportunities. So, while trying to reach the few, you will effectively spend a lot of money on the folks who are active on LinkedIn but quite uninterested.

Look at the data from a campaign we ran for 8 months in 2020:

LinkedIn ad spend may not make sense for many b2b companies
LinkedIn ad spend may not make sense for many b2b companies

The first four ‘leads’ were actually from job seekers. A few leads converted on the website. Adding the cost for human resources, creatives, and agency overheads, the cost of acquisition did not make sense for the business.

Measure everything. Track your cost of acquisition; not just the cost per lead.

Unfortunately, this scenario will be true for a lot of B2B businesses.

If you want to run a multi-channel, multi-touch campaign for strategic reasons, attempt re-targeting campaigns with contacts from your other channels. Experiment with matched audiences. Both will deliver slowly over time; don’t allocate more than a small budget or expect immediate results.

When to use LinkedIn for B2B lead generation?

LinkedIn (and social media as a whole) is only one of many channels available to you. The right channel mix is, more often than not, dependent entirely on your product and your audience. B2B marketers can often identify the right channel mix from experience.

So, what businesses should or should not spend on LinkedIn?

  1. It boils down to your product and industry. Do you have high usage? Does the product generate traction, for example, through referrals? Are your existing users willing to talk about you to others?
  2. What is your ACV? Is it high value and high margin? For example, at least $6000 per year per customer at 30+% margins?

If you have 1, you have built-in scalability. Your product possibly addresses a need and excites customers. Social media is a natural extension of that customer experience.

But, if your answer to 2 is no, think very hard about how you spend money on LinkedIn. There is a very good chance that much of your paid LinkedIn spend won’t deliver leads at a cost that is profitable.

If your answer to 1 and 2 is yes, consider investing time and resources on paid LinkedIn campaigns.

How to allocate LinkedIn budgets

Use the following framework to evaluate LinkedIn budgets:

  • Do you currently use LinkedIn to connect with targets through Premium or Sales Navigator? How effective has it been – number of connections, conversions, leads?
  • Have you tried paid campaigns on LinkedIn? If so, did they convert and were they profitable?

If not, set aside a limited time and budget to run these simultaneously. Lead generation through personalized connections will be driven through Sales. Ad campaigns will be run by marketing.

At this stage, don’t look for scale; aim to measure effectiveness for both avenues. Hopefully, you measure everything.

Consider both avenues as paid spend. Continue as long as it is effective. Evaluate monthly.

Want to scale and increase budget? Go back to figure out whether these conditions have changed.

Don’t scale at the cost of effectiveness.

Conclusion

If none of these applies to your B2B business, resist the urge to splurge on big paid campaigns (unless you just got funded, have money to splurge, or need a quick pipeline boost, even if is unsustainable).

Stick to organic brand and awareness building, thought leadership, and education on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn may not be a great channel for your B2B lead generation, it will help you extend your brand awareness and credibility to a different audience. Your brand’s presence will also enable your people to use LinkedIn better and more effectively by making it easier for them to share stories.

There is also a strong case to be made for social media in hiring and employee engagement. That’s another reason to build and nurture your brand’s LinkedIn presence.

What is your experience with lead generation on LinkedIn? Good, bad, wasteful?

Plug:

LinkedIn is one of the things that we do very well at Liquid Marketer. For less than $200 a month, we will maintain and improve your brand presence on LinkedIn.

Why should you consider this?

If you are a B2B company, you spend a lot of marketing time on LinkedIn. Often, that time can be better used on other channels. Marketers produce far better outcomes when they are actively thinking about new things to do, instead of routine social media activity.

Leave your LinkedIn to us and watch your marketing outcomes soar.

We will evaluate your current presence, your website, your solutions, and get going from there. We promise you that it will need almost zero time from your teams.

We are great at LinkedIn. Contact us now.

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