The kids may be all about Instagram and Snapchat nowadays, but it's embarrassing to admit how many hours a day I still spend on Facebook. (Yes, hours is plural. Shame shame shame.) LinkedIn, on the other hand, isn't a place I spend a lot of time. I get on a few days a week to look up someone's title or company or to share an article.
I recently used this anecdotal experience to help guide a new partnership. This year, we began working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to revamp the group's offering for small businesses and startups, called Small Business Nation. We redesigned the website and started a newsletter and a blog. We also started online advertising.
Our target audience is Millennial startup founders and small business owners. In other words: me, I'm the target demographic. We started with Facebook—like we have done for so many of our B2C partners. Based on my experience, I thought it was fair to assume that other entrepreneurs were also spending more time on Facebook than LinkedIn, and that Facebook was thus more valuable as an ad platform.
Three months into the partnership, I can tell you I was wrong. You can't argue with data.
Our LinkedIn ads outperform our Facebook ads 6 to 1. Last month, our burgeoning website received thousands of visits from Facebook, but only four of those visitors converted to members. Meanwhile, LinkedIn contributed a mere 220 website visits but for a total of 25 conversions!
I could spend a lot of time speculating on why this is—for instance, people who are active on LinkedIn are, by default, active in business—but the truth is that the reason doesn't really matter when the numbers are this clear. We still put some money into the Small Business Nation Facebook presence, but we've moved the majority of our budget to LinkedIn.
Since that transition, we have more than tripled our new members and learned a few tips along the way. Here are the top three:
1) LinkedIn moves much more slowly than Facebook. We might boost a post for a day or two on Facebook. On LinkedIn, we run campaigns for a minimum of three to four weeks and potentially for months at a time.
2) These longer campaigns are great because they give us more time to test and optimize. We try several options—from image to CTA to copy— when sponsoring updates. We monitor performance and aim for an engagement rate of .5% to 1.5%. We pause anything not meeting that threshold.
3) We like targeted audiences but don't limit ourselves too early in a campaign. We start broad with a minimum audience size of 300,000 and then continuously check to see which audiences are engaging once an ad is live. Then and only then, we narrow down the audience to people who are engaging with our campaigns.
LinkedIn might not be the best place to find all the cool kids, but it's undeniably valuable when it comes to attracting qualified visitors in the B2B space.
Are you interested in seeing how LinkedIn ads can help your business? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!