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LinkedIn has proven itself to be a powerhouse for over 500 million professionals looking to network and uncover new career opportunities. The platform has also a hub of activity for marketers looking to land talent, build authority and signal themselves as the go-to pro within their niches.

For marketers looking to take full advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer, they should look at LinkedIn advertising not as a matter of “when” or “if,” but rather understand “how” to go about it.

After all, advertising on LinkedIn is definitely a different beast from the likes of Facebook. LinkedIn offers marketers a variety of options to put themselves out there, each with their own unique best practices.

In this Linked ads guide, we provide a easy yet comprehensive overview of what the platform has to offer marketers. Whether you’re totally new to LinkedIn advertising or want to beef up your current marketing presence, these tips and strategies can help you craft an effective campaign.

Getting Started

Creating Your LinkedIn Company Page

First things first: before learning all about how to advertise on LinkedIn, it’s definitely in your best interest to create a LinkedIn page for your organization. Think of your page as your own personal hub, representing yet another point to amass new followers and share your content. Don’t worry about the size of your team: granted you aren’t flying solo, company pages are totally fair game.

For example, here’s Sprout’s company page in the wild. The page’s update feed is full of fresh content for followers:

However, LinkedIn does have a series of requirements for creating a company page. Those requirements are as follows:

  1. You must set up a personal profile with your actual first and last name.
  2. You must attain profile strength of either “Intermediate” or “All Star.”
  3. You must have several connections on your profile.
  4. You’re a current company employee and your position is listed in the “Experience” section on your profile.
  5. You have a company email address added and confirmed on your LinkedIn account.
  6. Your company’s email domain is unique to the company.

Thankfully, meeting these requirements should be easy for those who understand LinkedIn’s best practices and already have a presence on the platform. Even if you’re totally new, building out your profile to the point of permission for a company page shouldn’t take more than a week or so.

LinkedIn Showcase Pages

Beyond your organization’s page, Showcase pages can be used to showcase specific products, services or initiatives of your business. While this feature is leveraged mostly by bigger brands such as Adobe and Amazon, Showcase pages are a great feature for businesses offering multiple solutions for their followers.

Showcase pages provide followers the opportunity to pick and choose which sections of your business they’d like to receive updates for. These pages also give admins the ability to share organic and sponsored updates. Much like company pages, creating a LinkedIn Showcase page is easy:

  1. Choose which aspect of your business or which product deserves a Showcase Page.
  2. Navigate to the “Edit” menu on your Company Page and choose “Create a Showcase Page.”
  3. Start sharing your content!
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Bear in mind that you shouldn’t use Showcase pages as an excuse to spread yourself thin. If you have a particular product or service that deserves its own page (think: a specialized software or new launch), go for it.

Company and Showcase pages are essentially the foundation you need for advertising on LinkedIn. Next, we’ll delve into the actual LinkedIn advertising platform.

How to Advertise on LinkedIn

Not unlike Facebook Ads, LinkedIn allows marketers to drill down and reach only specific users versus casting the widest net possible. Additionally, LinkedIn provides advertisers a wealth of options to reach their target audience. Provided that your account and company pages are set up, below is a snapshot of what you can do.

Dynamic & Text Ads

LinkedIn has discontinued more general display ads, and now your top tools for PPC on the platform are found either in the smaller Text Ads on the right rail, or in Dynamic Ads that really emphasize the power of LinkedIn’s targeting by offering an experience that feels highly personalized.

When using either of these options, you’ll want to apply the same best practices as any of your paid social campaigns: consider your target audience carefully, and deploy dynamic ads with an eye towards user behavior and the goals you’ve set.  Do you want to get more potential employees following your profile, or are you looking to get eyes on some of your top lead-generating content? Either way, you’ll want to test and refine the experience like on any PPC platform. Read on for some tips on optimizing your LinkedIn ads.

Choosing an Image

If you really want your advertisement to get clicks, it’s crucial to include some sort of image alongside your ad copy. According to LinkedIn’s guidelines, ads with images are said to drive 20% more clicks. The dimensions of your accompanying image should be a square with a maximum size of 50 by 50 pixels. Generally speaking, companies use images of people, their product or company logo.

Ad Copy

Each form of ad has different specifications, but either way you only have a short space to make a first impression, so every word counts.

Cater your copy to the specific audience you’re targeting. Additionally, posing a question to your audience to pique their curiosity is always a solid idea.

Now, once you’ve come up with a headline, it’s time to drive the point home with your body copy. Here are some specifics for each ad type:

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The beauty of LinkedIn ads is two-fold. For starters, they aren’t as “in-your-face” and tend to flow naturally within any given page. Secondly, they force marketers to get creative rather than try to push the same old spammy ad that you’ve seen a million times before.

While other ads on LinkedIn show up on the sidebar, sponsored content appears smack dab in the middle of your audience’s news feed. Such placement naturally leads to more engagement. Sponsored content represents prime real estate for marketers, especially those who understand the principles of content marketing.

Paying to show off your latest article or update is a brilliant tactic for companies that run frequent case studies or have some awesome slice of knowledge (think: a lead magnet) they can use to reel in clicks.

If you’re interested in sponsoring your next post, follow these steps:

  1. You need access to a company page if you’re going to sponsor content. Navigate your way to the advertising platform, click the “Create new campaign” button, and choose “Sponsor Content.” Now you can pick out the update or updates that your company has created that you want to distribute to a wider audience.
  2. Choose the audience to which you want to distribute that content. It’s important to note that not all content is created equal. A post that’s relevant to one group might not be relevant to another. Remember that you’re able to segment your ads by location, company, industry, title, skills, degree of study and more.
  3. Pick out a bid for your sponsored content. Bids will run on either a CPC or CPM basis, and it’s important to test and optimize which option drives the best cost per lead/conversion for your company. LinkedIn will recommend a bid range, but often it’s necessary to go over that amount to guarantee your ad is spending its entire budget.

To learn more about the power of Sponsored Content, you may want to also look into the official guide from LinkedIn on lead generation. Furthermore, the platform notes the power of sponsored content in their downloadable datasheet, citing the following stats:

  • 74% of B2B buyers ultimately choose to work with companies that are the first to provide them with useful content.
  • Content via LinkedIn gets 15x the interactions versus job postings in users’ feeds.
  • 7 out of 10 professionals describe LinkedIn as a “trustworthy” source of professional content.

LinkedIn recently made Sponsored InMail available to all marketers, offering a chance to reach your audience with a more personal touch minus a stingy character limit.

Simply put, Sponsored InMail provides advertisers the ability to send a form or an email message to any of LinkedIn’s 500 million users. The InMail feature also uses LinkedIn’s segmenting features to choose a highly targeted group of users to send your message to.

InMail definitely presents unique opportunities to advertisers looking to present themselves as a helping hand.

Fortunately for advertisers, LinkedIn has imposed a limit on the number of sponsored InMails that a user can receive in a certain time period. This guarantees that your messages won’t get lost in all of the noise. Each user is only able to receive one InMail within a 60-day period.

A Final Word on LinkedIn Advertising

As you can see, LinkedIn offers plenty for brands to work with through their robust ad platforms. From promoting your company and products to industry groups and killer content, it truly is a matter of “how” when it comes to LinkedIn. Additionally, LinkedIn provides brands awesome analytics and conversion tracking to ensure that advertisers are getting the most bang for their buck.

What else would you like to see LinkedIn’s ad platform roll out in the future?

If you’ve been on the fence about LinkedIn ads, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments below!

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