Just got contacted by a serious B2B company, by serious I mean hardcore B2B – not one of those B2Bs that are people-friendly as well. For eg: a B2B into carpets or interior design are very people friendly, any layman would find that type of content interesting. A company like hardware parts or highly technical stuff don’t have anything to offer to a layman, so that kind of serious B2B company.

By usual understanding Linkedin is THE platform for B2Bs as Facebook is for B2C – at least that is what people say. I was not comfortable suggesting Linkedin, because I don’t know what one can do towards a meaningful, valuable strategy over long term. The times when I thought creating a Linkedin group makes sense have gone, because Facebook has just made itself very, very marketeer friendly while with Linkedin I find community creation is an uphill task.

Also while exciting & happening Facebook pages are abundant, I simply fail to find a Linkedin Group that remains active over a long period of time. They inevitably die out, becoming a place for link pushing by every barely relevant marketeer.

I did some research about interesting social media campaigns on Linkedin in recent times. The findings are quite interesting,

InMails

I found this to be a very interesting case-study. DocuSign used InMails very thoughtfully with successful results. I have only limited experience with InMails as it is mostly a paid feature. Clearly however I can see certain salient aspects of this campaign,

Exclusive: targeted InMailers would look a lot more exclusive than some ad or bulk emailer. It would be impressive and people would stop, read and think on the message. Chances of it being missed off as ‘one more promotional message’ is less.

Influencers: They sent the InMailers via influencers. I find this very interesting – this would add a whole different value to the message. Usually influencers are at the receiving end of the company’s marketing message but here it is the opposite.

Overall, very interesting campaign to study even though it would be too cost prohibitive for any small or medium sized business. As I always say its best to understand the concepts used in a campaign and then modify as relevant depending on the company.

Groups

Now coming to the Linkedin Leviathan – Groups. Do they work or not? There are basically two ways to use groups – as a marketing channel or create a community

Groups as a marketing channels

Votility used Hubspot’s tool to help find relevant groups where the brand can push its blogs/messages. This can also be done manually albeit in lesser numbers. Obviously for Votility it has worked.

Any good campaign ends with a review and analysis. When looking at Votility’s Sources we can see that not only have visits & leads increased considerably since launching the LinkedIn campaign, but the visit-to-lead conversion rate is now hovering at 9.2%. Nearly 1 out of every 10 visitors that come from LinkedIn become a lead.

Creating a Community

This is one I am very skeptical about. These case-studies are few and far. I took a look at this blog which mentions a list of success stories in Sept 2012.

One year later, Aug, 2013 and we see that,

Chevron: Highly Active

Phillips: Highly Active

Cisco: Highly Active

Exact: Dead

Vistage: Moderate Activity

Qwest: Dead

Its good to see that Chevron, Cisco and Phillips have such strongly active groups on Linkedin. So overall my analysis is giving me a so-so result with regards to groups but it re-iterated the fact that there is a lot more to be done on Linkedin apart from creating a group.

Since Linkedin acquired Pulse there has been quite a bit of speculation that we should be seeing some major changes in the Linkedin interface. So if they manage somehow to make Linkedin Groups more robust and impactful then they might be a better choice. Currently compared to Facebook, creating a Linkedin Community is a much more difficult task. For small, medium businesses it would be come very cost prohibitive in terms of man power and ad campaigns.

What are your thoughts about hardcore B2B companies on social media? And how marketeer friendly is Linkedin?

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