LinkedIn is the world's largest professional social media network with over 450 million members. Its popularity among professionals makes it a fascinating platform for businesses and marketers.
As a business owner and marketer myself, I’ve used LinkedIn for years and have seen impressive results from its targeted marketing capabilities. While I’m very familiar with the platform, I have always had questions about LinkedIn. Why do some professionals post unprofessional content? Is there an easier way to update a LinkedIn ad? What’s it like to work there?
Our Interview with LinkedIn
I was recently able to get an inside look at LinkedIn that answered these questions. I had the opportunity to interview Annie Shih, Account Executive with LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions team. Shih has a deep knowledge of the platform’s marketing capabilities and uses her skills to help LinkedIn bring value to their advertisers.
Drew Harden: Thanks so much for taking the time to discuss LinkedIn with me, Annie. First, I would love to hear how you came to join the LinkedIn team.
Annie Shih: I joined LinkedIn right after college as an associate in the Business Leadership Program. It's a rotational program designed to expose college grads to different businesses at LinkedIn and train them to be future leaders.
Drew Harden: What is your favorite thing about working at LinkedIn?
Annie Shih: Our culture of transformation. LinkedIn wants its employees to be in charge of the transformation of themselves, the company, and the world. People move different teams all the time, and it's great not to be pigeon holed into one role/function. I feel fortunate to have been part of several teams at LinkedIn, and I look forward to growing with the company and learning new skills.
Drew Harden: Do you have any unique success stories you've seen a business experience through LinkedIn marketing?
Annie Shih: LinkedIn itself! At LinkedIn, we drink our own champagne, and we use our own marketing products. Due to the B2B nature of our businesses, advertising on LinkedIn has been successful because we can get in front of the largest professional audience in the world.
Drew Harden: LinkedIn offers numerous ways for a business to market to potential customers. Is there any one "secret," little-known feature of LinkedIn marketing that can be really beneficial but you see few businesses use?
Annie Shih: Skills-based targeting. Most advertisers will target by industry, job titles, functions, etc. but most don't consider targeting skills. For instance, to promote our marketing products, an advertiser may choose to target CMO, VP of Marketing, etc. - which is effective! But to get even more targeted, you can target manager+ level professionals with content marketing, lead gen, brand strategy, etc. listed as skills on their profiles. It's highly scalable and will get you in front of the audience that's most relevant for your products.
Drew Harden: That’s a great insight. I’ve always loved the deep targeting options that LinkedIn offers.
One of the things I enjoy most about LinkedIn is the posts that focus on motivation, business insights, and leadership. Just like any social media, however, sometimes content is shared that doesn't fit the platform. In your opinion, what's the ideal type of content for people and businesses to post on LinkedIn?
Annie Shih: LinkedIn's mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. I encourage people and businesses to ask themselves this question before posting: will my post make someone else more productive and successful? If so, share it!
Drew Harden: How often should a company post updates on LinkedIn?
Annie Shih: As often as possible. All organic content posted by a company will only go out to their followers. By posting often, you can nurture your followers and increase your brand presence among your professional audience. To expand the reach of your content and generate leads, try sponsoring the updates to get in front of the people that matter most to your business.
Drew Harden: LinkedIn's marketing solutions have grown quite a bit in the last couple years, giving businesses multiple options for reaching their audience. What would you say has been the most effective marketing solution for businesses looking to gain more traffic, and clients?
Annie Shih: Sponsored Content is by far our best performing solution for lead gen. It's content marketing inside your audience's news feed. It allows the advertiser to put the right content in front of the right people in the right professional environment primed for click-throughs and engagement. The best part about Sponsored Content is that it's nimble and cost-efficient. You can easily fine-tune your targeting and content throughout the campaign based on the click demographics. Also, given that it's CPC, you only pay once someone clicks, and you're getting all the targeted impressions and brand awareness for free.
Drew Harden: What is your favorite thing about the LinkedIn platform, and what is one thing you'd like to see improved moving forward?
Annie Shih: My favorite thing is the click demographics dashboard in the Campaign Manager. It shows where the clicks are coming from, breaking them down by the location, industry, job functions, seniority levels, etc. It gives the advertiser insight into what kind of audience is interested in their content. From there, you can use the demographics to optimize your targeting. For instance, if you're seeing a lot of entry-level clicks and you don't want that, you can exclude entry-level folks in your targeting to ensure your click demographics is consistent with the type of leads you're looking for.
One thing we are focusing on is the ability to measure leads and better optimize the success of campaigns. We are looking to have new features in time that will solve that.
Drew Harden: I'm always impressed at how many professionals have LinkedIn accounts and how prevalent the platform has become across the business community. There are currently over 450+ million accounts. However, there's always room to grow. Where would you like to see LinkedIn go in the future?
Annie Shih: I'd like to see LinkedIn be the dominant hub of professional content globally. Right now, we have a great presence in major countries but being able to bring professional content and knowledge to the developing world will allow us to get closer to realizing our vision of providing economic opportunity for every single member of the global workforce.