At the beginning of August the LinkedIn Marketing Blog released A Gallery of Great Sponsored Updates with a few examples of ads that big name brands have produced so far.
Now that LinkedIn Sponsored Updates have been rolled out to the masses, we’ve done some experimenting of our own with the professional network’s new paid tool. Here are a few of lonelybrand’s most engaging Sponsored Updates from the month of August. Note that while these tips are based on post content, targeting decisions will also have a substantial impact on your ad’s success.
1. Condense information.
Professionals, especially executives, are busy people. There’s always a time and a place for long reads, but this busy crowd will also appreciate the Spark Notes version of a plethora of information. As an example, we recently condensed the Social Media Week Chicago schedule — a list of over 150 events — down to 10 must-attend sessions. We put a few ad dollars behind this post on LinkedIn, and it quickly became our most engaging Sponsored Update yet.
2. Write local; target local.
If you have a piece of content that appeals to a specific city or region, location-targeted Sponsored Updates are a great way to make sure it gets in front of the right eyeballs. This applies to events, job openings and in the case of our above example, an article about a Chicago-based bike sharing program. Plus, we were able to pump up impressions without bugging non-Chicagoans with a topic they probably aren’t concerned with.
3. Share practical tips.
We saw a great amount of success with this Sponsored Update for an article on LinkedIn tips for professionals. Sure, that success probably had something to do with it being about LinkedIn and on LinkedIn, but there’s something to be said for quick and practical tips that your audience can act on today, rather than putting on their list of “someday when I have time” tasks.
4. Share thought leadership.
We spend a lot of time producing original content of our own here at lonelybrand, but we also believe in sharing wisdom from thought leaders in the industry. Given the success of our guest posts, our readers seem to think so too — and the same seems to be true when these posts are turned into LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.
When we published a post about building a brand ambassador program from community management thought leader Carrie Jones, we supported that post with LinkedIn ad dollars and saw a huge jump in clicks and LinkedIn engagement. We also made a point to highlight Carrie in the LinkedIn update introduction.
5. Share content that appeals to a niche.
This is another opportunity to take advantage of ad targeting. A post with general Pinterest advice would probably be fluffy and full of tips we’ve all heard before. By writing a post with Pinterest tips for B2B brands, we were able to create a piece of niche content and then push that content out strictly to B2B marketing decision makers. In the end that meant we weren’t bothering B2C-ers with irrelevant tips, we weren’t wasting ad dollars, and the post ultimately saw a good amount of engagement.
As a content marketer, I believe that the biggest learning here is to change the process from the very beginning. Plan and write content knowing that once it’s published, you can dedicate ad dollars to get it in front of very specific people: a CMO in Chicago, a WordPress Developer with 5 or more years of experience, a recruiter specializing in sales talent.
What has your experience with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates been like so far? Have you seen any early success?