7 B2C Brands Who are Crushing It on LinkedIn (Yes, Really).

It might surprise you, but LinkedIn is actually ripe with untapped potential for B2C marketing. In this article, we give you seven major B2C brands who have cracked the code to succeeding on the channel.
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Nathalie Söber
August 29, 2019 - 9 min. read

Are you focusing on LinkedIn in 2019? 

If the answer is no, you might want to reconsider.

It may not be as cool or sexy as other social media channels, but with 645 million users worldwide and 160 million of them in the US, LinkedIn has some serious clout. 

It’s also one of the fastest-growing social networks, the fastest growing demographic being millennials.

And get this: the average household income is more than $100,000.  

Recent data also shows engagement on the platform is on the rise

While LinkedIn is already the place to be for B2B, B2C marketing on the channel has been slow to take off. However, B2C marketers actually have a lot to gain from the platform.

Top 5 reasons why B2C on LinkedIn is an opportunity marketers can’t ignore

  • It has unique targeting capabilities, allowing brands to zero in on segments in ways not possible on other channels.
  • It has a well-educated, professional user base with some serious purchasing power.
  • There is currently a window of opportunity for marketers, as B2C content is still underrepresented.
  • There is generally a high degree of trust in the content on LinkedIn.
  • Audiences are less desensitized to advertising than on other channels.

We recently got together with LinkedIn’s Partner Account Director, Sam Parker. He confirmed that professionals are, indeed, showing a great deal of interest in products on the network; and that the savviest brands have discovered meaningful ways to have conversations with these communities. 

Take the example of luxury cars: on LinkedIn, marketers can directly target the segments who can afford the car. They can even go deeper, and identify people who have recently changed roles or been promoted, who may be “very receptive to the offer of rewarding themselves with a new car, or watch, or business travel luggage.” (more on this later!)

To read the full interview we did with LinkedIn’s Sam Parker, click here.

Still not convinced that LinkedIn and B2C are a match made in heaven (at least for some)? 

Read our list of LinkedIn B2C examples from these seven major brands and see for yourself. 

Mercedes-Benz targets newly promoted professionals 

When Mercedes-Benz wanted to engage with potential buyers and nurture them towards conversion, it turned to LinkedIn for a highly-targeted, masterfully strategic marketing campaign.

Using LinkedIn’s unique targeting capabilities, Mercedes-Benz was able to take a highly personalized approach to the people most likely to buy a new vehicle: those who have just moved up the career ladder.

The “Update in Your CV, Update on the Road” campaign targeted people on parameters such as management level, specifically those who had made an upward career move in the past 60 days.

The campaign displayed targeted ads, and included personalized Sponsored InMails promoting the most relevant class of vehicle for the management level of the recipient: the entry-level A-Class for those taking their first steps up the career ladder, and the mid-level and more exclusive vehicles for the C-suite.

To move potential buyers across the marketing funnel, the campaign initially served targeted display ads to raise awareness of the vehicles. Two weeks later, it followed up with personalized Sponsored InMails, congratulating each person on their promotion, and inviting them for a test-drive.

Here are some of the results:

  • Reached almost two million new car buyers in Germany, Sweden, Turkey, and Portugal.
  • Conversion rates were three times higher than auto industry benchmarks.
  • Received the German media award “Deutscher Mediapreis” in the “Best Digital Media Idea” category.

Kate Spade New York reaches affluent, busy professional women with a clear product-lifestyle fit

As a global fashion house and lifestyle brand creating everything from handbags, jewelry, and clothing to home décor, Kate Spade New York is not a company you would immediately expect to leverage LinkedIn in their marketing.

Earlier in the year, however, they did exactly this—and successfully, too.

The company wanted to raise awareness of its new Scallop 2 Smartwatch among a highly targeted audience of successful, affluent professional women who lead busy lives.

Despite this being their first campaign on LinkedIn, they managed to hit the sweet spot.

Here are some of the results:

  • LinkedIn achieved higher click-through rates than other social networks.
  • Engagement rates and click-through rates were over two times higher than benchmarks.
  • One ad, featuring actress Busy Philipps wearing the smartwatch alongside a copy written for LinkedIn, got more than 143,000 unique views.

Curious to know why the campaign was such a success?

LinkedIn’s segmentation capabilities allowed Kate Spade New York to really zero in on their ideal target customer. With a message designed to resonate with them, and that would feel contextual to the platform (people on LinkedIn are in a different state of mind than those on Facebook, after all), the company was able to show them a stylish product that directly benefits their busy lives and fits seamlessly into their existing lifestyles.

Starbucks moves in and (subtly) builds community

LinkedIn b2c

It probably doesn’t get more B2C than serving coffee.

And there is probably no more omnipresent coffee joint than Starbucks. It’s probably also not surprising that, true to form, the chain has moved in and set up shop on LinkedIn.

Like most companies, Starbuck’s primary use for LinkedIn is employer branding, with an emphasis on its many corporate social responsibility initiatives. But it has also long been noted for its subtle employment of the channel for driving customer loyalty, distributing content and product and seasonal promotions.

The brand gets top points for smooth execution and balance here. Its promotional posts nestle naturally and non-intrusively among its more altruistic ones. It’s a seamless experience that keeps thumbs scrolling and the likes rolling in.

Here are some of the results:

Starbucks’ post engagement and follower count of 1.5M would be a source of envy to any B2B company. It provides an excellent endorsement of how “even” on LinkedIn, a measured and engaging approach will build a loyal end-customer community.

KLM uses humor to stand out and increase engagement

Last year, Dutch airline KLM faced the challenge of finding a powerful, yet cost-effective way to attract more travelers to their brand, while increasing their social engagement rate. LinkedIn seemed like an unlikely, yet perfect fit.

In order to achieve this, KLM produced a video ad featuring a holiday jumper fashion show on a moving walkway. On a platform typically filled with business content, the creative video truly stood out.

With LinkedIn, the company was able to target and reach a premium audience, perfect for their Worldwide Business Traveler offerings. In addition, they were able to nurture audiences across the funnel encouraging subscribers, and even recruiting new employees in the process.

Here are some of the results:

  • The video ad achieved a 33.85% view rate, which is 2.26% higher than the average benchmark (however, do keep in mind that on LinkedIn, any video views over 2 seconds are counted as a view).
  • The cost-per-view was only $0.06.
  • In comparison with previous video marketing efforts, the engagement rates were also impressive, and the company is now set on further LinkedIn video ad campaigns.

Audi uses its local market insights to reach ideal buyers in the Middle East

Audi faced an unusual challenge with the Middle Eastern launch of its new flagship A8 model. The issue was that the local market for high-end cars is very different from that of the US or Europe. The people who can afford them are often much younger than their western counterparts, making a lot of segmentation assumptions redundant. The company needed a channel where it could use its local insights to accurately identify its target group, and generate leads through high-quality engagement.

Working together with LinkedIn, Audi developed an approach to targeting that keyed in on government-related industries where buyers were most likely to be working. They also used LinkedIn data to build a second segment of high-net-worth individuals that could be targeted in parallel.

By adding the LinkedIn Insight Tab to Audi’s website, the team was able to access detailed demographic information on those clicking through, confirming that they were reaching the desired audience.

The campaign engaged the target segment with a combination of video for sponsored content and Sponsored InMails.

Here are some of the results:

  • Sponsored Updates generated over 300,000 views.
  • 35% view rate on their 30-second video showcasing the A8’s in-car entertainment systems and self-parking (again, remember that even two seconds of view time is counted as a view).
  • 80% of viewers watched more than half of the ad.
  • Sponsored InMails received open rates of over 66%.
  • Sponsored InMails received a click-through rate of 5.7% – exceeding Audi’s targets.

Callaway uses gamification to engage with professionals who enjoy golf

The natural connection between golf and business networking inspired Callaway, a high-end golf brand, to turn to LinkedIn to re-energize its brand and strengthen its presence among professionals who enjoy golf.

Using LinkedIn’s customizable API and targeted display ads, the company rolled out “Hit the Links”, an interactive, innovative app that allowed users to create their “ultimate foursome” (a type of match played between two teams of two) using their own network connections. The campaign stood out from traditional marketing models and drove significant engagement for the brand.

The campaign used LinkedIn’s targeting options to roll out display ads to managers and members of golf discussion groups, and sent Sponsored InMails to golf discussion group members.

Here are some of the results:

  • 8,270 foursomes created.
  • 32% open rate for Sponsored InMails.
  • 1,500 new followers for the Callaway Golf company page.
  • 139 likes and 79 comments on “Hit the Links” status updates.
  • 83% boost in positive mentions on social networks.

Holiday Inn brings an iconic tv campaign to new audiences on LinkedIn

InterContinental Hotels Group’s low-cost, limited-service Holiday Inn Express hotels have been a success in the US since their launch in the early ’90s, partly thanks to their iconic “Stay Smart” advertising campaign.

The campaign features humorous bouncer Carl, who didn’t finish seventh grade, but is still winning big on Jeopardy. When asked about the secret behind his newfound intelligence, he explains that he hasn’t started high school, but he “did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night”. 

As the advertising campaign had already achieved a place in the cultural zeitgeist, Holiday Inn Express wanted to adapt it to the digital age. It also wanted to reach a key segment of its audience, millennial business travelers.

The company recognized that as millennials have drastically different media consumption habits to previous generations, traditional TV ads just wouldn’t cut it. Instead, they focused on creating comedic “Stay Smart” online videos with actor and comedian Rob Riggle. The most popular video featured Holiday Inn Express’ already-social-media-popular one-touch pancake machine and announced a contest for naming it. 

With LinkedIn, Holiday Inn Express was also able to promote the Riggle videos in display ads and via LinkedIn sponsored updates. The comedic videos stood out among the business-minded ads on the channel.

Here are some of the results:

  • Sponsored updates outperformed click-through rate benchmarks by 40%.
  • Sponsored updates outperformed engagement rates by 45%.
  • Top-performing sponsored updates outperformed engagement benchmarks by 75%.
  • 8% increase in brand awareness.
  • 4% increase in the number of people who would name the hotel chain among their top three preferences.
  • The video announcing the contest for naming the pancake machine achieved more than 28,000 entries.

The best LinkedIn B2C campaigns: what they have in common

B2C campaigns on LinkedIn can serve an array of marketing objectives and come in a huge variety of different formats. However, there are a few factors that all great LinkedIn B2C campaigns have in common. They master using LinkedIn’s unique targeting capabilities to reach a specific target audience. They grab people’s attention with something unexpected (e.g. humor, gamification) or personal (e.g. personalized Sponsored InMails). And they all use clear, catchy copy that stays consistent with the tone on the platform.

B2C businesses that work especially well on LinkedIn are generally those with products that are high-ticket and aspirational, and the product can be connected to transformational life events (e.g. luxury watches, cars), related to travel (hotels, business travel luggage) or the product directly benefits the lives of busy professionals (e.g. smartwatches, meal delivery services).

Of course, there are a lot of other things marketers need to consider to set up a successful LinkedIn B2C campaign. And sometimes, a campaign is not the right solution—organic posts can also perform extremely well, and they can help drive traffic and engagement to your brand on LinkedIn. 

See our webinar on boosting your LinkedIn organic posts below (which got rave reviews, if we may say so ourselves). 👇