A meeting place for professionals, LinkedIn is where users go to network with colleagues past and present, and anyone else with whom they hope to do business. In many ways LinkedIn has become the 21st Century resumé, allowing users to document their work experience and skills, and to showcase positive feedback received from their contacts.

By the end of 2015, LinkedIn had over 400 million registered users across the world, and claims to add a further 120 members every minute. It has become an important resource for recruiters and job hunters, with many choosing to use LinkedIn marketing to target workers for new jobs. The platform is particularly attractive to marketers thanks to the interest-based communities that provides space for professionals to share interests and experience with their peers. They also double as pre-segmented groups that can be targeted for more effective campaigns.

Advertising on LinkedIn
As an online meeting place for professionals LinkedIn an attractive choice for B2B marketers. One polling company found that 81% of marketers use LinkedIn for new product launches for instance. LinkedIn provides a number of tools to help you get the most from your budget:

Sponsored updates
Similar to sponsored posts on Facebook, or promoted tweets on Twitter, sponsored updates appear in the news feed of your targeted users. The usual limitations for a post apply, but sponsored updates are a great way to share content and create a link back to your site.

Typically sponsored posts are promoted from your company page, but LinkedIn also provides the option of ‘Direct Sponsored Content’. These posts are exactly the same as any other but for one difference – they are not added to your company page when published. Direct Sponsored Content is perfect for pushing special offers to specific people without making them visible to all your followers.

If your business is using videos as part of its marketing mix, the preview thumbnail is a compelling way to draw users into engagement.

Text and image ads
Displayed to the right of the main news feed, text and image ads are similar to the sponsored ads displayed on Google search results. As well as providing a brief headline to catch your reader’s attention, there is also the opportunity to add a small image.

Reaching the right people
Your social marketing campaign must be properly targeted to yield meaningful results, and the ad service comes with a series of ‘filters’ designed to help you segment LinkedIn’s 400 million+ members effectively. Remember that segments are called ‘audiences’ in LinkedIn’s terminology.

According to LinkedIn’s own research, your audience should contain between 60,000 and 600,000 members to boost visibility. When it comes to Sponsored Content, LinkedIn recommend target audiences contain at least 300,000 members.

There are 13 targeting options available based on the information users must supply to set up a profile. Details like their job title, location, industry sector and employment history. Your campaign must specify a geographic region, before moving on to build audiences based on Company Industry, Job Title, Gender, Age, and Degree(s). When targeting specific businesses, you can choose up to 100 organizations whose employees you want to see your ad.

Each selection can then be further refined to ensure that your carefully crafted marketing message reaches the people for whom it is crafted.

LinkedIn marketing costs
Like most Internet ad display platforms, LinkedIn charges according to cost per click (CPC) or cost per 1000 impressions (CPM). If your campaign goal is simply to have ads shown to as many users as possible, opt for CPM marketing because it tends to be cheaper.

If your campaign is built around encouraging LinkedIn users to engage with you, opt for CPC ads instead. They may be more expensive, but are also a better indicator of buyer intent.

It is also important to note that ad space and keywords are auctioned to marketers, so you cannot calculate flat costs for each post. For particularly popular keywords and demographics, expect to pay a premium.

Regardless of which display variant you choose, the campaign is assigned a budget from which LinkedIn automatically deducts its fees. You can increase control of how budget is spent by setting a daily limit; for instance – the minimum cost for a campaign is just $10 (although you must bid at least $2 per click or view). The LinkedIn Campaign Manager will also suggest a bid range to increase the chances of beating your competitors and having your ad displayed.

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