Context is King -- Building Meaningful Relationships with LinkedIn Followers


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This presentation from our BrandConnect:12 event in NYC shows how to harness the power of LinkedIn's follower ecosytem, including real-life examples for building meaningful relationships on LinkedIn.

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  • The recent economic downturn has made us all more cautious buyers. Buyers in all categories – but especially B2B and high-consideration B2C because of their relatively higher product price points – are subjecting purchases to greater scrutiny. They’re performing more due diligence and more research than in the past.The web has made due diligence on products and services really easy. And because of this ease of access to products and services research, buyers are more empowered than ever before. They have all the information they need at their fingertips.In fact, buyers feel so empowered that they are 57% through the purchase path before ever reaching out directly to brands. Companies and brands are dropping off the consideration list before they even know a buyer is in the market for their products and services. This should terrify us as marketers. By the time buyers engage us in conversation about their needs, we’re left with a tiny window of time to influence the purchase decision. ******************************************************************************************Source: Corporate Executive Board study (the people behind the book, “The Challenger Sale”) of more than 1400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision before having a conversation with a brand.Source/s: Corporate Executive Board via Harvard Business Review July 2012
  • We need to adapt to the new web-enabled buyer.The first thing we need to do in order not to lose the current wave of buyers --progressing along their respective paths – is to recognize that these buyers are in the mid-funnel and tailor the marketing messages and content we share to a mid-funnel audience narrowing down its consideration set. Our conversations have to be relevant to a mid-funnel audience.Forrester, January 2012 “Content Marketing Is A Key Differentiator For Tech Marketers”  
  • Importantly, buyers tell us that the content they want in the mid-funnel is going to be different from the upper- and lower-funnel stages. For example, CIOs in North America want industry examples when narrowing their consideration set. Whereas, they want ROI tools in the Awareness phase of the funnel and Integration Information in the Purchase phase. Forrester, January 2012 “Content Marketing Is A Key Differentiator For Tech Marketers”  
  • The second thing we need to do is hurry up and drive better dialogue with prospects much earlier in the purchase path. We all know this is important. But the research tells us exactly how important. Brands in the initial consideration set – before that set has been narrowed down in the mid-funnel – are 3 times more likely to be purchased eventually than brands that aren’t in it. (McKinsey Quarterly, 2009, Number 3, The Consumer Decision Journey)Forrester, January 2012 “Content Marketing Is A Key Differentiator For Tech Marketers”  
  • EMC understands this! EMC understands that without awareness, there can be no consideration. And it is communicating even earlier – before prospects even enter the funnel.They are creating a brand identity in their industry and establishing trust in their brand over time to accelerate first-time purchases. EMC is providing information to drive need awareness, interacting to overcome objections, and using authenticity so prospects pick them over the competition. EMC has found their approach not only produces leads but also influences more than 50% of its business. (Source: Driving B2B Demand With Social Media by Jeff Ernst, May 29, 2012, Forrester)  
  • EMC understands this! EMC understands that without awareness, there can be no consideration. And it is communicating even earlier – before prospects even enter the funnel.They are creating a brand identity in their industry and establishing trust in their brand over time to accelerate first-time purchases. EMC is providing information to drive need awareness, interacting to overcome objections, and using authenticity so prospects pick them over the competition. EMC has found their approach not only produces leads but also influences more than 50% of its business. (Source: Driving B2B Demand With Social Media by Jeff Ernst, May 29, 2012, Forrester)  
  • Your brand website can’t do it alone. Visits to corporate brand sites are declining year over year. “Build it and they’ll come” does not work. Your site won’t be visited unless you’re already within the consideration set. Social can help. Decision makers around the world are increasingly relying on social media as a go-to resource for their due diligence. (eMarketer). 60% are now active users, up 41% from 2009 (Global web index).Source/s:Global Web Index, Social Strategy for B2B Marketing, Oct 2011. Global dataUM, The Business of Social, Social Media Tracker 2012, Wave 6
  • Like EMC, many of you are already building relationships in social. You already understand the basic concepts and how to use the tools provided by the social platforms. You start by creating experiences, where you can bring value to your consumers through information and insights. This is your brand page – or company page on LinkedIn. This represents the custom groups you create or sponsor. Then you need to attract your audience to it. By delivering relevant, targeted messages, you start the conversation and build your follower or fan base. After creating and attracting, you need to deepen these follower relationships by engaging in meaningful and authentic conversations with your followers. This too is often accomplished with status updates and two-way dialogue within branded communities. As your customers engage, their interactions are amplified across their network of connections. This word-of-mouth, viral distribution of your brand increases the effectiveness and reach of your marketing messages.
  • Many of you are following this exact social media model for your brands.You already have relationships built on personal networking sites. And you may have millions of fans and followers on these platforms.  The problem is, if you’re a B2B or high-consideration B2C marketer…
  • Your target audience may not be receptive to a deeper relationship on these platforms.
  • And when your target audience is saying to you: “It’s not you, it’s me...This time it’s true!  It isn’t your fault.  The two of you just aren’t meant to have a meaningful relationship on personal networking platforms...”  
  • The reason is simple:   meaningful relationships are founded on substantive conversations. And it’s difficult to have substantive conversations when the environment isn’t conducive to them.
  • As marketers, this takes us beyond targeting the right person, to connecting with the right person in the right context for enhanced advertising effectiveness and ultimately, higher ROI. Context is king!
  • Context has huge implications for marketing. The marketers behind the youth anti-smoking ad campaigns in the UK know the importance of context.Research in the UK found that TV advertising for anti-smoking was ineffective when viewed by pub goers, out drinking with their friends. However, when the same message was seen in the home, while co-viewing TV with the family, it was very effective. Same message. Same people. The difference was context. (SIRFs Up, Rex Briggs, 2012). <do research for impact stats here>
  • So what? Why is the LinkedIn guy talking about anti-smoking ad campaigns in the UK?At LinkedIn, we believe this notion of context makes our professional networking platform different -- and ultimately better for B2B and high-consideration B2C marketers.
  • As the most recent TNS research shows -- and as was shared this morning here at Brand Connect -- the mindset of people on professional networks really is different for those same people when on a personal social network.On personal networks, people casually spend time. On professional networks, people purposefully invest time.  And it’s this mindset of investing in ourselves and in our professional lives that makes audiences on LinkedIn more receptive to allowing you -- the B2B and high-consideration B2C marketer – to help them figure out relatively complex purchasing and financial decisions.Extra content:On personal networks, where people are spending time,  they expect to be entertained. They want information about friends and about personal interests.  On professional networks, where people are investing time, they expect to be informed. They want to hear from brands with news and insights to make them more successful professionals and to improve their professional decision-making.These different mindsets result in different contexts on personal vs. professional networking sites.Source: Q10a– Information to receiveBase: Professional SN users (5204) Personal SN users (8692)
  • The professional context on LinkedIn makes us different. Ours is exactly the right context to build deep, meaningful relationships with customers and prospects.Sure, professionals may accept your coupon when they’re spending time checking out family and friends’ photos on personal social networks. But most aren’t in the mindset to read your latest whitepaper or allow you to help them think through complex business and financial decisions. They want to do that on the professional network.
  • And LinkedIn is the largest professional network on the planet with over 175M members, growing at a rate of 2 members per second. We’re all about connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.Successful marketers on LinkedIn take the same approach.
  • Examples of your peers driving success on LinkedIn will surely help.  So, let’s walk through a couple case studies.
  • Our first case study is from a consumer electronics company in the mobile space. Their goal was to establish relationships with LinkedIn members before and while they’re in-market for a new mobile device.To achieve this goal, they leveraged their Company Page and status updates to attract and engage followers. They really embraced their page by adding content including their basic company info, their products in the product section and they created a stream of status updates that they sent to almost 200,000 followers around the world. Now, we helped them acquire those followers, but they provided the content on their page and via their status updates, and check out the results: <Read results>Now, these are the results for their active Followers. Pretty awesome, but I know what you’re thinking. How does that compare to similar professionals who weren’t following this company? So we looked at their followers, compared to people who followed the competition, but not our client. <next slide>Base: N=303 Samsung Mobile Followers.Survey Question: For each of the following statements, please indicate how has your relationship with Samsung Mobile changed since you started following the company on LinkedIn?  
  • The bars in gray represent non-followers who follow a competitor, and the bars in blue represent actual Followers of the client on LinkedIn.<read results>Followers were 3x more likely to consider a purchase, and more than twice as likely to recommend.Why is this? Base: N=303 Samsung Mobile Followers. Comparison made to N=308 non-Samsung Mobile Followers who follow Samsung’s competitors.NPS = Net Promoter Score (% of promoter subtract detractors). Survey Questions: Consideration: Please indicate how likely are you to consider Samsung Mobile in your future purchase; Recommendation: On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend Samsung Mobile to your friends or colleagues? OS Consideration: Now thinking about the brands of operating systems for smart phone, please tell us, how likely are you to consider each of the following mobile operating systems in your future smart phone purchase.
  • Followers are informed and connected.<read results> Not only do followers get the information they need, they feel closer to the brand. Because on a social network, while this brand can message almost 200,000 people, for each professional getting that message, it’s personal. They click to Follow a company and then the company status update shows up on their linkedin home page, or on their iPhone, right in their feed, directly from the brand.And the end result is the kind of metrics we just saw.Base: N=303 Samsung Mobile FollowersSurvey Question: As a result of following Samsung Mobile on LinkedIn, please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements.
  • They started with the right audience. The LinkedIn audience! Our professionals are affluent, educated, senior and in-market for the types of high-priced goods that this company sells. And we helped them acquire almost 200,000 followers, fast.
  • And then the client listened to why members of this premium audience followed them. And they realized that 46% are current customers!! For this client, their customers are on LinkedIn. LinkedIn Followers is their channel to message and engage, up-sell, and service their current customers.As we all know as marketers, it's cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer, than to acquire a new one. And by getting customers to follow you, you not only build repeat customers, you build brand evangelists. But it’s not just the why followers follow…<next slide>****************************Base: N=293 FollowersSurvey Question: What prompted you to follow brand on LinkedIn? Select all that apply.
  • They provided what their followers want. Their followers wanted to know about new product launches, special promotions and offers and general information about their products and services*********************************Base: N=303 FollowersSurvey Question: Thinking about the types of updates you would want to hear from a company that you follow, please tell us which of the following types of information you would like to see from this brand’s status updates.
  • Some of our most successful clients are taking it a step further. They are personalizing the conversations they’re having with their Followers with targeted status updates.Now with Targeted Status Updates, marketers have an easy, proven way to engage company followers with content that’s relevant and personalized to their interests.You can target a status update by industry, job function, seniority, company size, and location to get the right message to the right professionals.
  • One client utilizing this feature with great results is PhilipsThey’re a global brand with diverse product lines, and they use targeted status updates to send messages about their healthcare products to healthcare executives, about their technology to engineers, and about their design philosophy to designers.And they also made sure that every update was targeted to journalists, pr pros and employees to maximize sharing.Their strategy worked, more than doubling the engagement on their company page.
  • Salesforce is another example of a company who’s leveraging targeted status updates very effectively. They learned about Targeted Status Updates just as they were getting ready to promote their Cloudforce London event, so Jennifer Burnham their director of social strategy, worked with her UK social team to create a series of status updates about Cloudforce London, including news about the event, their speakers and training sessions. So they were able to create a stream of relevant content for their UK audience, without alienating thousands of other followers around the world with irrelevant content. After posting Targeted Status Updates about Cloudforce London during a five-week period, experienced a 30% increase in engagement and amplification of their status updates. With all our examples, there’s a common thread – each company established their brand presence on with their company page, added their products, built their base of followers, and they provided relevant and timely content to drive results.
  • Before I wrap up, I want to return again to our case study client and drive home how important the professional context is to this client and the others that I mentioned today.More than ½ of its Followers ONLY want a relationship with the brand on LinkedIn. They don’t want to follow this brand on any other site. They simply aren’t receptive to a relationship on any other site but LinkedIn. Base: N=303 FollowersSurvey Question: Do you Follow or Like on other social networks or websites?
  • Although many of the social media tools this brand uses on LinkedIn are the same as they use on personal networking sites, the context in which their marketing messages are communicated and shared is dramatically different. As a result, their conversations with followers are more impactful on LinkedIn.   Because context is so important to advertising effectiveness, B2B and high-consideration B2C marketers need to be on LinkedIn.  Context is king!
  • Our research shows that your ability to adopt these best practices will ultimately play a big role in your success on LinkedIn. And our team at LinkedIn is committed to helping you win by continuing to educate our clients on the best ways to drive meaningful relationships on LinkedIn. In fact, we’ve worked together on a best practices guide that we’ve printed and packaged up in binders for each of you to take home. They are available at the back of the room for you to take.
  • Context is King -- Building Meaningful Relationships with LinkedIn Followers

    1. 1. Context is King - BuildingMeaningful Relationships withLinkedIn Followers
    2. 2. Marc BishopDirector, Global Product Marketing,Marketing SolutionsLinkedIn@marcbishopMike Grishaver #inBC12Senior Product Manager,Marketing SolutionsLinkedIn@mgris
    3. 3. Economic downturn creating more cautious buyers 57% Through purchase path $Due diligence First contact Purchasebegins with brand decision Leaving marketers with little time to influence behavior.
    4. 4. We need to adapt Tailor the conversation to an audience narrowing down its consideration set. Awareness Consideration57% Purchase
    5. 5. Funnel stage influences content needsWhat CIOs want in each phase of funnel Awareness ROI tools Industry examples Consideration Purchase Integration information
    6. 6. Drive conversations earlier in the purchase path3XBrands in initialconsideration set are Awareness3x more likely to bepurchased! Consideration57% Purchase
    7. 7. EMC is nurturing meaningful relationships early… 1 2 3 4 5 Create Establish Drive Need Overcome Foster Identity Trust Awareness Objections Authenticity
    8. 8. EMC is nurturing meaningful relationships early… …and influencing 50% of its business.
    9. 9. So how can you do it?
    10. 10. Your brand website can’t do it alone 60%B2B decision makers use social -12% Decline in visits to official media, up 41% from 2009 brand websites
    11. 11. Build relationships in socialCreate AttractExperiences Followers YOUR BRAN DAmplify through EngageNetwork Followers
    12. 12. You have fans and followers on personal But for many marketers… networking sites.
    13. 13. …Your audience may not be receptive toa meaningful relationship on these platforms.
    14. 14. “ I invented ‘it’s not you it’s me.’ “
    15. 15. Meaningful relationships are founded on But the context has to be right. substantive conversations.
    16. 16. …to connecting with the right personThis is beyond targeting the right person… in the Context is king ROI. right context for higher
    17. 17. Context drives ad effectiveness
    18. 18. Context in action: Anti-smoking ads in the UKSame message. Same people. Difference was context.
    19. 19. So what?
    20. 20. Different Mindset = Different Context “Spend Time” “Invest Time” Personal Networks Professional Networks Info on friends 1 Career info Info on personal interests 2 Updates on brands Entertainment updates 3 Current affairs
    21. 21. Deep, meaningful relationships with customersOur professional context makes LinkedIn different. and prospects are easier on LinkedIn.
    22. 22. LinkedIn connects the world’s professionalsSuccessful marketers take the same make them more productive and successful.
    23. 23. Case Study
    24. 24. Case study in consumer electronics Goal  Establish relationships with professionals before and while they’re in-market Products  Company Page  Followers  Status Updates 47% 37% 33% Increased Awareness of Increased Likelihood to Increased Purchase This Brand’s Products Recommend Consideration
    25. 25. Followers are more likely to consider, purchase,and recommend Future Purchase Likelihood to Consideration Recommend NPS NPS 3X -21 39
    26. 26. Followers are informed and connectedOverall Experience for Followers(% Top 2 box strongly agree/somewhat agree) I am more up to date 76% I have learned more about products/services 69% I feel closer to the brand 51% I feel that I am part of a community of 50% Followers I feel that I am a trendsetter/influencer 43% in my network
    27. 27. How did the brand do it?
    28. 28. They built a professional following Affluent 44% $100K+ Educated 30% post grads Senior 31% Director + In-market 88% within 12 mos
    29. 29. They listened to why they followI am a current customer 46%I wanted to stay updated on the latest news 42%
    30. 30. They provided what their followers wantTypes of Status Updates Preferred (% Agreed) New product launches 78% Products and services 63%
    31. 31. Targeted Status Updates Personalizing messages and content to drive engagement Hardware Hardware Software Wireless Message Message Message Message HardwareFollowers Wireless Hardware Software Wireless Software 31
    32. 32. Philips is personalizing messages by profession “The targeted updates helped us more than double the social interaction on the company page.” Stephanie Charron Corporate Communications Officer, Philips Healthcare
    33. 33. Salesforce is personalizing messages by region 30% Increase in engagement “We love the fact that LinkedIn’s Targeted Status Updates let us focus our messages at a regional level so that we can delight audiences with relevant content.” Jennifer Burnham Director of Social Strategy,
    34. 34. Only on LinkedIn
    35. 35. 55%Follow only on LinkedIn “ LinkedIn gives me the best overall information for following… I do not follow <this brand> on any other site. “
    36. 36. Context is kingTools are similar, but context changes everything.
    37. 37. LinkedIn Confidential ©2013 All Rights Reserved