14 Jun To what Extent is your B2B Buyer Persona Listening on LinkedIn?
Over the past few years, I’ve been heavily engaged with the data on LinkedIn. As a head of marketing for a contact center software company, our department was charged with identifying individual contact information in our target market. LinkedIn was one of the tools we used to accurately identify and determine the identity of our well-defined buyer personas. There’s no question that LinkedIn was an integral part of our strategy in connecting with these individuals. However, we always questioned whether or not the buyers were LISTENING on the site coined as the Business Social Network. Posting and maintaining a profile on LinkedIn is very different than being an active participant on the platform.
The numbers of users continue to climb in geographical markets across the world, and the recent IPO attests to the future belief that LinkedIn will continue to thrive. A breakdown of some of the demographic user data can be found on this slideshare deck dated January 2011. If you pay attention to slides 10 and 12, you’ll find that the majority of the people who have profiles are from the high-tech industry and are in sales. This is not a surprise as it would be expected that the shear nature of LinkedIn would likely attract hunters looking to find and communicate with potential decision makers in the technology arena. However, what is the best way to actually communicate with these people outside of sending an InMail or reaching out to them by calling their company?
On LinkedIn, there are various tools available that allow collaboration and communication with other users. The Groups and Answers sections are designed to elicit interaction among the members and to promote user generated content. These are great avenues for pushing thoughts, ideas and material to the masses; but are they reaching your targeted B2B buyers? I am very curious as to level of activity that occurs on the site when comparing sellers to buyers. In other words, if we were to capture the activity level of B2B sellers of products and services versus the buyer activity of those same products and services, what would we find?
As of recent, I’ve been experimenting with the Answers section and posting answers to various questions for which I think I have valid points to share. It’s clear to me that the significant majority of the activity (both Questions and Answers) in this section of the site is delivered by people selling products and services. Even the questions asked are primarily posted by people looking to either self promote, or should already have the answer (based on their title: “Expert”, “Life Coach”, Business Coach”, “Mentor”, etc…). In my opinion, this section provides very little value for the B2B seller as it is consumed with sellers and very few buyers.
The Groups section provides a slightly better opportunity to make a pitch to the B2B Buyer Persona you seek. But again, are your B2B buyers listening? Posting content and discussions to groups will provide you the stage to perform, but if your buyers aren’t engaged in the group or receive group updates via email, they are not listening.
Inbound marketing is about being found and letting your prospects come to you. Enabling your buyers to listen is a major success factor in winning at inbound marketing. LinkedIn is the clear winner in the business social networking arena, but is it the right place to get your B2B buyers listening? I believe that the debate is still open.
If you want to test the waters and see if your buyers are listening on LinkedIn and other sites, talk to us to get your Inbound Marketing message out in less than 30 days.
Kevin O’Brien is a Co-Founder and Partner at echogravity. Kevin’s credentials include being a top recruiter for a international Big 8 consulting firm, top business development rep for a global consulting and staffing firm, and consulting with over 100 companies across North America.