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Social Media Targeting Comes to LinkedIn

The feedback from the majority of my clients that want to justify investment in social media today are very different than they were two years ago. They go something like this:

The executive team does not understand the benefit derived from our participation in Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare. They see the effort and output but cannot make the connection back to traditional PR measurement metrics or any lead generation activity. 

They all know and understand LinkedIn.  They feel there is some opportunity to generate benefit – ideally sales leads.

The odds are good that this is what you are hearing or asking at your company now as well. I’m going to cover how I’m responding to this in several posts here in the coming weeks.

I’ll start today by covering a new LinkedIn feature introduced last week that has the potential to be a valuable tool in the kit for engaging customers and prospects and supporting lead generation.

How to Target LinkedIn Company Page Updates

LinkedIn made a new company page feature available to everyone. Page administrators can now “target” updates to a subset of page followers, which allows you to map the content of your update to everyone that sees it. After typing the page update in the status window, click on the drop down arrow next to “Share With: All Followers” and select “Targeted audience”.

You’ll then be able to segment along five different dimensions including company size, industry, function, level of individual (e.g. CXO) and location. As you select segments in each area, you will see how many of the followers you will reach along with a sampling of who these individuals are by showing their LinkedIn profile photo.

Key Takeaways

Conduct an audit of your followers. As I’ve started using this feature, the first thing I noticed was how it gives me a very good idea for how many company page followers fit into key segments. This points to the importance of really knowing the demographics of your followers and mapping them against the ideal breakdown. In other words, if the goal of LinkedIn is to reach prospects for demand gen, you’ll want the majority of page followers to match your prospect profile.

If you don’t know this, conduct an audit of your followers and keep track of this breakdown on an ongoing basis.

Increase ideal type of followers. If your audit reveals that 75% of your followers are employees or former employees, you’ll need to plan how to get more customers and prospects to follow you. Here is where you should look at all customer communications to do this as well as incent customer-facing employees to use their relationships to attract those followers. You want the profile of the majority of your followers to map to your social media program and LinkedIn as a channel.

Don’t shoot into the air. The reason that the two steps above are important is that you can then be much smarter about your content strategy for LinkedIn. You are in a much better position to tailor the content to the right segment of followers, optimize the mix of post types and take advantage of the targeted audience feature. Without this planning, publishing updates is like shooting an arrow into the air and not knowing where it will land.

Below is a video LinkedIn created for more information on the feature.

LinkedIn just became much more powerful for customer and prospect engagement and demand generation. How do you see it?