LinkedIn Marketing Strategy Blog
Is LinkedIn Still… a Thing? Why Some People Believe it’s Dead, and A HUGE Opportunity We’ve Just Uncovered
Remember when LinkedIn casually strolled onto the social media scene? You’d hear people explain it as, “Like Facebook but without the baby pictures? Like Twitter, but without the profanity.” It was in a league of its own in terms of functionality and sociability and people were pumped. Yes this suave new neighbor was the one and only social media platform created exclusively for professionals – a place for individuals to network and for businesses to grow. Everyone was chomping at the bit to use LinkedIn to target prospects, get clients, build relationships and to connect with fellow professionals who shared the same goal.
But, guess what? LinkedIn wasn’t just a click and go station – LinkedIn took work. You had to do the thinking, the planning and the execution. It provided the parts, but you had to assemble (much like a piece of infamous Ikea furniture).
In early 2016, LinkedSelling (that’s us) conducted a study of over 1,300 business owners. This groundbreaking study uncovered some troubling data. Most notably, that 88% of business owners struggle to maintain consistent cash flow. That’s crazy!
Only 12% said that they do not have cash flow problems.
Naturally, the next question we asked is:
What’s the difference between the 88% who struggle with cashflow…and the 12% who do not?
Well, when we looked at all of the data from the study, there was one thing that stood out head and shoulders above everything else…
Those businesses that reported never having cashflow problems, almost all reported that they have systems in place to consistently bring in new prospects, appointments and clients (and we are ALL about systems at LinkedSelling).
Meanwhile, the vast majority of the 88% without systems continue to ride the cash flow rollercoaster.
To have a reliable system for generating new leads and clients is a core requirement of getting off the detrimental cash flow rollercoaster.
And to be fair, you probably already knew this…at least for yourself. There’s an 88% chance that you’re experiencing this right now.
But which strategy is working best?
That’s what we found out.
What you are about to uncover in this study is a remarkable trend that we here at LinkedSelling have discovered, through an extensive research project conducted over several months. Using multiple third party researchers to compile and analyze data, the body of research presented is the result of a considerable effort that left no stone unturned.
In addition to combining many existing studies and research, we also surveyed and interviewed 642 business owners and marketers to find a clear answer to the question of “what’s really working?”
All of this data provided a very clear answer to that question, which we will share in this report.
Oh…and by the way…
We discovered a trend that is now so clear…that it’s incredible that others have not already become aware of it. But I have to admit, I’m glad they haven’t. Because it represents such a tremendous opportunity for those who are in the know (us).
Cutting Through the Clutter
When it comes to marketing your business online, there are so many options – too many, really. What happens usually is that the onslaught of advertising and people pushing the latest shiny widget causes a lot of people to bounce around. “Shiny object syndrome” is something we’ve all experienced and eventually, it creates paralysis.
Consider these graphics from a recent study conducted by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute:
There is a multitude of ways to approach the hurdle of growing your business, gain more clients and to reach a secure system of cash flow. So many choices that it can be painfully overwhelming! But hang in there. We’re here to help and to start, show you EXACTLY what to focus your energy on for the next 5 years.
Think about it…
To have a strategy that you can consistently apply for maximum results, for the maximum ROI on your time and money – THAT is what a successful, healthy business looks like.
- One that has tremendous staying power.
- One that does amazing work and creates a lasting impact in the world,
- One that affords you the freedom and lifestyle you want, and
- One that makes a consistent, large profits.
To do that, you must have a marketing system that generates new leads, consultations, clients and sales.
But there are so many systems out there and so many choices. Which one is the RIGHT one? That’s the answer that we set out to discover, and I believe that the data shows a clear winner.
Not only in terms of the platform that you must be focusing on (this one platform is responsible for over 80% of leads converted into sales), but also the exact strategy to use on that platform.
In this report, we are addressing the “platform” question and revealing a trend that is too powerful to ignore. We’ve also uncovered the answer to the second question, “What is the right strategy to create both quick wins and lasting, long-term results?” And provided a roadmap for exactly what this strategy entails and how you can implement it.
Let’s dive in!
The Top Place to Get New Clients: A Major Surprise!
We researched the best places to find clients and uncovered a number of existing, very large market research projects. Combining this data with our independent study, surveys, and interviews of 642 business owners, we found a big surprise…
Given the immense buzz surrounding Facebook over the last couple years, we expected to see Facebook as #1. Additionally, Facebook is almost universally considered to be the dominant player online.
Just by sheer numbers (they have over 1.7 billion users), we expected Facebook t be the most popular online channel for attracting business opportunities –but this wasn’t the case. Not even close.
Study after study has returned the same finding:
LinkedIn is, across the board, regarded as the most effective channel for businesses to get clients.
According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, LinkedIn is,
“…the industry’s most popular social network…and found a majority of marketers believe it to be the most effective social media platform.”
Why? How? When did this happen?!
Over 80% of leads generated through social media for B2B marketers come from LinkedIn.
A follow up study from analytics firm Kissmetrics discovered that more than 80% of a business’s social media leads were the results of LinkedIn.
If that’s not enough, a recent study by DemandWave also found LinkedIn to be the most effective platform for lead generation, by a long shot:
Replicon found LinkedIn messages to generate 11x better response rate compared with other methods.
And not only is LinkedIn the best place online to get clients, it’s the best place to engage both before and after a sale, per recent research by Social Media Examiner. It is also considered the most effective in the sales cycle. According to Content Marketing Institute, 63% of marketers report positive results in using LinkedIn to move prospects through the sales cycle.
It was surprising to see Facebook ranked so low, but equally surprising to see Twitter ranked so high!
Even so, LinkedIn time and time again, in study after study, has been consistently ranked as the best place to attract new clients.
Content Marketing Institute’s study found that LinkedIn is the most effective social platform, and that 94% of b2b marketers use LinkedIn for marketing, making it the most-used social platform for business.
And a significant 61% of marketers plan on increasing their use of LinkedIn in 2016. As expected, B2B marketers are significantly more likely to plan on increasing their use of LinkedIn (76% of B2B vs. 52% of B2C).
What could be the most surprising finding is that LinkedIn isn’t just for B2B companies. B2C companies also reported that they are seeing big gains from LinkedIn. In fact, over 51% of these companies reported in a study conducted by Oktopost that they have acquired at least one customer through LinkedIn. The data seems clear, right?
Yet, somehow interest in LinkedIn has significantly declined in the last couple years. It’s not as shiny and people have moved on to other new widgets and spaces. But, guess what? LinkedIn is still working. And people are majorly missing out.
WHY is LinkedIn Buzz Declining While the Opportunities Continue to GROW?
Even with all of the data seeming to point to a clear conclusion, our studies show that LinkedIn is not as popular as it was just a few years ago. Also, a majority of business owners said that they are less excited about using LinkedIn to market their business and get new clients, than they were 3 years ago (buzz kill).
Google Trends reveals a similar pattern. From 2010 to 2013, the increase in LinkedIn related searches was 228%. However, from 2013 to 2016, the same number was virtually flat.
Despite the overwhelming data that shows LinkedIn is one of the most effective online platforms for marketing a business, the majority of owners still lack the excitement they had years ago.
This is further seen in a recent study by Social Media Examiner, who found that of the top seven platforms used (not indicating effectiveness, just usage) by marketers, Facebook currently leads the pack while LinkedIn is in third place with 67% of users among marketers, marking a slight drop from 71% to 67% since 2015.
How could this be? If LinkedIn is the most effective channel for getting new business online, why have so many turned to new shiny objects?
The answer lies in a phenomenon called the Gartner Curve. And what is REALLY exciting is that this concept shows that LinkedIn is poised to become even more effective.
The Gartner Curve, also known as the Gartner Hype Cycle, is a concept for emerging technologies which predicts they’ll go through five stages: it starts with technology triggers, soars up to peak of inflated expectations, crashes down to the trough of disillusionment, then glides back up to the slope of enlightenment, and continues on to the plateau of productivity.
Just like most other technologies that go through this cycle, the LinkedIn buzz has died down a bit and most businesses moved on to the next exciting new thing.
Yet, many have not moved on. Many continue to generate significant results and have not been deterred by the lack of the initial buzz and hype. In fact, this has made it an even greater opportunity as the shiny-object chasers have moved on, creating less competition for attention (which, is great news for you.) And savvy business owners and marketers ride upward on the “slope of enlightenment.”
The “Trough of Disillusionment” is actually an overcorrection. It is a decline beyond what is reasonable or needed, causing many to miss the boat. In fact, it is at these points of over- correction, that it’s the best time to get into any space.
Consider the parallels to the financial markets…
Uber is a well-known technology company in 2016. But in 2013, it was still a smaller, upstart company that many thought was going to be a fad. Wise Silicon Valley investors knew that this company would be absolutely massive…but the public hadn’t quite caught on yet.
In December of 2013, an internal leak revealed that Uber’s revenues were near $213 million…which was about $100 million more than the “analysts” at major firms had predicted.
And yet, it still took normal investors and non-insider tech gurus until December of 2014…when Uber raised an astounding $1.2 billion in venture funding…to realize that they’d been late on the trend.
Because they’d fallen victim to the Gartner Hype Cycle: Uber was considered a “small, disruptive company” that had little chance at scaling. It got some initial hype and attention when it started, but then the interest slowly declined…but meanwhile, Uber was picking up true steam and came out as the most valuable taxi company on the planet in only 5 short years.
And today, many marketers, business owners, service providers, and entrepreneurs are making the same mistake by ignoring LinkedIn. Just like the early days of Facebook Advertising, when the clicks cost less than a penny and you could get hundreds of leads in hours…you don’t want to be caught in the herd of people stampeding to LinkedIn in the next few years. You want to solidify your position NOW to beat everyone else that comes after you.
The $26 Billion Mistake, and How to Avoid It
The Gartner Curve is one of the key reasons that Microsoft recently acquired LinkedIn for a staggering $26 billion. Seeing the tremendous, steady growth potential that LinkedIn currently has, they paid a hefty premium. And they bought at just the right time. This is a clear indication that the growth of LinkedIn is not only going to continue, but will be strong for many years to come.
Smart business owners who realize where LinkedIn is at on the Gartner Curve took great notice of this acquisition. And it further validated their efforts and results.
Meanwhile, there are many who are overlooking this and making a massive mistake. Instead of seeing the trends and how history has played out so many times before, there are those who are more influenced by buzz and hype.
They are skeptical of Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition, some even calling it a mistake. Yet, that couldn’t be further from reality. And the only mistake is ignoring the real signal at hand: LinkedIn will continue to be the best place to get clients for many years to come.
But in all reality, I’m not here to try and convince anybody. Just laying out the data, and those who understand it will be very well positioned. And those who don’t? Well, that just leaves more for the rest of us. Fine by me!
What’s working, and what’s not.
To be fair, certainly not all business owners have been so easily influenced by a decline in buzz surrounding LinkedIn. For many, it was a lack of time or a realization that the investment of time was not justified by the results.
In our study, we found that a majority of business owners simply found that they lacked the time to properly implement LinkedIn. And for another segment of respondents, they put in the time, but did not see the results to justify the time investment.
Clearly, LinkedIn is a platform that does require an investment of time if you expect to see results, as with any marketing channel. There is never an opportunity to achieve results with no work. Yet most business owners simply do not have excess time to invest in this way. And those who have, found that the amount of time invested was far more than could be justified.
But first, let’s talk about what works. The data clearly shows that many business owners are indeed generating consistent results from LinkedIn.
So what’s working?
For our study of over 600 business owners, we asked those who were happy with their results, “What’s working for you?”
The responses were somewhat consistent. Here’s a sampling of them:
- “I’ve been setting up follow up sequences to schedule sales calls”
- Find who can put me in touch with my target 2. Send an invitation with a reason why we should connect 3. Seek to follow up with a face to face soon thereafter
- Becoming more visible, actively demonstrating expertise, connecting more
- Building relationship through staying in contact with key people.
- Connecting thru groups and using a messaging system to a phone call
- Connecting with people, first on LinkedIn, then in real life.
- Creating contacts and sending personal messages
- Direct contact and sending messages
- Sending connection message that are personalized and updating status on a regular basis to keep front of mind.
- Connecting and sending In mails
- Using the Advanced Search to target potential referral contacts.
- InMails with relevant content sent to relevant prospects – specifically not selling or pitching meetings, just bringing them relevant content / in-person events / webinars as a means to build awareness of our business.
- Linkedin works well for connecting with and getting appointments with channel partners.
- Making initial connections and then building the relationship off the platform!
- Messages to clients, also posting articles about my industry that highlight me as an expert.
A Roadmap for the Process that Works
The results these people are seeing are very consistent with our findings. In fact, in the 5 years that we have been managing LinkedIn marketing campaigns for clients across the globe, we’ve found a few core practices generate the vast majority of results. The 5, 6 and multi-7 figure deals that our clients have generated have all come from a combination of the strategies these business owners report having success with.
To implement the systems necessary to maintain cashflow and run a successful business, we want to give you a FREE copy of Josh Turner’s new book, “Booked.” As the founder of Linked Selling and bestselling author of Connect, he knows a thing or two about these systems.
All people should have access to the tools needed to help them grow. And it is systems that enable progress. With these tools and systems, you will be able to create more growth and more positive impact in the world!
If you’re not already, start using LinkedIn to its full potential! Yes, it takes work. But YES it pays off! And we’re here to help.