How HSBC Launched LinkedIn Campaign to Grow “Business without Borders” Group

Posted by LinkedSelling in Uncategorized

HSBC Business without Borders Sidebar Ad LinkedIn

HSBC is the latest big financial institution to jump into their LinkedIn marketing campaign with a branded group, Business without Borders | USA.  LinkedIn groups are a fantastic way to reach targeted prospects, whether you are a massive financial firm or a one-man shop.

But the key is developing a group that attracts your prospects and provides them with valuable resources.

Would HSBC's prospects be interested in a group about financial products?  Absolutely not.  But they would be interested in a group that facilitates discussion around “issues relevant to U.S. businesses planning to expand internationally.”  Bingo.

HSBC is aggressively promoting growth of this new group, as evidenced by the sidebar ads featured on the home page of hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn users.

HSBC Business without Borders Sidebar Ad LinkedIn
Sidebar Ad

This is a big play for HSBC.  Similar to other groups started, promoted and moderated by large corporations, we expect that this group will grow very quickly.  LinkedIn group growth is really only limited by budget.  It will be interesting to see how quickly this group grows, and from that data we can infer approximately what kind of ad spend was involved.

In addition to the sidebar Ad, they are running a text ad across the top of the LinkedIn home page:

LinkedIn Marketing
Text Ad on Home Page

As with most groups run by multinational firms, you can see that the group is run by a variety of managers from both HSBC and outside marketing firms.  Successfully managing LinkedIn groups takes a substantial effort and expertise.  There is a reason why there are so many cooks in the kitchen.

HSBC Business Without Borders LinkedIn Group
Business without Borders Group

Utilizing Subgroups to Target Different Regions

For a farflung operation like HSBC, how do you set up one group that caters to all of your prospects around the world?  Even for corporations with a single country focus this can be an issue.  The answer is to develop subgroups that target different regions within your territory.

In the case of Business without Borders, HSBC has a main group and currently has 9 subgroups within it.  These groups are specifically focused on the following countries:

  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • USA
  • Canada
  • UK
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • Singapore
  • Saudia Arabia

You can view the main group and its subgroups here: Business without Borders.

While 8 of these subgroups are brand new, the Canada group was created on September 1, 2011 and currently has 3,263 members.  This is a great example of a pilot group that has seen success and now been expanded into a broader campaign.  The ability to “start out slow” is one of the things that makes LinkedIn such a powerful tool for businesses of any size.

HSBC Takes Campaign Past LinkedIn

As we see with many successful, integrated LinkedIn campaigns, HSBC's Business without Borders campaign is not solely housed within LinkedIn.  It appears that each subgroup also has its own web site, each filled with content targeted to businesses within these territories that are interested in growing internationally.

The USA group is linked to, an impressive site full of engaging content on all sorts of global issues.  The site promotes events, has a members only area, and offers HSBC even more ways to bring prospects into their sales cycle.

This is by far one of the best examples we've seen of a brand developing an entire community.

HSBC LinkedIn Campaign - BWB Site
Business without Borders | USA – Community Site

 Group Membership Closely Guarded?

When I attempted to join the group, I was met with the following message:

HSBC LinkedIn Group Promotion

This message indicates that my request to join the group is pending review.  The important thing to note here is what this functionality provides.  It allows you to allow only those people into your group that you want to allow.

Don't want competitors in your group?  Don't let them in.

But alas, they let me in, which triggered the following welcome message delivered via email:

LinkedIn Marketing HSBC Case Study

Where Things Are Going

Seeing more and more companies like HSBC jumping into LinkedIn with aggressive campaigns is very exciting.  This is a great example of doing it the right way, and a real blueprint for other firms to consider.

Clearly HSBC has put together a fantastic approach for:

  • attracting the right prospects
  • providing them with valuable content and resources
  • enabling a mechanism to retain these prospects via LinkedIn and email
  • and promoting their message on a consistent basis.

We're excited to see how this group grows and the kinds of promotion that HSBC weaves within it.

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    • Thanks Camilo. I agree, it’s really powerful to see what the big companies are doing and how those principles can be applied to other businesses.