Marketing on LinkedIn: Advice from Betsy Hindman
LinkedIn is that website where we keep up with our friend’s job switching. But what about using it as a real marketing platform? Can it do more than just help us with networking?
Marcus Grimm and I interviewed Betsy Hindman to ask her that question because Betsy is a LinkedIn marketing expert. She’s the founder of Hindman Company where she helps B2B sales teams reach new customers with paid social advertising, primarily on LinkedIn. Betsy honed her B2B sales skills working as an account manager for the Walt Disney Company. We first met her when she made a presentation at the Insight Marketing Conference in Lancaster this September. Here’s the interview.
John: Betsy, why did you start a company focused on B2B marketing?
Betsy: It was a natural extension of my past B2B sales experience with Disney, and at the time I thought B2B marketers were missing some key concepts from B2C that could be applied.
Marcus: Ok, but how come you’re such an evangelist for LinkedIn?
Betsy: Because I’ve seen it do amazing things for business owners and sales teams. It supports other efforts like email and trade shows by reaching the right people, in the right mindset. The reach is not as throttled as it is on Facebook, and you can reach people based on their “jobs to be done” which is the holy grail in business.
Marcus: What’s LinkedIn’s super power?
Betsy: It’s the data they own. Can you imagine putting your entire work history on another platform at this point? Or connecting again with all of those co-workers and prospects you connected with on LinkedIn over the past 10 years? Me neither! LinkedIn owns all that information, and it’s in a simple user interface we are all comfortable with on desktop and phone. No one can touch it!
John: How is LinkedIn different than Facebook as a marketing platform?
Betsy: Well, you can get some Employer information on Facebook but most people don’t identify their work history on Facebook or connect with colleagues there. And there are definitely amazing ways you can reach specific audiences - even for B2B - on Facebook.
You can reach people at specific locations for example, down to a 1 mile radius - when they’re at an industry conference. You can reach people that read specific trade publications and layer on lots of demographic and location data on top of that. Facebook has fantastic Groups that are forming around business topics, desired skills, and highly specific industries. So Facebook ads have a place in B2B marketing as well.
But with LinkedIn you have job title and employer information and you have the all-important “business mindset” which shouldn’t be underestimated.
Marcus: What’s the next big thing for LinkedIn? It wasn’t that long ago that it was thought of as just a place to find a job. Now it’s this amazing professional networking site. Where will it go from here?
Betsy: Event marketing, targeted leads and account lists through Sales Navigator, and improvement of Groups (prayer hands emoji).
Marcus: So it’s a great platform. And yet, like a lot of things, we’ve seen marketers use LinkedIn incorrectly. What the main thing we do incorrectly?
Betsy: Serving the full steak dinner to the party guest at the door, before they’ve even taken their coat off.
Marcus: Are you suggesting that marketers have a tendency to be pushy? Do tell.
Betsy: What I mean is, B2B marketers go for the lead capture form too fast with heavy, dense whitepapers and a long form fill. Yes, people are in the business mindset, but they are on social media at the moment! Give them an appetizer and a cocktail. Let them sit by the fire for a while without an interrogation.
Marcus: Ahh, the beloved “white paper” as lead magnet.
John: I’ve been guilty of putting too much faith in dense, long content as a way of generating leads. When you think about it, the campaigns that do the best for lead generating, whether on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn, tend to be short and really focused on the customers’ problem.
Betsy, tell us a marketing success story for one of your clients.
Betsy: Well, it’s not always what my prospects want to hear, but my favorite success stories happen when my clients are out at some event. So they’re at a trade show or a business meeting and someone says to them “Hey, I’m seeing amazing stuff from your company on LinkedIn - tell me more about that.” That happens with all my clients. People recount back to them the information posted on LinkedIn.
Hard to put a number on that, of course, but it shows that LinkedIn content has real impact. I measure new account leads, revenue growth for my clients and we focus on executive and individual sales people’s profile activity as well as company goals. We know that people are more drawn to do business with people than companies, so we match our LinkedIn efforts to that reality.
Marcus: What should we have asked you that we didn’t?
Betsy: Nothing guys! You asked all the right stuff. Thank you for including me.
John: Betsy, here are some final questions. Are you a Mac or PC person?
John: Bare wrist, analog or smart watch?
Betsy: An analog watch I like that doesn’t work at all :)
John: Cable-holic or cord cutter?
Betsy: Sadly cable-holic.
John: Favorite app on your phone?
Marcus: Who’s your marketing role model?
Betsy: Right now I’m agreeing with a lot that comes from Chris Walker at Refine Labs.
Marcus: Best thing to do in Nashville on a Saturday night?
Betsy: Well, the lower Broadway honky-tonks for sure. Call me if you’re ever in town and we’ll go out for a “holler and a swaller.”
Marcus: It’s a deal!