How LinkedIn’s latest features will alter the narrative for B2B Marketing

Rohit Ahuja
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Social Samosa takes a look at new LinkedIn features and what they mean to marketers. Find out what the experts have to say.

For world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn, user centricity has always been evidently at the cornerstone of its product strategy. This is perceptible by the creation of LinkedIn Lite, in July 2017, which is a lighter and faster version of LinkedIn. The genesis of the app traces roots to the insight, that it is difficult to access websites, including LinkedIn in interiors of India or even on roads of a metro city like Bengaluru. This move was meant to democratize access to economic opportunity so that all LinkedIn members can get closer to their dream jobs and grow their networks.

Well, this was just the beginning! Since, LinkedIn has come up with a number of user oriented updates, not to forget their mass campaign - #InItTogether. Social Samosa takes a look at new LinkedIn features and what they mean to marketers.

Salary Insights: When ‘it’s all about the money, honey’

A recent survey found that, more than 70% of professionals want to hear about salary in the first message from a recruiter. In order to encourage greater transparency in conversations, LinkedIn rolled out Salary insights. This feature will appear on job listings and allows users to see estimated or expected compensation range for a particular role, based on information provided by both employers and privately submitted by LinkedIn members. Employers can provide salary ranges for specific jobs. If an employer abstains from sharing details about salary, users will be shown an estimated range from member-submitted data.

Predictive search results: If you thought only Nostradamus could foretell

To streamline the search experience, search filters have been moved to the top of the search results page. In addition, the most frequently used filters - like location, connection degree, and current companies are displayed by default to help narrow down search. Further, to better guide a user’s search, LinkedIn now attempts to predict what users may be particularly looking for and displaying those results first. For instance, if one is searching for “marketing manager”, the primary results consist of people who hold this job title, but users will also be shown open job listings pertaining to that title.

Also Read: #InItTogether: What’s in it for LinkedIn?
Filters & Text Styles: Enrich storytelling   

LinkedIn has made further developments to its native video feature, which was launched in August, 2017. You can now add filters to videos for sharing everyday work moments. You can give your work buddy a “Work High Five,” swap ideas on passion projects with “Side Hustle” or dramatize a little with the “On the Air” filter. You can also customise textstyles on videos, from the available options - FifthAve, Geometric and Plain and more to come.

Amit Handa, Vice President – Account Management at OgilvyOne Worldwide shares, “The ability to enhance native videos with filters and text is a great development for B2B marketers and brands. Video updates cover a larger portion of the newsfeed and hence, are more likely to get noticed”.

GIFs in messaging

GIF platform Tenor announced that it will be powering GIF searches within LinkedIn Messaging. Messages sent on LinkedIn have grown 60 percent in the past year. Tenor holds that integrating GIFs on the platform will help “to create genuine connections with professional contacts such as co-workers, past colleagues or fellow alumni.”

Srikant Subramanian, General Manager – Sales, Social Wavelength says, “The filters, styles and the GIFs would help make the conversation more engaging, maybe a little less formal so that people may want to use the platform more, and also stand out in the crowded feed that we see.”

With the rise in millennial users, students continue to be a growing segment on LinkedIn. This subset of the population is known to lighten conversations with contextual GIFs, because emoticons aren’t just enough.

Faisal Amin, Co-Founder, FruitBowl Digital tells Social Samosa, “As with any other social platform, the coming of new features opens up agencies to new opportunities with their clients. Just imagine the conversation a GIF war on LinkedIn between two amicable competitors in a particular industry will create, for instance, Coke and Pepsi”.

Find connections Nearby: Step up your networking game

Using your mobile device, you can now find other LinkedIn members in your surrounding vicinity of up to 30 metres. This feature, supported with Bluetooth, will enable you to network with other LinkedIn users by quickly finding and connecting with people around you at conferences, events and more in your proximity.

This feature can be accessed by clicking on ‘My Network’ option and then at the top you will see ‘Find Nearby’.

Faisal Amin, Co-Founder, FruitBowl Digital shares, “LinkedIn has always been strong as a networking platform, but the average time spent on there is low compared to other social platforms. The consumer-centric features will serve as interesting tools for users to interact with one another.”

Sponsored video content: Make way for LinkedIn into your media plans

‘The B2B Video Report’ by LinkedIn found that in 2018, video marketing would be a critical area of investment for B2B marketers in India, with an average budget of Rs. 15 million allocated to B2B video advertising in 2018. In order to match the demand, LinkedIn rolled out videos for sponsored content and company pages to help businesses reach and engage with the right audience.While most videos are seen as ideal for “top of the funnel” marketing i.e., awareness phase, LinkedIn’s video for sponsored content is designed to work across the funnel, holds Abhishek Shrivastava, director of product for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

So, while marketers can use native video ads to achieve the brand awareness objective, the feature will also enable marketers to collect leads with a persistent ‘call to action’ button on the video or through the integrated Lead Gen Forms product. As per the aforesaid report, explainer videos, employee advocacy videos, TV commercials (TVCs) and testimonials are some popular formats of videos that B2B marketers plan to use this year.

Amit Handa, Vice President – Account Management, OgilvyOne Worldwide says, “If we have learnt anything from Facebook over the last few years, it is that video ads get anywhere between 10% to 30% more engagement. From a creative perspective, B2B marketing will get a lot more engaging and interesting now. Creative agencies are in their element when working on video content, because it lets them say and show a lot more”.

Handa opines that going further; LinkedIn may become a bigger part of the overall GTM plans. “It will be interesting see what impact the increased competition will have on media costs. At the moment, Facebook and Instagram own the lion’s share of the digital video ad market – almost 75%, and the rest is YouTube”, he concludes.

LinkedIn has also introduced the ability for businesses to upload videos on their company pages. Brands can use this feature to tell richer stories aimed at exhibitingtheir culture, news and events, build a strong employer brand and effectively attract talent.

Srikant Subramanian, General Manager – Sales, Social Wavelength holds, “The films will definitely become key to a lot of the creative on LinkedIn now, and especially for B2B marketing. I can see a lot of video infographics being used, especially when marketing products/solutions. We can also see really nice ways in which brands can now share media/news updates with relevant influencers and audiences”.

A quick glance at Viacom18’s company page on LinkedIn reveals various videos offering a window into its organisational culture. However, on click, these videos divert users to an external landing page on YouTube. The integration of native videos into company pages would ensure that users stay within the app, while also recognising the need for employer branding through the power of sight, sound and motion.

Faisal Amin, Co-Founder, FruitBowl Digital adds, “Video content is being consumed more and more these days, so any plan that is able to successfully integrate them into a brand's marketing strategy is bound to perform better than one that doesn't.With video ads on LinkedIn, brands as well as talent will have more interesting ways to attract/interact with each other”.

LinkedIn campaigns are usually far and scattered, the new updates however could change the narrative of business marketing, ushering in a new era.

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