A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

When it comes to growing your brand and boosting your revenue, social media matters.

Here’s why: More than three billion people worldwide now have social media accounts, and 54% of those users leverage social media to research products.

The biggest challenge? Finding the right platform for your social media posts where you can connect with your ideal audience.

While many businesses leverage sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote their content and increase conversion rates, there’s also a case to be made for more business-focused frameworks like LinkedIn.

In this comprehensive guide to LinkedIn sponsored updates we’ll tackle the big questions — what are LinkedIn sponsored updates, how do they work and how much do they cost?

We’ll also offer a list of sponsored updates best practices to help your brand make the most of this social content solution.

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What are LinkedIn Sponsored Updates?

Let’s start at the beginning: What exactly are LinkedIn sponsored updates?

Also called sponsored content, the official LinkedIn help page says a sponsored update is, “a LinkedIn Page update that is sponsored as an advertisement and is delivered to the LinkedIn feed of members beyond those who follow your company.”

In practice, LinkedIn sponsored updates are advertisements created by your company or marketing team which are then served to LinkedIn users who either follow your page or follow pages in a similar content space.

These ads are served as part of the native LinkedIn feed and typically include a combination of relevant text and contextual images or videos, in turn helping them blend in with similar user content rather than stand out as paid-for advertisements.

When designed and deployed well, LinkedIn sponsored updates can help drive organic interest in your brand from both current followers and a wider audience of LinkedIn members. Worth noting? While these posts are designed to follow the format of familiar user updates, they’re always labeled as “sponsored content” to ensure there’s no misleading users or confusion.

What Types of Sponsored Updates are Available?

Brands can create four types of direct sponsored updates:

Single Image Ads

Single image ads include one image and text that are displayed directly in targeted member LinkedIn feeds.

Carousel Image Ads

Carousel ads contain multiple images in succession that users can scroll through to get a better sense of your products or services.

Video Ads

Video ads offer a way to include multimedia marketing with in-feed videos that users can watch on-demand.

Single Job Ads

If you’re looking to expand your team, you can create single job ads for your targeted audience. They must promote a single job opportunity and be linked to an active job post on LinkedIn.

You can also create what’s known as “direct sponsored content”. These ads won’t display on your LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page before being served as advertisements.

As a result, they’re often used by companies to test several marketing approaches and see which one produces the best results and use it as the basis for more robust sponsored content updates.

How much do LinkedIn sponsored updates cost?

The short answer is that more resource-intensive ads — such as videos or carousels — will cost more than their single-image counterparts.

The long answer is slightly more complicated. First, it’s important to understand that LinkedIn uses a bidding model for sponsored ads; you select and create your ad type and then specify how much you’re willing to pay — a minimum price exists to ensure advertisers are fairly paid, but you’ll never be charged more than your maximum upper limit. Differing ad providers then bid on the service and the lowest price wins.

Ad price is also determined by your target audience and relevance score. If your target audience is in high demand, you’ll be charged more because there’s greater competition to capture user interest. You can also lower your ad costs by creating relevant ads. The more relevant and content-rich your ad, the less you’ll pay — because there’s a better chance of engaging LinkedIn users.

It’s also worth considering the best cost model for your ad: Cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM). CPC means you only pay when users click on your ad and visit your site, while CPM means you pay for every 1,000 views or “impressions” of your ad.

If your goal is generating brand awareness, opt for CPM. If you have an established audience and are looking to drive click-throughs and conversions, choose CPC.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates Best Practices

Want to get the most from your LinkedIn sponsored updates? Keep these best practices in mind:

1. Follow LinkedIn sponsored update specs.

Each type of sponsored content comes with its own specifications.

Single image ads: Up to 255 characters for the ad name, 150 characters of intro text to avoid truncation, URLs with “http://” or “https://” and JPG, GIF or PNG files that are 5MB or smaller.

Carousel ads: Use a minimum of two cards and a maximum of ten. Each card has a maximum file size of 10MB and dimensions of 6012 x 6012px. Supported formats include JPG, PNG and non-animated GIFs.

Video ads: Video ads must be three to 30 seconds in length, between 75KB and 200MB and in MP4 format. They must also be less than 30 frames per second (FPS).

Single job ads: Single job ads should be concise, relevant, and clear and follow the same image guidelines as single image ads. They must also link to an active job posting on LinkedIn.

Failure to follow these guidelines may result in ads being rejected. If ads contain misleading or inappropriate content, LinkedIn may choose to remove the ads or terminate your LinkedIn account.

The service also makes it clear that “spam” posts are not permitted: According to their Best Practices for Sponsored Content page, “Businesses that post updates excessively are subject to review by LinkedIn and could risk having their LinkedIn Page deleted.”

2. Don’t overshare.

While targeted, relevant content can help drive user interest, too many ads too quickly can result in over-saturation.

LinkedIn recommends regularly tweaking your content strategy to deliver analysis rather than simply news, include curated content (with credit) from other sources, and repurpose older content where applicable.

3. Test, test, test.

As noted above, direct sponsored content is a great way to try out new advertising efforts and see what sticks.

With the social media market continually evolving, it’s worth evaluating ad performance every few weeks to see what’s working, what isn’t, and where specific changes can help.

4. Spend wisely.

Sponsored updates can get expensive as you incorporate new advertisements and use multiple ad types.

Here, it’s worth tracking your ad spend and switching from CPC to CPM models once click-through rates start to rise. If ads begin losing steam, consider moving back to CPM to generate increased awareness.

5. Find new markets.

While engaging your target market is critical, diversify ad objectives is also important to expand your overall impact. LinkedIn recommends using tools such as Lead Gen Forms to find better leads, assess ROI and manage your advertisements at scale.

LinkedIn’s sponsored update model offers a streamlined solution to help brands reach their target market, expand brand awareness, and boost ROI. Best bet? Start with direct sponsored content to see what sticks, then choose the cost model that makes the most sense — CPC or CPM — and adjust as needed to reach the largest LinkedIn audience.

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How To Use LinkedIn For Personal Branding

How To Use LinkedIn For Personal Branding

Creating a personal brand can be a powerful way to achieve important professional and business goals. When you develop a personal brand, you make yourself more recognizable and take charge of how you are perceived online. When done correctly, a personal brand can help you achieve the following:

Building a personal brand is different from becoming an influencer. A personal brand is oriented towards a professional audience and involves content for B2B or B2C audiences.

For this reason, LinkedIn is a good place to start your personal brand building journey.

LinkedIn is the largest networking platform for professionals. It has over 500 million professionals to date and a significant chunk of this network consists of high-level decision-makers. Another interesting LinkedIn stat is that for B2B businesses, 50% of their social traffic just from the platform.

You have the best chance of building a strong personal and professional brand by leveraging LinkedIn. Let’s get down to the specific ways you can use it and become a recognized figure in your industry.

Build a strong profile

Before you can start any other step, you need to have a robust LinkedIn profile for your audience to visit. The profile section is where people will learn more about you so that they can connect with you, follow your content, and figure out if you’re the right fit for their goals. If they’re looking for someone to hire or to get interesting content, your profile content will help them understand if you’re a good fit.

Before you can start writing your profile details, there’s are two things you need to do:

  • Brainstorm the goals of your personal branding efforts because this will direct how you write your profile and posts
  • Determine the right keyword to use in your profile and content. LinkedIn can be compared to a search engine for people. Leveraging the right keyword will help people find you using the search feature

When you’re clear about what you want your branding to achieve, you’re going to shape your content by keeping your goals and the keywords at the forefront. Here are different areas of your profile that you can optimize.

Headline

One of the elements of your profile that’s visible in a LinkedIn search result is your headline. It’s also the first thing that draws people’s eyes after your picture and name. In this spot, you need to create a descriptive headline that includes the keyword you want people to find.

Keep it short and eye-catching so that people want to continue exploring your site.

The About Section

You can write up to 2000 words in your profile’s About section. However, it’s the first sentence that will determine if people read it fully. Create a good hook in the first five words and try to create a story here. End your About section with a call to action. For example, ask your audience to send you an email or to connect with you.

Experiences

Another way to highlight whether your profile is relevant is to add helpful details to your work experiences section in your profile. Elaborate on what you’ve done and try to tie it together with what you currently do. This will help you build a robust profile that gets recognized as a good result for specific searches.

As you create your profile, make sure that it provides information that goes beyond what’s on your resume. Try to make your personality appear in the way you write. LinkedIn is a networking site and you want to reach people at an emotional level by generating trust. Use conversational language and keep your content easy to read to draw more people to your brand.

Connect with your target audience

LinkedIn allows you to connect with 30,000 people. But when you make connections, pick people who potentially belong to the audience that will value your content.

Once you’ve built your profile so that your audience can find out more about you, your next step is to connect with the right people.

To do this effectively, consider your goals and who your audience is. If you’re trying to become a thought leader in the arena of data science, then you need to connect with other data scientists and people in related roles. Getting connected to people who are involved in, say, orthodontics will not serve you. Your content won’t interest them and this will show through a lack of engagement on your posts.

Use LinkedIn’s search feature to find people who are your target audience. Filter by location and keywords and send a personalized note when you do add a connection.

To get more attention and engagement, comment on their posts, wish them on their work anniversaries, and also follow up on your invitations.

The most important thing you can do is to send an invitation that explains why you want to connect with them and how connecting with you can benefit them. This will make it more likely that you’ll get a positive response.

Create engaging LinkedIn posts

So, you’ve made a solid LinkedIn profile and have connected with the right people. But the final ingredient in the mix is to make great content. LinkedIn is like any other social media network in the sense that emotions are the key to engagement. Here’s how to structure your posts:

  • Make the very first line a hook that expresses your point of view in the form of a statement or the start of a story
  • Use short sentences and line breaks to make your post easy to read
  • Tell a meaningful story or share your insight on a trending topic
  • Add a call to action inviting people to comment
  • Use hashtags to make your content findable by topic

Put these tips into practice and you’ll see a rise in engagement as well as views on your profile.

Conclusion

The steps suggested here will all improve your profile’s performance on LinkedIn. However, there’s no substitute for real passion for what you do. Be consistent with the techniques given here and make content regularly that shares what you think.
As you continue to build your personal brand, you should see an increase in followership and get recognized as a thought leader on the topic you focus on. Keep engaging with other people too and you’re bound to grow your personal brand on LinkedIn.

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.