LinkedIn is like the big boss of social media platforms. Whilst users will slap pictures of their breakfast and last night’s extravaganzas all over Facebook, LinkedIn is booted and suited – strictly professional and for professionals. So, if you’re looking at B2B advertising, and want to raise awareness of your products and services among business owners and working professionals – well, then that’s the audience that LinkedIn caters to – almost exclusively.

But other than it serving up this particular type of dynamic, why LinkedIn?

Well, first off, it’s a network with more than 450 million users, 40% of which are using the network daily – so it’s clear there’s an audience there. But what’s more, LinkedIn also allows for a unique sort of targeting. You see, already you have a platform filled with professionals, but beyond that, you can home in on your target audience in a way that no other social media network will allow.

That’s because, in a similar way to Facebook, LinkedIn provides a particular type of targeting that allows you to delve right down into the nitty gritty – age, gender, interests, location – you name it. But what sets it apart, and perhaps most importantly when it comes to B2B, is occupation. Because unlike Facebook, LinkedIn offers targeting across the whole occupational mix – title, education, employer, company, company size, industry – it’s all there.

So, let’s for a moment imagine you sell IT solutions for large software companies, and you’re a business based in London. You need to target the decision makers of large corporations in this area – we’re talking the CTOs, CEOs and other C-blank-Os. ‘No problem-O’ says LinkedIn – you can target all employees with these job titles, working for large software companies in your desired area. Impressive stuff, right?

And if that isn’t reason enough to give LinkedIn a whirl, what if we told you that you could do it really quite cheaply? And not only do it, but get results too.

In fact, NewsCred found that compared to Google AdWords, their LinkedIn marketing had six times the ROI and 75% lower cost per lead. What’s more, unlike Twitter where you’re billed for almost every interaction involved in a sponsored tweet, LinkedIn doesn’t charge you extra if someone likes, shares, or comments on your sponsored content.

So, how does it all work?

Well, rather like Google AdWords, actually (if you’re familiar with that!). For all LinkedIn advertising products, bidding works as a second-price auction. That means if you win the auction, you will only pay the minimum needed to beat the second-highest bidder. Their bid controls what you will end up paying. You’ll never pay more than that, regardless of how much more than them you bid. Unlike AdWords though, LinkedIn sets a minimum bid level for all advertisers – so everyone has to bid above that level.

Does that mean that all you have to do is put in the highest bid to win? Well, no actually – sorry!

Because like AdWords, LinkedIn is very much a ‘users first’ organisation, striving to create an environment that is beneficial for LinkedIn users first, and advertisers second. That means that when it comes to ad placement, LinkedIn will take into account not only your bid, but also your ad relevancy (just like Google) and past performance. And, of course, it may be ‘users first’ but it’s not entirely altruistic – LinkedIn want to make money as much as you do! A useful video which summarises this in more detail can be found here.

So, if you’re looking to sell tents to travellers, then perhaps LinkedIn isn’t the platform for you. But, if you’re trying to sell tent fabric to tent manufacturers and looking for highly targeted, affordable results – well then get in touch and together we’ll see what we can do for you!