As a B2B business leader, you’ve likely heard much about the merits of social media marketing — and the discipline’s near-constant evolution.
One of the more recent developments is the emergence of LinkedIn video as a popular marketing and sales vehicle. While many folks formerly mistook LinkedIn as just a recruiting tool, the platform has long outperformed that role — and released new livestreaming functionality last year to boot. That means LinkedIn video is now one of the more effective B2B marketing tools to add to existing arsenals. For those looking to get in on the action, we’ll run through the tools your marketing and sales folks can use to execute a LinkedIn video strategy, preliminary KPIs to consider, and how to create and promote videos on businesspeople’s favorite social media platform — without a big budget.
Today, LinkedIn advertising content gets 15x more impressions than job postings, and the social platform is fast becoming the one of choice for B2B marketing and sales. Four out of five LinkedIn users play a role in driving business decisions, making the platform extremely effective for directly engaging the roles that sales desires. Many actual decision-makers are not only heavily engaged on LinkedIn but also list their job function there, unlike on Facebook or Twitter, for example. This means that marketers can specifically target audiences by job function on LinkedIn, vs. settling on more general descriptors on other platforms. Accordingly, half of U.S. marketers said they would incorporate LinkedIn into their 2021 strategies — the first year the metric has exceeded 50%.
LinkedIn substantially leads other platforms in terms of lead conversion. Its visitor-to-lead conversion rate (2.74%) is almost three times those of Facebook and Twitter combined (.98%), according to HubSpot.
LinkedIn articles, paid ads and engagement tactics such as commenting on and sharing user content certainly reap benefits, but it’s LinkedIn videos that caught the marketing world’s attention last year.
In 2020, as salespeople lost the ability to connect face-to-face with prospects and decision-makers stuck at home used social media more, the use of video in marketing efforts continued to grow. Over 80% of marketers incorporated video into non-paid advertising strategies in 2020, according to a survey by video-as-a-service provider QuickFrame. When surveyed in December, 80% of video marketers said the medium had directly helped increase sales, and 83% said it helped them generate leads. Ninety-one percent of marketers feel the pandemic has made video “more important for brands,” per video company Wyzowl.
Marketers measure the success of social-media videos by more than just views. They want to see engagement: likes, comments and, most importantly, shares. And from an engagement standpoint, video on LinkedIn provides high ROI. It’s the most re-shared form of content on the platform, with users more than 20x more likely to reshare video than text content.
“The great thing about social videos is that they’re interactive,” says Lou Bortone, a veteran marketing executive who produces and advises on video marketing through advice network wiseHer. “Somebody comments, and you can comment back and actually build a relationship on that.”
3 Ways Social Media Marketing Directly Affects Your Bottom Line: Our social media advisor explains why and how social selling can be less expensive and more effective than traditional advertising channels.
If you’re looking to win with video on LinkedIn, then pay special attention to LinkedIn Live. The platform’s livestreaming feature launched to individual users in 2019 and to businesses last year, just in time for the virtual events industry to explode. Combined with LinkedIn Events, LinkedIn Live allows your business to host and promote virtual events, either pre-recorded or livestreamed.
Livestreaming serves a different purpose than video ads or explainers, those short videos that lay out the value proposition of your organization’s product or service. Livestreaming has the unique power to build community by engaging your network and prospects in real time, allowing them to have a conversation with your brand leaders in a less-scripted way. On average, LinkedIn Live videos receive 7x more reactions and 24x more comments than native, or pre-recorded, videos from the same broadcasters.
Our discussion of LinkedIn video marketing wouldn’t be complete without mention of the sales and marketing funnel.
To review: A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a potential customer that has shown interest in your offering — for example, by following your video’s suggestion to submit their email address and join your mailing list. There’s no set definition here; your team defines which actions constitute an MQL for each campaign. You’ll hand an MQL over to your sales team, which will confirm and further gauge the MQL’s interest in your offering, usually via a live conversation, and deem it a sales qualified lead (SQL). From there, the sales team will “work the lead,” ideally into a paying customer.
You can use the LinkedIn Live feature to work all stages of the funnel: Live panel discussions can increase brand awareness, show off your team’s subject-matter expertise or expand your network by reaching viewers who don’t already follow your company on LinkedIn. And live product or service demos give your brand managers the opportunity to get feedback from their target audience in real time.
Further down the funnel, teams might replicate a sales call on LinkedIn Live, reaching a wider audience than they would in a one-on-one meeting. They can use the tool to pitch value propositions, overcome sales objections or showcase case studies. And marketers can use live video to showcase new products or services: For instance, if a technology retailer hosts a livestream about this season’s coolest gadgets, the presenter might also include her own brand’s inventory and link to the product page.
Livestreamed product reveals or Q&A sessions can engage current customers. And, as a final, example, livestreaming the announcement of a company partnership can bring two organizations’ current and potential customers together to ask questions and learn how the new relationship will benefit them.
A duo of tools can help you target your preferred audiences, then track engagement-related metrics:
You’ll measure the success of your LinkedIn video marketing campaigns by tracking a set of KPIs specific to the campaign’s goals. Some examples:
For a brand awareness campaign, you may decide to track the number of clicks through to your site and overall impressions (i.e., the number of LinkedIn users who were served your video in their feeds) in order to calculate your click-through rate. The formula for this is:
Clicks / Impressions = Click-Through Rate
The mid-funnel is all about engagement, which includes not only clicks but also actions such as likes, comments and shares. To calculate your engagement rate, decide on which of those engagement actions are most important to your campaign — or perhaps it’s all of them. Divide by your page’s total number of followers, and multiply by 100 to find the engagement rate:
(Total Engagement / Total Followers) x 100 = Engagement Rate
Or, you may focus on the call to action (CTA) in your video. Perhaps your video encourages users to fill out a form and download a case study, after which you’ll consider them MQLs. Measure the number of MQLs the video has generated according to your definition of the term, then divide by the video’s cost to calculate your cost per lead.
Number of CTA actions / Cost of producing and distributing video = Cost per lead
high-budget. However, you do need to get the basics right. Bortone, who now produces B2B marketing videos, shares tips from his days as a Hollywood movie producer:
If your video entails talking straight to the camera, then “honestly, you really just need a webcam, a decent microphone and a background that doesn't look like a hurricane just hit,” says Bortone. If your shelves are clear of any incriminating objects, “you are well-lit, you can be heard, you can be seen, and your connection isn’t bumping in and out, that's pretty much all you need to get started.”
If you have the resources, then create a video stinger, a short intro and outro clip with compelling graphics and a feel that reflects your brand. You don’t necessarily need an expensive designer for this: Marketing team members or interns can play around in a basic video editing software with your logo and some sound effects to see what magic they can make. Many thousands of high school and college kids have done this to great effect on YouTube for their own purposes.
In social video as in movies, story is everything. Every video, from spur-of-the-moment livestreams to product explainers, must tell a story — which could be as simple as, “Have you got this problem? We’ve got this solution.” Content creators may be tempted to focus on product features rather than the business problem that the product solves. But discussions about bells and whistles aren’t what customers are looking for — they want to know which problems those features solve. And, there has to be some kind of conflict resolution.
“There should always be a ‘moral’ to the story,” says Bortone, “In marketing terms, there needs to be a compelling reason to act on the call to action.”
For example, if you clearly convey a viewer’s problem (e.g., “My onboarding process takes too long”) and present your solution (e.g., “Our software automates half of the onboarding process”), the viewer is more likely to act on that CTA (e.g., visiting your website) or liking, commenting on or sharing the video.
“A favorite expression in La La Land that I heard daily was, ‘We’ll fix it in post-production,’” says Bortone. “Just about anything you shot could be vastly improved and enhanced once you were in the editing suite.”
In 2021, even a novice video creator has the same editing tools at their disposal as the pros, so even if your video footage isn’t ideal, you can usually dress it up and “fix it in post” with applications like iMovie, Corel VideoStudio or Adobe Premiere Elements. These platforms have a low learning curve, so it shouldn’t take even entry-level employees much time to learn basic functions.
How to Use Social Proof to Increase Sales: Sales can see a boost from sprinkling social proof, or customer endorsements, into your videos. It’s essentially influencer marketing — but with real customers.
Backing up your video with other collateral results in a rich, integrated campaign.
“If I’m doing a five-part series on LinkedIn, chances are I’m also sending out five emails at the same time on the same topic,” says Bortone. “And I may be posting to other platforms to promote the same thing. Everything is an integrated message — there’s no disconnect.”
In other words, you can’t just post a video on LinkedIn and then sit back and hope the leads come in. LinkedIn isn’t a push medium; it’s an interactive medium. The goal of using it is to help sales and marketing teams build relationships.
In Hollywood, movie premieres are major events with red-carpet festivities. Borrow a page from that playbook, and turn videos into events with an appropriate amount of hype. You might build anticipation around an upcoming LinkedIn video by first posting “teaser posts” and have folks in your organization promote it on their own LinkedIn pages. For example, if your upcoming video will showcase five effective investment strategies to fund retirement, then your teaser might feature just two, then encourage users to watch your page for more.
A similar Hollywood mainstay is the sequel — look no further than the Star Wars or Marvel franchises to see their power and popularity. You can piggyback on this trend by doubling down on your most popular videos or creating a series around your best content. If you’ve posted a popular video about how to engage in social selling, for example, you might livestream a series of “virtual bootcamps” that dive into more detail.
“We’re living in a world gone video, so the sooner you can become more proficient and creative in the way you use video, the better,” says Bortone. “Video creates familiarity and trust. It is the fastest — and can be your most powerful — tool for increasing your brand’s impact and influence.”
Tap into LinkedIn’s video marketing opportunities, track the KPIs relevant to your business’s goals, tweak your execution — and feel confident that your marketing strategy is as cutting-edge as they come.
Lou Bortone is a video marketing consultant and an expert on wiseHer, an advice network for entrepreneurs to help accelerate their business and career growth.