I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with one of my good friends, the CEO of Sweet Fish Media, James Carbary. James' team is known for the podcasts they create with B2B brands like Outreach and PandaDoc. Of all the marketers I know, James is the one with the clearest picture of the future, including the growth potential of channels like LinkedIn.
Many of the 250 million monthly users on LinkedIn keep their profiles up to date as a living resume. That self-reported data is an ad buyer's dream with targeting capabilities rivaling Facebook’s. Although these paid ads can create serious exposure for brands, James' experiments identified the potential for B2B marketers to create an audience without spending a dollar.
A HubSpot study of 5000 businesses found that LinkedIn is over 270% more effective at generating leads than Facebook or Twitter. With 33% of B2B decision makers using LinkedIn to research purchases, marketers who can consistently attract LinkedIn traffic put their company at a significant competitive advantage.
During our talk on Growth Marketing Camp, James told me how he used his personal LinkedIn profile to drive sales for his company. James walked me through his “Aha!” moment when he realized that posts on his personal profile were significantly outperforming his corporate page’s content.
While only sponsored posts from his company's page could reach thousands of views, his organic personal content was getting over 100,000 views regularly. That’s when James decided to experiment more intentionally with LinkedIn as a marketing channel. What he uncovered was a vein of gold that few had tapped into and most companies are still totally unaware of.
LinkedIn has created an incredible experience for the end consumer, monetizing that value through advertising dollars. Like other social media platforms before them, they have increasingly restricted the reach of company profiles and posts to generate more advertising & promotional opportunities. But the secret of LinkedIn that James uncovered lies in the incredible reach of the individual user profile in content creation & distribution.
At first, James started by increasing the frequency and quality of his LinkedIn short-form posts. As his small experimental campaign began to pick up traction, he decided to get the Sweet Fish team involved by creating the LinkedIn Evangelist program.
James had the people at Sweet Fish who wanted to boost their personal LinkedIn presence (while simultaneously helping the company grow) team up with other creatives to start producing LinkedIn content. He found that when each person specialized and became an expert in their own area (podcasts, blogs, sales, etc.), they began to gain much more traffic on their profiles. Slowly but surely, James’ team was becoming a group of LinkedIn thought leaders, with each individual specializing in their own arena.
After James laid out the power of LinkedIn for his team, we dug into his strategy and process for content creation. One statement captures the essence of his campaign:
The best LinkedIn post is the one that pushes a strong, unique perspective. Now, this does not mean that you should simply pick a popular viewpoint and disagree with it. It’s more about creating an original, genuine viewpoint about something in your field of expertise.
Unfortunately, creating a powerful opinion on your area of expertise can be tough. Luckily, James has boiled the content creation formula down to these three simple questions:
Using these questions, James helped his LinkedIn Evangelists build a powerful opinion about their area of expertise, start consistently creating excellent LinkedIn content, and become recognized as experts in their field.
After this masterclass on organic B2B LinkedIn marketing, James laid out the numbers (which is what we all want anyway, right?) I was curious to see how well James’ campaign had worked. The results were stunning. When James and his team looked at which sales channels had performed best in the past 90 days, they found out that their free, organic LinkedIn marketing campaign was the number one source of closed/won revenue.
In only three months, traffic from their LinkedIn content campaign created 9 deals valued at over $216,000.
The organic LinkedIn sales channel was the clear leader, with the second-best channel, referrals, creating only 3 deals. This demonstrated two critical things:
1. First, you don’t have to spend a fortune on ads to run a successful LinkedIn marketing campaign.
2. Second, it showed that working hard and creating excellent marketing content can make the difference between a mediocre year and a record-breaking one for your brand.
Thanks again to my good friend, James Carbary of Sweet Fish Media for taking the time to sit down with me on the show and share some of his LinkedIn mastery! If you want to learn more about Sweet Fish Media, you can check out their website. And don’t forget to visit James’ LinkedIn profile and see the content that’s taking his marketing game to the next level.