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June 4, 2020

163: LinkedIn Message Ads: The Convergence of Influencer Marketing and Paid Social

163: LinkedIn Message Ads: The Convergence of Influencer Marketing and Paid Social

One of the goals of influencer marketing is to incite the word of mouth marketing that organic social alone can't, but there are times that we will still pay to play and employ Paid Social as part of our marketing. How might we be able to use Paid Social as part of our influencer outreach? This is a case study from my own influencer marketing program for the launch of my new book, The Age of Influence, and how I am leveraging one of the unique and most cost-effective forms of Paid Social that many don't know exist or haven't utilized properly: LinkedIn Message Ads.

Key Highlights 

[02:16] Why I Am Passionate About Influencer Marketing

[04:04] Paid Social

[04:45] How I Leverage Paid Social

[07:34] Ad Product On LinkedIn

[09:42] How To Create Ad Product On LinkedIn

[13:24] My Approach On Making LinkedIn Message Ads

[15:27] How I Set Up My LinkedIn Campaign

[16:27] My 2 Approaches On Marketing My Book

[21:39] Hyper-targeting

[25:05] Alternative Outside Facebook Messenger

[26:22] Conclusion

Notable Quotes

  • Whenever you want to reach a goal. You reach in a paid social, you spend a little money. And inevitably, whatever KPI, whatever metric, whatever outcome you want, it's going to help you reach it.
  • By tapping into these influencers and by having something bigger than my own, it creates something that's more compelling. This is an example of leveraging influencers in terms of this ko content creation.
  • Influencers is not just about paying someone to say something for you. influences. Also, if I get my product in the hands of these people would incite word-of-mouth marketing.
  • The first thing is, if you are going to develop a relationship with someone on LinkedIn, knowing the power that it has, wouldn't you want to give something of value to begin that relationship?
  • So if you want to make these LinkedIn message ads work for you, you need to think of the person receiving it as an influencer. And you need to find a way to add value to them without being able to ask them how you can add value to them.
  • And that's where LinkedIn has its value in all this is that if we're looking for people with titles, that is the premier place to look. And if you think that advertising on LinkedIn has to be expensive, you need to understand how this model of LinkedIn messaging works.

    Links mentioned in the show:

My Marketing Book Giveaway: https://nealschaffer.com/marketing-books-giveaway/

The Age of Influence Free Preview: https://nealschaffer.com/age-of-influence-preview/

The Age of Influence on Amazon: https://nealschaffer.com/ageofinfluence

Episodes mentioned in the show:

157: Influencer Marketing before the Internet: A Personal Case Study to Help Guide You Towards Success Today

147: LinkedIn Ads: A Comprehensive Look (AJ Wilcox Interview)


Neal Schaffer:

This is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help sales and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners, build, leverage and monetize their influence in digital and social media. Hey, everybody, welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer. This is episode number 163. And I want to give you a little bit of advice around paid social, specifically LinkedIn. But before I get there, if you are new to this podcast, or have been listening to it for a little while, I just wanted to reintroduce who I am, how I help businesses, and why this podcast. So as you probably figured out, my name is Neal Schaffer. I'm actually based here in Orange County, California, sandwiched between Los Angeles and San Diego, in, well, not so bad part of the world, no complaints, I help businesses in a variety of ways. I actually teach executives at a few universities around the world here in the United States at Rutgers business school, as well as in Ireland at the Irish Management Institute in Finland at the University of avascular. I do a lot of speaking not just at conferences, but for corporations, professional associations and training. I have also written a few books, my most recent is called the age of influence. So looking at digital and social media marketing through the lens of influence is really what that book and what this podcast is all about. And I help businesses through a variety of ways coaching, I also I'd say right now, the number one thing that I do a lot with businesses is a fractional cmo service where I work on behalf of your staff, and together with your staff help you reach your marketing objectives. So this podcast is really about me sharing all of my experiences with you so that you can better well, you can become a smarter marketer, smarter entrepreneur, smarter business owner. So that's why today, I want to talk about LinkedIn, and not just LinkedIn in general. But I want you to think about LinkedIn in a different sort of way. So as you know, for those of you listening to this podcast, I am very passionate about influencer marketing, because I believe that when we look at the various channels you have in digital, to promote your product or service, there's only a few different things you can do. Social media marketing is obviously one of the biggest things you can do. However, organic social media while it is I'm not gonna say a necessary evil, it is necessary to have a voice when people look you up to have a presence to have a community that you can build through an organic profile. But it may not help you reach a lot of your business objectives. And it's not going to incite that word of mouth marketing. That was the promise of organic social media back in the day, like 10 years ago, it just doesn't exist. And this is really where influencers exist. But influencers is not just about paying someone to say something for you. influences. Also, if I get my product in the hands of these people would incite word of mouth marketing. And I've talked about this in a few episodes about influencer marketing here. Most recently in memory of my father of influencer marketing before the internet, who are the people that if you were to develop a relationship with them, can help move your business forward. So some of you who have seen me speak recently have seen my own case study of how I did my own influencer marketing with the release of the age of influence. And I want to share with you one aspect of it today, because it reminds me of the potential power, that when you mix this concept of influencer marketing together with other elements of digital and social media marketing, it truly becomes really, really powerful. So we're going to talk about paid social, well, if organic social media doesn't incite word of mouth, at least paid social ensures that we are heard. And I am not an enemy of paid social whatsoever. It can absolutely complement everything that you do, right. It's like the water spigot. Whenever you want to reach a goal. You reach in a paid social, you spend a little money. And inevitably, whatever KPI, whatever metric, whatever outcome you want, it's going to help you reach it. That's the analogy that I use in my book and that I use when I speak a lot, but not every paid social product is the same. Not every social network is the same. So you know, how am I leveraging paid social as part of my own program? So I tapped into influencers, many of them who endorsed my book and who are also authors, so I further tapped into them by putting together a more Book Giveaway. In fact, it's actually going to be going on until a few days after this podcast episodes publishes. So you'll want to make sure that you go into the show notes and check out the link to that. But by tapping into these influencers and by having something bigger than my own marketing book giveaway by giving away the marketing books of a dozen leading authors, and by by some of them contributing multiple books, have been able to give out giveaway you know, more than 100 books to more than 60 lucky winners. It creates something that's more compelling. This is an example of leveraging influencers in terms of this ko content creation. In this case, it was really participation in this giveaway. Now, I didn't expect the influencers to actually promote this giveaway to their audience, some of them decided to, which is only extra mileage for for that relationship, right. But where am I going with paid social with respect to the giveaway as well, since it's such a general marketing book giveaway, it's really a great way to tap into more of a b2c approach more of consumers that are all on Facebook and Instagram, that have an interest in marketing that have some brand affinity with me. And you can imagine the types of promotions I can do in paid social on platforms like Facebook, like Instagram, like Twitter, it's funny, I wanted to do one on Pinterest. But for whatever reason, I guess, so many people have done so much bad advertising, with contests and giveaways there that they were extremely conservative, extremely sensitive, and I couldn't figure out a way to make my ad compliant with what they wanted. So I just skipped Pinterest altogether. But Twitter, and Facebook and Instagram made a lot of sense. And obviously with different audiences, different look alike audiences, different custom audiences, using the pixel and what have you, you can imagine all the different variations that could use to try to find the most cost effective way to get the word out about this giveaway, which is going to help me reach multiple objectives, obviously, related to the release of the age of influence. So you notice that I didn't talk about LinkedIn, because LinkedIn traditionally is a higher wealth demographic. And therefore, because of that fact, LinkedIn prices, its advertising to be very expensive. Now, hopefully, some of you who have been avid listeners remember my interview with AJ Wilcox, he is Mr. LinkedIn ads. And you should go back to that episode if you want to learn more about this. But LinkedIn can be very, very expensive, especially for something like a marketing book giveaway, it really doesn't make sense. But there is one type of ad product on LinkedIn. And he and I talked about it a little bit. And I finally had my own first sort of experiment with this type of ad product. And it really doesn't exist anywhere else in social media. And for the fact that I ran two different campaigns, one just did not perform, and I stopped, but the other continues to reap dividends, I've gotten really excited about wanting to share the results with you. And maybe in your marketing, you might find a place for this as well. So we know in social media, we have the ability to promote ads on desktop, we can show them on the sidebar, those aren't really effective, really today, where most ads appear are in the newsfeed. And this is for any given social network right now, Facebook Messenger ads have taken this a little bit further, we create the ad in our Facebook ad manager. And we have the ability to show that ad in Facebook Messenger. So we're sort of getting into the notifications that many Facebook users may look into. And if you haven't experimented with Facebook Messenger ads, you really should and see if they benefit you however, you know, you don't want to take something that you would promote in social media and simply add Facebook Messenger as a channel for it, I don't think you're going to be very effective, I think it's going to be effective. When you focus on creating an ad. That just makes sense to a Facebook Messenger user that doesn't look spammy doesn't look like an ad and appears like you're having a natural conversation. I haven't seen any Facebook Messenger ads do this. So and I don't know how many of you have ever clicked on a Facebook Messenger ad as well. So I want you to stick with me, because there is another type of ad. The same with Facebook Messenger ad being very special. You can't create an ad that sends a Twitter DM or that sends an Instagram DM or a Facebook. Well, I guess you could call it a Facebook message within messenger. So Facebook maybe has this product. But like I said, it has its issues. But LinkedIn actually has this product. And with LinkedIn, it is a completely separate product. You create your ad creative specifically for the purpose of landing in the inbox of a LinkedIn user. Now perhaps some of you have seen some of these as well. It's called the sponsored InMail now Not everybody looks at their LinkedIn messages. On the other hand, other people will automatically receive LinkedIn messages in their Gmail or Outlook inbox. I do not believe that sponsored emails actually get sent as those sort of messages. But they do appear in your LinkedIn message folder and they appear at the top, it is clear it is sponsored. And I'll be completely honest with you, I never thought these would be effective, because I never found them to be effective when I see them as a reader. So maybe you're in the same boat, you're wondering, you know, Neil, how might I be able to use this for my business, and I don't think it's going to be relevant for everybody. But you might be in a certain scenario where it makes sense. The first thing is, if you are going to develop a relationship with someone on LinkedIn, knowing the power that it has, wouldn't you want to give something of value to begin that relationship? Right, if you're going to spend any advertising money, so some companies will spend money on free trials, you know, come to our webinar, I wanted to do something that provides even more value. And I wanted it to be aligned with my concept of influence of marketing, and the release of my book. So one thing that I know about the publishing industry is that libraries, will professional associations, I suppose, as well, and they hire speakers. But also universities, if your book is of that caliber, have tremendous marketing power, in terms of buying a lot of books, right? If a marketing professor uses your book for a class of 100, that's 100 books for 500, that's 500 bucks. It's why a lot of professors actually publish their own books, it's sort of a built in audience, I consider my approach to marketing to be best practices, some people have caught it to be academic. So LinkedIn does offer a very, very attractive way of reaching the inboxes of its users that is really unparallel in social media. Now, some of you may have received these sponsored in males, and they've just look like spam for lack of a better word. Because I believe the marketers that are using them, are just using it like another advertising channel. And this is a thing, it's the same concept of reaching out to influencers, we know that LinkedIn is a platform of influencers, for lack of a better analogy. These are business decision makers, right? These are people that influence, you know, buying decisions, they influence huge enterprises. They're very wealthy. They have robust professional networks, that often include other professional influencers. So you know, when you think about it that way, it's like the brands that sometimes reach out to me, you know, offering a $25, Amazon gift card for something that that's just not worth even a few minutes of my time, and me thinking, I never want to do business with this company, again, because they've reached out to me the wrong way. So if you want to make these LinkedIn message ads work for you, you need to think of the person receiving it as an influencer. And you need to find a way to add value to them without being able to ask them how you can add value to them. Make sense? So let me tell you my approach. So I mentioned that universities are very influential in the book publishing world if your book is at that type of caliber. So I've been told that my book was, and I thought to myself, because I know what maximize your social, there was several universities that used it as a textbook, that went to be great if the age of influence was also used as a textbook at universities that those marketing professors at universities are influencers, every one of them. And in fact, what you find is that a lot of marketing professors, some are full time, some are part time, some are adjunct, some are assistant, some are also full time marketers, maybe for their own agencies, maybe four brands, and they are influential within the marketing community where they live. So they are true marketing influencers, and they influence a lot of people year after year after year. So this is just one of the type of influencers that I decided to try to align with when I created my influencer marketing program for the release of the age of influence. And when you think about how am I going to engage with university professors, so I could do sort of a cold outreach of finding email addresses. I don't think that's going to be very effective. Some of them might be on Twitter if I do a search, but not everybody's going to put the fact that their professor marketing on their Twitter profile, which is even less of a chance if it's on A Facebook profile, but a LinkedIn profile, I know that they are going to put the fact that they are a professor of marketing at a university, right. And that's where LinkedIn has its value in all this is that if we're looking for people with titles, that is the premier place to look. And if you think that advertising on LinkedIn has to be expensive, you need to understand how this model of LinkedIn messaging works. So setting up the campaign is really easy. I decided to use the lead gen form that LinkedIn has, I think it actually builds a little bit more trust, instead of sending them to a site where they fill out a form, why not let them do it within LinkedIn very, very easily, you can ask for their LinkedIn profile URL that is a natural that you should ask for that they'll easily give up because they're on LinkedIn. And that will immediately let you know who this person is, right? For every email, opt in, you get, you don't know who these people are, I mean, you might be able to use a service to try to find more information. But when it's a LinkedIn profile URL, obviously, you know who they are. And you can ask for an email address, if you need to send them something of value, you need their email address to do so. So these become very natural things to ask for. Now, my two campaigns that I mentioned, so they were both around the book. And as I say, if you want to incite word of mouth in a community, you got to get them to get your product. So in this case, I said, You know what, I am going to reach out to this community. And I want to encourage them to read my book. And yes, I'm going to give it away to them for free, because they're influencers, why wouldn't I? So I had two approaches. One was, I am going to approach professors of marketing, not just the United States, because I am very global, my perspective, I have the ability to reach outside of the United States as well on the LinkedIn platform. So I created an audience, United States, where are the countries that I want to visit? Where are the countries where marketing is more advanced, where digital marketing, social media marketing is more advanced? And like I said, Where would I like to go? Teach? Where would I like to go on a business trip, where might I go on a business trip, where I can also visit this university and do a guest lecture where I can collaborate with them. So that sort of set my geography, right, the title was very, very easy, there's a few variations of marketing professor. And the only other thing really was the size of the organization, I didn't want to, there's a lot of small sort of online institutes that might only have 10 employees, they're not, they're not the type of institution I wanted to deal with. So I set a minimum threshold, you need to have at least x number of employees to be considered. And it pretty much creates a very, very fine tuned audience. I'm gonna say the audience size, I changed the country's here and there, but the audience size was somewhere between six to 9000 people. Now, in the world of Facebook ads, they're gonna say, oh, no, that's too narrow. But with messaging ads, it's a little bit different. They're not gonna send your ad out to everybody all at once. And not everybody checks their LinkedIn messages every day. So what I've learned is it's very much a slow burn, even though I put in a lot more budget on one of these campaigns, the burn rate is pretty much the same. Now, I mentioned I two campaigns, what about the other campaign, the one I ended up switching off? Well, that second campaign was related about the fact that I also offer a fractional cmo service. So because a lot of my fractional cmo clients are located here in Orange County, why not do a campaign where I reach out to CEO CEOs, CMOs executives, of companies here in Orange County, and the problem with that one, it didn't perform nearly as well. And the people that reached out to me as I could see from the LinkedIn profile URLs, they were not the type of company that I was hoping to find, for instance, I could have done the same of trying to reach out to influencers. Do you know that there's a lot of influencers that say, they work at YouTube, or they work at Google? And therefore, if you were going to do a targeted ad at employees of Google, they would see it as well. So this was sort of the issue. Yes, I was getting CEOs. And even though I was clicking a minimum size, it just didn't seem to be the right audience for who I wanted to reach. And I could have done a little bit more fine tuning on the targeting, but I decided that, you know, first of all, you get impressions, but then who opens the email? And then who clicks on the email, right? This is email marketing 101. And I just was not getting a good vibe from the numbers I saw. Now, with my university professors. I was offering them something of value. I was saying, Hey, you're a university professor of marketing. I also teach marketing at a few universities as part of executive education initiatives. And I found that influencer marketing is as much as we talk about it. There's no textbook on the market for it. So I wrote this book, and I hope that you'll find value in it. And if you find it recommendable, I'd love to obviously, if you could recommend it, that would be great online. And if we can collaborate, please let me know. Because I am doing a lot of Virtual Teaching of marketing classes, what have you. And I that is that is the message. It's offering value. It's relatable. It's saying I do what you do. I found this was lacking. What do you think, and it was just really from the heart and soul, it's something you don't see a lot of in marketing, I think we need more of. So that was the message. And I was really impressed with the sort of results that got now depending on where you target. This is where the pricing comes in. So you're wondering, Neil, okay, LinkedIn is really expensive. What does this look like from a pricing perspective. Now, with these LinkedIn messages, it is a cost per impression, meaning that your email is being delivered to the inbox of LinkedIn users, so your pain every time it is delivered, and usually the sponsored messages appear on the very top. So if they're going to be open to kind of be open, right? And what I've noticed with different audiences, it's going to depend on your industry, I've noticed a range of between 30 to 60. Sets. Okay. Now, it went down to 30 cents when I was targeting countries like Brazil. But then when I was targeting CMOS, CEOs locally in Orange County, and went up to like 55, to 60 cents, when I was targeting more of the professor's here in the United States, Canada, UK, it went up to about 40 cents. So I've been at bids in the 30 to 40 cents range, pretty much. And like I said, let's, let's look at the results. Right, what has happened. So here's the powerful thing, of this 9000 person community, or, you know, between seven to 9000, whatever, what is the value of being able to get seen by that community that we know is hyper targeted? What if by spending a little bit of money, half of the people in that community can see you that's huge, right. And this is the challenge of, you know, fragmented audiences, which influencer marketing hopes to serve. But you know, in this way, we can really hyper target with LinkedIn. And so far, I've been running this campaign for about a month. And of those, you know, 789 1000 people, I have been able to actually get in front of 20 to 25% of them. To me, that is huge. Not every marketing professor has an interest in influencer marketing. And not everybody who has an interest in influencer marketing has an interest in my book. And that's okay. This is marketing one on one, right? But what sort of traction might I be able to make with some of those 789 1000 people, so of the one quarter of them, that actually solid, what happens next, I have consistently had about a 50% click through rate. So when you think about your own traditional email marketing, you know, 30% is pretty much the average, maybe 20 to 30% these days, and these are people that opted into your list is your customers, right? These are people that I don't know, that I'm getting a 50% open rate from. So I think that speaks to a few things, the success of the message, the fact that it's coming from me, and I'm the author of the book, and the fact that it's it's a targeted audience that has an interest in learning, and finding out new things that they can utilize in their teachings and for their business. So okay, Neil, you paid and 50% of those people open and actually read your message. What's next. So I just calculated that the click through rate, or I should say not click through rate, but the actual lead generation, so people click through, and then filled out the form and sent it to me, is 15.5%. So when you do the math, the cost per lead is somewhere it takes about you know that the conversions 15% up because I've played around with with, you know, the budget and what have you, I'm getting around a, it takes about 10 impressions to get a lead. So for every 40 cents I spend, I need to spend about $4, before I get a lead now, that was at $5. And I've gotten it down to $4. But that open rate and that conversion rate, and the ability to spend $4, to be able to get my book in the hands of someone in this very, very influential community, to me is very, very cheap. I have done similar Facebook campaigns with look alike audiences and using my Pixel what have you, just to get people to my landing page rights? Yeah, you can get it under $1. But more often than not, it might not be under $1. For a lot of you. For some of you it might be $2 or $3. For some of you might be 50 cents, right? It's all over the place. But I don't think for the type of community that I'm targeting. I think that this is very reasonable. And compared to the campaign that didn't do well, which was instead of $4 per lead was more like $14 I think that this did very, very well very, very acceptable. And that's why I'm bringing it up to you. If you've ever spent $4 in advertising to get one lead, then this is something you may want to look into now how you use LinkedIn messaging, if you just want to offer a free trial or something, I really don't know how effective it's going to be. And I'll also say with LinkedIn, that yes, you could use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you could do dedicated outreach, but the fact that it's sponsored means it's going to get at the top of the LinkedIn messages. And we all know that there's so much spam with LinkedIn messages, at least when it's sponsored, there is a certain amount of credibility. So it is something that I do recommend you experiment with, if you want to tap into that audience, and you want to generate a different type of ROI. Using messaging, there is an alternative outside of Facebook Messenger. And I would tend to believe, based on the demographic and what I'm seeing that it's going to be more effective, until you prove me wrong with one of your case studies. And I'm always, always wanted to hear case studies for all you Facebook Messenger marketers out there. So hopefully, through listening to this episode, you've gotten a better feel for not only who might be an influencer, but how you can reach out to them and how you can use paid means to reach out to them in terms of these LinkedIn message ads. I want to thank you for being a loyal listener. I always need to ask because my reviews on Amazon and I'm not complaining. But I have more reviews on Amazon for a book that came out two months ago than for this podcast. So I want to encourage you not to be shy and just add a few words of encouragement. It'll help keep my fuel burning to be able to give you more and more content as podcast, but also help expose this podcast to others who might not have heard about it. Also make sure you continue to subscribe. I've had some great interviews in the past. We got some more good ones on the horizon. And through all of your support and subscriptions and comments. I have more and more pretty amazing people that have reached out to me wanting to be interviewed here that I can't wait to share their stories with you and to look at how to better leverage digital and social media marketing through the lens of influence. Alright everybody. That's it for another episode of the maximize your social influence podcast. Until next time, make it a great virtually social Day. Bye Bye, everybody.