How can a brand that offers complex technology solutions, increase leads and brand presence on LinkedIn while translating what they do to prospects in an easy-to-digest way? That was the challenge given to us by our client, SVL Business Solutions.
Our senior buyer persona research found that people were largely becoming frustrated with LinkedIn due to them “receiving a large amount of junk mail” in the inboxes i.e. cold-sales-pitches. In order to win over such a disillusioned audience, we knew that we had to create something genuinely engaging and entertaining because otherwise, we'd knew that we'd be falling on the deafened ears of our clients' buyer personas, as they were just receiving far too much spam in their inbox to take note of us approaching them this way.
Our response was a 6-month LinkedIn campaign that utilised innovative, original, ‘scroll stopping' content at its heart. At the time of doing this, our animated ‘5into1’ content had never been seen by anyone on LinkedIn before. We used these, along with a matching cloud-hosted sales deck for the social selling strategy to answer our client’s challenge, and we performed the entire campaign without any additional budgets for paid advertising.
Instead, we opted for an engagement-first strategy to create wider brand awareness for our client. The bespoke built social selling funnel that we made them linked directly to their diaries, and this fed them with a stream of warm, highly-interested post-engagement data that booked in for their own prospecting calls, with tremendous results.
In general, people on Linkedin are sick of getting sold to, this is true for general posts and direct messages to their inbox. This means that a lot of people will just reject any cold-selling posts or sales pitch messages if there’s not an existing relationship established first.
This is especially true of most senior buyer personas (who our client wanted to target). Founders, CEOs, and other variations of C-suite titled employees were often using their own posts to complain about the high amount of “junk-mail they receive through Linkedin”.
With the understanding that we should not attempt to instantly sell to these senior buyer personas, via posts or direct messaging, we decided to focus our efforts on creating the most entertaining and engaging content possible.
This content needed to resonate with a wide LinkedIn audience as well as influencers to our client's ideal buyer personas. If we could get them to engage with the content first it could then be suggested to their 2nd-degree connections and avoid having to directly target them.
The first step in our strategy was to establish who’s profiles should focus on promoting which of our client’s services. In total the client wanted 6 services to be promoted over the course of a 6-month campaign across 3 profiles. Each of these profiles would take the lead on prospecting for 2 services each and had differing potential buyer personas.
Before posting any of our bespoke content we wanted to ensure that all 3 of these profiles were as ‘warm’ as possible. This meant getting regular engagement inbound (using socially listened content), engaging with their wider network’s posts, and sending successful connection requests to increase each profile's SSI (Social Selling Index) score to a minimum of 75/100.
Having this minimum SSI score before starting the main campaign would ensure that the content had the best chance of the LinkedIn algorithm being favourable when posted.
We noticed that when posting multiple images on LinkedIn, it would automatically crop and display them in a 5 section ‘preview grid’, allowing you to post a maximum of 9 images at a time (with images 6-9 being hidden until clicked on).
We decided to use this framework to design each image/slide in such a way that when LinkedIn automatically cropped it, the first 5 slides would sync up perfectly, working individually and as a whole. To take it a step further we used animated gif’s which resulted in a post that looked like nothing else on Linkedin and was an immediate ‘scroll stopper’. We called it the ‘5 into 1’.
Now that we had our creative idea, we came up with a post structure that told a story throughout the 9 slides but focused on getting the viewer's attention on the first 4-5 by using minimal copy. This was to try and encourage the viewer to click through the hidden slides where more elaborate copywriting and detail could be used. This eye-candy content was linked directly to the Social selling funnel.
Since the start of the campaign, Brand Awareness has increased by over 2079%. This was calculated by taking a combined average of the Social Engagement increases and the Follower Number increases.
Social engagement increased by an average of 2117%. This was measured by comparing average impressions, reactions and comments before and after the campaign. Follower numbers also increased by an average of 2041% across the company page and 3 personal pages.
We averaged 14,030 views, 240 likes and 30 comments across all 6 shares of our 5into1 content and flowed all of this data into our social selling funnel.
We successfully used LinkedIn to understand our clients' buyer personas to a far greater extent than was previously known from their CRM data. The enriched data gained in the initial research allowed us to be far more targeted with both our marketing lists and our sequences of messages to these audiences.
SVL’s average cost per acquisition (CPA) before the campaign(s) was between £500-£700 and we lowered that to between £100-200. A decrease of 82%. We did this by maximising the usage of free communication channels provided by LinkedIn and specifically by applying ‘If This Then That’ (IFTTT) logic to our outreach approach to target only the most active prospects on LinkedIn.
By using innovative, original content and utilising LinkedIn’s most powerful features, we created a low-cost sales funnel that filters highly targeted leads and allows them to never leave the platform until a phone call is booked.
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