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Brands with 1 percent more followers on LinkedIn have 0,5% higher revenue on average
Recent research by INSEAD discovered that businesses with “1 percent more followers on LinkedIn have 0,5% higher revenue on average” than their contemporaries with fewer followers.
In short, building thought leadership on LinkedIn is good for business.
And they really mean LinkedIn specifically. Not Twitter. Not Instagram. And definitely not TikTok.
“[…] given that LinkedIn followers provide data in their employment history, skills, and interests they are arguably more reliable than followers on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. LinkedIn followers are therefore more likely to serve as potential customers, job candidates, or business partners.”
One major difference between leaders and laggards is that the latter “prioritise social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram and neglect the potential benefits of online professional networks.”
This is an important reminder because the standard practice is to spread yourself thin over many platforms.
In terms of content, their advice is to “stimulate user reactions by producing unique and innovative content, such as short videos, infographics, product launches, feature enhancements, and company achievements.”
If you ask me, being seen as a thought leader on LinkedIn (or anywhere else) is a symptom of having a content strategy and investing in your corporate brand.
Hubspot and Airbnb are pie-in-the-sky sort of benchmarks for most brands. And as such they’re inspirational but also unhelpful.
Trying to fly before you can crawl leads to the smorgasbord of content you see from most B2B brands on social media.
This is where we can get guidance from a meta-analysis of owned social media that looked at social content and its impact on engagement and sales.
What stood out for me was the key insight.
“Contrary to popular beliefs that owned social media mainly drive engagement and hardly affect sales, the results show the opposite, with an average elasticity of .137 for social media engagement and .353 for sales.”
Side note: Elasticity is the measure of the extent to which one variable changes as a result of changes in another variable.
What’s even more interesting is that the type of content that drives sales doesn’t drive much engagement.
And this could lead to misinterpretation of social media as being ineffective at driving revenue because the success of most social media campaigns is measured through engagement.
Before we go into what type of content you should produce let’s address the elephant in the room. Digital Attribution.
Measuring digital attribution is a tricky business as this illustration from the B2B marketing agency The F Company illustrates.
When it comes to the types of content that work, the researchers recommend this:
“To create engagement, content needs to focus on emotional needs and steer away from deals, which are the least effective content type. To stimulate sales, content should be more functional, rather than emotional, in nature and communicate product benefits.” (Emphasis added)
To sum it up, standing out as a thought leader on LinkedIn is good for business. And establishing thought leadership that drives sales requires producing two different types of content (1. content that engages people emotionally AND 2. content that directs them to make a purchase).
And finally, use the right metrics for each type of content.
While we’re on the topic of measuring effectiveness you might wanna check out:
Have the best week!
PS. Stay curious!