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Most marketers know that one of the best places for sales, lead generation and potentially lucrative connections is LinkedIn, the professionals social network. If you already use LinkedIn, is it time to take it to the next level and start paying for ads and sponsored content to expand your reach?

Recent data shows that LinkedIn has a considerable user base of over 450 million users worldwide, considerably more than the 319 million users on Twitter but falling far short of the 1.86 billion accounts registered on Facebook. A total of 57% of companies have their own LinkedIn company page and crucially, around 50% of B2B buyers regularly use LinkedIn when making important purchase decisions.

Paid ads can provide a vital increase to your reach as well as helping to improve your targeting strategy, all working alongside your organic posts and ads. It can also ensure that you keep up with your competition, who will all be using LinkedIn for advertising and most will be making use of paid features. In fact, the research shows that an enormous 94% of B2B marketers are already using LinkedIn to distribute their content – so can you risk being left behind?

What paid LinkedIn tools can do for you?

There are many reasons to consider making use of paid advertising features on LinkedIn, beyond the enormous reach of the platform and the fact that all of your competitors are already doing it. Key benefits include:

• Precise targeting of your ideal target audience – ensuring more of your ads and posts get in front of the right eyes

• Building and maintaining potentially lucrative relationships through LinkedIn connections

• Positioning your company as an authority in your industry and as having the answer to your target audience’s problems

• Increasing the number of qualified responses, click-through rates and lead production

LinkedIn sales features

Like other social platforms, LinkedIn offers a suite of advertising tools to B2B marketers as part of an all-in-one platform. These include:

• Real-time sales updates – including insights into potential and existing leads

• Recommendations for finding new leads

• InMail – a way to directly connect with the key decision makers within the audience you’re targeting

There are also different ways you can use paid advertising on the platform. These include self-service advertising, allowing you to launch and start tracking a targeted campaign in minutes. This kind of format covers everything from sponsored content, InMail and text ads.

B2B marketers can also splash out on managed campaigns, which come with a dedicated LinkedIn team. According to LinkedIn:

“LinkedIn’s account-managed advertising allows you to partner with a dedicated LinkedIn team to create exclusively placed, highly visible ads for premium audiences. Our team will help you fine tune your targeting and create personalized content that converts.”

With this kind of package, you can create dynamic and display ads, sponsored content and InMail and use LinkedIn account targeting to ensure you reach exactly the right audiences. It is inevitably a far more expensive option, but it can deliver impressive returns if you have the budget.