LinkedIn just launched a dedicated community for B2B marketers called LinkedIn Collective. This excites me for many reasons but more on that later.
In a recent post, Jim Habig, VP of Marketing at LinkedIn, announced LinkedIn Collective, hinting at a creative revolution in B2B marketing. He says LinkedIn Collective will be the place to curate and amplify the excellent work that B2B marketers are doing globally.
It sounds like the community will be a central hub for B2B marketers to learn, share and discuss the latest industry trends, best practices, and case studies, with the LinkedIn editorial team curating the content.
LinkedIn Has Always Been About B2B
LinkedIn is the mecca for B2B. It’s been a place for marketers to connect, share and build their networks for years. And the platform continues to shatter revenue and engagement records. LinkedIn revenue increased 26%, and user sessions grew 22%, with “record engagement.” This makes sense. I am always logged into the platform and scroll my feed every few hours.
But what excites me the most about LinkedIn Collective is the intentional focus on amplifying B2B marketing in the industry.
I have worked 20+ years in marketing, most of those years in the B2B and technology sectors. Early in my career, I worked on campaigns for consumer brands and healthcare companies, but my heart has always been with B2B.
Sadly though, the media gives very little attention to B2B marketing. Very rarely will you see a cool influencer campaign featured on the homepage of Adweek, AdAge, or Digiday.
I understand, though. Consumer brands and campaigns have a global appeal. TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and influencer marketing dominate media headlines everywhere, and it keeps people talking, sharing, and clicking. I joke with colleagues that B2B and technology influencers should get the same love and attention as consumer influencers because they have abs too. They need to wear more layers when filming thought leadership content in a data center.
LinkedIn Collective Focusing on Creative
One of the first posts on the LinkedIn Collective page references a YouGov study, where they surveyed 1,600 senior B2B marketing decision-makers. The post “Building a Memorable B2B Brand: Who Will Be the Next Iconic Brand?” highlights data points from the study, comparing B2B and consumer brands. The post focuses on inspiring excellence and success for all B2B marketers. I was inspired.
But I guess I live in a bubble. I have always felt that brands like ServiceNow, AWS, Google Cloud, Snowflake, and others have global appeal and brand name recognition. Growing up and living in Silicon Valley sometimes clouded my perception of reality. I’m sure if I asked a random Gen Zer who doesn’t work in tech or live in Silicon Valley about these companies, they’d look up from their phone and say something like, “Snowflake, yeah, that famous TikToker?”.
I don’t have the data to back up this statement. But I know that some of the largest B2B and technology companies spend millions building their brands online through influencer marketing, brand sponsorships, public relations, and large media buys. Maybe not as much as McDonald’s, Nike, or Disney, but it’s substantial.
I think it’s less about investments in creative advertising campaigns. I think the media is either unaware of the creative work in the industry; they don’t think it’s cool or don’t care.
Does the Media Even Write about the B2B Industry?
I don’t think so. I ran a quick directional experiment to test my hypothesis. I searched all the headlines for Adweek and AdAge since January 1, 2022. Here’s what I found.
Adweek has published 6,597 articles online since the beginning of the year. Less than 1% of those articles mention B2B (“business to business” OR B2B OR “B-to-B”), totaling a whopping 16 articles. I also searched LinkedIn separately within that data set (you’re welcome for the coverage analysis, LinkedIn PR team 🤣) and found 54 mentions and 31 of those being headline mentions. Here’s a nice piece that covered the LinkedIn Collective launch.
AdAge has published 3,313 articles during this same time frame. 1.2% of their media coverage mentions B2B, with five of those being headline mentions. LinkedIn has done much better at getting coverage on AdAge, with 86 total mentions since January and four being headline mentions.
All the searches included scraping headlines and the full body text of each article.
This doesn’t mean that Adweek or AdAge don’t necessarily cover the B2B sector because I didn’t search for specific company names like IBM, Cisco, Snowflake, or others. But this tells me that B2B marketing, as an industry, isn’t relevant to these publications right now.
Moving Beyond Creative Campaigns & Brand Building
I love reading about large creative campaigns and technology brands launching incredible activations. But some unseen initiatives and programs go into building a digital marketing and brand strategy. I hope the LinkedIn Collective editorial team will emphasize more than just creative campaigns or those mentioned in Cannes.
Over the last ten years, I have done a lot of work with B2B and technology brands with data analytics and influencer marketing. Several companies are doing unique and innovative work in the influencer space and using audience insights to understand more about their buyer personas. I do my best to write about what I know, and others in the industry do the same.
LinkedIn Continues to Innovate
It’s been hard to keep up with all the new features and innovations LinkedIn has released over the last few months. But here’s a snapshot of some cool stuff that LinkedIn is doing.
- The LinkedIn Discover feature will soon be curated by LinkedIn’s editorial team instead of by the existing algorithm. This is good news because it means that your content can be seen by the right people rather than just those who are already connected to you.
- LinkedIn also announced the return of its Creator Accelerator Program. It’s an excellent opportunity for new B2B creators to tap into the broader LinkedIn network, learn from others and continue to build their knowledge and expertise. I applied for the first one and wasn’t selected, but it sounds like this will be an ongoing program, so keep an eye out for future cohorts. Apply here.
- LinkedIn also released the LinkedIn Podcast Network, an in-house podcast platform featuring B2B-related news and other shows hosted by some of the platform’s biggest B2B creators.
- LinkedIn has also announced that it will allow its users to post carousels, swipeable photos, or videos, empowering creators to share knowledge more visually to inform, inspire and connect with others on the platform.
These are just a few innovations that LinkedIn has released over the last few months. As a B2B creator, I’m excited to see LinkedIn continue innovating with tools and resources to help me build my brand and thought leadership platform. As a marketer, I am just as excited to leverage new capabilities for my B2B and tech clients.
In case you’re interested, I’ve also started to list all the latest LinkedIn updates.