Many people use social media as a purely recreational way to connect with people they know and, let’s face it, pass time. As any good marketer knows, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also imperative for companies to use to connect with consumers to sell their products and services and grow their businesses. But, what if consumers aren’t your brand’s target audience? For many businesses, their audiences are actually other businesses. That’s when your company should turn to LinkedIn for your marketing campaign.

While some companies are solely B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), many are both. For example, one of the clients I work with is Wilsonart, a manufacturer of surfacing materials such as countertops and desk tops. While Wilsonart does sell their products directly to homeowners, the company also sells their products to architects and designers looking to use their surfacing materials in commercial settings such as hospitals or hotels. That’s why Wilsonart uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to target consumers (homeowners), but needs a different way to target architects and designers.

According to LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B markets use LinkedIn to distribute content. So, if your company isn’t using LinkedIn, you may be behind.Click To Tweet

But why LinkedIn? Well, for starters, according to LinkedIn, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B markets use LinkedIn to distribute content. So, if your company isn’t using LinkedIn, you may be behind. LinkedIn has many great features that make it the ideal platform for marketing to a B2B audience. When you set up LinkedIn ads, you can target by professional, rather than personal, attributes, making it the ideal platform for Wilsonart to target architects and designers. Here are some of the ways you can target on LinkedIn.

The most obvious way to target would be based on job titles, so I used titles such as architect, senior architect, interior designer, principal designer, etc. It is important to do your research, so you know the correct job titles to be choosing. There are many different types of job titles that design and architecture firms use, so I had to do my homework on which were the most common.

It should also be no surprise that industry is another way you should be targeting. LinkedIn will suggest similar industries to the ones you pick, but only select a few. You don’t want your audience getting too narrow.

Another way to target successfully is to target based on skills. On LinkedIn, you can look up the skills that these sorts of jobs have and target accordingly. Because architecture and design can be quite technical, there are many different skills I could target by. Skills should be where the bulk of your targeting is. Choose just a few job titles and industries, but you can do more skills, and again, do your research on which skills the average person working in the industry has.

Groups can be overlooked as one of the best ways to target people LinkedIn. Think about it. Joining groups for your industry means you’re invested. People don’t join groups unless they’re interested in connecting with others in their industry. Groups can be a great way to narrow down your search even more. For example, for this campaign, we were trying to target specifically within sectors of commercial architecture and design such as healthcare and hotels. Other than simply “hotel design” as a skill, it’s difficult to narrow that down more specifically. So, I looked up groups on LinkedIn surrounding hotel design and found several with thousands of members that all work in hotel design and could target based on that.

There are, of course, other targeting criteria you can use, but these 4 should get you started. If your business only works in one region, you can target by location. You can also target by company name, company size, member schools, job function, fields of study, degrees, gender, age, years of experience and more.

But remember, you don’t want your audience to be too small, so don’t get too carried away. It’s good to be specific so you’re reaching the right people, but if you go too small, you could end up not reaching many people at all. LinkedIn will tell you when your audience is too small, so you’ll have the chance to make it bigger if needed. And one important note: the best way to make sure your audience isn’t too small is to layer it in the right way. I recommend targeting only groups (which generally will be filled with the right folks in an industry) OR targeting by industry AND job skills, as LinkedIn will stack targeting options on top of each other, which can end up limiting your audience.

Unfortunately, a lot of LinkedIn targeting is troubleshooting and A/B testing, so the best way to find the right audience is to test it out and see what results you get!

If you need more tips on LinkedIn ads, check out their Ad Tips & Best Practices.

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