Viveka Von Rosen is a legend when it comes to the LinkedIn platform (Her Twitter handle is @LinkedInExpert, for heaven’s sake!). I had the privilege to interview her about her LinkedIn Ads experience, and I think you’ll be interested to hear her views! Plus, she just authored a LinkedIn Ads primer course on Lynda.com that you have to check out.
Q1: Tell Us Your Story – How did you make a career out of LinkedIn?
Viveka: I lived in Florida, and didn’t love it – humidity, traffic, and bugs made me realize I needed to move. From my time as a hang glider pilot, I remembered how much I loved Colorado, so I decided to move there even though I didn’t have a job! I had never NOT gotten a job I applied for, so I wasn’t worried. When I arrived in Colorado, I went in for an interview for a position I had tons of experience with, and was surprised that the interview came to an abrupt end when they realized I didn’t have a teaching degree. On my way back to the place I had been staying in Evergreen, I took a wrong turn, my car broke down and ended up in the “wrong” city. I had the phone number of one person in Colorado – who I didn’t even know. But it turns out he lived in the city I broke down in, and worked at a car dealership. Long story, short, I worked for that dealership for 4 years. I got thankfully saved from car sales to run a business center. While running that Executive Suite, I came across LinkedIn.
Q2: How did you first get interested in LinkedIn?
Viveka: Both luck and timing! The first year I ran the business center, I managed to double our membership through face to face networking. Since we had a lot of entrepreneurs at the business center, I invited my friend Laurie Macomber to come and speak to them about Web 2.0. At the end of her speech, she mentioned a little network called LinkedIn that had 7 million members. I imagined how I could really make business explode with an audience of 7 million people.
By this time it was 2007 and I was beginning to teach and train locally on LinkedIn. I got my first big break when ABCN (Allaince Business Centers Network) invited me to at the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom, to their group of 500 millionaires & billionaires. That’s when I realized that I had found what I wanted to do with my life.
I started doing a lot of virtual trainings and establishing myself in the LinkedIn Space (and social media in general) and after about a year, I quit my day job and focused solely on LinkedIn.
Q3: What caught your eye about LinkedIn Advertising?
Viveka: A few of my clients and I did the “throw the money at the wall” approach without much success. In fact, I used to tell everyone that their marketing dollars were best spent on Facebook Ads. I thought LinkedIn Ads sucked.
Then I had dinner with Jason Miller at Social Media Marketing World, and he started talking about LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, and it sounded really exciting. That was when I actually started getting serious about LinkedIn advertising.
After lots of testing, I found a formula that tends to work well. The key is micro-targeting and sharing Sponsored Updates as informational, top-of-mind builders, (as opposed to just trying to sell your stuff through text ads) If you do that, there’s definitely ROI.
For the right kind of company who is willing to commit the right amount of money and be patient and do a lot of split testing, I think that LinkedIn Ads are very powerful.
Q4: You have a new course about LinkedIn advertising on Lynda.com! Tell us about it
Viveka: I had previously created the LinkedIn for Business course on LinkedIn for Lynda.com, and my editor (who was actually my editor at Wiley too!) asked what course I wanted to create next. I told him LinkedIn Ads.
If you’re a member of the $25k club (which qualifies you for a Marketing Solutions team) you get great support. But if you can’t afford that, the self-service platform is where you start. Since LinkedIn didn’t have a lot of resources for the DIYers, I created my course to help them. LinkedIn Advertising Fundamentals is really focused on Sponsored Updates and Text Ads, and how to use them effectively with smaller budgets.
Q5: Why Lynda over other online learning platforms?
Viveka: As an author, the Lynda.com recording and production experience is so professional. You go into their studios, and they have lots of fact-checkers, and everything is such great quality. A huge part of Lynda is keeping the content up to date. Additionally, I was a user before I was an author. I love how Lynda accommodates every learning style!
Q6: Where are LinkedIn’s advertising strengths?
Viveka: It gets you smack-dab in the center of your perfect market, especially if you’re B2B. If a client comes to me and they’re very clear about their verticals and who their audience is, then we can be effective. I still recommend social selling, but if I have a client that I know isn’t going to put in the effort, advertising is the only way they’re going to get visibility.
Q7: To the detractors of LinkedIn Ads, what do you say?
Viveka: You have to get really strategic and really use and manipulate ads, or else it’s too expensive and not effective.
If you want to know what will work on LinkedIn, try it on Facebook first. Generally, what will work on Facebook will probably work on LinkedIn. If you test, invest, and test again, then you’ll probably come up with a formula that works.
Viveka, thanks so much for your time and sharing with me. It’s so awesome to get the perspective of other LinkedIn Ads enthusiasts!
I would highly encourage you to check out Viveka’s LinkedIn Ads course on Lynda.com. Lynda is currently offering a 14-day free trial, and what better use for that trial than to try out her new course?