Telling the Arkansas Story on LinkedIn
December 9, 2018
Editor's Note: The original version of this post first appeared on LinkedIn.
In 2017, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) set out to make an impact on an important issue. Though Arkansas has a strong business tradition (after all, Walmart, Tyson Foods and four other Fortune 500s have Arkansas roots), they discovered that the same reputation for the state didn’t carry across the country.
“People are often surprised to hear the full Arkansas story,” noted Clark Cogbill, Director of Digital Marketing for the AEDC. “The strength and diversity of our workforce catches people by surprise, including the fact that we have six homegrown Fortune 500 companies. One of our major marketing goals is to positively affect how the nation thinks about Arkansas by telling that story.”
To address this misconception, the AEDC, along with their agency, Little Rock-based Team SI, turned to LinkedIn as the natural place to reach Arkansas’ target audiences: specific industry executives and site selection professionals. “Our research revealed that LinkedIn is much more than a simple HR platform,” said Whitney Burgess, Director of Digital Strategy & Client Services at Team SI. “It’s essential that we meet our audiences where they are. Our targets are engaging on LinkedIn and using it as a way to make themselves better professionals, so we knew we had to be deliberate about a LinkedIn strategy.”
The AEDC's Plan: Using LinkedIn Sponsored Content targeting specific industry executives and site selectors. The AEDC also deployed LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, LinkedIn Sponsored Native Video and LinkedIn Sponsored InMail.
Working closely with LinkedIn, Arkansas and TeamSI put together a content strategy based on a combination of case studies, targeted InMail messages to very specific audiences, and native videos.
While many EDOs focus exclusively on “quality of life” or other indiscernible factors as selling points, Arkansas took a fresh approach. As Whitney from TeamSI noted: “We started by getting away from the typical 'work-life balance' message. Our motto internally was ‘be the expert or bring the expert’ to demonstrate the depth of expertise and variety of perspectives here. Thankfully, the business community here in Arkansas is such that people can’t wait to share what it’s like to work and live here.”
In addition to content aimed at driving audiences to AEDC digital properties, Arkansas took the extra step of holistically rethinking everything from their executive presence on LinkedIn to how they were utilizing the platform for conferences and other events. As Clark explained, “Our Executives on LinkedIn are an extension of our marketing strategy. They have direct access to the Governor and have embraced LinkedIn as a way to exhibit leadership and expertise. This carries into our diplomatic tours, when we’re hosting companies here in Arkansas, or when we hit the road for our major conferences. It matters how we show up on LinkedIn, because that’s where our audiences most often encounter them online.”
In sum, LinkedIn allows Arkansas to efficiently reach and engage the audiences that matter in a brand-safe, business-forward context. The combination of effective placements with precise business demographic targeting allows Arkansas to make the right impression with their targets. This allows the AEDC to not only gain tangible ground on shifting the state’s national reputation, but LinkedIn also efficiently drives leads for new businesses to relocate or expand in Arkansas. According to Clark: “Leads we’ve gotten from LinkedIn have generally been very strong, credible business contacts within the industries we’re targeting. We’ve been extremely pleased with our results from LinkedIn, and we’re looking forward to continuing that growth into the next year and beyond.”
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