The LinkedIn Experiment: How Many Straws Can I Sell in 3 Days with $100?

I joined a challenge organised by Rockhampton’s SmartHub to see how many of these bamboo straws I could sell in 3 days with $100 to spend. I was allocated LinkedIn – others had Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. What happened?

Key takeaways

  1. Be mindful of how much profit there is in your product when deciding what to spend
  2. Selling to a cold audience is a lot tougher than a warm audience
  3. Give before you ask: provide value, be helpful, be entertaining

Seeing as how this is an experiment anyway

I have used the Android “Recorder” app to transcribe this – I just left my phone next to the laptop speaker and played the video!

So here is the unedited transcript. Probably safer to watch the video all things considered – this is probably somewhat inaccurate 🙂

Last week I got broke into a social media marketing challenge by the smart hub here in Rockhampton and the deal was it was a group of us and what we had to do is move as many of these bamboo straws as we could in a 72-hour period with a budget of $100 and each of us was given a particular network or platform to operate on I was given LinkedIn and so here is how we went.

So the product itself was these bamboo straws as a pack of four bamboo reusable straws in here is a little cleaning thingy as well nice little product retails for a little bit under the $10 mark and so the idea is to move as many of those we could in the 72-hours.

Now given that we had $100 to spend on advertising and the cost per click on LinkedIn is traditionally much higher than it would be on Facebook or LinkedIn or other platforms. I didn’t know how viable it was going to be to sell those guys wanted to.

Time so I figured that best chance on a platform. I’d linked in was to pitch selling larger quantities, but organizing casting brand on them, so instead of the manufacturers brand here, it could be your logo on these drawers, you know as giveaways in the lead up to Christmas so that was the theory that was my reasoning behind not trying to sell them individually let’s see how we went.

All right so in the 72-hour period that the challenge was on in total of generated five individual quote request inquiries for a total of a thousand of these straw packs so that works out to be you know, an average a couple of hundred per quite requests now we’ll come back to the details and that in a minute, let’s have a look at what I did, so I started off by setting up a single blending page in WordPress given that we’re sort of spending a hundred dollars here on click advertising it did make sense to spend a whole lot of time on this landing pan.

In line with the amount that we’re going to spend on the budget so it’s a pretty simple straightforward single pager some you know photo and some details the top leading to a quote request form down the bottom, we do then not take these straws out into the backyard and took a couple of photos and a couple of short pieces of video to have that’s it those assets for the campaign.

Then into LinkedIn, I set up a showcase page, so a showcase page is different from a company page and it’s more designed for showcasing a specific product or a service so so that’s the one I chose after that we loaded the up the campaign in LinkedIn’s ad manager. Allocated $100 spend over 72 hour period over three day.

I targeted it nationally. I thought about you know, considering the amount we’re going to spend about bringing it into you know, a more localized geographic region, but I think everybody else is pretty much targeting Australia wide and so I did the same thing there.

After that campaign was up and running I shared that that post that promoted posed to my personal profile as well and then on the final day of that 72-hour., I created a LinkedIn story for it as well. Now LinkedIn stories are still in beta at the moment, they’re only available in Australia and a handful of other countries not completely fleshed out yet in terms of functionality, but a link in stories pretty much the same as an Instagram story or a Facebook story, a Snapchat story, they’re all you know, work pretty much the same way portrait stills or short.

Videos the last for 24 hours and then if you’re on the LinkedIn app on your phone, they’ll be in that section across the top there where you first start looking. Alright, so onto the results the campaign overview itself shows that I’ve spent $100 a bit over two and a half thousand impressions for the ad 11 clicks working out at about $9.90 per click.

As I mentioned the top cost per click. Amounts on LinkedIn are generally much higher than other platforms. It’s really designed around larger purchasers longer lead times, you know, it’s a business to business network not a business to consumer network. So a sort of expecting that and that’s the reason why I didn’t really bother trying to sell and one at a time it makes no sense to spend nearly $10 on a click if the value of your product is is under $10.

So aside from the normal boring you know click charts no sort of things is the demographics in LinkedIn is actually quite strong especially if you’re in you know, a business of business environment in terms of where you are where you work what your job title is all the back kind of stuff is in LinkedIn because you’ve told them that when you set your profile up.

So if we have a look at demographics broken down by a location here grad of Sydney area greater. Melbourne area, greater Brisbane area the capital cities taking up the majority of the impressions and then down into small regional areas. Is as we go down the page. We can even look at the company’s where people worked in terms of who saw the ad So we can see here.

Deloitte Commonwealth Bank Queenstown University of Technology all got a significant number of impressions. Now, they’re also large organizations and lots of this, you know, lots of their stuff would be on LinkedIn, so that’s not really surprising. Thanks for your support though, guys. None of your board anything or even organise a quote more to the point because I wasn’t selling anything at the time.

So, that’s the kind of data you can pull out of it there. You can also then look at the job. Outside direct their managing director business development manager can break that down and in the same way, as we can report by these you can also target by these if you really, you know if you’re not specifically who you need to reach in terms of job titles or companies or areas, you can type target by those sorts of things as well.

I didn’t but you know, if you’re a bit more specific about that, then you turn the good so if we bounce over to Google Analytics for a minute what I’ve done here is I’ve broken this down or I’ve filtered it by social traffic, so this is excluding me testing and doing.

Things on the laptop here this is just the traffic that’s come from LinkedIn I was looking for the breakdown between mobile and desktop most other social channels are if not exclusively mobile, they’re very heavily scared mobile Facebook’s probably 80 90% most of the time so I was interested in a LinkedIn been a more business-oriented platform what the split was and of course.

I’m dealing with pretty small numbers here, so statistically, I don’t have valid this is but we’re looking at 61% mobile traffic here 7% tablet and then 30% desktop make. The difference so it is skewed mobile but nowhere near as heavily as the other platforms that also involved in this competition, so what else helped on LinkedIn well I managed to generate three followers for the showcase page that wasn’t an objective but hey, I got three followers in three days for the showcase page.

I tried to dig up the stats on the story and hunted around and could not find them as I mentioned before it’s still in beta. I’m sure the stats are in there somewhere. I couldn’t find where they are. I can’t imagine. I don’t think there’s been a lot of uptake in stories yet, so I’m I wouldn’t expect that would be a big number but when I shared it to my personal profile, so we’ve got 271 views of the video here one reaction four comments, which is interesting and I’ll get to that a minute.

Just some other stats that’s here in terms of the title of you know, the job title of the person who saw it as well as where they were from so salesperson the biggest number followed by business owner executive director down the list most of by connection to in Rocky Hill locally, so that’s expected down to Brisbane some justice Queensland and Daniel is to go.

Now if you were sharp enough when we’re looking back at the main. LinkedIn campaign results screen there you may have noticed that next to the conversions column was a big fat zero so those five quote requests that are generated were all actually from people in my network they all came from the post that I shared to my personal profile nothing actually came from the ad itself.

So what does this mean what can we learn about that well? LinkedIn is not the place you go for a quick sale. LinkedIn is about building connections providing value and you know, building your network that way if you provide value and she and knowledge and be helpful then when it comes time to ask for something people are more likely to respond to your positively that’s, You know that’s true across the board But when people on LinkedIn lead times are longer it’s not about the quick sale and if you’re approached that way, you’re probably going to have big fat zeros in conversions column like I did here.

So LinkedIn can sort of like it can really work well if you’re you know, if you sell into other businesses and that’s the environment you’re in but you really have to treat it. You’ve got to play the long game and don’t just show up and ask for something but you need to spend some time building your network and providing value and helping out whether you can just, Start off with.

So that’s the result of this experiment. I could have just put that $100 allocated to the cost per clicks stuck in a pocket not told anyone who got the same results, don’t you anyone? I said that. But yeah, if LinkedIn is certainly a valuable platform if you approach it the right way and it’s a long-term thing, not a short quick sell something to go.

That is the results of my little experiment. Thanks for watching. I’ll talk to you next time.

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