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Dec 12, 2023 Justyna Brownbridge

Leveraging LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads: A Game-Changer for Employee Branding

At Tribal Impact, we always explore new ways to enhance our social selling and employee branding strategies. Recently, we've been exploring LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads, a feature that allows companies to amplify content created by their employees.   

Thought leadership is one of the most effective tools an organisation can use to demonstrate its value to customers during a tough economy (source: Edelman). LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads provide an opportunity to amplify this type of content created directly by employees. 

We’ve been experimenting with LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads, and you can see the full results of our experiments in this blog post.

As Chief of Growth at Tribal Impact, I was asked if I could dig deeper into these insights during my interview with Agency Hackers

In this blog, I’ll cover the key questions and answers that I was asked during this interview.

How does a LinkedIn Thought Leader Ad look in the feed?  

The author of the post is clearly visible at the top which makes it look more like organic content. See the example below, notice how discrete 'Promoted by Tribal Impact looks'.

The more organic and less like an advertisement these posts look, the better they will perform. As long as these posts don’t look like they’re an advertisement, that’s a good thing. 

TL Ad 1 Shadow

Who should write the content for the Thought Leaders Ads?

We have seen that the highest performing content is the content created from scratch by the employee in their own tone of voice in a way that they would usually communicate. Write the reason why this post should be a scroll stopper.  

I recommend reading the post out loud first. Does it sound like it’s coming from you? Or does it sound like an advertisement? In our experience, authentic communication resonates better with your audience.


Can you re-advertise successfully performing posts?  

The promoted headline hides the post’s date, and because the engagement activity carries through, it’s possible to rerun older posts that have been successful and give them a new lease of life.


How do you pick the best employees to start with?  

It is better to look at whose posts are performing well and start with those. This is because you are boosting the content through the company channel, capitalising on the engagement within their post. 

Think about which of your employees are most active already. Who is already getting the highest engagement? It’s essential they are already active on LinkedIn, so you are not starting cold.

Can you boost anyone’s post? 

You can boost an employee’s post if they are already connected to the company’s LinkedIn account.

Does this present an opportunity for LinkedIn Influencer Partnerships? 

Not that I am currently aware of; however, it will be interesting to see how brands use this going forward. As long as the content is relevant, it could be a good outcome for the company, the influencer and the audience


How do you measure the return of investment of Thought Leader Ads?

We start by defining our targeting strategy based on specific accounts. Using LinkedIn's Sales Navigator, we create a list of companies we aim to target and track the engagement metrics like clicks and overall interaction per account.

This data forms part of a broader set of metrics contributing to the 'Buyer Intent Score', which you can see within Sales Navigator. This score is a scale, ranging from high to moderate, low, or even negative.

Our recent campaign demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach, showing a 30% uplift in the buyer intent score. This metric is particularly telling because it goes beyond traditional engagement metrics to gauge the readiness and interest level of potential buyers.

While immediate sales might not be visible, the increase in buyer intent strongly indicates future sales potential. We've already observed a positive trend, with enquiries and deals in the pipeline directly related to this campaign. 

The ability to show month-on-month changes in buyer intent provides a tangible measure of impact, something we can present to clients as a clear demonstration of the value of our efforts.

Is this better suited to certain types or organisations, B2B or B2C, for example?

In our approach to leveraging LinkedIn's Thought Leader Ads, we place a strong emphasis on integrating sales and marketing efforts, particularly through the lens of buyer intent. 

This strategy is especially effective in a B2B context, where LinkedIn serves as a platform for educational and thought leadership content.

Top Tips for Successful LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads

Based on what we’ve learned so far through Tribal Impacts own research, experiments, and conversations, here are our top tips for successful LinkedIn Thought Leaders Ads:

  • Authenticity is Key: The most successful content is authentic, written in the employee's voice, and resonates with the audience. Avoid overly polished or corporate-looking ads.
  • Leverage Social Proof: Boosting posts that have already performed well organically can be more effective, as they come with built-in social proof in the form of likes and comments.
  • Choose the Right Employees: Start with employees who are already active and engaging on LinkedIn. Their existing content is likely to perform well when boosted.
  • Integrate Sales and Marketing Efforts: Utilise tools like LinkedIn's Sales Navigator to align sales and marketing strategies. This integration can lead to more effective targeting and higher engagement.

The Future of LinkedIn Advertising and Employee Advocacy

As we look to the future, we see immense potential in combining paid advertising with organic employee advocacy. This approach enhances brand visibility and fosters deeper connections with the audience.

We encourage other companies to explore LinkedIn Thought Leader Ads and other features to amplify their branding and engagement efforts. 

You can create a more impactful and resonant social media presence by focusing on authenticity and leveraging your employees’ voices.

How To Get Leadership Buy-In

About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Justyna Brownbridge December 12, 2023
Justyna Brownbridge