Scaling LinkedIn Presence At Zycus With Zero Budget

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The last decade saw Linkedin become an indispensable part of every B2B SaaS company’s sales or marketing (or HR) mix. No more “Social Media is not for B2B” - LinkedIn changed it all. In a recent conversation with my team at Recurr, we decided to ramp up lead generation efforts on LinkedIn for a client, and a key metric that we had to move was the follower count.

Now if you have ever been in this situation, you’d know that it feels almost impossible to get the numbers moving organically, and we usually don’t get the budget to go paid. That’s when we started hunting for strategies and ‘growth hacks’ for LinkedIn. 

A few searches later we landed on an April 2019 article about Zycus, the India-based procurement SaaS, talking about how they grew their LinkedIn followers by over 3x. Last week, almost 2 years since the above article was published, we went to check their LinkedIn page - They had 238K followers, this was another 3x growth 🤯

We knew who we had to talk to - Diptarup Chakraborti was the man behind this staggering growth. We reached out to Diptarup and tried to understand in what circumstances and how exactly was he able to accomplish this feat, and what team and strategy got him there.

Harshita: My first question is why did you feel a need to focus so deeply on LinkedIn? Zycus already had 21K followers. However, we want to know why there was a need to scale LinkedIn presence- what did you want to achieve?

Diptarup: Scaling LinkedIn presence was done to stay competitive in the marketplace. We saw our competition - Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua, GEP, and the likes were burning investors’ money in the form of advertisements, and other paid digital marketing initiatives to grow bigger and dominate the market.

Zycus, are a self-funded company to date. And because we were not externally funded and never had huge marketing budgets, we were never in a position to spend money like our competitors. To solve this, we evaluated various marketing channels and identified LinkedIn to be the medium for marketing and become a hit with a limited budget.

 " If I were to rate LinkedIn for Businesses on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say it's 11. For B2B marketing, LinkedIn is a critical channel"

Harshita: So how did you go about it - Was it something only the marketing team was working on or was there a bigger, probably an organization-level mandate?

Diptarup: We knew this is not a one-person job, neither just a content marketing teams’ onus. We tried to create company-level interest in LinkedIn 

Enabling our salesforce with LinkedIn - We looped in all the business development folks, trained them on how LinkedIn, LinkedIn InMail works, how to hunt for leads, connect with them and interact without sounding salesy. Furthermore, we gamified this whole process by introducing some interesting contests, quizzes etc. to motivate employees to perform better.

Harshita: How did you manage to consistently create new/fresh content and provide value to the followers? What does a team behind this success look like?

Diptarup: With the right diverse mix of content, we managed to attract new audiences and keep our existing followers coming back for more. 

The role of content (marketing) - This was a tricky bit. We bought some strategic and tactical shifts in how we distribute our content and engage with people on LinkedIn. Earlier, we used the LinkedIn platform only to promote webinars or to make an announcement, basically very update only or read-only content. Now it was more about diverse content in the form of infographics, GIF, memes, syndicated research, reports, video interviews, recorded audio podcasts, news updates, etc. 

We were using an enterprise-grade social media automation tool at a time when automating social media posts was rarely seen on the block. We also corrected ourselves in a few tactical things, like changing our posting schedule to match the peak engagement hours for the US instead of India.

This was a collaborative effort of the content team, graphic designers, digital marketers marketing operations folks and some regional sales tea

Harshita: What did Zycus's 75000+ followers mean for business?

Diptarup: LinkedIn for us served as a major marketing platform. It helped us drive valuable social traffic to our website, scale email response rate, campaign response, etc. After this success, we could achieve 1000+ opportunities as compared to 350+ previously, with a year-on-year increase in CAGR by 58%. 

Harshita: How would you describe Zycus's LinkedIn growth journey from 21k+ to 75k+ and onwards?

Diptarup: This for me was a journey from CMO (Chief marketing officer) to CMTO (Chief marketing technology officer). I think any marketing folk in B2B business might find this useful- 

  1. You are as good as your team. Get very good people onboarded on your team to make a mission successful, you'll not be able to do t on your own
  2. Keep your creativity alive. Marketing is about creativity and not numbers. Ensure to creatively communicate with your audience.
  3. Exploratory mindset is a must