Using LinkedIn to Generate B2B Sales Leads

LinkedIn might be known as the professional form of social media, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still get stigmatized by social media stereotypes. It’s put alongside businesses like Twitter and Facebook as places for professionals to hang out but in the same silly social context. This ignores the massive benefits of networking on LinkedIn. If you think that it’s just a glorified social media platform, you’re the one behind with the times.

One negative truth behind social media in a business context is that there’s definitely a slope effect going on in terms of traffic vs. actual sales figures. You’ll see traffic almost immediately using social platforms like Twitter, but sales numbers are harder to come by, and it takes a lot of work and cultivation to actually see your sales dreams come to fruition.

LinkedIn isn’t free of this problem. It’s easy to surf around and make small networking opportunities come to life via the platform, but actually generating leads can be harder. They won’t just fall into your lap. LinkedIn is a marketing tool, not a marketing lead giveaway – you must use it properly in order to reap the rewards.

A recent survey conducted by ROI Research Inc. showed that over half of those polled thought LinkedIn was the most important social network available. In 2012, LinkedIn was the 23rd most visited website on the entire Internet – beating out popular sites like Walmart and Craigslist. There are over 100 million users on LinkedIn, so you know that there has to be some potential here…but how do you properly utilize it?

Here are some basic tips to get you going…

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your LinkedIn B2B lead generation nest. You’ll need to take a lot of small steps and combine them, sometimes committing to cycling through them regularly. Don’t forget that successful lead generation isn’t effortless – you have to earn it.

* Get familiar with the site and use it regularly. No one wants to connect with someone who appears to have a dead profile. Before you commit to any other step, commit to logging in once a day for as long as you want to test out LinkedIn lead generation methods.

* Once you’ve gotten used to how the site works, start filling out your profile. Don’t put in your basic information and say you’ll come back to it later: finish it all at once. LinkedIn profiles require more starting information than Twitter or Instagram, and all this info helps you connect with peers and makes you more visible on the site. More visibility means more leads.

* An often forgotten step? Making your profile visible. Go to your settings and check the option that says your profile can be visible to everyone. If no one can see you, no one can give you leads.

* Consider upgrading your account. It’s a worthy investment – for only a small fee, you can get premium features that are useful to your lead generation needs. One such feature is InMail, a service that allows you to send messages directly to anyone on the site. If you’d like to see how you fair going the free route, that’s fine. Just keep this option in mind for down the road.

* Don’t wait for people to come to you. Seek out business peers you feel you might work well with and proposition them. How you do this is up to you, but try and reach out and connect with peers that you think might nibble at the worm on your hook.

* Pay attention to who is viewing your profile; a feature available for any site user. Even if they don’t initiate contact, reach out to them. Ask how they found you, why they looked at your profile, and what you can potentially do for them if they’d like to work with you.

* It’s social media – so be social! LinkedIn has groups that allow like-minded business peers to easily network, so join a few that speak to the audience you’re trying to target. This is another situation where you can’t just wait for people to engage with you, either. Commenting on posts and engaging in conversation can be a natural way to increase your chances of generating B2B leads.

* Know how to market yourself. Show off your wares on your profile and give your peers an easily accessible taste of what you have to offer. This can include YouTube videos to interviews, blogs or content you’ve made, podcasts, webinars, graphics, or your online portfolio or resume. When a person can see the work you do, they’re more likely to engage with you on a professional level when they like what they see.

* Know when to rein it in. It’s okay to be a little aggressive in your approach, but there’s a thin line between aggressive marketing and flat out harassment. When a peer is unresponsive, take this as a sign that they aren’t interested. If they didn’t find your first pitch email intriguing, they aren’t going to find five follow up emails interesting, either. In fact, if you act too aggressively, you might be reported or your supposed victim can alert the community to your tactics, potentially ruining your chance for gaining leads in the future.

Have questions about using LinkedIn to generate sales leads? Click or call today!

By Chris Del Grande

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