LinkedIn is a popular tool for business social media marketing. B2B marketers routinely leverage this platform for digital marketing efforts, as the stats show:
- 79% of B2B marketers view LinkedIn as an effective medium for generating leads
- 92% of B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn over all other social media platforms
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn
- 94% of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn to distribute content
For B2B marketers looking to generate leads, it’s important to note that LinkedIn has the highest lead conversion rate of about 2.74% — three times more than that generated by Facebook and Twitter. If you know how to use it, LinkedIn can be a very valuable platform for lead generation. Mastering LinkedIn lead generation requires some content marketing knowledge. If you’re a novice, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at the following five tips to turbo charge your LinkedIn lead generation.
Mastering LinkedIn Lead Generation
1) Dress Up Your Profile
LinkedIn’s search functionality is not unlike Google’s. The strategy for both should be the same — using keywords that make you more findable by prospective customers. Be creative about your headline copy, but also be accurate. Getting too clever could result in getting passed over by people who are searching very specific keywords and phrases. Listing yourself as an “Online Conversation Master” sounds catchy, but people looking for a “social media manager” are not likely to find you in a regular search. Finding the right balance between personality and keywords is key.
Don’t forget about the other elements of your profile either:
- Include a professional profile picture and save the personality for your cover photo
- Add to the recommendations section of your website
- Ask people to endorse you for your particular skill set
- Include accurate, readable, and keyword-rich descriptions of your current and previous roles listed within your profile
- Build out the summary/description section below your main details with a creative blurb about your specialization. Again, use keywords in a reasonable way. Be creative yet precise. Add media where possible.
2) Research Leads
With your updated profile intact, it’s a good time to start getting in front of the right people. There are several different ways to do this, depending on your budget and needs. Many opt to subscribe to one of LInkedIn’s premium memberships, which offer specific benefits depending on your needs:
- Premium Career – ideal for job seekers
- Sales Navigator – ideal for generating leads
- Recruiter Lite – ideal for finding and hiring talent
- Premium Business – Ideal for general business insights and expansion
- LinkedIn Learning – ideal for building out skill sets
The Sales Navigator option is the best bet for LinkedIn lead generation as it makes lead recommendations, enables premium search and lead builder options, unlocks advanced search filters, and allows out-of-network profile viewing.
You can build your lead list within LinkedIn, in a spreadsheet, or through your CRM. The important thing is reaching out to those leads in a timely, relevant way. Depending on the information available, you can do that through LinkedIn InMail (20/month via Sales Navigator Professional) or through email.
Outreach should be simple, polite, and direct. A first step might be asking them to connect if you are not already linked. Then be upfront about why you are reaching out. The more personalized and less sales-y, the better. Get creative in how you customize messages to your leads and offer something helpful and a little self-less to sweeten the deal. Offering to send a recent deck from a (relevant) presentation you gave or linking to an article that answers a question you know they have can be a good start. Lead generation is about relationship building and relationship building takes time and trust.
3) Offer Value Through Content
Making a connection is one thing but keeping connections engaged is critical for effective LinkedIn lead generation. This is where a content marketing mind comes in handy. Consider building out a content calendar (free template here) for LinkedIn-specific content. Plan out updates, articles, and blog posts to share based on what topics are trending and what your connections are talking about. These updates and articles are an opportunity for you to share valuable and informational content that helps you build credibility with your potential leads. Regular status updates and publishing of relevant content help you emerge as an industry thought leader and influencer.
You can also consider using the “Pulse” feature on your LinkedIn dashboard. Simplify the process by bulk-uploading updates via social media management tools like “Hootsuite” and “buffer”. Using a social sharing dashboard can be helpful to stay organized (free template here).
4) Create or Join Groups and Participate in Discussions
Group discussions are one of the most useful features on LinkedIn and can be helpful when it comes to LinkedIn lead generation. This is where your content strategy will be important. If you’ve taken a page from tip #3 and created a content calendar, you can plan where and when you will share your most valuable content with other LinkedIn members. Make an effort to start your own group discussion or to participate in existing discussions to showcase your ideas, skills and expertise in a particular subject. Share your Pulse articles within groups. Better yet, see what types of questions people are asking within discussions and draft an article that answers those very specific questions. Then share. The more targeted and precise you can be with your content, the better. Since there are targeted discussion groups for almost every niche on LinkedIn, you can easily find a relevant conversation in which to demonstrate your thought leadership.
People often participate in LinkedIn discussions to find support and answers. Having high-quality content to enrich the conversation is to your benefit. It’s a great place to share your expert knowledge freely and start building new relationships. You can also reply privately to the group members to take deeper conversations offline, where the real relationship buiding begins.
5) Get Recommended
In the era of Yelp and 5-star ratings, peer reviews and social proof are super important. Not only do reviews and recommendations help you stand apart from the crowd (a feat, considering LinkedIn’s network boasts more than 530 million users), but it adds credence to professional skills. Recommendations on your profile can go a long way in creating more leads for your business. When you start getting active on LInkedIn (posting content, participating in discussions, sharing insights), people will take notice and reference your profile to learn more about you. Having a strong set of recommendations can bolster your “clout” and make people more apt to reach out. Using LinkedIn recommendations to create positive referrals from your customers, partners, vendors, and others can have a significant impact on your LinkedIn lead generation efforts.
Get reviews by asking your existing connections to write a recommendation for your company’s products/services or you can also request a recommendation from the “Recommendations” section of your profile page.
Recommendation Hint: Reach out to current and past employers, co-workers, and business partners with a kind, straightforward note. Let them know you’re looking to build out your professional profile and network, and that any positive words they could share about your work together would be greatly appreciated. Be gracious and cognizant of their schedule. Bonus points for drafting up a version for them and asking them to edit/approve — it’s a huge time-saver that many appreciate.
LinkedIn can be a tremendous tool for lead generation — when used correctly and to its full potential. With B2B in particular, LinkedIn lead generation outperform other social media channels. When paired with a solid content marketing strategy, LinkedIn lead generation can lead to new relationships at worst, and new business at best.