Many people see LinkedIn as mainly as a mainly a professional social networking site. But it is actually a viable business-to-business marketing tool. Taken advantage of properly it can generate more business and revenue.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. BlackEnterprise.com reached out to the collective’s membership to find out: What is one piece of advice for generating leads, sales or even contracts using LinkedIn? Here are their 13 ways to best tap into LinkedIn.
1. Offer Up Your Network First
When I have a trusted contact, I offer them to cull through my LinkedIn contacts and tell me who would be a great asset to them to meet. Then I warm up the introduction with that person and get the go-ahead to connect them. Oftentimes the favor will be repaid and it’s a great way to both learn who are great contacts for your network as well as to generate new warm leads for yourself.
2. Upgrade Your LinkedIn Account
When it comes to social networks, I’m not one to typically pay for pro features. But with LinkedIn, I make an exception. The premium features on LinkedIn are a fantastic way to generate leads and gain more contacts because you’re able to more easily connect. LinkedIn has a lot of package options for upgrading from a free account. You can do so for different durations of time, too.
3. Activate Your Network
If you’re looking for an introduction or have just met someone who could be a potential customer, check LinkedIn to see who you know in common and who might be able to make a warm introduction. Once you’ve connected, share company updates and look for opportunities to engage that person with useful advice, insightful commentary or by connecting them to helpful resources.
4. Get Your Employees Involved
It’s easy to forget that every employee at your company has his or her own network that he or she has been building for years. Outline which qualities you’re looking for in a great lead, then empower your employees to help you search for people in their own networks that meet the criteria. It’s a low-cost, high-return method for expanding your customer base.
5. Run LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn Ads have an easy-to-implement feature that allows you to collect email addresses for interested potential leads. Set up your ad, and your landing page will automatically have a lead collection form. This feature might make LinkedIn the best platform for B2B leads in a short timeframe.
6. Use LinkedIn Advanced Search
You can target people by geography, industry, company size and keywords using LinkedIn’s advanced search tool. It is an extremely powerful mechanism to generate leads.
7. Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups are a powerful tool to generate leads. I would advise people to find relevant groups and start having conversations with your prospects in those groups. You will be surprised at how much information you can get from your prospects to help you quickly turn them into sales. If your ideal prospects are not in a specific group, invite them and engage them!
8. Ask for Recommendations
Nothing adds more credibility to a LinkedIn profile than a slew of positive recommendations. A credible profile amplifies the efficacy of your InMail campaigns, blog posts and group messages.
9. Use Messages to Seek Feedback
You can use LinkedIn messages to ask for advice on a feature of your product, and you can pull potential customers into the iterative feedback loop for your product’s development. People love sharing their expertise, so let them be experts. Regardless of whether you win business, you might get feedback that spurs growth.
10. Use the LinkedIn Introduction Tool
Look for the people you want to connect with, then see how you’re connected to them through the people you already know. Use the LinkedIn connection tool to seek a referral from a business content you already know. This warm introduction will not only put you in touch with the person, but they will be more receptive to meeting you.
11. Interact With Potential Clients
Comments get peoples’ attention more than “likes” will. When a potential client posts something, genuinely interact with them by leaving a comment that is more than a single word like “Congrats.” By showing you care and have things of value to say, they will like you. Because of your comments, these potential clients will check out your profile, which can open the door for a business relationship.
12. Publish Articles to the LinkedIn Publishing Platform
We get the most qualified leads from the content we publish to our employees’ individual publishing platforms on LinkedIn. We repurpose content from our blog and guest posts, and create engaging CTAs that direct people to download a whitepaper or check out our blog.
13. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
It seems pointless to spend your marketing budget targeting prospects, and making them do all the guesswork. It’s important to have a strong LinkedIn profile for yourself and your company. Make sure you have a professional profile that indicates how your company can help them achieve their business goals and where they can go to find resources, e.g. demo videos, reference papers and case studies.