social media

Using LinkedIn as a B2B lead generation tool

It is no secret that social media if used properly, can be a great lead generation tool. LinkedIn is recognised as the only 100% professional social media network out there, with almost 600 million active users. Beyond that the stats show that LinkedIn drives more traffic to B2B blogs and sites than Facebook and Twitter combined (source), meaning you can’t ignore the potential power it holds for B2B lead generation.

In this post, we look at how LinkedIn can be used to support lead generation for B2B business with some best practice tips that will encourage your potential leads to convert.

Lead generation expectations:

Now let’s make it clear. Social media is a long game. Know your chosen platform, your target audience and their behaviours. Be present and, ideally, have a content plan that enables you to be creative and relevant.

It takes time and commitment to making it work and will not happen overnight. Like all things, you need to monitor your activities to see what has or hasn’t worked. Learn from this information and improve.

So that is the expectations set let’s move onto activities that will help you get those leads in.

Image is everything.

It is amazing how many people do not optimise their profiles to ensure that:

  1. They can be found
  2. It gives the potential connection something more than your competitors.

We have a guide on how to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is tip top here. Our top ‘at a glance’ recommendations are to:

  • Get recommendations. These add a layer of trust when you are being found, and help your positioning for search terms.
  • Add links to your website, coverage, portfolio pieces, award wins and more in your introduction section. This is the section to sell yourself as quickly as possible.
  • Have a professional headshot.
  • Don’t waste your headline by putting your job title in – tell people what you can help them with.
  • Connect with your past and highlight the transferable skills that support your current role

Be human.

You will see a lot of ‘storytelling’ now on LinkedIn. And while I can’t read more than a paragraph in an update without switching off, they do work if you are writing something that resonates with your target audience.

The key tip here is to make sure that the first paragraph is so compelling that people continue to read or can make a comment based on that info (if they are like me and feel more comfortable with the 280 character comfort zone of Twitter).

Want to take it up a notch? LinkedIn has recognised the human element as a factor of importance and their native videos are taking off. So why not give the low-down to your story in a paragraph, then tell the rest in a video. But don’t forget captions – people at work, on the bus or having lunch may not have the sound on (or speakers on their PC in my case – I must rectify that)

Don’t be too eager.

There are so many opportunities to ‘sell’ yourself on LinkedIn. With that said at the moment someone connects with you is not the one. There is nothing more off-putting than connecting with someone and immediately being sent an unsolicited sales pitch.  Only to be made worse when the pitch is not relevant to you whatsoever.

Before you start your sales patter, take a moment to read their profile. Then give them something. This can be comments on their updates, a share here or there, or answer their questions with some FREE knowledge.

Can’t answer the questions they are asking? By tagging in someone that can, you can demonstrate that you are connected and helpful. Heck, why not even ask a question that is targeted at your contacts and see who answers – then start the conversation there.

These actions will warm up that possible lead for you and give you many ways to keep in the forefront of their mind (and feed) without lazy inmails.

Connect the dots.

To grow your connections you need to think outside the box of how to find them.

One way to target individuals in specific roles is to look at the company pages and click onto the employees section. Here you will find a list of past and present employees and their current roles. Some you will be able to ask to connect with. Some you will have to work harder for by joining mutual groups or making closer connections first. Then, when you get a chance to send that important connection request, make sure:

  • It is personal to them
  • Not salesy
  • Leads them to updated profile that screams YOU NEED ME

Another way is to keep an eye on who is viewing your profile and selectively choose to who connect with. Or, if they are already a connection start upping your engagement efforts with them to work out if they are being nosey, or ready to have a chat about what they may need from you.

Keep your brand at the forefront of what you do.

Sounds obvious to most. But with employee advocacy on the rise, it can be easy for employees to get overzealous and lose the critical goal and company guidelines at the same time.

With 50% of B2B buyers using LinkedIn when making a purchasing decision, marketing, HR and management teams need to have an eye on what is being posted. This can be hard for medium to large organisations. So internal training and easily digestible guidelines are a must to distribute internally so that they are understood and followed.

50% of B2B buyers using LinkedIn when making a purchasing decision – @LinkedIn Click To TweeT

Beyond that have:

  • A company page that ‘shows’ staff and potential customers alike, the type of brand that you are
  • A robust (but flexible) content plan, so that staff and teams know when content is going out,
  • Internal communications of events, PR wins, and company news is essential so employees know what they can send out via their networks,
  • A regular flow of articles that can be used by employees,
  • A library of signed off images, graphics and photography,

These are all key to ensuring messages are kept on brand.

Expand your network with groups.

Groups are a great way to:

  1. Open up your connection pool
  2. Join conversations that are specific to YOUR offering, thus showcasing your expertise
  3. Share best practice within your industry
  4. Not only grow your potential lead’s but your network of trusted partners as well

Our top tips here are to find a mix of ‘general’ business groups and niche industry groups to spread the word. Adhere to the group’s rules and make sure you contribute as well as share your opinions and content with them.

These are a few ways to start using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool for your business. Trust is an essential factor here if you have employees. Trusting them to fly the flag for your brand, and to use their time constructively when online.

If you are affected by any of the topics in today’s blog get in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, we recommend taking a look at our blog, which is full of marketing insight and guidance. 

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