Social media is an absolute gift for marketers. It’s given us a treasure trove of data, a vast captive audience, and all the tools to track the impact of our outreach efforts.
Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram have plenty to offer, but in the world of B2B marketing, LinkedIn lead generation is hard to beat when it comes to bringing in new prospects. Whether you want to find out what makes your prospects tick, perform some inbound magic, or build stronger and more meaningful business relationships with potential buyers, all your social selling needs are met on LinkedIn.
It’s not for us to decide whether the erosion of face-to-face business practices is a positive or negative thing, but, as marketers, we have to inhabit the space where our audience is.
And right now, that’s LinkedIn.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled our top six LinkedIn lead gen strategies for marketers. Read on to boost your social game.
Table of Content
Enhance Your Profile
You wouldn’t have last season’s clothes in your fashion store window, so don’t let your LinkedIn profile sit untouched, gathering dust either.
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your opportunity to sell yourself and your company to qualified prospects and convince them that you’re the right person to help them. Generally, you want it to be clear, comprehensive, and professional.
While it can be daunting to sit down to a blank page, some best practice guidelines will help ensure your profile is optimised for lead gen as possible.
First, the photo. LinkedIn research indicates that profiles with a picture are 21 times more likely to be viewed. While it's a good idea to show a bit of personality on your profile, the photo is not necessarily the time to show off your glittering social life or snowboarding achievements.
For best results, ensure that the photo is clear – a blurry, pixelated photo is a sure way to lose your audience’s trust before you’ve even begun. Make sure you’re the only person in the photo and wear professional clothing that you would typically wear in the office.
Use graphical tools such as Canva to create an eye-catching banner image. David Campbell, Marketing Strategist at Right Inbox recommends - “having a little more fun with this – it’s a great place to show off your work or achievements.”
While we’d like to imagine that every visitor to our profile will painstakingly read every word, this simply isn’t the case. This is why it’s so important to ensure that your LinkedIn headline and summary are compelling, and perfectly summarize who you are and how you can help prospects.
Also, don’t pass up on the opportunity to use LinkedIn’s new audio feature. This feature was designed to boost workplace inclusivity by enabling people with regularly mispronounced names to attach an audio note to their profile, demonstrating how to pronounce their names.
There are creative ways to use this feature too: use it to convey your elevator pitch, or include a fun fact about yourself.
Here are three examples of outstanding LinkedIn profiles to inspire you.
Find Potential Prospects
When you’re browsing for prospects, LinkedIn truly is your best friend.
The platform has several tools and features that can help you in your search for people who would be interested in what you have to offer.
Here’s how to find prospects on LinkedIn:
- Look at the "People Also Viewed" sidebar.
If you visit the LinkedIn profile of one of your best customers, you should see the "People Also Viewed" sidebar down the right-hand side of their profile. This is essentially a list of people who are similar to your contact. Given that your contact has been so good for business, this is great news. It’s time to connect with them!
- Investigate competitors' networks
Check out the LinkedIn networks of your biggest rivals. Sales reps know that it’s much easier to sell to people who already understand the market and know they require the product or service you sell. Your biggest competitors’ salespeople will have their prospects, leads, and clients on LinkedIn. And the good news is that their networks are searchable. However, some connections on LinkedIn choose not to make their connections visible.
- Browse users who have interacted with your posts
The people who are interacting with your posts expect – and maybe even want – your attention. Take some time to investigate who is interacting with your posts and what they’re about. Simply click "posts & activity" on your dropdown profile menu to browse reactions and comments to your activity. You can also separate recent followers by navigating to the "your followers" tab on the left sidebar.
- Check out commentators on your prospects’ posts
The qualified prospects you have identified are a gateway to their networks, which are likely brimming with more qualified prospects just waiting to be found. Browse the profiles of people who have commented on your prospects’ posts to see whether your products or services will be a good fit for them.
Personalize LinkedIn Connection Requests
That’s a little more disengaging than receiving LinkedIn’s standard connection request: “I’d like to add you to my professional network”.
This doesn’t tell the user anything about who you are or why you’re interested in connecting with them. As such, your connection request may sit unanswered in their inbox. Even if they do accept your request, they may not be that excited about engaging with you going forward. Either way, it’s not the best way to go about lead gen.
Instead, show your prospects that you’re genuinely interested in them by customizing your connection requests.
It only takes two minutes to find out an interesting detail about the person you want to connect with.
This could be:
- A mutual friend or LinkedIn connection
- If you know someone at the company they work for
- If the company they work for recently made the news
- Some industry news you think they’ll be interested in
Use the person’s name in the connection request, and include a personalized message, as well as a little bit about you and why you’d like to connect with them.
By doing so, you’re laying the foundations to build a solid, mutually beneficial relationship going forward.
Promote Relevant Content
As B2B social media platforms become more similar to the likes of Facebook, people are sharing and discussing more content on their newsfeeds.
Turn yourself into a conversation starter and industry authority by sharing content that is helpful, relevant, and authentic.
By doing so, you’re building your brand – you’re showing prospects that you know what you’re doing, you’re at the cutting edge of the industry, and you’re genuinely interested and passionate about what it is you do. Ideally, your shares will also start discussions, increasing your reach.
The key to getting content sharing right is to ensure that it’s relevant.
We’ve all scrolled past articles on LinkedIn that seem to have been shared for the sake of sharing. Don’t add to the noise. Disrupt. Here are some ways to write stellar LinkedIn posts.
The most effective way to do this is by spending time considering the burning questions and problems your prospects are facing.
Then seek out – or even create – content that provides answers and discusses these common questions and problems. Dedicate a few articles to those topics, or if you have a solid video marketing strategy in place, make a few videos discussing them!
Remember: the better you understand your prospects, the more you’ll be able to convince them you can help them. And of course, to help them!
When it comes to building your personal brand through posting and sharing content, the key is to be consistent. It’s not enough to post every couple of days for one month, and then disappear for the next month. Your followers need to feel like they can rely on you.
Of course, consistency isn’t as easy as it sounds. In this industry, we’re all busy, all the time. But there are LinkedIn marketing tools out there that can help you be consistent, while also optimizing your posts and giving you improved insights into their analytics.
For instance, you can use SocialPilot to bulk schedule and publish your posts, boosting the efficiency of the time you spend working on your social posts. You can also use this tool for content curation, meaning you can find the best content to share faster and with less effort, while the tool’s social analytics dashboard makes it easier to improve your performance in a targeted way.
Interact with Influencer and Audience Posts
The golden rule to successfully building your brand on LinkedIn is to be consistently active. This doesn’t just mean posting on your profile.
Every day, there’s some new hot topic being discussed by your industry’s thought leaders on the social platform. Find that conversation and dive in. Not only do these discussions allow you to network with important professionals in your field from the comfort of your desk, but they also build on that brand authority.
When you put forth strong, intelligent points in these public discussions, your audience’s trust in you will see a boost. If you know what you’re talking about, show off a little. LinkedIn is the place for it.
Follow your industry’s influencers on LinkedIn, and follow back key members of your target audience. Then engage with their posts. It’s that simple.
If you find yourself amid a conversation receiving a huge amount of engagement, why not create a quick blog explaining your opinion, and then drop the link in the comments? This is a simple and efficient way to increase your reach and show up on the LinkedIn feeds of potential clients who don’t yet follow you.
That said, sounding too self-promotional is a surefire way to disengage prospects. This is why your LinkedIn strategy needs to focus on establishing yourself as a brand that provides value.
Utilize Available Tools
Fortunately, there's a whole host of tools ready and waiting to help you make the most of LinkedIn’s lead gen opportunities.
Here are some of the best:
- Sales Navigator
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator helps grow pipelines and increase close rates by helping users better understand and target their audience on the platform. According to the social media giant, it’s indispensable for lead gen, with users seeing 45% more opportunities created.
Features include an advanced lead and company search, lead recommendations, CRM integration, real-time sales updates, and a list of who has viewed your profile.
Developed by a LinkedIn marketer, LinMailPro takes a lot of the admin out of LinkedIn lead gen by automating many of the basic tasks. One of its most useful features allows you to personalize and automate private messages to your LinkedIn connections. Using this extension you can also tag groups of connections with just one click, and automatically view prospects’ profiles.
- LinkedIn Pulse
Using LinkedIn Pulse, you can create and share content on LinkedIn without any need for a separate blog or website. This helps you to build credibility as a brand on the platform. LinkedIn Pulse will notify your connections every time you publish a piece of content, ensuring it doesn’t get lost in the noise, and boost your reach outside your networks.
LinkedIn has handed marketers a huge opportunity for lead gen, with over 575 million users at your fingertips.
But it takes a little work on our part, too. Here is a recap of some LinkedIn lead gen do's and don'ts:
- Regularly update your profile
- Keep your profile professional
- Put the most important stuff in your summary
- Show a little personality
- Use LinkedIn to actively browse for prospects
- Contact prospects over LinkedIn
- Check out your competitors’ networks
- Personalize your connection requests and messages
- Regularly post content that adds value to your audience
- Be a conversation starter
- Make the most of social scheduling tools
- Consistently engage with influencers and your audience’s posts
- Respond quickly to hot topics with your posts
- Let your profile become out of date
- Share unprofessional details, content, or opinions
- Leave unexplained gaps in your experience
- Write a boring profile – just because it’s professional doesn’t mean it has to be dry
- Be overly promotional – remember, this is all about adding value to your audience
- Act like a robot and add as many connections as possible – personalization is key
- Try to sell on LinkedIn from the moment you make a connection
- Be argumentative or aggressive in your posts or comments
- Post old or out of date content
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Especially if you’re a B2B organization. LinkedIn is the top social network for lead generation – and it’s not even a close race, with 80% of marketing leads from social coming via the platform. According to LinkedIn’s own research, of its more than 630 million users, around 10% are decision-makers – the people with real buying power.
There are lots. But when it comes to delivering cost-effective results, the following process works:
- Find prospects who match your ideal customer profile
- Send personalized connection requests to those prospects to drive engagement
- Create and promote relevant content to generate awareness and interest
- Interact with influencers to increase visibility in your personal and business brands
- Add value when you speak to prospects, rather than selling to them straight off the bat
- Use tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to connect with more of the right people
LinkedIn offers a ton of functionality to help you seek out potential prospects:
- Visit your best customers’ profiles and look at the “People Also Viewed” sidebar to find a list of prospects who are similar to your clients.
- Investigate your competitors’ networks (provided their connections are visible) and reach out to the same people.
- Browse users who have interacted with your posts by clicking “Posts & Activity” on your dropdown profile menu to find people who are already engaging with your brand and content.
- Check out commenters on your prospects’ posts. Investigate their profiles to see if they’d also be a good fit for your product or service.