LinkedIn is kind of like that social network standing in the corner at the middle school dance. Everyone knows LinkedIn is there, but no one interacts with him like they do with Facebook and Pinterest. It’s kind of sad really, because LinkedIn has a lot to offer, and could do a better job of generating leads than Facebook or Twitter, especially for B2B companies. Part of the reason why LinkedIn can be such a good lead generator is that the mood and demographic of the professional network is much different from the other sites. People create profiles for work purposes, connect with others for work purposes, and join groups for work purposes. So, why not generate leads, you know, for work purposes? Here’s how to generate quality leads on LinkedIn:
- Set Up Your Company Page – If your company doesn’t have a LinkedIn page yet, then take the time to set one up and to add any coworkers who would work on the page (salespeople, marketers etc.) A company page is a starting point for generating leads and moving prospects through the buying process since it’s a place to direct people that are interested in your products and services. You do need a company email (firstname.lastname@example.org, for example) to open a company page. Unfortunately, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc. won’t work.
- Fill In the Company Page – When directing people to your LinkedIn company page, you don’t want to just have the same info listed there as on your website. Adding products and services gives you something specific to lead prospects to, but these pages also allow you to add a video or a promotion to the product if one is applicable. You’ll also be able to add your blog feed, any news items that mention your company, or links to your sales associates, so potential customers could connect with someone to talk to.
- Participate in Relevant Group Discussions – We actually got a customer this way, and all it entailed was participating in group discussions from time to time. Don’t spend the time promoting yourself, but actually adding to the conversation and responding to any replies. Doing this brings visibility to you, and your company, and you may find someone who is in need of the exact product or service you offer. An even better thing to do is to start a discussion in a group. This way, you can link to a blog post or your newsletter, and generate leads that way.
- Connect with People – Don’t just connect with business associates when you first set up your profile. Constantly connect with associates old and new. This keeps you (and your business) at the top of their mind while making it easy for you to get in touch with them if necessary. Besides people, it doesn't hurt to follow other companies, especially competitors and customers.
- Add Applications to Your Profile Page – LinkedIn pages have apps just like Facebook and you can make your (personal) profile a little more engaging. Apps range from your Amazon reading list, to your Wordpress blog feed, to your Slideshare presentations. You can showcase sides of yourself that may not be necessarily related to work, but could make you more relatable to potential clients and customers
It is possible to generate leads and to find customers on LinkedIn. Things just have to be done a little bit differently to get these leads, and the site is better suited for B2B companies. If you give LinkedIn the time and commitment necessary to create a solid, professional presence, generating leads shouldn’t be any problem.