Despite the popularity (and apparent financial valuation) of LinkedIn, very few businesses use the platform as an effective lead generation and business development tool. But aside from the general networking and resume-pumping that takes place on an individual level, LinkedIn is a surprisingly robust and versatile resource for business directors and small business owners alike - no matter how big or small your social media budget.
Here are a few strategic tips to better utilize LinkedIn to generate more leads for your company:
LinkedIn isn't for everyone. The platform is primarily focused on those in the business world, meaning if your potential customers aren't businesses or industries, you may find the network an uphill battle of B2B speak and disappointing user engagement.
In considering using LinkedIn, ask yourself the following questions before jumping on the proverbial bandwagon:
- Does my business target B2B customers or B2C?
- Do my ideal clients use LinkedIn for research, business development, or for resume-building purposes?
- Is your primary motivation for using LinkedIn sales-oriented, marketing, or HR?
Depending on your answers, you may have a very different experience with LinkedIn than other companies. For instance, if your business caters to information technology providers, you may find success in utilizing effective content marketing on LinkedIn, but if you're a food truck in downtown Los Angeles, there's not a lot of chance your customers are going to find your LinkedIn efforts useful or relevant.
Of equal in importance to a modern, attractive-looking website is a strong, relevant LinkedIn profile.
Keeping your company's page up-to-date, consistent to brand messaging and style - and straightforward enough to help first-time visitors instantly understand your profile - is key to success on the platform.
If your company targets multiple demographics or provides several products and services, creating a showcase page is the best way to segment and funnel users to the most relevant information. Showcase pages enable organizations to better promote and share relevant information and updates on specific offerings.
For instance, Microsoft has showcase pages for Office, Azure, and Bing with detailed information pertaining to each initiative.
Visitors to your LinkedIn presence all have the same question: "What do you do?" If your current profile doesn't succinctly and effectively answer that question in 30 seconds or less, it's useless to you.
A short video, commercial, or whiteboard demonstration is a good first step in drawing user interest in your company. You should also provide a text version of the script or words contained within your video in addition to the visual version of your digital elevator pitch.
This is a crucial first step in maintaining user interest and preventing your profile from being a one-time visit for new and potential customers.
Much like other social media platforms, LinkedIn is better when shared with others. That means your content marketing team should be publishing unique, interesting information for use on your LinkedIn page.
There's a bit of legwork that comes with this - in order to fully establish yourself on LinkedIn (or any other social platform, for that matter), you'll want to routinely reach out and connect with others in your industry. Posting short status updates with polls, questions, or interesting statistics is a good first step, but joining several LinkedIn Groups and following both users and companies related to your industry and following their activity closely is the best way to build strong connections.
Answers, Groups, People, and Direct Ads are all official LinkedIn services that can be used to engage with users and generate leads for your business.
Despite the relatively low utilization of the first service, LinkedIn Answers are actually super useful for those seeking advice and information in the business world. By becoming active and speaking authoritatively in your field or profession, you therefore establish yourself as a leader in your industry - that is, if the information you provide is relevant, smart, and useful.
Among the first things you should do upon completing your LinkedIn profile is to create your own LinkedIn Group - seriously. By inviting other users to join your group, you effectively create your own publishing platform to share your company's resources and public-facing data. Of course, you'll want to utilize your existing network of Groups you follow in order to build out your own Group.
The advantages of creating (and dutifully maintaining) your company's own LinkedIn Group can be advantageous on many levels.
First, with a captive audience, your marketing value to business partners, potential clients, and even coworkers will be instantly greater.
In addition, you'll also be able to gauge your Group's interest in new products and services, illicit feedback and commentary, and provide incentives for dedicated members.
LinkedIn drives approximately 65% of all B2B customers through inbound marketing, but that doesn't mean you should ignore LinkedIn when building your advertising budget.
Operating much like Google Ads, LinkedIn Direct Ads help drive new and potential customers to a designated landing page, LinkedIn Group, or any other destination you choose. It's a PPC platform, meaning you'll need to periodically monitor and adjust your bids to keep your ad running, but the ROI is substantial - especially given LinkedIn's professional audience.
Just make sure you're testing and adjusting your headline and ad copy on a regular basis to find which one works best.
As with any other social media platform, LinkedIn's rules and best practices are always changing. What worked in 2015 may not work very well in 2016, so keeping a close eye on industry leaders in social and digital marketing will help you adjust your company's LinkedIn strategy going forward.