The social media world is an ever-changing landscape. As the most recent Facebook and Twitter scandals have demonstrated, it is vital to stay on top of new marketing trends. LinkedIn’s robust analytics and marketing tools are among the most overlooked aspects of this social media platform. The platform is also one of the most underrated social media platforms for marketing. There are many reasons to use LinkedIn for marketing, from its giant database of professionals to relevant ads and high clickthrough rates.
In this article, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how to grow your connections, and B2B leads on LinkedIn quickly.
Let’s first talk about LinkedIn.
Despite LinkedIn’s many advantages, not all marketers know how to access and apply LinkedIn data.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 700 million members, striking a powerful chord in virtually every industry imaginable. LinkedIn is also ideal for B2B marketing. According to one estimate, 62% of all B2B interactions take place on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn might be pretty obvious as a B2B business tool, but some preconceived notions hold many people back from investing time on the platform.
First off, some people assume that the number of users on LinkedIn is fewer than other social networks and thus not worth the trouble. In reality, the platform is thriving. With professionals of all types hanging around daily on LinkedIn, you have many potential clients at your disposal. And remember: there are 700 million members to get through.
Next, some people might assume that LinkedIn is dull and outdated. That’s quickly becoming untrue. LinkedIn has a corporate feel to it, but guess what? Those are your prospects.
LinkedIn is a professional network, after all. Not to mention, it’s “the world’s largest professional network,” according to LinkedIn. Any marketing professional who claims to be using social media but ignores LinkedIn is doing their business a disservice.
So what’s the first step to building an engaged pipeline on the platform?
Step One: Optimize your profile for connecting
One of the most important things to work on is optimizing your personal and business profile. More than any other social platform, this is important because LinkedIn wants to know who they are hearing from and ensure they don’t have any red flags.
What do I mean by this?
When it comes to your headshot, make it a professional picture. That means no silly cartoons, design work, kids, or pets. You’re on LinkedIn. It’s not where people go to find jokes or check out someone cute. Your background image also needs to showcase your company. Again, it’s not Facebook. It’s not Twitter.
Also, make sure your headline says who you are and what you do. It takes a few seconds for a prospect to determine if there is a fit for your business. When they only see your headline, they will decide if it’s worth reading, and your profile views will go up. Make sure you give people a good reason to continue reading your profile.
Your summary is another place to make a statement and capture the attention of someone who will read about you. Make sure this is a paragraph that tackles who you are, what you do, and how it will benefit them. You can toss in some keywords here if it fits but don’t try to force it. Let it flow naturally.
Once you have completely optimized your profile for your target audience, what next?
Step Two: Don’t target just anyone; Target decision-makers
It will be needle-moving for your business if you are proactive in finding and connecting with leads. The best group of people to connect with on LinkedIn are high-level decision-makers. After you have your targeted list of companies, employees, and decision-makers, take the time to dig into their profile and add value before sending a connection request.
Reach out to people with a personalized message and engage with their content before requesting a connection.
When you approach people this way, you avoid coming off as trying to meet or “pitch” them, and you get answers to helpful questions. Your conversion rate also goes up.
Instead of one-sided connections, ask a few questions. For example, instead of contacting a company and asking them to add you, consider reaching out to them and following the company’s account. It’s a great way to get follow-up questions when you reach out.
Your intent should be to connect, not sell on LinkedIn.
Step Three: Follow up with old leads before targeting new ones.
Lead generation is a numbers game. That’s what we’ve all heard. In other words, find a large number of people who fit your ideal customer profile, reach out to them, and a certain percentage will respond.
The problem is that this approach is just covering old ground, and you risk generating mediocre leads without really leaving an impact on your target market.
Instead of jumping into the deep end and reaching out to a considerable volume of people with who you don’t have any real connections, stay true to your community and send follow-up messages to existing customers.
Following up with your old leads is a great way to uncover how you can reach them and what they might be interested in purchasing. It’s also an opportunity for you to find out if they noticed a change in your product or service that would make them more likely to either purchase it now or consider doing so in the future.
By opting to follow up with your existing leads first, you’ll be able to leverage your connection with them, build up your online persona, and stay true to your existing customer base. Most importantly, you’ll be able to uncover new ways to reach your target market.
Step Four: Put lead generation on autopilot with content marketing.
Publishing valuable content on LinkedIn is one of the most impressive features of the platform. The reach that you can have on their publishing platform is unprecedented, even if you’re unknown on other platforms. With the ability to have your content or article seen by thousands of people, LinkedIn is an impressive way to build your brand and become the thought leader in your industry.
When publishing on LinkedIn, you can either post status updates, publish on LinkedIn Pulse, or publish your business blog. You could use LinkedIn Groups for content marketing, but we’ve not seen as many positive results as we’ve seen in the other options already mentioned.
Status updates are the best way to reach a large group of your likely prospects within a short period. They have the highest engagement across all forms of content and only take a few minutes to make. If you’re part of several different communities or groups, making regular status updates is a great way to build yourself up and drive engagement.
LinkedIn Pulse is also a great way to reach out to people outside of LinkedIn and drive them to your website.
And your business blog is a fantastic way to connect with your potential customer by creating a meaningful relationship with him or her.
Use all these options to maximize the reach of your content, but focus most of your marketing efforts on status updates.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Well, what do I publish?”
Step Five: Give your target audience what they want.
Every step I’ve mentioned here is crucial and can add hundreds of leads to your pipeline. However, without this step, your effort won’t be doing much good.
Who makes up your ideal customers, what do they want or want to do?
You need to have a good understanding of your potential customer before you can generate high-quality leads on LinkedIn. People on LinkedIn are generally looking to make connections, and more specifically, they are looking to make connections with people with something to offer. If you don’t offer anything new, you won’t notice impressive results from your efforts.
On the other hand, if you know your target audience well enough, you can leverage your niche and offer them valuable content. Your relevant content can deliver helpful information or whatever is of interest to your target market.
As you continue to add value to your target market, you can expand your niche and begin defining a more general space for yourself.
The only way to create the best type of content for your audience is through proper research, planning, and experimentation. With good research, you will find out the kind of content your target market values and receives good engagement. With a good grasp of your audience’s wants in mind, write down some theories and carry out experiments.
If you find out that your audience reacts best to video content, test out different video content lengths and see how well it works. If not, write down your findings, and you can incorporate them into your future content.
In your experiments, you should also track conversions, engagement, and even feelings to measure what’s working for your audience. Once you have a good grasp of what works, it’s time to engage.
Step Six: Engage
LinkedIn is a social networking platform. Like all other social platforms, engaging with others through sharing, commenting, and liking content is one of the best ways to build your LinkedIn connections and leads.
Getting as much engagement on your LinkedIn posts is the fastest way to go viral. The first hour is the best part, and the chances of having your content gain traction are highest at this time. Of course, you need to keep your posts interesting, or else no one will want to engage with your content. It’s no wonder spending time getting to know your audience is so critical.
You should engage with others’ content as much as possible. However, here are a few tips to increase engagement on your posts:
– Make your posts easy to read. Posts that do well on the platform tend to be shorter, conversational, and easy to read. The best posts also include thought-provoking questions at the end of each post so that people will want to hop onto the thread and comment.
– Use hashtags. Getting people to find your content can be helpful when trying to drive leads. Using hashtags is a great way to get your content into the hands of people you have not connected with on LinkedIn.
– Build anticipation. Setting up a campaign around an upcoming blog post is a great way to boost engagement. People love to be a part of something, so when you give them something to work towards, engagement rates and even leads will start to climb.
– Don’t be afraid of controversy. This tip works well for more prominent brands and corporations but can also work wonders for small business owners. If your content can cause controversy, people will be more likely to engage with it.
Keep in mind that none of these tips work unless you are actively engaging with others. Creating high-quality posts is a necessary part, but not the whole battle. If you aren’t willing to put in the time, it won’t work.
So there you have it: a helpful list of six steps for you to build an engaged lead pipeline. As I mentioned before, none of these steps work unless you’re actively engaging with others and creating quality content. That also means you can’t just post once or twice a week and expect the leads to come rolling in.
However, if you take the time to research, plan, and experiment to understand what your target market wants from your content, then it shouldn’t be too hard to produce content that your audience will find and be more likely to leave likes and comments.