Of the three major social networking sites, LinkedIn is probably the most serious and professional. While Twitter is more journalistic in nature, when it comes to making business connections, LinkedIn proves to be far more important. LinkedIn not only serves as a platform to look for business opportunities and hire people but it is also a great platform to look for leads and connect with them. Lead generation activity on LinkedIn is one of the primary methods to boost sales in today’s world.
LinkedIn has proven to be consistently important and managers & social media experts have often relied heavily upon this tool alone. In this article, let us take a look at how one can use LinkedIn to boost sales and generate leads. After all, 2014 is the year of digital and one will need to start using these tools every day. It is no longer just another method to generate leads but one of the crucial methods to generate leads and be successful in whatever you are trying to do. LinkedIn has certainly come a long way and those who have been using it for the last few years will vouch for its growing importance. Let us take a look at how LinkedIn can be used for lead generation:
• Ask for introductions
Sift through your contacts and visit profiles of people that you might want to connect with. If you run into people who are not yet connected to you, ask a common friend to introduce you to them. It is perfectly OK to do so, if you ask nicely. You can make a list of names that you would like to be connected with and when you are ready, ask your friend to introduce them on LinkedIn to you. Send a message with a blurb that will help your friend to simply copy and paste & introduce you to their connections. It might seem a little embarrassing but it’s a good way to connect with people that might prove to be important leads. Most people hesitate to ask for introductions but it is never a bad practice to do so.
• Search for possible connections
Just search on Google for possible people that you want to connect with. You need to go to Google and type in keywords & Linkedin.com in order to allow Google to fetch a list of results. Sift through this list and add people that you want to. If you are unable to do so, join Groups that they have joined and checked whether they have made that information public.
• Engage in discussions
There is nothing worse than creating a LinkedIn profile and not engaging with your audience. Engage and participate in conversations so that people get to know that you exist as a person & as a business entity. Targeted group discussions on LinkedIn are a great way to appear successful, knowledgeable and important enough. People, usually, try and get back to you when they realize you have a lot to offer to them. Contribute to the group’s discussion and offer your knowledge. Do not be stingy about revealing information.
• Find interests you have in common
Once you realize whom you want to talk to, make a list of common interests. Then, check if they are members of any group. Once you know in which groups they are taking part, you can quickly send them a private message using Group Messages. LinkedIn Groups offer a unique feature wherein you can send messages to perfect strangers even if you are not yet connected.
• Utilize Lead Collection
Lead Collection is a unique feature of LinkedIn. When you opt for LinkedIn Ads, you can choose Lead Collection as well. This lets people to click on a certain ad of yours, arrive at a landing page and then ask to be contacted. That is enough proof for you to know that they are not only going to be leads but also prospective clients or customers as well.
• Stalk your stalkers
There is nothing more thrilling than to know that someone is stalking you online in a professional and harmless way. When someone visits your profile on LinkedIn, visit their profile back and see if your interests match. If they do, contact them right away with a message that asks if you could help them, as they had visited your profile. This is a great way to not only arrive at potential leads but also ensure that you are being courteous. Of course, do not indulge in stalking that might come across as creepy. Do not stalk your former employees or your clients, especially, if you had a thing for them.
• Use advanced filters
LinkedIn comes with a number of filters, when it comes to searching for people. Use these advanced filters to get a list of people that closely match your tastes and needs. If you have subscribed to premium advanced search, it becomes all much easier to find people that truly matter. Advanced filters help you to weed out unnecessary leads that might not be forthcoming or useful. By ensuring that you filter out those who are not promising enough, you will be left with a pool of small but important leads that are bound to be useful for your business.
• Remain active
After you create your LinkedIn profile, do not go silent. It is imperative that you remain talking and sharing information. Your status updates matter a lot and people can easily come to know what you are up to & why they need to engage with you. Share information that you are an expert of and talk to people as well. Most people update their status only when they edit their profiles and some do not even do that. LinkedIn is a social networking site, which needs to be updated constantly. It is only prudent to remain active on LinkedIn so that you can engage with your audience and remain in their unconscious memory so that whenever they need someone in your domain, they think of you.
• Publish blogs and articles
LinkedIn makes it easy for you to publish articles and blogs right on your page. You can do it on LinkedIn or choose to publish on a blog and then share the link. No matter where you do it, write often. Writing blogs and sharing your knowledge in a professional manner can result in increased respect & attention. People will begin to see you as a subject matter expert and will be in a better position to connect with you. Much lead generation happens when you write and publish blogs & articles. Most people take this one for granted but at the end of the day, it is important to do what needs to be done. Content generation is a unique way of generating leads. Write often and write compelling stuff. People are bound to notice when you offer something compelling. Those who write blogs and articles often get more business leads than those who do not; and that is the new normal.
• Be forthcoming
You need to be forthcoming and extroverted when you are using social media. If you are not forthcoming and enterprising, you will not be heard. People will forget you and may not even realize that you exist. It is always important to constantly check who checked your profile and try & connect with them. It is also important to make a list of niche audience and try to connect with them as well. There is nothing more important than being forthcoming when it comes to connecting with the right audience online; and it is not even very difficult.
At the end of the day, LinkedIn is a social networking site, though it caters more for professional pursuits. That makes it all the more important for you to let your guard down and begin to network. People are there for networking and connecting & it is not shameful to ask for connections, introductions and making conversations. Update your profile, begin to post status updates and publish articles. Also ensure that you are constantly checking who visited your profile and if their interests match with yours. If it does, make sure that you connect with them right away. They might even forget that they had visited your profile. LinkedIn can be a very powerful lead generation tool. You just need to use it more often.