on Jan 26, 2016 / by Anna Eliot

Lead Generation through LinkedIn: A B2B Guide

Humans love to consume content. In just about any marketing space, content is the main driver for top of funnel leads. If you already have your content game set up, then congratulations! However, all that won’t matter unless you’re talking to the right audience, and it can be quite a challenge especially for B2B brands. Thankfully, LinkedIn is helping to further open the door.

In the B2B space, LinkedIn really steps up to the plate. With its publishing platform and career-centric approach to social networking, LinkedIn has become a prime place for brands and professionals to share content. For B2B lead generation companies, LinkedIn is an effective tool that drives 80% of B2B social media leads. A recent study by Weber Shandwick shows that LinkedIn is the preferred social network by CEOs.

Now that anyone can publish articles on this professional networking site, companies can easily target brand advocates, potential customers, and industry influencers all in one spot. This puts LinkedIn right at the heart of any solid marketing strategy.

Although visibility is important, direct engagement with your network is really the secret sauce of LinkedIn—being the largest professional social network online today with over 400 million members, it is virtually where your prospects are.

Here are some tips to help you tap this inbound marketing opportunity.

1. Begin by using it.

As simplistic as it sounds, you have to use your LinkedIn account to better appreciate the tool. Log in often, connect with your colleagues, customers, and qualified prospects. Don’t forget to regularly post updates as well.

2. Maximize the platform by upgrading.

A small fee can go a long way. Get upgraded features like InMail which allows you to send messages directly to anyone with a LinkedIn account, regardless if they’re on your network or not.

3. Make sure to complete your profile.

Forty percent of your networking success lies in presenting a complete profile. Being thorough with your profile will improve your chances of being visible on search.

4. Research your prospects.

The great thing about LinkedIn is that it’s a tool to search for people currently at a company, people that were formerly at a corporation, and people with certain job titles. You can also use it to search prospect companies and weigh them based on some factors. Sales, more importantly, can use LinkedIn to find a decision-maker in the enterprise they are targeting.

5. Collect leads.

LinkedIn Ads’ optional feature called Lead Collection, allows advertisers to collect leads directly through their LinkedIn Ad campaigns. Members who click on your ad are taken to your landing page with a ”Request Contact” button. This is an incredibly easy way for users to connect with your brand and a great way for you to build up a nice lead gen list.

6. Join groups where your customers hang out.

Focus on a small number of groups that fit your target customer’s industry and just hang out! You can start by checking out what others post and adding thoughtful comments of your own.

Utilize your network and their groups. More often than not, people are willing to make a referral for you in the groups that they are part of, which is a reason to be active on LinkedIn. A new survey released by Blanc & Otus reveals peer advice through word of mouth is the primary driver of sales for B2B tech companies.

Staying active on LinkedIn with at least a weekly post will keep you top of mind with your network. Such passive awareness becomes useful when reaching out for an introduction or when someone from your network needs your expertise.

7. Market yourself and stay aggressive.

Social networks are about people. So, market yourself as an individual, a representative of your company. Become a trusted leader in your industry by posting status updates, sharing useful content, and participating in groups.

Regularly check who viewed your profile to determine who had an interest in your brand. Yes, it’s part vanity and another part strategy. A target customer sniffing around your profile is an opportunity for you to reach out to them to know what they need.

8. Mention influencers.

Share useful anecdotes from conversations you’ve had with the people who matter in the industry. Also, reference a milestone achievement of theirs to drive home a point in your article. This will instantly compel people you’ve mentioned to share the post with their networks, which will, in turn, expand your content’s reach.

9. Reward engagement.

It is important to value reader comments, as it is an opportunity to create a human-to-human connection with your audience. A simple thank you will suffice for some comments while others merit a thoughtful reply.

Taking the time to talk to readers in the comments section makes it more likely that they’ll become brand advocates, and share your content with their networks—putting your content in front of more potential leads.

10. Create an editorial calendar.

Just like any marketing tool, LinkedIn requires your team’s commitment to producing the best results. Publish quality content regularly and stay on track by having an editorial calendar. If you need a hand, there are tools out there like Buffer that can help you create a publishing schedule.

Every business will have different needs for their B2B LinkedIn lead generation efforts. It might mean using one or two methods from the 10 ideas mentioned here, or possibly using multiple methods in conjunction with each other to get the best results.

Is your brand on LinkedIn? How did it help you boost your lead generation efforts? Share your stories in the comments below.

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