LinkedIn has been dubbed the most powerful marketing tool of the 21st century by the Huffington Post. Is it?
The world of digital marketing currently focuses on the most famous social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And of course, LinkedIn.
Less of a social media site and more of a networking site, LinkedIn isn’t home to photo sharing antics and annoying status updates, but is the new king of lead generation.
As of February 2015, LinkedIn reached a total of 347 million users with 2 new members joining every second. 62% of marketers are saying that it is a much more effective platform than Facebook. Thanks to the higher return in lead generation, 91% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. 85% use Twitter and 81% use Facebook.
LinkedIn is a job-oriented social networking platform and provides notable demographics based on education. 38% of its users are college-educated. The site is predominantly a network for those who are older and in pursuit of career goals or are well established with their career already.
Results from a two-year study conducted by Investis show LinkedIn has successfully pushed far ahead of Facebook and Twitter in its ability to drive traffic directly to websites, making it the top active social referral source. See a screenshot of the report below:
7 Tips to Improve Lead Generation
#1 Maintain your profile
Rich with industry contacts, LinkedIn can be a great resource for lead generation leading to sales.
First, create a compelling profile to make a great first impression with everyone you contact. A few aspects to remember when starting up include:
- Use a profile photo that is formal and professionally shot.
- Provide complete contact information.
- Include information about potential help you can offer to future connections.
- Create engagement with targeted updates.
- Include on your summary your skills (in first person) with appropriate links and contact details.
- Complete your “experience” section.
- Showcase notable projects in the “projects” section.
- Vamp up your awards and recommendations.
Once you’ve done this, remember to maintain your profile; add any new projects or important information as required.
#2 Join LinkedIn Groups
Most groups on LinkedIn are comprised of industry-specific personnel. Joining related groups can help you find potential customers. Other benefits of joining LinkedIn groups include:
- Up to date information on the latest industry trends from industry leaders.
- Getting added exposure; most groups are open and can be returned in Google search.
- Initiate discussion from people who are experts in the field.
- Give you the chance to meet and network with industry leaders and influencers.
Brands constantly use groups to meet, reach out to other companies and foster business deals with fellow group members.
#3 Use search filters to look for leads
Not all of your connections or fellow group members will turn into leads. To narrow down the search, use the LinkedIn “Advanced Search” feature. This will give you the chance to narrow down prospects by keywords, titles, companies, industries, interests and locations.
Advanced Search will help you find prospects who are potential high quality leads.
#4 Use InMail
InMail is an alternative contact method used to get in touch with prospects who can’t be reached through their provided contact details. InMail is only available to paid account holders.
When composing an InMail message, try not to stick to the readymade template. Make it personal yet professional, be polite, create interest and encourage them through a prompt for action.
#5 Create personalised invitations to connect
When connecting with prospects, a personalised invitation is recommended. It helps to filter out relevant prospects from generic prospects. A touch of personalisation will give a good first impression of your company and helps you relay a more in-depth message that may include your business proposals and aims.
#6 Invest in LinkedIn Ads
When buying ads to promote your business, you need to first create a business account under the dropdown of your name (top right of the screen). After that, the process is easy. For your first LinkedIn ad, follow these three easy steps:
- Create your campaign name.
- Identify your ad destination.
- Add a relevant image.
LinkedIn Advertising requires you to specify your ad targets based on location, company, job, group, gender and age, which helps you find leads faster.
This February, LinkedIn improved its advertising features when it partnered with AppNexus, launching a global display advertising network.
#7 Take Advantage of LinkedIn Publishing
A few years ago LinkedIn Publishing was limited to influencers like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Barack Obama. During early 2014, LinkedIn opened up the platform to its millions of members. The incredibly successful feature now publishes 40, 000 posts per week. With this opportunity now available to 230 million users, many companies use this feature to spearhead their lead generation campaigns.
#8 Connect your LinkedIn profile with other social media
Connecting LinkedIn with other popular social media site can help increase your exposure across platforms. Twitter and Facebook for example once connected to your LinkedIn may show real time updates.Your latest tweet may show as a clickable links right on your Linkedin profile. Same with Facebook, you may have the chance to share LinkedIn updates to Facebook while LinkedIn will occasionally post to your timeline important updates such as new connections.
Although this allows you broader audience across several social media platform prompting higher lead generation chances, you may need to exercise caution after you’ve connected the three. Since LinkedIn is a formal and more professional in nature for social media, you may need to rethink twice about the things you tweet or post. But if we assume that all your profiles are now oriented towards marketing and your business goals, this step should be nothing to fear.
The verdict? LinkedIn could very well live up to current expectations as the most powerful marketing tool of the 21st century. And for more marketing tips using LinkedIn, check 6 Tips for Using LinkedIn for Marketing.
Featured Image: A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive via Flickr