Before getting into the six ways to use LinkedIn to generate leads, let me say this: one of the keys to success with LinkedIn, as with all the other social networking platforms, is to use the site often especially when it comes to your profile. You’ll want to get yourself in the mindset to check in on and engage with LinkedIn on a daily basis, if not more often. It is hard to find the time, but in my experience, diligent use of the site will pay off, an incentive that likely makes up for the investment of your time and resources. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if we’re not already connected.
I’ve spent some time scanning the Internet to find useful tips on ways to generate leads for your business using LinkedIn from several different sources. Read on to gain insights.
This is one of the more useful and under-utilized tools on LinkedIn. It’s a section where people who want to ask questions about business go to get advice. Just browse the current questions, whether you look at those posed by your network or narrow them down from one of LinkedIn’s recommended categories. When you find one that you can answer, go for it! What you’re hoping to achieve is to be selected as a “Best Answer.” When this happens, you’ll see a badge appear on your profile saying you’re an expert in a certain category. This will certainly open the door for others to contact you regarding prospective opportunities.
2. LinkedIn Applications.
LinkedIn Applications allows you to add new and interesting apps that will enrich your profile, share and collaborate with your network and will overall improve the experience people have on your LinkedIn page. You can add your blog posts to your profile page, add what business books you’re reading or you can set up simple polls to find out what’s on the minds of your customers and prospects. Every application comes with easy steps to implement them.
3. Share content.
One of the keys to LinkedIn is remaining visible and active. Think of LinkedIn as a fast-moving information stream. Every time you make a connection, edit your profile, post content or participate in a group, you (and your profile) show up in LinkedIn’s stream. This is a mini-marketing message to your connections and the fact that you’re visible and active on the platform lets them know you’re serious about LinkedIn and it’s power. An easy way to maximize visibility is to share content on a daily basis (or even more frequently, if you can.) You probably consume a lot of content throughout the day, so why not share what you’re reading with your connections? If you want to highlight your expertise or skills, stick to sharing information that aligns with a particular industry or subject matter, and take time to write a couple of sentences that detail your thoughts on the piece when you post.
If you haven’t already joined LinkedIn Groups, consider this your wake-up call. You can join up to 50 groups. Take advantage of all 50. The trick here isn’t just joining the obvious groups in your industry–it’s joining groups that are outside your industry that might help you grow your business. When you post content to your LinkedIn profile, you can also specify that the link be shared to certain groups, which is a great way to cross-post to several different areas at once and gain exposure. Think of groups as a smaller, more niche networking opportunity, but equally valuable in helping you maintain your LinkedIn visibility, expanding your reach and positioning yourself as a thought leader.
- If you’re not experienced participating in group conversations, spend a week or so chiming in on posts without linking to any of your own stuff. That way, you’ll get an idea of what’s acceptable and what isn’t prior to injecting your content.
- Pay attention to how many posts are made in each group. If it’s just a few per day, then you don’t want to leave posts for the group every day. If you go into the group and notice every other post is from you, then you’re posting too much.
- Start group conversations based on the premise of your blog posts while referencing them. *Warning – Do not come off as self-promotional. There is a “promotions” tab for that. Be sincere by requesting honest feedback or input on content.
If you’re heading to a sales or other business meeting or even an interview, it’s not a bad idea to spend a little bit of time doing some preliminary research. Look up the meeting attendees on LinkedIn to familiarize yourself with their backgrounds and work experience. You’ll also be able to see if you have any connections in common and, if so, name drop a mutual friend’s name as a conversation starter. Any time you can demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and have taken the time to get to know the people and the businesses with which you’re working, you make a far more effective impression.
6. LinkedIn Mobile.
Yes, LinkedIn has a mobile application. If your schedule is anything like mine, you’re constantly on the go—and you probably always have your smartphone in hand. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t maximize the LinkedIn mobile app to stay up-to-date with your profile and connections. You don’t necessarily have to be at your computer to update your profile, do a bit of research or find out what’s happening with your other connections. It all goes back to maintaining your visibility on the site, and the mobile app is a key and convenient tool when it comes to facilitating a steady stream of LinkedIn activity.