When compared to the razzle dazzle of Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is kind of like the frumpy stepsister of the social media world. Where Facebook and Twitter is a source for fun and games, LinkedIn is pretty much all business. But when it comes to B2B marketing, it’s a heck of a lot more valuable.
Just consider the following facts about who’s on LinkedIn and you’ll see why:
- 7.9 million business decision makers
- 1.3 million small business owners
- 5.5 million high tech managers
- 4.2 million corporate executives
- Execs from every Fortune 500 company
That’s a lot of potential clients.
So the question is, how can you weed through LinkedIn users to find those who are truly qualified buyers? Here are some ideas to consider:
#1. Target Your Search
Use the Advanced People Search tool to find potential leads. To get there, click on the “Advanced” text link next to the search field when you go to LinkedIn. This will take you to a screen where you can search for people via job title, industry, company, etc.
Some of the filters – such as “years of experience” – are for premium paid members. But even using the free filters can help you target the buyers in your field.
#2. Be on the Lookout for New Opportunities
Stay on top of your connections’ “new connections” and “network updates.” For instance, say a peer leaves the consulting world and heads back to a company you’d like to sign as a client. This is the perfect opportunity to reach out to that person and let him or her know you’re there if the need arises.
#3. Get Creative With Your Profile Page
Setting up a profile page isn’t going to do much in the way of generating leads. So, assuming you already have a profile page, ratchet things up a bit to attract and impress potential buyers.
For instance, rather than the traditional written recommendations, add video to your page in the form of client testimonials or a welcome message. (Just a note: LinkedIn currently only supports videos uploaded to YouTube.) Also be sure to feed any blog posts or tweets there.
You can also install apps to your profile page using the Application Directory. For example, you can use the Events app to see which events your connections are attending.
#4. Leverage the Power of Groups.
Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another LinkedIn user, you can message them or view their profile without being a first-degree connection?
So get active in LinkedIn groups catering to your target market. Monitor each group’s discussion posts and questions, and respond with thoughtful comments and insight (not a sales pitch). Also, monitor for prospects demonstrating a need for your services.
You can even poll the members of a particular group (if the group manager enables that feature). Just go to a particular group’s page and click on “Poll.” Then post your poll question and how long you want it to run. You can use this feature to conduct research, get new ideas on how to market your services, or gather valuable facts and insight for your next blog posting.
Don’t want to waste a lot of time joining a group, only to find it’s not that useful?
Use the “Group Statistics” feature to research it first. Simply find the group you’re interested in joining, click “More” in the group’s top navigation and then “Group Statistics” in the dropdown menu. There you can see the breakdown of who’s in the group (i.e. seniority, industry, location, etc.) and how active members are.
There’s no magic formula for finding qualified leads, whether on LinkedIn or through other channels. That said, if you’re willing to spend some time and effort prospecting via social media, then LinkedIn is your best bet.
Here’s a powerful fact we’ll leave you with:
In an internal study of 5,000 customers of HubSpot, a pioneer in inbound marketing, it was found that LinkedIn was 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.