I’ll bet you didn’t know that LinkedIn is 277% better for lead generation than other social networks. Long gone are the days of simply uploading your resume and leaving it at that. LinkedIn has become a living, breathing, lead-generating machine for professionals from all walks of life and in every type of industry.
Here are some tips to help you use LinkedIn for leads (high quality ones, too!).
Optimize your profile.
- Profile image. Make sure your profile image is up-to-date and clear. There is nothing worse that a shady pic from 1972 to be a big turnoff for a potential lead.
- Headline. Take advantage of the real estate of your headline. Think of the main keywords you’d like to be discovered by and add them there (no one cares about titles, they care about how you’re going to solve their problems.) For example, on my page rather than say, Owner of Get Susan Marketing, I say, Inbound & Social Media Marketing Specialist.
- Contact info. Make sure you have proper links to your website and Twitter. (Hint: use the “other” button so you can customize the text of the links.)
- Customize your URL. By default users get a URL that is usually a string of letters and numbers, but you can customize that so it’s easier for folks to find you.
- Sections. Go through and completely fill in each section of your profile. Think about your keywords in your summary and experience; add any volunteer experiences and causes (this really humanizes you and can create deeper connections), certifications and skills.
- Recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask for them from colleagues. Be open to reciprocating.
Add a company page. Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can create a company page. The question is, would it be right for YOUR Company to create a page? My number one rule for using social media marketing is to be where your customers are. If you have created a Buyer Persona and have figured out your target customers are more likely to be on LinkedIn than other social sites, then you absolutely should have a company page. Not only are they quick, easy and free to set up, they have a nice set of features.
A couple of notes about Company Pages:
- You can upload a banner image, the size is 646 px w x 220 px h
- Videos and slideshows are encouraged and can really bring your products (or you!) to life
- Prioritize your products by arranging them by order of importance.
Learn more about LinkedIn Company Pages at http://www.marketing.linkedin.com/company-pages/
Join groups. Being a member of a wide-variety of – but still relevant! – groupshas been my number one secret weapon for lead generation. LinkedIn group members get email notices for new discussions, so your post (which could be perhaps a link to your latest blog or other marketing offer) goes into their inbox without your having access to their email addresses. But, be careful! Being too spammy or salesy will get you booted in a heartbeat. Join in on conversations and showcase your knowledge so that when you do post an offer, you’ll get a much higher response rate. Don’t forget to reciprocate.
Grow your connections. Your LinkedIn networking should not stop at having an optimized profile and company page. Take some time every week to actively grow your connections. While I do not recommend connecting with any ol’ Tom, Frank or Bill that asks (for privacy and other reasons), I do recommend you actively seek out current and past colleagues, classmates, group members and any other professionals you may previously had connections with.
Use the Add Connections feature that pulls in contact information from your email programs, and take advantage of any other social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ by posting your customized URL there.
Easier access. LinkedIn’s InMail feature gives you the opportunity to reach someone at a big company. If you have a product or service you’ve been dying to pitch to just the right person, then InMail could be your answer. InMail actually has a much higher response rate than any other email collateral, too.
Post your content. Professionals use LinkedIn to find out more information about their industry, and to grow professionally. Position yourself as a thought leader by posting often, replying to posts and being active in group conversations.
LinkedIn is a robust, professional tool that once set up and properly optimized can help generate top-notch leads and connections. But, don’t forget, you’ll get the BEST results when your LinkedIn strategy is part of an inbound marketing strategy that aligns with your overall business goals.