LinkedIn is the recognized leader in social networking lead generation.  From networking with like-minded professionals to seeking out new prospects, LinkedIn does what it was designed to do – help you promote and grow your business.  Success with its innovative platform does not come instantly or without putting time and effort into building a profile and participating in the community.  Following these five lead generation best practices can help you leverage the power of LinkedIn to expand your customer base.

LinkedIn Connections

1. Completely fill out your profile to maximize its potential

This is the first impression users have of you and your company, so take the time to make every section powerful and straightforward.

  • Fill out every portion of your profile to help users find you.  Many visitors will come from school and job searches, so include every relevant listing.
  • When entering your interests, try to consider SEO potential and choose popular keywords over trade terms or highly specific words. 
  • Use the Profile Headline to create a catchy branding phrase that will stick with readers.
  • Use a real photo of you to add credibility to your profile.  There are many fake profiles on LinkedIn, so this will reassure users that you are a real person.
  • Choose your personal URL on LinkedIn, which can be an opportunity to expand your branding.
  • Maximize keywords in important areas such as Job Descriptions and your Summary. This helps bring in targeted visitors who already have an interest in your company or services.

2. Pursue connections to help increase your visibility

It is better to pursue legitimate connections from past school and work affiliations than to have thousands of random connections from people who are trying to bump up their own numbers.  Real connections can help bring you real traffic and leads.

3. Join groups used by your target audience

This is probably the most important of the lead generation best practices.  Groups of like-minded professionals are excellent for gaining knowledge, but do little to generate business.  Join groups you have an interest in and can provide a value to.  Do not just join a group to fill it with sales-y posts; offer something of value and other members will appreciate you.  Free LinkedIn accounts are allowed to join 50 groups, so join as many relevant groups as you can find.

4. Present yourself as an expert in your field in the Answers forum

Not only can you establish yourself as a LinkedIn expert and increase your credibility, you can also find many quality leads by being an active member of the Answers forum.  Answer questions relevant to your field and include a link to your website.  Each time one of your answers is chosen as the “Best Answer”, you will receive expert points, which will improve your reach and credibility.

5. Utilize applications to push your Twitter feed, blog and more

The LinkedIn app directory has many apps to help expand your reach.  You can share your current Amazon reading list with your connections, publish your blog feed to your profile and even upload slideshow presentations.  Personalizing your profile with useful apps will provide more value for visitors to your profile and increase interest in your brand or company.

Smart business owners see the potential in using lead generation best practices to establish a steady supply of prospects on the LinkedIn platform. In the competitive world of business today, finding effective ways to reach and retain customers is more important than ever.  LinkedIn can be a very important tool to include in your business toolkit, and even more so when you utilize it to its full potential.

Photo Credit: Bill.Roehl