Networking on LinkedIn can get you better targets

LinkedIn may not be the social network that first comes to mind when we are talking about marketing – but you should not underestimate it.

While you should not expect tons of traffic to your website or an endless number of signups from LinkedIn, for lead generation, LinkedIn can well prove to be the best network to get TARGETED leads.

LinkedIn is not about shouting out, LinkedIn is about connecting. And there is a lot of power in the connections that you already have. These can give you a head start when it comes to B2B lead generation.

There are various ways to use LinkedIn to get targeted leads – here are x of them:

Put your network to work

A network is invaluable. And even if you are looking for other contacts or more leads, the connections you have are the best start to grow your network with targeted leads.

1. Make a move and ask for introductions that may fit

Ask the people you are connected with to introduce you to people from their network that might be of interest to you. In most cases your request for help with an email saying something like: “I am doing this now, if you know anyone that might be of interest to me or I should connect to please introduce us“ is very unspecific. Since this requires people put some thought into who might be interesting for you this usually works best with people you know fairly well and who are willing to invest time into helping you.

For people with whom you are rather loosely connected you should be more specific and ask for introductions to some people of your choice – which leads us directly to the second way to get leads:

2. Browse the contact lists or your contacts – ask for intros

Instead of hoping that your contacts are going to come up with the best choice of introductions, you can browse their contact lists and directly ask for introductions to people you want to get in touch with.

This requires more work on your end – but it will usually give you much better results. Contacts on LinkedIn are often willing to help, but you should not expect them to do the work for you.

You can immensely increase your chances for an introduction, if you do your homework and find people from your contacts network that you want to connect to. Asking for an introduction to a specific person has more chances of success:

3. Who do you want to know? There is always a connection, find it.

If you already know who you would like to connect to, search for them on LinkedIn and see what connection LinkedIn has to offer.

If you have a fair number of contacts on LinkedIn, you have a good chance that you are in some way connected to them via your LinkedIn contacts.

When you find interesting people from your niche you want to connect to, LinkedIn will give you an idea how you are connected to them. Often it is even more than one person that could give you an introduction.

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You can work your way from here.

4. Be proactive and engage visitors to your profile

The more active and visible you are on LinkedIn the more people will visit your profile. Most of them will not take the next step and get in touch. But you can make a move and engage the visitors to your profile. Ask them what they are interested in and if you can help – they may well turn into leads easily.

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To get the list of visitors to your profile, you need to change the profile viewing options of your LinkedIn profile – or get a Premium account.

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Join The Club

Groups on LinkedIn are an awesome place to meet people from your niche. Make sure that you choose targeted and on topic groups that are active with a fair number of members.

5. Join the discussion

Many people try to promote content in groups and are only looking for traffic from the groups – this can be very frustrating, and it will most of the time neither give you much traffic nor will you get any leads.

The power of LinkedIn groups is in the discussions and interactions. The reasons for this are that people rather recognize people they have talked to than people that have shared a more or less uninteresting piece of content. Also, active threads will stay much more visible within the groups for a longer time.

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You are free to start your own discussion in a group. Make it a topic that is of common interest to your niche. Even more, if you already have some contacts in the group, you can directly ask them for their opinion on your questions – a great way to keep the communication open with your existing contacts.

It may not be your first question that gets a lot of attention; you may have to get a feeling what people in the group respond to. Once you have your first active discussion going, you will even notice, that some people from the group will actively connect to you!

It is discussions and interaction that can help you connect to targeted people in LinkedIn groups.

6. Connect to members

LinkedIn allows you to connect to members of the same group. Since you are in the same group, the chances are high that you have some interest in common with at least some of the members of the group. It may well be worth the effort to browse the list of members and see who you want to connect to.

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BUT – don’t just write a message that you would love to connect. You should come up with something that you want from the person you contact. For instance, you could create an expert roundup and ask for their opinion on a topic. This will give you several benefits: You connect with a purpose without trying to sell to a stranger. You appreciate the person’s knowledge (everybody likes to be perceived as an expert). And you get a new piece of content that you can publish either on your blog, or on LinkedIn.

Utilize Your Content

7. Publish On LinkedIn

Publishing content on LinkedIn may again not be the best way to drive traffic – or huge numbers of readers to your content. But the audience that you reach with your content on LinkedIn can be highly targeted and very interested if you choose your keywords with care – and provide great content.

It may take a little more than publishing just one single piece of content, but you can build your audience, connections and leads on LinkedIn by publishing targeted content. And what is even better: You can repurpose content that you have already published on your own blog or website if you just make some alterations to the introductory paragraph.

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Think about a paid account

8. Search for leads – get in touch

LinkedIn does not allow just anyone to send a message to any person they are not (yet) connected to. You can send a message to your contacts and people that are in the same group. But sometimes you want to get in touch with people with whom you have no connection. That is when you may want to consider a paid LinkedIn account which allows you to send messages (InMails) to people you are not connected to.

Since the messages you are allowed to send on LinkedIn are strictly limited there is not overly much spam floating around. That means that people still care about the messages they get. With the right message to the right person at the right time you have a good chance to get the attention of the recipient – and get an answer.

Final Words on lead generation on LinkedIn

There is a lot that can go wrong with your lead generation and some mistakes you should avoid.

For all messages that you send whether it be to your existing contacts or strangers, make it clear what you want from them. Leaving the purpose of your message up to guess work will usually result in no response.

Also, don’t just try to sell in your first message. Cold selling via an email or LinkedIn message is bound to fail. Rather build a connection, think about some common ground to start the conversation.

And if you want to take your lead generation one step further and have a budget for advertising, you may want to take a closer look at LinkedIn Lead Gen forms that allow you to generate leads via advertising.