Let’s face it, LinkedIn is all the rage. LinkedIn Sales Navigator gives B2B marketers all kinds of access to the people they want to target. It’s a direct channel for peer-to-peer communication and even basic LinkedIn provides good options if you use them.
Check out some of our other LinkedIn articles for LinkedIn lead generation.
There are plenty of different ways to use LinkedIn from a sales perspective. These include obvious routes to target your audience such as:
- Building a network of relevant connections
- Messaging those that decide to connect
- Sponsoring content (posts/videos etc) to reach a specific target audience
- Advertising with specific calls to action including text-based advertising using PPC or CPM or dynamic advertising where Ads are personalized to your Audience.
- InMails to reach out to those that have not connected with you
There are also a variety of tools that allow for semi-automation providing the ability to regularly post on LinkedIn without the hassle of doing this manually. However, it’s worth noting that LinkedIn algorithms tend to favour organic content that’s uploaded directly onto the platform as opposed to content that sits elsewhere.
All of the above may be relevant for your business and it’s hard to ignore LinkedIn if your business sells to other businesses.
Where’s the Problem?
Ultimately, LinkedIn, like other channels of communication, takes time. It isn’t a quick fix. It is a peer-to-peer platform and, like other methods of marketing, spamming and overt selling are generally frowned upon. These are bad approaches to adopt.
Relentlessly pumping out connection requests with a sales pitch, or waiting until people connect before pushing out ‘sell’ messages is not the way to go. Yet, it’s still so common.
We are all busy. Whether you’re fighting off competition, fighting to survive or just keeping up with demand, time is at a premium. So, receiving message after message with tired sales pitches is hardly likely to work.
What’s more, change cycles vary. Budget timetables differ. And, projects come up at different times. Not everyone is in the market right now. Hence, it’s more about engagement, nurturing, visibility and credibility than immediate selling. That’s not to say that selling is not important but ramming your message down someone’s throat is a sure fire way to fail.
Develop and Nurture Relationships
The sensible approach is to develop and nurture relationships over time.
How do I do that when I’m busy, I hear you shout?
Well, ultimately, there are no shortcuts. You need to engage. This means:
- Connect using as personalised a message as possible
- Post regularly on your profile and your company profile
- Comment and like other posts
- Respond to messages from others (relevant ones of course)
- Continue to develop your network of targeted individuals
- Continue a periodic online dialogue when you have new stuff to say
- Take the conversation offline at a relevant time
- Offer value at all times
I slipped in the last point above which, in all honesty, should sit loud and proud at the start of this blog. We are all time-poor. That means spending time to contribute, write articles and to comment on other posts. Perhaps participating in relevant group discussions may be something that can slip down your list of priorities. But, engagement is essential on LinkedIn if you want it to work for you. It only starts with the connection!
I find it amazing that many users omit a fundamental part of their social media strategy which is to develop relevant, interesting and engaging content, with, ideally, some form of call to action.
They go hell for leather to build a large network of connections but then disappear into the shadows only emerging to periodically post what amounts to a sales pitch.
At GSA, we blog and produce videos and infographics. They are on topics that we believe our audience would find useful. There is no hard sell. We do this regularly enough to be seen.
Historically, social media was free. In other words, in the early days, if you posted something people would see it. Nowadays, it’s hard to reach the top of someone’s feed. Hence, the use of well-tailored content and pertinent use of hashtags and keywords has become even more essential.
Focus on Creating Good Content
Content is most certainly a key element of your strategy for all social platforms. If you consistently produce relevant content that showcases your expertise, without making it like a sales pitch, your visibility and credibility will improve. You will notice that by the level of engagement you achieve and hopefully the amount of opportunities you see both directly and through referrals.
Remember though, as mentioned earlier, that preference is usually given to what they call ‘native’ content. That means content that you post directly on the platform as opposed to taking viewers off to your website or another site.
A quick way to see if your level of engagement is up there with the best is to look at your social score. You need a Navigator licence for this (£50-70 pm).
This is what a social score looks like:
LinkedIn isn’t a quick fix but it does add to your lead generation strategy and it is increasingly important when it comes to account based marketing (ABM). The segmentation available allows you to refine your targets and tailor your messages. But, all that is wasted if you take a generic, hands-off approach and treat it like a market stall selling fruit and veg!
What’s the Answer?
In many ways, the answer is simple. Below are a number of key steps:
- Ensure that your profile is as strong as possible. It’s like a CV for your business. This includes your banner, and how you describe yourself and your business
- Work on your company page. Don’t let your page just wither without any activity or useful content
- Post interesting content for your target audience regularly
- Constantly build relevant connections
- Engage with those connections without bombarding them
- Be consistent in terms of building connections and posting over time
Like any method of marketing, it takes time, and it’s about consistency. You may need to refine your message or audience. It’s possible that one article may suddenly resonate. Trying different calls to action to see which works best may provide the answer. And, you may need to blend your activity with some paid advertising if you want to drive greater numbers of inbound leads.
Whatever your approach, it pays to take the time to make LinkedIn work for you.
If you’d like to discuss your approach to LinkedIn lead generation, give GSA a call.