If you’re a small business, you probably already have a LinkedIn profile and a basic strategy: join groups, post updates, and link up with clients. But LinkedIn can be used for a lot more than just public image and brand maintenance. LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate (2.74%) of the top social networks, including Facebook (0.77%) and Twitter (0.69%) for businesses in 2012 (check out my blog post on your small business’ best conversion tool for more stats and information). If you’re new to lead generation on LinkedIn, here’s a quick list of tips and tricks to get you started.
Join 50 groups inside and outside your industry.
- Obviously, you want to stay up-to-date with your own community and industry, but it’s important to join the groups that your leads will be in. For example, if many of your customers are travel agents, join a group for travel agents. And Bam! You have a list of leads from the members page.
Search for connections.
- In your Google search bar, you can type in a string of keywords or locations in which you’re looking for leads. For example, your string would look something like this: www.linkedin.com AND “keyword” AND “city”. After you hit search, all the people that match your conditions on LinkedIn will pop up!
See who viewed your profile.
- And then contact them! If someone went out of their way to click on your company’s profile, they are definitely a lead.
Personalize your invitations to connect.
- Explain how you found the person, and why you want to connect. You could also add in a non work-related connection: maybe you went to the same university or share an “Interest” on LinkedIn. Failing to add a personal message could result in the user you’re trying to contact blocking you or flagging you as spam.
Contact 1 lead at a time.
- This goes along with personalizing your invites to connect. You want to spend real time trying to meet people, like you would in any other networking situation. You don’t want to fake your way through a million leads a day. People can sense when you’re spamming them and might block you.
Only connect with people you know.
- If that doesn’t suit your lead generation, at least connect with people you don’t know very sparingly. You don’t want to be that guy on LinkedIn. Always ask for introductions to people you don’t know if you have a mutual connection, and wait until you’ve actually spoken to a lead via email or a phone call to connect with them.
- Respond to questions in a group thread. You’ll stand out as helpful, and can slip in information about your company or product.
- Whether it’s sharing blog posts, sharing tweets, or reposting relevant news for your target market, you should be posting once a week on LinkedIn. This will keep you at the top of your network and give potential new customers weekly chances to respond to your work without having to seek you out--you’ll just show up on their news feed.