If you’re reading this, chances are you have a LinkedIn Profile. Professionals from nearly every career field imaginable use the service; according to LinkedIn, there are over 600,000,000 LinkedIn users.
The site has grown from a basic networking tool to a bona fide content creation and sharing platform. Individuals and companies have expanded its use beyond that of a job board, using it in the same way as a blog - posting original content, links, and updates.
And sales and marketing teams are also discovering that LinkedIn is a great way to generate qualified leads. Here are four ways that you can use LinkedIn as a lead gen tool.
LinkedIn Outreach for Tradeshows
Having a successful tradeshow booth means lots of pre-event planning. The more effort you put in over the weeks leading up to the event, the more people you’ll see at your booth. A typical tradeshow marketing plan involves three stages. First, you’ll build pre-show buzz by promoting your company’s presence at the event.
Second, you’ll be drawing attention to your business at the event itself, via interpersonal networking and the use of real-time social media posts. Finally, after the event, you’ll follow up with all of the leads you generated, with the goal of closing as many sales as possible.
Leveraging LinkedIn’s Messaging feature can help immensely. Before the show, you and your team can send out personalized LinkedIn messages to your networks, letting them know you’ll be there. You can also use LinkedIn to follow up with these folks during and after the show.
And of course you can post custom content about what you’ll be doing at that tradeshow on your company’s LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn Outreach for Webinars
Webinars are an increasingly popular marketing tool; in 2017, 58% of brands were using webinars as part of their content marketing efforts. For good reason: they give brands an easy way to leverage video, and they allow for direct and meaningful interaction between brands and potential customers.
Better still, webinars are considerably easier to attend - no need to worry about booking flights and hotels, and participants can join from their desks at work.
As with an in-person event, pre-event planning is key to a successful webinar, and LinkedIn can be used in much the same way.
Along with using LinkedIn to directly message you and your team’s networks, the folks at LinkedIn have additional suggestions: you can reach a wider audience by informing your LinkedIn Groups about the events, and you can post information about the webinar on your company’s LinkedIn page. (Of course, the team at LinkedIn would also love it if you ran some ads as well.)
LinkedIn Outreach for Networking Events
Networking events have also become popular, and for good reason: for starters, they don’t actually feel like work. Hanging out with people at a sponsored happy hour, or at a Lunch-and-Learn at your company itself, is a low-pressure, casual way of building your list of qualified sales leads.
The same tactics you’ve used to leverage LinkedIn can be applied here. Something else you might want to try: create a company alumni group on LinkedIn, and invite former employees to join.
Keeping ties with former team members can pay dividends - you can invite them to in-person networking events, and ask them to bring associates.
The flip side of networking events is that along with doing the promotional work, you have to do the work to set them up.
If that seems daunting, LinkedIn might be able to help: in late 2018, the platform announced the launch of LinkedIn Events, a feature that will help users create and promote networking events.
LinkedIn Outreach to Promote Your Content
Despite the rise in non-business related posts, from the latest Game of Thrones meme to funny cat videos, LinkedIn is still the best place to share your company’s content.
Most brands include LinkedIn posts as part of their social media strategy, for good reason: reaching a target audience is easier because there’s far less noise on LinkedIn than, say, Twitter.
And your followers are much more likely to have a vested interest in what you’re posting on LinkedIn. So you shouldn’t be shy about directly promoting that content.
Again, make that promotion personal. Send a personalized message to your followers about the content, why you think it’s valuable to them, and include a link to it.
Share the content with the LinkedIn Groups that you belong to - you’ll be offering that content to audiences that you might not be personally connected to, but who have the same interests as you.
It’s likely that many of your company’s employees are on LinkedIn as well - they’re the perfect brand ambassadors, and should be enlisted to share that content. Craft a message about the content and ask them to share it with their networks.
LinkedIn took off as a social network because it opened the door to professional one-on-one interactions; recruiters became early adopters after seeing its value, and marketers have been quick to follow suit.
While the site has evolved tremendously over the past several years, its core function - making it easy for strangers to connect, and giving them tangible benefits as a result - hasn’t changed. Using that basic outreach functionality and applying it to events as well as content, you’ll be able to grow your pool of qualified sales leads.