If you’re in B2B, now’s the time to iron out your LinkedIn lead generation strategy.
Why now, though?
For starters, recent social media statistics note that 45% of B2B marketers have already won customers through LinkedIn.
The same stats also highlight that the platform generates nearly 300% more B2B leads for marketers versus the likes of Facebook.
From attracting new customers to raising awareness for your brand, LinkedIn is a staple of any B2B marketing funnel.
That said, LinkedIn lead gen doesn’t happen by accident.
The rapid growth of the platform means that competition for your customers’ attention is fiercer than ever.
As a result, it pays to understand the best practices of LinkedIn and what you can do to stand out from the crowd.
9 proven LinkedIn lead generation strategies to consider
Listen: there is no “silver bullet” for attracting LinkedIn leads.
Instead, we recommend a combination of strategies to establish yourself on the platform and get in front of your target audience.
Below are nine tips to help you do exactly that.
1. Optimize your professional profile for engagement
“Looking the part” is a top priority on LinkedIn.
After all, the platform primarily consists of professionals attempting to flex their influence and highlight their accomplishments.
The more you fill out your LinkedIn profile, the better. Optimizing your profile means not only making it search-friendly to the platform but also capable of grabbing the attention of your leads.
Let’s start with what’s above the fold, which should ideally include a combination of the following:
- A clear and friendly headshot
- A title which defines your company role and area of expertise
- A high-res background image that highlights your company, branding or a lead magnet
Moving on, your 2000-character “About” summary provides a place to showcase your expertise, work results and accomplishments. Bear in mind that you don’t need to rattle off your résumé here (that comes later).
We recommend an elevator pitch summary of who you are as a professional, coupled with relevant keywords that make your profile discoverable via search. Leads can then find you organically from your profile alone.
Below is a great example of an “About” section that attracts attention, finding a balance between optimization and personality.
LinkedIn recently launched a new “Featured” section which is actually useful for lead generation.
This space allows you to highlight major projects and publications, not limited to your blog, landing pages or lead magnets that you might want to point your leads to.
Next, your “Experience” section where you should reinforce your work experience and showcase the companies you’ve worked for. These blurbs are traditionally about more “suit and tie.”
Last but not least for your profile, recommendations and skills are important pieces of social proof that confirm to leads and prospects that you’re legit. Don’t be shy about asking clients, colleagues and co-workers for ’em: offer to return the favor and they’ll likely be more happy to help you out.
Taking the time to fill out each section of your profile is totally worth it for the purpose of lead generation. Again, anything you can do to make yourself stand out on the platform is a plus.
2. Identify the right decision-makers to connect with
Let’s say you want to be proactive about finding and nurturing leads on LinkedIn.
While LinkedIn’s native search function can honestly be a bit awkward, it’s actually pretty easy to spot decision-makers and relevant contacts.
Start by typing the name of a specific role [“social media manager”] (with quotes) and/or a company [“Sprout Social”], or simply search the terms separately if you’re casually browsing for outreach candidates.
But let’s say you’re trying to find someone in a role at a particular company but you’re not 100% who you’re looking for.
Simply go to the “People” tab of any given company page. You’ll then be presented with a list of potential contacts with job titles and relevant connections front-and-center.
Before blindly sending connection requests, double-check those titles prior to outreach. Also, consider connecting first with folks whose shared connections are actual coworkers or colleagues versus a friend-of-a-friend. While connections via friends are valuable, connections via colleagues or coworkers is a better place to start, as they know how you work best.
Bear in mind that you’ll likely want to “follow” a profile of an outreach candidate rather than connecting outright (yes, there’s a difference).
Following someone will send them a notification akin to a connection request minus your contact having to accept it. This is seen as less in-your-face and is a subtle way to introduce yourself to a lead or prospect without bugging them.
3. Don’t “spray and pray” your LinkedIn outreach
We get it: you want to step up your LinkedIn lead generation. You want more contacts and customers.
Unfortunately, this had led to an unfortunate phenomenon of marketers spamming the platform.
As a result, many managers and C-level executives are being swarmed with cold messages left and right. Some professionals are downright ignoring their LinkedIn InMail for the time being.
LinkedIn is becoming next-to-useless to me. Are you seeing the same thing? 9 out of 10 requests are people who want to sell me something. While I don't blame any given salesperson for trying to connect, the volume is turning LinkedIn into my new "spam folder." #wth pic.twitter.com/VQudysj1WB
— Lance Walter (@lancewalter) February 20, 2020
That doesn’t mean that you can’t conduct outreach on LinkedIn. Not by a long shot.
The takeaway, though, is that you can’t just “spray and pray” when it comes to your outreach. Instead of approaching people cold, focus on relationship-building, sharing content and engaging in conversations on posts.
Recent research notes that B2B buyers on average consume 13 pieces of content before making a decision. B2B outreach means playing the long game rather than searching for instant gratification. Not only that, but you could get labeled as a spammer in your space if you get too aggressive with your outreach.
Ideally, you should personalize each and every one of your outreach messages and likewise offer something in return to your contacts (think: a blog mention, a newsletter shout-out, a quote, etc).
Also, consider that you can discover and nurture leads on LinkedIn and then reach out to them elsewhere (think: on Twitter, an on-site contact form or email address).
There is a massive digital wall btwn Twitter and LinkedIn.
DMs on Twitter are timely, relevant and personalized to my current thoughtcycles.
DMs on LinkedIn are not personalized/relevant and mostly just cold outreach.
Huge arbitrage opp for recruiters/sales on Twitter.
— Amanda Goetz (@AmandaMGoetz) February 17, 2020
Doing so proves that you’ve researched your prospects and understand the challenges and frustrations of receiving so much InMail these days.
4. Maximize your profile’s visibility through posts and interactions
To ensure that your profile is seen by as many people as possible, it’s crucial to understand how the LinkedIn algorithm works.
The short of it is this: the best way to rise in the algorithm is to be an active participant on the platform.
That means publishing content, posting comments and reacting to posts on a regular basis.
The upside of LinkedIn is that you don’t have to write walls of text or spend hours on the platform to be considered “active.” Even something as simple as saying “congrats” or giving a post a thumbs-up is enough to increase your profile’s visibility to people who aren’t following you yet.
What else can you do to boost your visibility, though? Posting updates and content during peak times is a good idea. Weekdays during the mornings and early afternoon (think: traditional work hours) are a safe bet for most professionals.
Another way to increase both the visibility and searchability of your LinkedIn content is through tagging. For example, tagging a colleague or company in an update will result in a notification to anyone mentioned. Additionally, if anyone mentioned reacts or comments on your post, those actions will make your post visible to followers of those people or companies.
Tacking on a couple of hashtags (between two and five, typically) is also a smart move for any given post. Doing so can help your content trend for a particular hashtag which, in turn, will result in more notifications for your followers.
5. Funnel followers to your landing pages and lead magnets
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t restrict the reach of posts that lead people off of the platform.
Translation? Don’t pass up opportunities to promote your latest blog posts, lead magnets and webinars.
The only caveat here is that LinkedIn isn’t about the hard sell. Instead, frame your updates and promotions as being educational first and foremost.
Also, note that LinkedIn prioritizes video as part of its algorithm. Considering that video is among the most-shared content on social at large, it should most definitely be part of your LinkedIn lead generation strategy.
For example, think about how you can couple your latest report or post with a quick, off-the-cuff video.
6. Consider running a LinkedIn lead generation ad
As noted by our earlier social statistics round-up, a staggering 65% of B2B marketers have already run a paid promotion on LinkedIn.
That’s because LinkedIn ads are quite literally made with lead generation in mind. Marketers can target specific professionals based on specific parameters such as industry, job title and company size.
Note that many LinkedIn lead generation ads center around downloadable reports and other lead magnets.
And as it should come as no surprise, video is among the most popular ad types on LinkedIn.
Of course, putting together an ad campaign is something that can be done on behalf of your company rather than on your own. Once you’ve succeeded in acquiring organic leads or can create personas based on your conversations with leads, running ads may be worthwhile for your business down the line.
7. Participate in LinkedIn Groups discussions to grow your following
Scoring more connections, either actively or passively, is a way to signal that you’re an active participant on LinkedIn and not just an empty suit.
Groups are a fantastic place to connect with others in your space and attract new connections. If nothing else, private Groups allow you to build your influence within niche communities and learn a thing or two from other players in your space.
As a side note, make sure to review Group rules regarding content sharing before recommending your site or service.
8. Let your colleagues and coworkers give you a boost (and vice versa)
Another big benefit of LinkedIn is that you can instantly increase the reach of your content with the help of some friends.
This is especially useful if there are others in your company assisting you with LinkedIn lead generation.
Through employee advocacy, you can boost the content of your colleagues and company. For example, check out this company post from vCita.
And then see how the company’s employees showed the post some love shortly after it went live.
This support is a win-win for marketers attempting to grow on LinkedIn. In short, greater reach means more opportunities to gather leads.
9. Identify your top performing content via LinkedIn analytics
Finally, digging into your data is a must-do to assess your LinkedIn performance and lead generation efforts.
For example, do you know which types of posts gain the most traction? Which pieces of content score the most clicks to your lead magnets and landing pages?
To figure out what’s working and what’s not, look no further than your numbers. For those flying solo or as part of a small team, social media analytics tools like SHIELD are awesome for LinkedIn. The platform breaks down your updates by clicks, reach and other engagement metrics.
And if you’re looking for a LinkedIn lead generation tool for your company page, look no further than Sprout.
For example, Sprout’s suite of LinkedIn management tools is equipped to break down your company’s performance data. Tracking clicks and engagements, you can make the connection between your organic content, LinkedIn ads and new leads.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
What are you doing to generate leads on LinkedIn?
It’s true that LinkedIn is experiencing a B2B boom.
And the platform is unique in that you can approach leads directly and publish content that pushes people directly to your promotions.
But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed leads by virtue of just being on the platform.
Scoring leads from LinkedIn requires a strategy. The tips above can poise your profile and company pages to maximize their visibility and help make your brand more recognizable to your target audience. And if you’re looking for more resources to evaluate your LinkedIn lead gen efforts, consider using our social media toolkit to inspire you.
We want to hear from you, though! What does your LinkedIn lead generation strategy look like? Does the platform result in high-quality leads for you? Let us know in the comments below!