LinkedIn used to be primarily considered a platform for recruiters and people looking for their next career opportunity to connect. But fast forward to today and LinkedIn has firmly established itself as the world’s largest professional network. A place where entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, business owners and corporations can all connect.
With over 645 million users across more than 200 countries [source: LinkedIn], the number of potential opportunities on LinkedIn is staggering and if you’re not leveraging it to its fullest, you’re definitely missing out.
If you’re brand new to LinkedIn, you might want to head over to my Getting Started with LinkedIn two-part guide to get yourself familiar with the platform and its ins and outs first!
The good news is that developing an organic LinkedIn lead generation strategy doesn’t need to be difficult or super time consuming. In fact, you can significantly up your LinkedIn game in just 4 steps.
1. Have a badass, optimised profile
First and foremost, you need a badass, optimised profile so you not only get found on LinkedIn, but so that you also stand out from the crowd.
As a minimum, you need:
- A professional mugshot
- A keyword optimised headline that leaves nothing to the imagination
- An informative summary that explains what you do, who you help, etc.
- A customised URL
- A link to your business page
- Recommendations and endorsements
- Correctly formatted text
- A clear Call To Action
- No spelling mistakes or typos
- Clear, concise information
2. Create a strong presence
LinkedIn is an online professional networking platform. But just because it’s online doesn’t mean the rules governing it are any different to traditional offline networking. To be interesting, you need to be interested.
Customers are becoming extremely savvy these days and they are very aware of different marketing, advertising and sales techniques. Especially in the B2B world, buyers tend to do a lot of research on their own before they even contact you for the first time. By the time they reach out, they’ve usually already made up their mind.
To increase your number of inbound leads, you want to build a strong online presence and establish yourself as the go-to expert for a given topic. You can do this by creating useful insightful content, adding value to conversations and building strategic relationships with people in (and out) of your industry. These three simple steps will broaden your chances of getting more referrals.
3. Adopt a proactive approach
When you combine your strong LinkedIn presence with a strategic outreach strategy, you create an explosive combination. By adding outbound tactics to the mix, you will find yourself more in charge of conversations and you will be able to control your volume of leads better.
When meeting new people, you don’t want to jump straight in with a pitch
- Slowly get to know them to make sure they are the right fit
- Allow them to go through the buying process at their own speed
One without the other will get you only so far.
Waiting and hoping for inbound leads can take a long time and you’ll never be sure of when and what kind of leads will come. Pushing for outbound leads too much is time-consuming (if done organically) and/or can have a negative effect on your image, relationships and the LinkedIn algorithm. Plus LinkedIn has fairly strict T&Cs around automation and IBOX use, so you don’t want to cross any boundaries.
The moment you stop with your outbound activities, the results will stop. On the other hand, a well structured and executed inbound strategy can have a longevity even when you take your foot off the pedal.
4. Measure, analyse, adjust, repeat
As with anything you do on social media, nothing is set in stone and you are well within your rights to adjust things if they are not working. But you can only make improvements if you know what you are trying to achieve in the first place and have ways of measuring your progress.
You need to:
- Establish your LinkedIn goals
- Create metrics to measure those goals
- Then actually do some measuring
- Report your findings
- Analyse where you are
- Adjust and repeat
Don’t be afraid to switch things up if something’s not working. Focus on what is working and concentrate on honing those areas even further to drive greater results.
It’s also important not to dismiss a tactic that didn’t work. Just because it wasn’t successful for you last year doesn’t mean it never will be. Revisit your initiatives from time to time and try things out again.
Social media is constantly changing, which means your efforts, tactics and initiatives need to also.
The best way to sell on social media is not to sell!
Focus on building relationships first, be helpful, add value, engage with anyone and everyone on LinkedIn who interests you and who might find your content interesting. You never know who your content might reach and where the next lead might come from.
When it comes to actual selling, it doesn’t need to be salesy or icky. You can find ways to make your sales approach non-invasive and still very helpful. Remember, you’re offering something of value. You’re serving people and helping them solve their challenges and overcome their problems by working with them.
So instead of looking at sales as something negative, look at it from the positive side as you doing people a service.
SlideShare and Podcast
I’ve also delivered this piece of content as a talk a couple of times and it’s been even recorded as a podcast.
So for those of you, who don’t like reading and prefer listening and looking and visuals instead, here you go…
Podcast recording of my talk on the same topic at The Marketing Meetup: