LinkedIn is a great side dish for any outreach, but it can also become the star course for your lead generation strategies. It can warm up your cold emailing or cold calling, connect you with peers and colleagues, find you a new employee, and bring you brand-new leads. How about that for just one social media platform?
Among the business social media group, LinkedIn is a tough cookie: It is the most used B2B social media platform (both for organic and paid distribution) with over 160 million active users just in the U.S. and over 740 million users worldwide.
Yet, some are reluctant to invest in a LinkedIn lead generation strategy because it may not deliver results right away. And the question stands: Should we use every lead generation source at our disposal, or should we focus our attention on something tastier? Let’s find out together.
What Is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that can be used for hiring, job seeking, building business relationships, or sharing experiences with your peers. It can be accessed on a desktop or through a mobile app.
The personal profile contains your job experiences, education, skills, and hobbies; the corporate profile includes information on the company, its services, job openings, employees, statistics, events, videos, and the latest news.
Once you register, you are transferred to the home page. In the left top corner, you can view your profile with an image, the number of your page views, and the number of views on your last post.
In the middle of the page, you can create a post of your own: an article, interactive content (video, GIFs, or memes), or an invitation to a scheduled event. Once you get a few connections, you can like, share, and comment on your peers’ posts.
The top menu has tabs for managing your connections (My Network), finding or posting jobs (Jobs), reviewing new messages (Messaging) or activity on your profile (Notifications), and viewing your actual profile (Me).
The home page of a corporate account is very similar to the personal one, the difference being that it shows page notifications instead of post views.
In the top right corner, you’ll find the Work icon, which includes all LinkedIn tools you may need for your business matters.
LinkedIn offers a variety of platforms for different users:
- Learning Solutions: This online educational platform contains courses and professional recommendations related to your fields and interests. Your employees can use it to upgrade their skills and industry knowledge. To access LinkedIn Learning, you need a subscription that will give you unlimited library access, personalized, interactive learning, and access to LinkedIn Premium. You can test it free for a month, after which you can choose a monthly or yearly billing plan.
- Talent Insights: This online hiring and talent management platform helps businesses make smart workforce decisions and your recruiters find the best candidates possible. It includes real-time data, an overview of the market and competitors, over 12-billion data points, and easy on-demand access.
- Marketing Solutions: This platform allows you to create ads set to display on LinkedIn. To access this tool, you’ll have to set up an Ad account in the Campaign Monitor. From there you’ll be able to create and manage advertising campaigns, view performance reports, and see conversion tracking.
- Sales Navigator: This search tool has highly accurate, customized filters that help you find the right prospects. It allows you to focus on the target accounts by narrowing the search and eliminating the wrong candidates. It also has a free one-month trial, with two subscriptions available after your trial expires: Sales Navigator Professional and Sales Navigator Team.
- LinkedIn Groups: This feature helps you discover, create, view, and join groups. It is a free feature without the need for a subscription.
- ProFinder: This marketplace allows you to search, discover, and hire the best nearby independent contractors for the services you require. This service is free but only available in the U.S.
How to Use LinkedIn for B2B Lead Generation
LinkedIn can generate sales leads in two ways: through a personal profile that an SDR will use or through your corporate page. Here we’ve combined five steps to kick-start your LinkedIn lead generation strategy, covered from both perspectives:
1. Set up a profile.First impressions matter, so you'll need to make your profile as representative of you as possible.
Corporate profile: Consider your corporate profile a landing page that has to speak to your target audience. Clearly state what it is you do in a profile summary. Make sure to fill in all the fields and use your corporate image style.
SDR profile: You should state your role at the company you represent. Just as well, fill in every possible field: your education, experience, and groups that interest you. All of these can be used to bond with a potential customer.
“First of all, understand that LinkedIn is all about business and professionalism, so choose the right profile picture. Add a background photo—don’t forget that your background image is a free banner for your logo, slogan, or product placement. Share your experience, communicate, and interact with people you are inspired with,” says Yustyna Grynyk, social media manager at CIENCE.
2. Connect with potential clients.
Getting a lot of connections is essential, but what’s more important—the quality. Having a buyer persona, ideal customer profile (ICP), and professional researchers can help target precisely who you want.
Corporate profile: Treat LinkedIn like a second website: You may not be able to send a direct message to each follower, yet you can gain their interest by consistently posting relevant content.
SDR profile: Just like emails, this is the first contact you have with a lead: State your name and the reason for connecting, and always include the name of a person you’re contacting.
3. Show your value.
No matter what your LinkedIn lead generation strategy is, you should always bring value to the table when talking to prospects.
Corporate profile: Your feed should be filled with valuable tips, insights, thought leadership pieces, and interactive elements. The more interactions you have, the more followers and brand awareness you’re going to get.
“Use all the possible formats; the more features you use, the more attractive, exciting, and seen your feed is. Use polls to create engagement, PDFs to share your knowledge, articles to share your opinions, videos, and events to introduce your team and products,” says Yustyna Grynyk.
SDR profile: The note you send along with the invitation is a great way to showcase your creativity and personalization skills. The better the message, the more chances you have to get your connection accepted.
4. Use LinkedIn contact targeting.
It’s not an obligatory step for your LinkedIn lead generation, yet we suggest using it. Ads can boost your brand awareness and attract prospects that are ready to use your services. They can be created for a particular outbound campaign or just as a general advertisement for your company.
Check our article on pre-targeting ads to know how other ads are used in lead generation.
5. Analyze, optimize, and start again.
The lead generation process is a highly complex science, and whatever part of it you want to master, it will take some time until you hit the right spot. That’s why you have to record and analyze every step you take so you can make it better next time.
Corporate profile: Check your page analytics to see what gathers the biggest response from your audience. If polls do nothing for your audience, yet events create quite a buzz, it’s clear what goals you should set for the next quarter.
SDR profile: You can change the message that you send, the personalization, or the time of the day you send an invitation. All of these factors can be A/B tested and later optimized.
“LinkedIn is a professional social media, created specifically for business purposes. You can find and interact here with whomever you want. So, learn, engage, communicate, like, and just say, “Hi, I love what you do!” and this is the first line of your success,” says Yustyna Grynyk.
6 Tips for Your LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategy
You’re set with the first steps for your strategy; now, let’s build on even more tips and tricks for your corporate LinkedIn lead generation success:
1. Be consistent.
Any content creation requires some consistency, and to succeed in LinkedIn, you have to be active every day. Our social media manager makes sure we are present on our followers’ feed daily.
2. Engage your workforce.
We encourage our employees to follow our page, share, like, and comment on the posts we publish. They spread the news we want to share and bring us new followers.
Working together with colleagues in your market brings in a new audience toward your post. For instance, you can write a guest post for a famous journal or partner with a company to host an online event; it's great public exposure either way.
4. Use interactive content.
The most liked post on our LinkedIn page is a video about the CIENCE craft, which proves that a trend on interactive content won’t go anywhere anytime soon. Use memes, gifs, videos, and surveys to make your audience more invested.
5. Create events or groups.
The pandemic hit all of the offline events, but we still have online to get together. LinkedIn is a great place to organize and promote events that can spread your thought leadership to the masses.
Groups nowadays serve as virtual clubs by their interests. If you don’t feel like creating one yourself, you can join some existing ones. A heavy online presence will do good for your LinkedIn lead generation efforts.
6. Use all the tools at your disposal.
Some tools in LinkedIn are not free, yet a small fee goes a long way. Our researchers and SDRs use Sales Navigator every day, and many of our employees enjoy LinkedIn Learning Solutions. LinkedIn Automation tools are a very cost-effective way of scaling LinkedIn lead generation activities such as sending connection invites, follow-up messages, and even nurture campaigns to targeted lists. Bet you can find something just for your company there as well.
Is LinkedIn Useful for Lead Generation?
Yes, it definitely is. At CIENCE, we don’t even question it because LinkedIn is a part of almost every outbound outreach campaign. LinkedIn lead generation warms leads, raises brand awareness, and brings brand-new interested customers.
Like other lead gen strategies out there, LinkedIn takes time to master. But by following our helpful tips, you can take your LinkedIn campaigns to the next level.