Let’s face it, LinkedIn remains the pre-eminent social selling channel because, when done right, it offers the biggest returns for inside B2B salespeople.
That’s not to say this will always be the case. Indeed, the rise of video and audio channels plus the staggering number of younger audiences moving over to new platforms like Snapchat means that things might change sooner than we expect. For now, though, LinkedIn remains the tool of choice for sales pros in Canada and elsewhere.
So what are some of the CPSA’s tips for engaging potential customers and generating leads through LinkedIn? What are some of the core components and activities that go into a successful LinkedIn lead generation strategy anyway?
The new interface on LinkedIn - including a new homepage - means that your summary is not as important as before 2017. Rather it is your current job that's more likely to seen or found in search. It is now essential to add a way for people to reach you within the very first two lines of your summary.
In a recent SalesProChat interview LinkedIn expert Shanna Landolt explained:
“If you're in sales what's important is that your customers or potential customers and prospects can actually call you back or reach out to you. I recommend for everyone in sales, put your work number or your cell phone number, put your email address, and then one sentence about the value that you provide for your customer and the difference that you make. So here you've got to think not from what makes you great, but what is it that your customer wants. Then Bill, it's important that you use all of that summary, even though most of it is hidden.”
With the recent changes to the LinkedIn user experience, it is important for salespeople to ensure that they max out the number of skills associated with their profile to increase the chances of being discovered. You can add up to 50 skills to your LinkedIn profile.
Try thinking of the skills as the top 50 keywords that you would imagine a client or prospect looking if they were searching for your services. Rather than thinking of the skills as competencies, make the most of the skills tags and search by including labels related to products that you represent, customer groups that you work with and content you share as part of your social sales funnel.
It might sound a little odd to mention URLs within a social network like LinkedIn but this is, actually, more important than you think when it comes to closing the loop of ways to connect. By creating your free vanity URL or personalized LinkedIn address you can customize it that so it's specific to you name and then can be added to your business card as another easy way to get in contact.
LinkedIn’s powerful content publishing platform is called Pulse and is a fantastic place to showcase news, products, analysis and industry expertise.
The pulse is as easy to use as a CMS like WordPress or Microsoft Word and the potential reach, if shared on groups and by your connections is potentially massive!
Join and Create Groups
There are well over 2 million groups on LinkedIn. That means that you’re pretty likely to find groups relating you’re your target demographics and business interests. Unlike searching for individuals in LinkedIn, search for groups can help you cast a wider net before honing in of the individual fish.
Group searches do not, of course, have the same advanced features that people or company searches offer, but you can narrow down your search according to relationship level, category, and language. It can be as easy as doing a group search using relevant keywords, joining the group and starting to the target group members. What’s more, you get an allocation of free In-Mails each month to send to fellow group members.
A downside of the above-mentioned millions of groups is that it is harder than ever to make a success of your own groups on LinkedIn. Nevertheless, if done well, you can create and grow a group which then feeds directly into your social sale funnel.
Side note: while this article focuses on LinkedIn, it is worth offering reference to Meetup and Eventbrite – two other great tools for building and communicating with communities.
Try turning your business or company page into a lead generation tool. Go beyond the typical company page which shows simple information and facts about the company. Instead, structure your company page in such a way that it leads up to a conversion action. The conversion action is a click through to your website, either in the company description or Recent Updates.
Ensure your marketing team use an image which creates interest. The right image will grab attention of your prospects and makes them more eager to find a way to read on. Create a clear and compelling pitch in your company description. Speak directly to your target audience, and invite them to convert.
Don’t forget to have a tight intro and make your Recent Updates section clickable and conversion-focused.
If you have questions about the value of the enhanced page, don’t be afraid to conduct surveys to find out from your followers what works and what could be tweaked.