Friday, 3 October 2008

Using LinkedIn as a Lead Generation Tool

A friend recently asked me "We all periodically do this LinkedIn stuff - but what's it actually for?" Linking up with past colleagues and friends has some value, making yourself available to the advances of recruitment agencies may or may not interest you. But is that it?

However I'm increasingly seeing people use LinkedIn as a way to generate new leads - primarily by creating and joining LinkedIn Groups and developing a profile for your "personal brand" by answering and asking questions within those groups. There's a good article on this by Prashant Kaw over on the Hubspot blog

If you want to keep tabs on the conversations within the groups without having to remember to go to LinkedIn you can have an email delivered to you on a regular basis with a summary of the most recent topics being discussed in the groups. Unfortunately there's rather too much of the "Fabulous marketer seeks work in the Des Moines area" type in many of the groups but there are some useful connections to be made here.

Which LinkedIn Groups do you find the most valuable as a B2B Marketer? What have been your experiences?

3 comments:

Pam, Paul, Alina and Zara said...

We’ve already connected with several influential buyers, shared helpful resources, conducted research, and benefited from a small burst of web traffic. LinkedIn jumped into our top 10 web site traffic referrers in the week following the introduction of user discussions. On the Lessons Learned front, I advise you to set up the rules for behavior on the group right away. We established our group as a Sales- and Marketing-free zone after one newbie launched into a blatant sales pitch. I recently wrote in greater detail about our experiences with LinkedIn and lead gen on The B2B Lead at http://www.theb2blead.com/b2b-marketing-ideas/get-in-on-the-linkedin-groups-party-but-establish-rules-of-etiquette-first-b2b-sales-and-marketing-tip-150/.

Neil Sequeira said...

Linkedin activity like answering or asking questions and being active on some of the more active groups can give you some good exposure. However i've found some of the more better administered b2b marketing groups have very little activity and some of the larger ones have quite a bit of unrelated posts like you've mentioned.

Paul Everett said...

Our clients have started having their first inbound leads coming straight to their experts via LinkedIn InMails (nb - my capitalisation may or may not be corrct...) this year - so I came across your post looking for other people with similar stories!

From our perspective, there are benefits around LinkedIn at pretty much every stage of the sales funnel.

Right from building a database: how easy it is to filter by industy/location and then find people not just by company and job title, but actually digging behind the job title to see their real interests/responsibilities. You can't phone a switchboard and ask the name of a Programme Director with responsiblity for Testing, or a Supply Chain Manager with a history/interest in sustainability...

And there's the LinkedIn advertising too for awareness/first contact.

Then all the opprtunities given by specific groups to allow people to consume your content (Q&As, InMails, existing Groups, starting your own group - although I'm not sure why everyone's attention seems to be on starting their own groups, which seems to me to be only 25% of the answer, and more about nurturing leads or growing existing customers)

These first leads I mentioned at the top have come when we've helped clients to post interesting discussion points/questions/links to relevant content in existing groups (as well as using LinkedIn advertising to send InMails to targeted contacts).

But as with so many things now, I don't think you could simply go and repeat these tactics and get the same results - the devil is all in the detail (how you phrase your InMails, how you moderate groups, how you choose te best content to post and where/how you phrase those posts, and keeping the activty going...).