Do you feel as though you’ve exhausted your methods for garnering new leads? If so, it’s time to turn to LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).
If you’re looking to attract interested bottom-of-the-funnel leads, LinkedIn is a great asset. In fact, audiences on LinkedIn have twice the buying power of the average web audience.
The platform offers a variety of free and paid features to maximize your lead generation efforts on both your personal and business pages, but as with most things, you can’t dive in without some preparation.
First, we’ll walk you through setting up your pages for success. Then, we’ll discuss how to get leads.
Prepare Your Pages
Before we go any further, you should set up both a personal LinkedIn page and one for your company. Your personal page allows you to connect with people on an individual level, while a LinkedIn business page allows your employees, customers, fans and interested job-seekers to follow your page and engage with your content.
How to Create a LinkedIn Business Page
In case you don’t have your profiles set up, let’s briefly discuss the steps to creating a LinkedIn Business page.
Step 1: First off, you must have an existing LinkedIn profile. To create one, visit their homepage and click “Join Now”, located in the top right corner.
Step 2: Once you create a profile, locate the “Work” dropdown menu in the top right corner of your homepage.
Step 3: In the dropdown menu, select “Create a Company Page.” This is the last option in the menu.
Step 4: You’re then prompted to select the type of page you’d like to create. The options are:
- Small business
- Medium to large business
- Showcase page
- Educational institution
Step 5: Provide information about your business. You’re asked to include:
- Your Page Identity
- Company Details
- Profile Details
Step 6: Check the verification box. This ensures that you are authorized to manage the page on behalf of the company.
Step 7: Click “Create Page”, and you’re ready to start building your page! The platform makes suggestions and provides a success meter to track your profile’s completion progress or “strength”.
Of course, having a profile is one thing. Having an optimized profile to gain new followers, drive traffic to your website, and create business opportunities is an entirely different ball game.
Now, let’s go over LinkedIn’s features and the best practices for creating optimized profiles.
Optimize Your Personal Page
Your individual profile is broken into the following six sections, all of which can be made visible or hidden via settings:
This is a snapshot of your professional persona and where job recruiters, new connections, or potential leads view your name, profile photo, headline, current job title, location, and resources (a personal website, digital portfolio, or social media channels).
It’s important to have this information filled out for a robust, optimized profile, similar to a well-done resume.
This section is often used to summarize your background and professional experience before going into detail in the next section.
While you likely have many achievements to highlight (and don’t worry, you’ll get to do so in a few sections), this blurb should be relatively short.
Consider highlighting the industries you’ve worked in and/or soft and hard skills you’re proud to hone in your career.
LinkedIn can auto-generate this piece for you if you’d prefer, but this is a great opportunity to add personal flare. Yes, it’s LinkedIn, but there’s no need to be all work and no play.
This is the heftiest section of them all, broken up into four subsections: Work Experience, Education, Licenses & Certifications, and Volunteer Experience. It sounds like a lot, but this is basically your resume.
Simply copy and paste the job descriptions and achievements from your resume to the corresponding fields in these subsections.
Having this filled out is wonderful for digital networking and follows best practices for LinkedIn profiles. It allows connections and potential employers to get the full picture of who you are, which is important for building relationships.
This section is most important for those seeking a job. This section helps LinkedIn match you with relevant opportunities based on skills the job requires and those you possess.
This is no time for humility! Show off your published works, patents, successful projects, and, most importantly, honors and awards, right here. Your accomplishments lend credibility and prestige that your connections and potential employers will appreciate.
If you belong to any LinkedIn groups (more on that in a minute) or like other company pages, it will show up here as your interests.
This is another layer for profile viewers to consider, and it shows that you’re involved in the LinkedIn community, not simply there to solicit sales or become a social media influencer.
7. Featured & Activity
This section is visible on your page, but it’s not one you get complete control over. Activity showcases all the content you’ve interacted with from other LinkedIn users or posted yourself.
As a business leader, you want to post consistently, not sporadically when it’s time to find new leads. This means constantly sharing your own content or re-sharing other users’ or company’s content.
In the case of the latter, it’s good to include your thoughts with re-shared content to better establish your voice as a business leader.
Optimize a Company Page
Your company LinkedIn profile should have a profile image, header image, tagline, industry, and location.
It’s also broken up into sections:
When someone finds your business on LinkedIn, they land on your company’s home page. Here, they’ll see an overview of your company’s “About,” “People” and “Posts” sections.
With a Premium account, users have an additional “Insights” section where they can see job openings, hiring processes, and employee insights.
This section provides a comprehensive description of your company’s background and offerings. You can also fill out specific fields for your website link, industry, company size, headquarters location(s), founding year, and specializations.
It’s recommended to have these all filled out, as potential leads can learn more about your company's mission. Plus, it’s a simple best practice for LinkedIn profiles.
The user is only able to see the first 2 to 3 lines of your About initially. Use those first few lines to succinctly identify your target audience, describe your value proposition, and state the product or service you provide.
This is a newsfeed of your content. Blogs, photos, videos, infographics, and anything else your page manager posts or re-shares appear here. Ideally, your LinkedIn posts include a mix of all the different content types.
Like your personal page, consistent, relevant content on your LinkedIn business page looks great to potential leads. It shows you’re keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry.
While not the most relevant section for generating leads, when you have an opportunity, Jobs is great to add openings at your company for potential job-seekers to apply.
This section automatically populates when your employees with LinkedIn profiles list your company as their workplace. No need to worry about editing this section yourself.
This section is a paid feature that LinkedIn describes as a way “to drive interest in your company.” It ultimately focuses on highlighting company culture with sections, such as trending employee content, company leaders, spotlights, company photos, employee perspectives, and testimonials.
Generating Leads on LinkedIn
So, now that your personal and company pages are looking their best, the leads should start rolling in, right?
You must now go out into the virtual world with your optimized pages and put in the work to gain exposure and convert leads.
Join groups related to your company’s interests and target demographic.
This is an excellent way to network with other professionals in your industry and keep up with the latest happenings directly from the source: Existing and potential clients. Start a conversation or chime in on an existing one. You can also begin building your reputation as an industry expert by sharing your company’s content with an audience who truly appreciates it.
Find contacts via LinkedIn’s comprehensive search.
This is a great feature in general, as it allows you to be highly specific in your search criteria. It comes in extra handy when you have a company to target in mind without any known contacts to reach out to directly.
Once you’ve found who you’re looking for, you can reach out using InMail, a paid feature.
Connect with InMai.
At one point or another, you probably received a direct message on LinkedIn from someone you don’t know. That’s the beauty of InMail!
It allows you to reach out to individuals you’re not connected with, so you can get leads without adding complete strangers to your network.
InMail comes with LinkedIn’s Premium membership, which offers subscription tiers. Depending on which subscription you have, you’re allotted either 20 or 30 InMail credits per month to message whomever you’d like.
Check out other Premium features.
LinkedIn offers Premium plans catered toward four specific goals: Getting hired, hiring, growing your business’ network, and finding sales opportunities. For the purposes of this blog, we’re highlighting the sales-oriented plan, which includes features such as:
- Unlimited profile browsing
- Custom lead and account lists
- Recommended leads
- CRM sync
Create groups for individuals to join and spark conversation.
While you should join groups with your individual profile, you should also create a group or a few hosted by your LinkedIn business page.
This provides a great opportunity to facilitate conversations and engage with clients, which can spur referrals and recommendations. It can also show potential clients that your company goes beyond providing a product/service and values what existing clients have to say.
Share content on a regular schedule.
Having a constant output of valuable industry-relevant information, like blogs, infographics, and videos, produces exposure.
Your business page’s existing audience likely views you as an expert resource. When individuals like, comment on, or share your posts, they place your content right in front of their connections.
These networks probably contain a number of connections that are in the market for what your company offers. This is a nudge in the right direction.
It’s also worth noting that having a LinkedIn-specific content series can help generate a social media following that results in leads.
For example, if one of you connections liked a #FinancialFeministFriday post from Ellevest, an investment service geared toward the financial health of women, you might be impressed and follow the company’s page — despite not being an Ellevest client.
Cut to a month, or four #FinancialFeministFridays, and an abundance of other valuable financial content later, you join the Ellevest community. Through its LinkedIn page, you were able to get to know the business and eventually convert to a client.
Sponsor your content.
Within LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, you have the ability to create campaigns and sponsor content for three overarching goals:
Each of these is broken down into more specific goals, one of them being lead generation.
Once you decide to sponsor a post, establish your campaign:
- Ad format
- Budget and schedule
- Conversion criteria
You can go back to any post on your feed and click “Sponsor now,” as seen below:
Now, that highly engaging and informative blog, infographic, or video can reach a wider audience and hopefully provide new leads.
Target and re-target how you want using Matched Audiences.
LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences give you complete control over who you reach with paid campaigns. You’re able to upload a list of up to 300,000 contacts for LinkedIn to comb through and match with existing users (whom you can then target).
You can also re-target your website visitors via LinkedIn. Here’s how: Include the URLs for specific landing pages your potential leads visit. You’ll need to do some lightweight coding on your website and install a LinkedIn-provided insight tag.
Use Lead Gen Forms to, well, generate leads.
This feature’s name says it all. It’s worth noting that it enables potential leads to take action directly from your ads or sponsored content, rather than clicking around your website to fill out a form. Cheers to convenience!
You also don’t have to set up elaborate tracking codes to know if a lead came from LinkedIn. You also don’t need to reference inconsistent data to gauge how well a LinkedIn campaign is performing. The conversion results are right there in your Campaign Manager to evaluate.
Last thing, but perhaps my favorite: LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms integrate with third-party CRMs (like Mirabel’s Marketing Manager) if you prefer to review your leads there. This is why businesses should use LinkedIn.
Enjoy Your New Leads
You primed your personal and business pages on LinkedIn to build your reputation and gain brand awareness. You executed free and paid marketing strategies across the profiles to attract leads.
Now, you can sit back and relax, but only for a moment because you’ve got new clients to follow up with.
Plus, the marketing hustle never truly stops. Your mind’s probably already a few steps ahead, working on the next lead generation strategy.
Mary McCormick and Josmary Gonzalez contributed to this blog.