LinkedIn is one of those social media platforms that not all small businesses use or utilize effectively. But, with over 630 million members, this social network has a treasure trove of lead generation opportunities if you know how to use it.
This social platform for professionals is more than just a virtual networking and job search site, it offers you a chance to promote your tech business to both B2B and B2C clients in a variety of ways.
If you’ve created a profile on LinkedIn but aren’t sure what to do now to generate leads there, you’ll want to read further for tips on making the most of this social media network to promote your small business and drive sales.
Tips for Making the Most of LinkedIn for Lead Generation
LinkedIn is the largest virtual gathering place for professionals and it’s the #1 channel for delivering B2B content. In fact, according to LinkedIn:
80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn.
Yet, often it goes under utilized by small businesses, including computer repair and service shops, when they’re planning out their sales funnels.
Here are a few more of LinkedIn’s statistics that illustrate why it’s a platform you want to take advantage of for your IT business marketing:
- LinkedIn refers 50% of the traffic coming from social media to B2B blogs and websites
- Executives rank LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant content
- The platform has 61 million senior-level influencers and 40 million decision makers
Here is our deep dive into LinkedIn and how to use it to your advantage to drive both business and individual customers.
Start with a Plan
Just jumping in on LinkedIn, or any other social media platform, without a plan can mean you’re just posting here and there, but not really getting much out of it. Avoid spinning your wheels by taking things one step at a time.
There are five key steps to consider when maximizing your presence on LinkedIn, and each one is equally important. These are:
1. Establish Your Presence
- Setting up your profile & filling it out completely
- Creating a company page
- Branding your profile and page
2. Gain LinkedIn Followers
- Connecting with companies & individuals in your service area
- Promoting your LinkedIn page on your site & other marketing
- Using LinkedIn’s suggested connections to network
3. Engage Followers
- Posting on your individual profile and company page
- Adding articles
- Using other content sharing methods, like SlideShare
4. Amplify Your Message Through Your Network
- Use of LinkedIn advertising
- Creating posts that Encourage shares
5. Analyze and Refine
- Reviewing your analytics to drill down into what’s working
Create a Profile that Gets Attention
LinkedIn gives you quite a bit of space to create an impressive profile, so you don’t want to just fill out 10% of it and leave the rest blank. Fully completing your profile can improve the recommendations for connections LinkedIn makes to you and others and give potential clients the information they need when making a decision to work with your IT business or not.
Some of the key areas you can utilize in your LinkedIn profile to get past the “beginner” phase are:
- Licenses and Certifications
- Volunteer Experience
- Skills (showcase your strength as a professional)
- Publications (any guest articles or books/guides you’ve authored)
- Courses (any educational courses you’ve taken)
- Honors & Awards
- Organizations (i.e. your local Chamber of Commerce, Scouts, etc.)
Encourage Your Employees to Join LinkedIn
When your team also joins LinkedIn they can both benefit from engaging on the platform and help you broadcast your message farther. According to a BrightEdge study, 9 of the top 10 brands with the most LinkedIn followers have at least 60% of their staff on the platform.
Some of the ways your team can help promote your business on LinkedIn include:
- Sharing your posts and articles
- Putting a link to your company LinkedIn page in their email signature
- Author LinkedIn articles about your IT services for a specific industry/customer type
Join an Industry Group
A great way to connect with more people on LinkedIn is to join industry groups that are focused on a niche area of your IT specialties. By sharing your expertise in group conversations, you can position your company as an industry leader, boost your credibility, and expand your network.
There are many group options to choose from, here are a few that IT professionals may want to consider:
- Digital Marketing
- Project Manager Network
- Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization
- Information Security Community
- Big Data & Analytics
You can also start your own group and invite others to join, but you may want to do that as a “phase two” after you’ve established your page and built up a following.
Publish Content (Beyond Posts) on LinkedIn
The posts feature on LinkedIn works similarly to other social media channels, but LinkedIn goes a step farther in your ability to share content. They give you an excellent way to repurpose your IT business blog posts and promotional or educational presentations to garner more attention.
Using their Articles feature, you can publish a longer form article that is searchable and able to be read by anyone, not just your followers. If you regularly publish blogs on your website, this is a slam dunk to post them as articles on LinkedIn as well to boost your presence.
SlideShare is another content publishing facet of LinkedIn that many users overlook. You can use it to share visual content, like presentations and infographics and push those out to your followers on multiple platforms.
41% of B2B marketers in North America use SlideShare to distribute content.
Use the 4-1-1 Rule
The “4-1-1 Rule” was first coined about a decade ago by Tippingpoint Labs, the founder of Junta42, and the Content Marketing Institute, and it provides a rule of thumb for successful social media posting. While it was first introduced for use on Twitter, it makes sense for all your social media platforms, including LinkedIn.
The rule is designed to keep you from losing followers by only broadcasting about yourself, and to gain more social benefit from “social” media. It states that for every 1 sales-focused post, you should make 1 original content “helpful” post and 4-curated posts.
That would look like this:
- 1 post about promotional content (i.e. An upcoming sale, your new antivirus service)
- 1 post about helpful content (i.e. A link to your blog about Windows 10 tips)
- 4 posts of curated content (i.e. Shares of relevant posts from other people)
Use Showcase Pages to Capture Both B2B & B2C Leads
Just because LinkedIn is a business-focused social media platform doesn’t mean you can’t also generate residential business there as well as commercial. Every one of those professionals on LinkedIn is also a consumer and has their own personal needs for technology repair and services.
If your business caters to both residential and business customers, use LinkedIn Showcase Pages to share specific content with each type of customer. These are connected with your main business page and give you the opportunity to tailor your message appropriately to each audience.
Ask for Recommendations & Endorsements
Building trust is a big part of lead generation and two ways that LinkedIn helps you do this is through recommendations and endorsements. These can help your profile stand out and gain trust for your IT services.
Recommendations are like mini reviews and they show up on your LinkedIn profile. They look something like a Google review, only without the star ratings.
The Recommendations area of LinkedIn can be found under: Add profile section > Additional information. This tool allows you to ask your connections for a recommendation.
Endorsements are somewhat different from recommendations and they are tied to the skills you list on your profile. Once you list a specific skill, such as “Wireless Networking,” your 1st-degree LinkedIn connections can click to “endorse you” for that skill.
You don’t have to ask for skills endorsements, LinkedIn has an algorithm that suggests skill endorsements between connections. You’ll receive a notification whenever you receive one.
Messaging Through InMail
LinkedIn has a helpful direct messaging tool they call InMail, but we recommend you use it sparingly for promotional communications and don’t spam people with unwanted messages.
LinkedIn states that InMail is 2.6 times more effective than email or cold calls.
It’s very useful to use as a means for someone to connect with you right on the platform to ask you more about your products or services. It’s been expanded recently to incorporate more of an instant message pop-up interface, similar to Facebook’s messenger tool.
Like all the other popular social media platforms, LinkedIn has an advertising option if you want to post sponsored content, sponsored InMail messages, or create ads. This offers you the ability to target your ads to a specific audience based on factors like location, company size, industry, job function, and seniority.
We’d recommend familiarizing yourself with LinkedIn first and using it for a while before jumping into sponsoring content, so you’ll have a better feel for the LinkedIn audience and can already gain some insights from your posts as to which messages seem to be hitting the mark.
Do you cater to accounting firms and are wondering who the decision-makers might be at firms in your service area? LinkedIn is an excellent tool for lead research because so many businesses are on the platform.
You can search “accounting firms” then filter on location to bring those up in your area. Search on the name of one of those firms to bring up their LinkedIn page, then click “People” in the left-hand sidebar to see who works there and what their title is. You can click their profile and request to connect with them.
You can find a lot of lead information just using the free version of LinkedIn, but if you’re finding it extremely helpful and you want to unlock unlimited browsing and other features, then you may want to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. Their Premium Business version is $59.99 per month and you can get a free 30-day trial to see if it’s worth it for you.
Don’t Overlook the Power of Marketing with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is geared for networking and gives you multiple opportunities for lead generation as well as connecting with your fellow IT professionals. Take some time to really use it to its fullest to maximize your social media marketing.
Do you have a LinkedIn success story? Let us know in the comments and drop your LinkedIn page link too!