It’s no secret that LinkedIn has become a powerhouse for B2B marketing. With 94% of B2B marketers distributing content on LinkedIn, and 65% of companies in 2013 having gained customer/s from LinkedIn, there’s proof to say that the social media platform can be used to generate leads and convert visitors, not just for visibility.
Given that LinkedIn can be used to generate leads, is there anything then stopping you from reaching out to whoever will fit in your contacts? Surely if they’ve made that connection with you, that means it’s okay to reach out to them with your sales pitch.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, though. Today, we’re looking at a better way of generating leads from your LinkedIn contacts.
Step 1: Research Your Connections
It’s a pretty natural course of action to review the profiles of your connections before contacting them. Understanding what company and what kind of company they work for is important, as is knowing whether they’re in a position to make the call on purchasing from you.
If the people you’re connecting with do have this kind of authority, then the purpose of the research is to have a ballpark place to start from. A little context can help you segment your contacts according to their potential needs and interests.
Step 2: Build Trust With Your Contacts
It might seem counterintuitive, but you should absolutely not offer an unsolicited pitch to a connection. The best way to reach out to potential new connections is to check the kind of groups that your ideal buyers would join, and become an active member of those groups. Keep tabs on the other people in your new group, and offer quality answers to questions that they ask, backed up by your content.
You can build trust with your ideal buyers by being where they are, and offering your expertise on different subjects as they come up. You can also get involved in discussion through LinkedIn’s natively published posts, either through commenting on posts others have published, or offering your own content as a published post. When you’ve reached a level of interaction with potential customers where they’re asking you for more information, you’ll be able to point them toward your more targeted content.
Step 3: Suggest Relevant Content For Your Contacts
Your priority when interacting with contacts over LinkedIn should be about building relationships. As you research your contact and converse with them, you can start to provide content that they’ll find interesting and useful. If they start responding well to your content and become interested in what you have to offer (and they should, if your content is engaging and compelling,) then you’ll be able to call them to action and they’ll convert to a lead easily.
Step 4: Wait For Your Contact To Solicit A Call From Sales
Just because you can make a personal connection with other professionals over LinkedIn, doesn’t mean you should jump straight into the traditional marketing model the moment another user looks your way. The point of LinkedIn, along with all the other social media platforms, is to foster connections between humans. If you’re providing good reasons for your connections to convert, and they’ve realised they have a need for what you offer, then they’ll make an inquiry of you. All this will take time, but be patient - you’re ensuring that the sales you’re making are only to people who will fit your company well and want to be there.
Worst vs. Best Things You Can Do
Although tempting, you should absolutely avoid cold-calling professionals on LinkedIn. You might think it’s adding personalisation to make it obvious how you’ve gone through their profile with a fine-tooth comb, but it’s really not. It’s a one-way ticket to getting your LinkedIn profile marked as a spammer.
The social media format is a more personal space than the open internet, and you’re contacting people directly. It’s important to be professional rather than annoying with this tenuous connection then. You’ll see a much greater rate of success if you seek to understand the pain points and needs of your contact, and offer your compelling content that helps move them closer to a sale with you. When you build trust with your contacts and genuine interest, they’ll be much more willing to hear you out and follow through on your calls to action, helping you build a solid base of leads and customers, with whom you have a personal connection.