Are you using LinkedIn to connect with your target market?
Did you know LinkedIn has 259,000,000 users?
Did you know that 172,000 people sign up every day for the social networking site?
It's no secret that LinkedIn is a great place to generate leads for B2B organizations, but there is a science to it. I was in a coffee shop yesterday and overheard two guys discussing LinkedIn. The one guy was not a fan of the site and even stated, "it has turned into Facebook!"
Now I agree, LinkedIn has become a noisy place with a lot of the users using it as a content distribution channel. That is not how LinkedIn works though. Now, I do share my blog posts on the site, but not as often as I use it to listen to people. All social media sites work when you listen first.
Related: I use LinkedIn to come up with blog topics, see a post here answering 3 common questions in social media.
How To Effectively Use LinekdIn Groups
There are 2,100,000 groups on LinkedIn and they are not all created equal. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups at a time. I advise searching for groups where your target market hangs out, ask to join and observe the groups. Some are better than others, some are just filled with spam and add zero value.
After you join 5-10 groups I recommend looking for people asking questions. Sometimes this is difficult, but you should be able to find people with problems. If it is something you can help with, jump in and add your thoughts/opinions/advice. I never link back to this site, unless someone specifically asks for a link. If that is the case, I typically send it to them in a private message. Don't be promotional, be helpful.
Here is what someone responded to in a group after I shared a recent blog post;
Would you buy business cards from him?
I wouldn't. It seems like he is yelling at me, doesn't it? Look how many times he uses the word "we", it's all about him/his company. The sad thing is -- he's a "marketing director". Or at least that is what his title says. That is not marketing, that is called spam/desperate. Don't be that guy.
I have found that being helpful and offering advice to be a great way for prospects to come to you. This can be very powerful. It positions you as the expert and the person they most likely want to do business with. For effective social selling, you must build that know, like and trust factor. Yelling at me to buy your business cards does none of those three things.
You can also charge a premium for your products/services as you are being hunted, not being the hunter. A very powerful way of doing business. Dan Kennedy calls it "Magnetic Marketing"
How To Become a Top Contributor On LinkedIn
I am in a few great B2B groups that generate a lot of discussions (people asking questions and people offering their opinions, sometimes with 50+ comments). In one group last week, I was voicing my opinions on cold calling (by the way, I cannot stand cold calling and think it's such an ineffective way to market a business) and it stirred up quite a debate.
I had one other lady that was "on my side" and about 12-15 other people that did NOT agree with us, and they let it be known. I will write a post about my thoughts/feelings on cold calling another day.
I am constantly searching the groups to see if I can answer people's questions regarding marketing. Some days I'll add up to 10 comments (in total) to the ongoing discussions. I find that when I am first to respond to a post, it often times gains traction as LinkedIn puts the discussions with the most engagement at the top. If it is a valuable contribution, often times people will check out my profile and possibly come visit this site. Being first has its benefits, same goes with blog commenting.
I do promote this blog to some groups, but try to give much more than I ask. I have received quite a few private messages in the last few weeks with people asking for more information about our services. I even had a social media company out of London ask for help with their inbound marketing strategy.
Recently, I noticed that I was a top contributor in a couple groups. Pretty cool I thought, but what is a top contributor?
A top contributor is, according to LinkedIn:
Fostering great discussions in your LinkedIn Group is important to keeping your group active and interesting to the members. Because of this, we’ve introduced contribution levels, a new system that shows members how influential they are in a group.
On the right side of your group page you’ll see the Top Contributors in this group section as well as your own contribution level in this group. Top contributors are group members who post the most interesting discussions and comments.
The top contributors will have a text indicator under their headline any time they post a discussion in the group. Clicking a profile image or name will take you to that member's activity page. The Top Contributorindicator will also appear on a member’s profile.
Contribution levels are group specific and recalculated every day. The contribution levels are, in order:
- Getting started
- Finding an audience
- Making an impact
- Building influence
- Top Contributor
Important: To increase your contribution level, start interesting discussions and comment thoughtfully on other group members' discussions. As people interact more with you, you'll see your score go up.
Your contribution level will go down if you are not active or your posts are promotional or inappropriate for the group.
Here are the two groups I am a top contributor in;
I approach LInkedIn, and all business for that matter, with the mindset of -- how can I help/add value?
It's actually a pretty good philosophy to live life by.
Well, if this hasn't convinced you that LinkedIn is a great place to generate leads for your B2B organization, then this infograph from Neil Patel might help;
By the way, you can check out my interview with Neil Patel here.
It really doesn't take much to differentiate yourself from your competition with LinkedIn. I would advise checking it out and spending some time in the groups where your target market hang out. Answer questions, ask questions, give feedback, your opinion and reassess everything after a month or so. If that group doesn't work, join another and try it again. It might take some time to find the right groups, but when you do, it will be worth it.