As a leading platform to make meaningful business connections, LinkedIn is at the top of most lists when it comes to lead generation.
It seems easy enough – you connect to people from your industry, engage in conversations, and create partnerships that will enable you to grow your business.
But, maybe because so many marketers use LinkedIn for this purpose, it’s getting harder and harder to generate quality leads at a steady rate. Users usually see through the connection requests and direct messages, and can almost always recognize you’re trying to sell them something.
That’s when you know your lead generation strategy needs to take the next step.
To generate leads or increase sales on LinkedIn in 2020, your strategy needs to be smart, carefully planned, and executed through several steps, all with your potential leads’ interests in mind.
Here are some useful LinkedIn strategies to generate more leads in 2020.
#1: Optimize your profile and post quality content
The first step towards generating more leads on LinkedIn is to make sure your profile is as presentable as possible.
No amount of research, advanced targeting, or automated messaging can make up for a bad LinkedIn profile. Before even thinking about the more advanced stuff, you’ll want to create a strong profile that displays confidence and expertise to anyone who visits it.
What does that mean in practice?
First, you should take a look at your profile and cover photo. There are a lot of awesome guides online on how to do this, so I won’t go into great detail here. I’d just stress a couple of points: make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame (this promotes trust and honesty), and wear something that you would wear to work.
Second, your headline and description needs to be honest and professional, but more importantly – it should be optimized for searches. So, if you’re a social media specialist, you might want to consider terms like “social media marketing”, “social media advertising”, or “social media manager”. Also, remember that long-tail phrases will get you more targeted results: social media marketing will return a lot of search results, while “social media marketing Chicago” will trim those down significantly, giving you more high quality traffic.
Once you have this sorted, you should start posting quality content – something that will give people a reason to follow you and build up your image in the industry.
This is where you have to roll up your sleeves and do the work yourself. Do some research and learn what your audience would like to see on LinkedIn.
For a little help, you can take a look at these results from HubSpot:
This can give you a good overview on which types of content marketers use most to complement their content strategies. Personally, I like to emphasise case studies and eBooks as great ways to provide your followers value and position yourself as an authority in the industry.
#2: Use automation tools to connect
A key step in generating leads on LinkedIn is sending out connection requests.
I like to recommend using Linkedin automation tools for this step, for two reasons:
- It’s easier: say you have a list of 50 leads – maybe they’ve all filled out a contact form on your website in the past month. Manually finding them and sending them connection requests can be demanding, both physically and mentally. You can simply upload these leads in an automation tool of your choice and let it do the work for you.
- It’s safer: if you choose to send connection requests manually, you may trigger LinkedIn’s anti-spam mechanism, especially if you don’t know the rules. You can do what’s called “warming up” your profile, where you send more and more connections every couple of days, OR you can use an automation tool that already knows these rules and avoids them successfully.
Furthermore, automation tools have some advanced features that can really help you take your connector campaigns to a new level. Some of these tools have awesome targeting options, advanced analytics that you can use to compare your campaigns, and much more.
Keep in mind, though, that cloud-based tools are much safer to use than others. You don’t want to risk using a Chrome extension tool, as LinkedIn has gotten very good at recognizing those and banning the profiles that use them.
So, read carefully and choose only the safest tools!
#3: Join or create LinkedIn groups
Although they’re becoming slightly overused and spammed by people trying to sell their services, LinkedIn groups are still great places to make connections and engage with industry people.
By selecting “groups” in the dropdown menu just below the search bar, you can find lots of groups related to your industry, whatever that industry may be.
You can join these groups and start contributing to the discussion!
Just make sure you actually provide value to the group, through useful resources, tips, tricks, case studies, research results, etc. Soon enough, you’ll start making connections within the group and put yourself on the industry map.
But, what if you can’t find a group that covers your specific niche?
Even better! LinkedIn allows you to create your own group and even invite your first and second connections to join. This might take a little more time and planning than simply joining an already created group, but the potential upside is awesome – nothing can quite position you as an industry expert like being an admin of a large LinkedIn group.
These groups have another, more tangible benefit: you can scrape the profiles, names, and positions of their members using a tool like Phantombuster, and use this information to create a strong list of quality leads!
#4: Target people by activity
When you’re hunting for leads, you need to keep your eyes open and look everywhere – every LinkedIn group, every company, every showcase page in your industry could be a potential source of leads.
One particular place that I like to use for lead generation are LinkedIn posts, more specifically, people who’ve engaged with a specific post on LinkedIn.
Think about it: you stumble upon a very popular post from your industry that is gaining a lot of attention – people are commenting, liking, sharing, debates are getting started, points are being made. This is the very heart of your industry. Wouldn’t it be great if you can just take all these people and get their contacts handed to you?
As it turns out, you can do exactly that.
With a little help from automation tools, you are just a couple of clicks away from this great list of high-quality leads. Expandi, a tool I already mentioned above, allows you to do this by simply pasting the post URL into its dashboard and watch the magic happen!
To make things even better, LinkedIn has changed its algorithm to prioritize engagement. So, compared to 2018, you’ll now see much more comments, likes, and shares on posts all over LinkedIn, which is great news if you’re using these posts to find leads.
#5: Find leads outside of LinkedIn
Lastly, try not to limit yourself by only searching for leads on LinkedIn.
You can use LinkedIn to make connections and get in touch with your leads, but the leads themselves DON’T need to come from LinkedIn.
You can find leads anywhere on the Internet – industry blogs, company websites, even other social media networks like Facebook or Instagram. Your only concern should be how you can find those leads and get their contact information as easily as possible, so you can get in touch on LinkedIn and make the connection in a professional environment.
This is another point in the process where automation tools can save you a lot of time.
You can use the two tools we mentioned above (Expandi and Phantombuster) simultaneously to scrape contacts from pretty much anywhere on the Internet and target them with personalized connector campaigns.
For example, I like to use Facebook groups as a great source for leads. Similarly to LinkedIn groups, they also gather professionals from different industries and enable them to engage in conversations, post valuable resources, and create their own community.
You can use the API’s from Phantombuster to extract the names of the members and find their profiles on LinkedIn. You can then upload this list to Expandi and launch a connector campaign that will target this very specific audience.
That way, you’re reaching a group of industry professionals, but you’re not limiting your search for leads only to LinkedIn.
You can absolutely use LinkedIn to generate quality leads and build partnerships that will be beneficial to both you and your connections.
The only question is: are you ready to do the work?
Because this process isn’t easy – it requires a lot of time and careful planning to make sure every step is done as perfectly as possible. Automation tools can help you by managing some of the load, but don’t be fooled by thinking they will do all the work for you.
Try out some of these LinkedIn strategies to generate more leads and let us know if they helped you advance your business!
Stefan Smulders is a SaaS Entrepreneur | Founder of Worlds safest software for LinkedIn Automation / Expandi.io | for more than 5 years Founder of LeadExpress.nl