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social media how toAre you trying to find quality leads for your business on LinkedIn?

Are you rising above the noise with quality engagement?

Using your LinkedIn profile to connect with market influencers and potential clients is smart–when done right.

In this article, you’ll discover a five-step process for building the solid relationships you need to generate a steady flow of leads from LinkedIn.

linkedin istock image

LinkedIn is a great marketing tool if you create relationships based on trust. Image source: iStockPhoto.com.

#1: Get Your House in Order

Before you start looking for leads on LinkedIn, it’s important to understand LinkedIn basics and the expectations of its users.

Take a few minutes to make sure you have a professional profile and picture, and join a few groups to get a feel for how they work. Go a step further and figure out the best engagement times to post on LinkedIn.

linkedin profile

Even little details, like a completed profile, affect how potential leads respond to you.

When you’re confident you have the basics down and are ready to start meeting others and creating leads, make a spreadsheet to track your progress and connections.

I like to keep track of current personal connections, new connections, groups my target influencers and customers are in, popular group topics, how many members are in a group and which members are most active.

#2: Find Your Market Influencers on LinkedIn

Before you post and push content to your intended audience, be crystal-clear about their interests. Only then can you create ads or messages that speak directly to them.

As you look for market leaders, review your personal connections and existing clients, then find them on LinkedIn. You most likely already have a priority list of companies and people whom you want to connect with. Next, go to LinkedIn and search for other companies and people who are active in your market.

linkedin company search

Search for all of the companies you’d like to follow.

When you connect with people, don’t send network invitations with “Hey, we’re in the same network, I thought that…” or “I liked your website, I have a question…” types of messages to connect with them. They’ll get deleted, ignored or flagged.

#3: Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

It’s not enough to find the leading voices in your market, you have to know where they hang out and what topics they find interesting. LinkedIn groups are a good place to get a feel for this.

linkedin company search

Look at which LinkedIn groups market leaders are participating in, then join the ones that fit your needs.

Look at your list of influencers, then visit their LinkedIn profiles and scroll down the page to see their Groups section. Here you can see all of the groups they’re part of.

Visit these groups and join the ones that fit your needs.

#4: Create an Editorial Calendar

When you visit a group, you can sort the conversations by Popular and Recent to see which questions and content are most relevant to members (and who offers the most responses). These conversations are your target areas of opportunity. Let those topics guide your own contributions.

Make a note in your spreadsheet about popular topics and the names of the most active group members. Use that information to develop an editorial calendar.

As you create your calendar, remember that generic content won’t get you the attention you deserve and want. Instead, ask intriguing questions and share thoughtful, useful information to build a high-converting customer/client-building funnel.

In one of my market-relevant groups, the topic of tools for writers came up, so I shared an article I’d written that has related tips and detailed information about writing resources and tools. The content was relevant and it linked to my blog; I added value to the group and drove traffic to my website.

linkedin plugin post

Create engaging posts that speak to your audience.

#5: Post the Right Kind of Content

Your content should address the issues being discussed in the group and offer help or more information without being a sales message in disguise.

When you publish new online content, use your website’s social sharing widget or plugin to push the post to your targeted LinkedIn groups. When you click the LinkedIn Share option, check the Post to Groups checkbox and enter an intriguing question as the title.

linkedin post

Target your message directly from your blog via the LinkedIn Share plugin.

If you post and share often, keep both shared content and your question relevant to each group’s discussions to avoid looking like spam. When visitors hop over to your blog post or website, rely on the conversion tactics you have in place to capture your new leads.

Make sure you have notifications turned on so you’ll know when you get a LinkedIn comment. You don’t want to miss a chance to respond.

Conclusion

Hard sells (e.g., self-serving emails and posts) just don’t work on LinkedIn. Comments, likes and direct responses to your content aren’t permission to pitch. Instead, continue the conversation and carefully consider the content you share and how you present it.

Research what each group wants, then offer yourself as a resource. Ask more questions, make recommendations and offer solutions—or if you can’t help, refer people to someone who can. You can rise above the noise with quality engagement that makes you stand out.

What do you think? How do you generate leads from LinkedIn? Are you happy with the quality of your interactions? Is there a tactic that has worked well for you? Leave a comment with your advice or questions below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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