Do you use LinkedIn for business?

Are you wondering how you can use LinkedIn to generate quality leads?

To learn how to use LinkedIn to attract leads and build networking relationships, I interview Stephanie Sammons for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview Stephanie Sammons, who blogs at Build Online Influence and is the CEO of Wired Advisor—a firm that helps those in the financial industry. She also writes exclusively about LinkedIn for Social Media Examiner.

Stephanie shares her LinkedIn knowledge, tips and experiences when it comes to social networking for your company.

You’ll learn about the tools and techniques that will help you attract leads and connect with business professionals.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

LinkedIn for Business

Why LinkedIn is so important for business professionals seeking leads

Stephanie explains how most people think of Facebook as a personal web, whereas LinkedIn is a professional web.

LinkedIn is the largest professional network for working people. It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee or a business owner, a freelancer or a marketer within a company.

linkedin join today

There are over 200 million active and engaged members on LinkedIn.

People typically visit LinkedIn with a purpose to make connections, gain insights about their industry and anything that can help them get smarter. They also use LinkedIn to network.

In Stephanie’s mind, it’s the purest form of business networking online.

Listen to the show to find out how LinkedIn has evolved from just being a place to look for a job.

LinkedIn tools to help generate leads

You’ll discover that it’s not just about the awesome tools and features that LinkedIn has, it’s also about how you use them.

Stephanie recommends having a relationship mentality when on LinkedIn and to position yourself as a thought leader. Look where you are building influence with your network and niche. It’s the right thing to do when it comes to attracting leads and people for your business. The smarter you are about marketing, the less people realize you are marketing to them.

Your main goal is to aim to be consistently visible and valuable. Studies have shown that it takes someone 7 exposures to you before they really start to pay attention, listen and determine whether it makes sense to take the next step.

Stephanie looks at LinkedIn as an opportunity to position herself as a resource within her niche using the various tools.

For example, LinkedIn Today is a great way to quickly find content that is relevant to your target market and be able to share it on LinkedIn. You’ll find out the benefits of using these rich status updates to stay top of mind.

linkedin today 1

LinkedIn today is a great way to find relevant content for you to share.

It’s really important to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. The more people see you on LinkedIn, the more they are likely to come and check out your profile to learn more about you. And if that person is relevant and potentially interested in your business, they may click through to your blog or website and take the relationship from there.

Another great LinkedIn tool to consider is Groups. If you spend time in group discussions, you have the opportunity to connect with mutual group members whom you might not necessarily know. As you get to know some of the members in the group, you can send them an invitation to connect with you.

Stephanie goes into greater detail about how many LinkedIn Groups you can join and how adding value to the conversation can lead to potential clients and customers. You’ll also discover why you should only concentrate on 3 or 5 groups at a time.

Listen to the show to find out the benefits for Social Media Examiner of creating a private group on LinkedIn when running online conferences.

How a marketer or salesperson should use LinkedIn to find leads

First of all, it’s important to build a rich personal profile on LinkedIn. You need your prospective clients and customers to be able to understand what you do without using any fancy terminology. Be very clear in what you do, whom you help and how you can help.

stephanie sammons linkedin profile

Stephanie Sammons' LinkedIn profile.

A lead generation process that works really well is:

  • Build a great personal profile.
  • Activate that profile so you begin to share interesting, valuable, helpful content with your network.
  • Be consistently visible and stay top of mind.

It’s not about selling. You have to educate and provide great information.

It’s a personal decision whom you connect with on LinkedIn and how you generate leads. It all depends on your business situation and if you want to make your network as big or small as possible.

Stephanie prefers to work on the depth and breadth of her network. She has the belief that the more connections you have, the more opportunity there is for visibility and more business opportunities you can create for yourself. You’re going to show up in more LinkedIn searches.

You’ll hear Stephanie give an example of how her network facilitated a valuable relationship for someone else.

Listen to the show to learn about how promoting your blog, ebook or webinar can work on LinkedIn.

The process of growing your network

If your goal is to generate business and leads on LinkedIn, you need to think about growing your connections. There are many different ways to connect, from meeting people offline to connecting with them on Facebook or Twitter. Think about peers in your industry, clients, prospective clients, community leaders, etc.—anybody you may know and have a good reason to be connected with.

Stephanie shares her rules for LinkedIn when it comes to making connections.

Listen to the show to hear what you need to do when meeting people at a trade show, event or conference, to take it to the next level on LinkedIn.

The time commitment for getting the most out of LinkedIn

Once you know your way around the network, Stephanie feels you only need to spend 10 minutes a day to make a good impact on your network.

It’s about having a focus and a purpose when you go in.

Listen to the show to find out more about why it’s important to engage in high-impact activities.

How to use LinkedIn to reach someone in a big company

Stephanie describes why she loves LinkedIn’s feature called InMail. LinkedIn has a strong integration with email inboxes, which include frequent notifications.

You’ll also discover the reason behind members trusting emails from LinkedIn. Open rates for InMail on LinkedIn are greater than open rates for typical email marketing collateral. InMail gives you the ability to send a direct message to any member of LinkedIn, regardless of whether you are connected to them. The response rates on these are high.

But remember, you’ve got to have a good reason to connect. It can’t be just a sales pitch.

about in mail

InMail is a great way to send a direct message to anyone on LinkedIn.

Listen to the show to hear the best approach when writing direct messages to other LinkedIn members.

What to avoid on LinkedIn

You need to be careful when you grow your connections, as LinkedIn will stop showing publicly if you have more than 500 connections. So you need to be careful about being too active. If many of your connections have fewer connections within their network, then all they are going to see is you when they log into LinkedIn.

You have to be thoughtful in the way you promote your own content.

Listen to the show to hear why it’s so important to have your profile looking good and up-to-date.

Stephanie’s Top Tip

You’ll hear Stephanie explain why Company Pages are becoming more important and how they are the identity for your business on LinkedIn, not your personal identity.

LinkedIn has a Self-Service Ads program that Stephanie has been experimenting with. It’s a great way to grow your group through running ads to grow followers for your Company Page. Not only is it inexpensive, it’s also easy to administer and test. Stephanie has already seen results from this.

self service targeted ads

LinkedIn's Self-Service Ads program is a great way to grow your group.

You’ll find out why LinkedIn members are receptive to ads as long as they are relevant.

Listen to the show to discover why a LinkedIn Share button on your site is a must.

This Week’s Social Media Question

Curtis Moe at SmokeHouse Podcast asked, “My podcast has always been a hobby and I don’t want to do much else with it. But what do you think about teaming up with a blogger? This way I won’t have to do the website and I can just focus on doing the podcast, which I enjoy doing.”

smoke house podcast

SmokeHouse Podcast.

Curtis, here is what you need to do.

Teaming up with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses is always a wise move. In my book Launch, there is an entire chapter about working with outside experts or other people who have a competency.

In your particular case, as someone who has an expertise in podcasting, it makes a lot of sense to work with a blogger who has an existing audience.

We’ve seen other people in our industry do this. For example, Brian Clark from Copyblogger has a podcast called Internet Marketing for Smart People Radio. The show is not actually produced by him, it’s hosted and produced by Robert Bruce. Brian appears on the show now and again.

It makes a lot of sense to collaborate and leverage the strengths of both of you together.

Listen to the show to hear more of Mike’s advice for Curtis.

Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.

As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.

Stephanie will be one of the presenters, along with over 50 others, who are some of the biggest names in the world in social media marketing.

There will be extensive networking opportunities—you’ll make priceless professional connections because we built this event to include networking after keynotes and lunch, and catered evening events at the historic San Diego Natural History Museum and aboard the largest private yacht in Southern California.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on using LinkedIn for lead generation? Please leave your comments below.

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  • Awesome show Mike! Thanks Stephanie for your tip about the self-service ads program! A definite must for my LinkedIn company page!

    Have a wonderful Friday everyone!

    ~John Lee Dumas

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  • Thanks John

  • Thanks for the podcast; it wasn’t your most riveting show, but useful nonetheless. I was surprised there was no discussion about using video. Is that because video isn’t especially effective on LinkedIn?

  • cherylpickett

    I have a question about the note about 500+ followers. My husband is in that category and recently received a note from LI that he was a “super” user essentially. So I’m confused now about benefits/disadvantages for high numbers of followers.

  • Laura Morales

    Great show, Michael. I wasn’t aware of Stephanie before this podcast, and I enjoyed listening to her as she confirmed some beliefs I have concerning how best to use LinkedIn. I also didn’t know about the 500+ followers appearing virtually all the time or at least quite frequently if their connections don’t have a lot of other connections. Thanks very much!

  • Glad you found value in the show Laura

  • Hey Patty – Thanks for your honest feedback. I will ask Stephanie to comment

  • I will ask Stephanie to comment

  • Hi Cheryl, essentially the point I was trying to make is that if many of your connections don’t have a significant number of connections on LinkedIn (and you do), you may be showing up more than necessary in their stream from a marketing perspective if you are super active. You want to be consistently visible and valuable, but you don’t want connections to hide you or tune you out from their streams. Does that help?

  • Hi there. I don’t know that it’s as effective as it is on other channels, but you can certainly link to videos on personal profiles and company pages. As with everything, testing what resonates with YOUR connections is always advised.

  • cherylpickett

    Yes, now I get it. Thanks!

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  • ShazzNem

    Waow…gotta retool. Had been kinda ignoring the site in preference for FB Thanks Michael.

  • Thanks for the response. I appreciate it.

  • Glad you found it useful Shazz

  • This was awesome, as always and really a great interviewer. I listen to a ton of Podcast while working during the day and enjoy how you often get clarification on questions asked that a listener may be thinking. You push your interviewees to provide their best and thats awesome.

    SlideShare app or any others you’d suggest including in our profile to make it stand out more?

  • Thanks Mike, really appreciate you noticing the nuances I try to bring to these interviews. As far as apps and slideshare, I know if you have a blog a really good one is to add that. Honestly I defer to Stephanie on this one 🙂

  • Absolutely leveraging Slideshare (which is owned by LinkedIn) is recommended. LinkedIn views Slideshare as the most effective way to showcase your “professional insights”. I suspect it will become more integral to the network over time!

  • I use LinkedIn for lead generation. Like these tips that you shared Michael. Businesses should also keep in mind to engage with their connections too. It is not enough that once they accepted your request, you will forget about them. Create a network and build relationship.

  • @mikestelzner:disqus, this is a brilliant podcast. Thank you very much for that. Your questions are really always spot-on and these nuances you are giving to these interviews are what’s making them so great. Thanks again.

  • Sudeep

    Great podcast ! Great Tips ! Great Speakers !…Lots of thanks Michael for asking vital questions from Stephanie on behalf of Social Media Examiner community..

  • treb072410

    Great post!!! Thanks for sharing

  • Thanks Michal!

  • Thanks for adding your tips Katrina

  • Glad you found it useful

  • My pleasure

  • Thank you for sharing your insight and advice on improving the use of LinkedIn for business growth potential.

  • Wow, this is so informative! Absolutely refreshing. To save time, I read the material relating to the podcast contents. However, and since it’s so useful, I will now listen to the podcast!

  • I hope you enjoy it Victoria (the listen)

  • Thanks Shelly

  • These are all great points.! I use LinkedIn from a sales perspective, and I couldn’t imagine going without it anymore! I’ve generated close to 5,000 leads, saving myself from spending $20,000-30,000 on leads that aren’t nearly as relevant or accurate. There’s so many hidden in’s and out’s to generating return interest towards your profile, it’s not even funny. I’d encourage anyone trying to build their client base to poke around on LI a bit more – Ridg

  • Hey Ryan – Glad to hear this stuff really works 🙂

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  • If I see one more Social Media Consultant used as an example I’ll jump off a bridge. Please gives us a break and show us someone outside in the real world please.

  • Enjoyed the Podcast. Thanks!

  • Hey Laszio – Most of my guests are social media experts. But we have tons of case studies you should have a look at here:

  • Thanks Taye!

  • Alexandra Coroian

    You’ve just spoken my mind! Sometimes there is too much talk about nothing, really. Listened to the podcast, I think LinkedIn verifies your professional abilities, that is if you have them (and the additional account). Thanks for this, Michael.

  • I never had any success with LinkedIn ever so thank you for your tips here and I’ll give them a shot..

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  • Thanks for sharing
    these tips Michael! We just have to remember that once we’ve joined some
    groups, we must go in there and participate in discussions that are happening or
    start group discussions. Remember that these are targeted audiences and
    people have joined these groups for a specific reason.

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  • Hi Michael! Your profile serves as a magnet, if you want to get more connections and deals you really have to make you profile compelling and as you’ve said up to date. Join group discussions, comment on their posts and so on. Generating leads on this platform can sometimes be tough considering that you’re not the only one generating interests on LinkedIn. Quite tricky but it all worth it.

    Started following you on Twitter and G+. 🙂

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  • Jyoti Aggarwal

    Great show Michael. I listened to you and Stephanie for the first time. Thanks for bringing it to us. It was very insightful. I appreciate it.

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  • John anyanwu Chinedum

    It is as good to have intelligent people around all the time. They reduce your search by 80%, if not more. Most of the things I have been looking for and how to solve the problems thereof, have be gotten without a Dollar except my time. Is it wonderful.

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  • This is an awesome explanation. Awesome. This not only helped me understanding the ways but also how to move forward.

  • IgKttYm

    Thanks for the podcast. Very useful. I came across a software called Aeroleads that exports leads directly from LinkedIn. Any thoughts on that?