The foundation to leverage on any social media tool is to ask yourself, ‘’Is this tool right for my business?’’ The answer to this question should not be driven by your competitor or market ally, who has plunged into using the tool, to aid his business. Are you a small business pondering your thoughts upon selecting LinkedIn as a platform for lead generation? Well, the dilemmas can be swept aside as LinkedIn will act as a lifeline to stay in front of your customers and also help you reach out to new prospects.
In digital marketing, your network is everything. Publishing a brilliant article on your website with 1,00,000 flares can make your feel ecstatic and boost your credibility. But it won’t matter if you aren’t speaking to the right audience. That’s where LinkedIn has stepped into the arena. It has become a prime channel where brands share content. This makes it easier for small business to connect with brand advocates, potential customers, and industry influencers, all at the same place. While content is one of the dual weapons, LinkedIn gears your business with, lead generation is the other ammunition. With access to over 400 million members on the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn enables sales lead generation by allowing sales professionals to easily and quickly find the right prospects. Here are some of the most successful lead generation strategies that your business can leverage on, for generating leads.
Make an Effective Debut
There is nothing like effectively introducing yourself as a business to create an impact on users. Take care to optimise your profile and pay attention to your feed and website descriptions. Being descriptive builds trust and captures the eye of prospects more efficiently. Using the necessary keywords will help your business get captured during filtered searches.
Nothing works like direct one-on-one networking. Invest in a couple of minutes each working day, clicking the “connect” button on the “People You May Know” list that LinkedIn displays on your feed. Through time you will broaden your network and will become someone known for doing so. Remember that everyone you talk to about business or meet during the course of a business day is a potential LinkedIn connection.
Capitalize on LinkedIn Applications
The platform gives you the option to add interesting apps that will improve the experience people have on your LinkedIn page. You can add blog posts, let people know what you are reading, and even set up polls to find out what’s on the minds of your customers and prospects. For example, your business can use SlideShare to display a webinar or use a PowerPoint deck of how your business helps in solving a customer’s problem.
Rendezvous on LinkedIn Groups
Participating in LinkedIn Groups is the one of the key moves to generate leads. If you are a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them. In addition to this, group members can also view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Take some time to search for groups to join where your targeted buyers are likely to be members. Start by contributing to conversations, be helpful in answering questions, and provide links to assets you have on your site that might help members of the group. Put your most valuable assets behind a short form on your site to capture LinkedIn visitor’s details. And voila, you now have a new lead! Alternatively, joining groups that are outside your industry that might help you grow your business too. Stretching out a little bit, helps your business expand its reach. For example: If you’re an Social Media Specialist, you don’t want to just join an Social Media Professionals Group – you’ll want to join groups for Digital Marketing, Startups, App Marketing, and other groups outside of your immediate circle.
Sponsored Updates + Valuable Content
Many small businesses have started to run LinkedIn Sponsored Update campaigns to generate leads for their business. While regular updates can be a hit or miss in terms of impressions; using sponsored updates allows you to share updates that don’t appear as ads, at first glance. Start by generating a whole lot of original content (blogs). Then trial with creating 20 sponsored updates over the space of two months to promote it to your target audience. It’s a lot of work, but it pays off! NewsCred ran a series of sponsored update campaigns that netted them 288 new followers and 71 leads, over a span of 2 months. The company also found the campaign to be 75% less expensive than the Google AdWords lead gen campaigns they were running in parallel. It is to be noted that research has revealed leads collected via LinkedIn are three times more likely to convert into customers than leads collected via any other digital advertising platform.
Priming LinkedIn Direct Ads (Text Ads)
LinkedIn’s advertising platform can be used to drive new prospects to your landing page, LinkedIn group or other destination. The ads work the same way Google paid search ads work. You simply write a headline, add some copy and create a destination link. Then you bid on how much you’ll pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad. If you pay Rs.100 to LinkedIn for a click, and it takes 50 clicks before you convert a customer, then you’ve just spent Rs.500 for 1 customer. If your product sells for Rs.5000 each, investing Rs.500 to generate Rs.5000 is not a bad return-on-investment. In our experience, text ads deliver high impressions but fail to capture leads effectively, when compared to the sponsored updates.
India is a significant market for social media giants. We have 100m+ users on Facebook and over 33 million users on Twitter. Mobile web penetration has also been one of the main contributors in the active social media usage. Almost 84% of the 100 million users on Facebook access it through their mobile phones. Keeping all of the above mentioned facts in consideration, it is fair to conclude that the reach on social media is exponentially huge and for brands to tap on this opportunity would result in a vital growth for their businesses
Reputation Management, Thought Leadership & Recruitment have been added to the objectives to achieve alongside community building & brand engagement on social media.
Facebook continues to be the predominant social media platform for engagement. Google+ and LinkedIn evolved as social media platforms to reach out to professionals across the country (highly relevant for B2B industries). Apart from these two platforms, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest have also emerged as highly engaging & crucial platforms to spawn conversations with the TG.
Brands have become observant of the frequency of updates on social media channels & response time from the audiences. Most of the top social media savvy brands in India engage with their fans once a day through multiple platforms. The point worth noting here is that the average response time is 1-5 hours per engagement.
The study indicates that with the popularity and expanding reach of social media, around 90 per cent of Indian brands plan on dedicating 15% of their annual marketing spends to social media.
The study also highlighted that brands across various industries have realized the implication of tapping on social media channels and understood its peculiar demands.
How do brands in India function digitally?
Most of the Indian brands have their social media strategy & content aligned to meet their business goals. However, there are brands that have their social media strategy in place but do not have it linked to any specific goal.
Many companies have an internal team dedicated for curating social media content & strategy whereas there are few which outsource them from agencies. Mostly Indian brands work on a hybrid model where the internal core team is supplemented by social media agencies & consultants. However, when it comes to the execution part of a social media campaign/strategy the brands turn to social media agencies which run the campaign online.
Market trends and Customer Insights are the key drivers for the brands to formulate their strategies for social media.
Brands are looking at a 360 degree marketing approach and are including social media as a key channel for deploying campaigns along with traditional channels.
Mobile app development is an area that is being explored aggressively since it adds another advertising medium in the bag. Considering that a lot of users access social media channels through their smartphones & tablets, mobile advertising will emerge as a crucial channel for marketing.
Understanding customer perception of the brands, effective monitoring of the brand sentiment, efficient handling of customer queries and better customer insights are some of the benefits that the brands have secured by integrating social media marketing with social listening.
What’s the next big thing?
The study also states that Social CRM, Social Commerce & Gamification will be the future for the brands to explore and harness their growth on.
A quick glance at the above stats conveys a simple but important message: Be it business owners, industry experts, students or entrepreneurs – LinkedIn cannot be ignored. And, B2B companies have more reasons to be active on LinkedIn – it’s an excellent platform to generate quality leads. Here’s how you can get more B2B leads using LinkedIn:
LinkedIn Groups are an excellent platform to connect with peers within your industry. It allows you to join up to 50 groups, and you should make the most of it by joining groups in your industry. Once you are part of a LinkedIn group, you can easily filter the members based on your criteria and your prospect list is ready.
Direct Sponsored Content
The direct sponsored content feature helps to promote an industry whitepaper, a case-study or a blog post right in your prospects feed. The features such as Localization helps in precise targeting for your sponsored content to a specific region. Instead of a direct sales pitch, content that helps the prospects in their business has higher chances of getting more traction.
Long-form content can get you a double bonus
The long-form posts on LinkedIn is an excellent way to showcase your brand or expertise in the relevant target segment. In a lot of cases discussed in my network, long-form professional content also help in the professional job searches. It also has more reach compared to the short-form posts.
Reverse engineering the content strategy
A “spray-pray” approach for content marketing will never produce results. Reverse engineering can give your content strategy a definitive edge. What this means is – instead of sharing only “hard-sell” content, you can share content that will benefit your target audience. For example, it can be simple tips to help their businesses or new developments in their industry.
The more attractive it is, the more traction it gets
A closer look at the LinkedIn stats suggest that the visually attractive posts helps a long way in getting traction for your content. Just addition of an image to the content post can help to get 90-100% more engagement than a post without an image. Addition of SlideShare presentations can give another big jump in the engagement rates.
Do you leverage LinkedIn to generate leads for your business? Comment & let us know why or why not.
The social media space has always been extremely dynamic with all players constantly rolling out changes to their platforms. It was LinkedIn’s turn last week when they announced that, from 14th April 2014, they will be doing away with the Products and Services tab from Company Pages.
Exit Products & Services Tab
The move has evoked mixed reactions from users with most being unhappy with it. A large number of businesses have invested a lot of time and effort to showcase all their products and services on the page and to get recommendations from their clients. Come April 14th, this page will disappear and all the work that has been put in will be gone. All the recommendations will be gone too, and the official Linked In announcement suggests you “copy them from the tab into your own document” or request a copy through a support request, if you want to keep them.
Another group of users believe that the move to do away with the tab makes perfect sense since a very small number of visitors to the page actually clicked on the Products & Services Tab. The tab also lacked images, and the Static content on it is not as much as viewed as content updates, which have a far greater reach. In fact, analytics for the Social Beat company page on LinkedIn show that barely 10% of page visitors clicked on the Product & Services tab.
Social Beat Product & Services Page Analytics
Many also view the change as LinkedIn’s attempt to do away with static content (which, once written, remains on the page for people to see), thereby forcing users to use dynamic updates to communicate with their follower base. These could be monetized much more easily using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates.
Either way, change has to be embraced and the best made out of it. So, now that the Products and Services page has been done away with, how do you showcase your businesses products and services and get visibility for them on LinkedIn? The answer lies in LinkedIn Showcase pages.
Enter Showcase Pages
Introduced by LinkedIn in November 2013, Showcase Pages are dedicated pages that allow companies to highlight different aspects of their business, products and services and build relationships with the right community. They are like sub-pages of the main company page and each of them can be used to promote specific products and services to a specific buyer persona.
LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool and it is worth investing time and effort to make the transition to Showcase pages. Here are the advantages of Showcase pages, which is why you must use them.
Social Beat – Showcase page for SEO
Why you must use Showcase pages
Build a Targeted audience – You now have a dedicated page to post updates for each particular aspect of your business and build a targeted audience for that product or service. And if your content is appealing enough for your audience to share it, you will be able to organically expand your reach for each product/service.
Focus: Showcase pages focus entirely on the product or service. There are no careers, products, or services tabs on them as they are on Company pages.
Analytics: Showcase pages have their own analytics on follower engagement, trends and demographics.
Two-column layout: Unlike Company pages, where updates show up in a single column format, Showcase page updates show up in two columns which make it easier for users to scroll through content. Showcase pages also have a larger and more prominent hero image.
All showcase pages branch off from the company page and link back to them, creating a centralized page structure. You can create upto 10 showcase pages.
Users can follow only that part of your business that they are most interested in and receive updates tailor-made for them.
Some other Showcase Page constraints include the need for each Showcase page to be managed, updated and edited separately, and the 10-page limit which may not work well for larger companies.
However, Showcase pages are still in their initial stage and these constraints could just be considered teething trouble which LinkedIn would definitely work on improvising as these pages become more mainstream and popular. For now, it is best to work through these limitations and focus on leveraging this new feature for business growth.
What is your take on LinkedIn Showcase pages? Have you begun building them for your business?