How To Use LinkedIn to Generate Powerful Business Leads

Once upon a time, on LinkedIn you had to have thousands of connections to do you any good. Not any longer. LinkedIn Groups are an awesome place where LinkedIn users can generate leads for their business. It’s all about the relationships. Yes, LinkedIn has a lot of job seekers and recruiters, but there is so much value beyond that.

Your goals are to:

1. Increase your online visibility

2. Minimize “spamminess”

3. Build a following

4. Encourage people to see your offer

5. Not sell, but make them want to buy your offer

6. Find good leads through relationships and communication

Find the right groups

Finding and selecting the right groups is very important. Most people don’t have the time to engage with dozens of groups. Careful selection is key.

Spamming
Many groups are chock full of LI group spammers. Many group owners that are paying attention aren’t letting that happen. Those are the ones you want.

Limits
LinkedIn limits the number of groups you can join to 50.

1. Pick a subject area
Your offer can’t be too broad. It can’t be “everything to everyone”. You have to have a niche. The more specific the niche, the better. What subject area will your target audience be looking for? E.g. software, project management, money, tech, education, solar, marketing, social media, startups, financing, web, accounting, a combination?

2. Pick your keywords
Keywords are the key to your success. What are the words that people will search on? What words do you want them to find you? Use variations of words to pick up all of them.
Find a site that does what you do. Look them up on google analytics or spyfu and see what keywords they are using.

In my example of my Startup targeted people, there are many keywords:
Startup, start up, startup plan, startup project plan, startup checklist, start up check list, startup map, startup roadmap, startup road map, start a business, how to start a business, startup coach, start-up anything.

3. Recommended groups
Login to LinkedIn (LI). LinkedIn can recommend groups for you. Click on Groups and Groups You May Like.

LI will scan your profile for similarities and give you a list.

Note: If your LI profile is not up to par, or professional, or is just a copy of your resume, you’ll want to update it. You want to have a compelling profile. There are many resources on the internet to learn how. Here’s a great one: http://www.rocktheworldbook.com/

4. Peruse groups
Here are the things you want to consider:
a. Does the purpose of the group jive with your offer’s subject area?
b. How active is the group? You’ll want active groups, which means people spend time there and interact/engage with group members.
c. See how many members are in your network, which means 1st, 2nd and third level networks.
d. Open up the group and see what kinds of discussions they are having. If it’s a closed group, you’ll have to join and be accepted. Find some discussions where you could join the conversation and answer questions. Doesn’t matter how old the discussion is. Just get engaged.
f. See how many members. If it’s not very many, move on.
g. See how many people you may know, whether in person or know of by reading about them or their blogs. See how many are in your first level. See if these people are people you want to network with and collaborate with.

h. Look at similar groups, LI does a good job of referring other groups to you: Note: Many groups have a definite bend towards jobs. Those aren’t the ones you want, unless your offer is specifically to help people find jobs.

5. Find your own groups
If the groups that LI finds aren’t in your patch, find groups on your own.
Enter a keyword in the groups search area. This example we use startups. The results are sorted by # of members. You have the ability to see and filter how many of your connections are in the set of groups your keyword found. If you are already a member, it will show you that.

Read the description and see if it resonates with your offer.

Here are the things you want to consider:
a. Does the purpose of the group jive with your offer’s subject area?
b. Don’t use the size of the group as your first filter.
c. How active is the group? You’ll want active groups, which means people spend time there and interact/engage with group members.
d. See how many members are in your network, which means 1st, 2nd and third level networks.
e. Does the group have key words? Are they in line with your keywords?
e. If the group is “open” you can see the See what kinds of discussions they are having. Are there some discussions where you could join the conversation, answer questions, ask questions?
f. If the group is “closed” you will have to join and perhaps wait a day or two to be accepted by the group’s owner. Only then will you be able to see the discussions.|
g. Is the group a subgroup of another group? If so, check out the main group.
h. once you’ve joined or if the group is open, scroll through the latest discussions to see if they are relevant to your offer.
i. Check your groups. See if there’s much activity in the one’s you’ve already joined. Click Groups > My Groups.

The little callout icon is for discussions.
The little suitcase is for jobs and job discussions.
The little bar chart icon is for statistics.

6. Check Statistics of the group
If the group is open or you have joined, you can see some interesting statistics on the group. Click More > Group Statistics. The summary shows you a snapshot. In this example, there may be a thousand members but only 5 comments in a week. Not so active.

Look at the Activity tab. You can see the trends of activity. Again this on is not so active.

Managing Communications

Asking questions
Make sure you read your Group Rules. Follow them.

Keep up with your messages.
As you engage, people will send you LI messages and invitations that won’t necessarily show up in your email, but will be in your LI inbox.

Keep up with accepting your connections.
I don’t accept everyone who wants to connect with me. If they are in a country that I have nothing to do with, or they don’t have a picture, or are just not relevant in any way, I click “Ignore”. Note that a huge majority of people on LI are recruiters. It’s great if that’s your target market.

An interesting way to see how many LI connections you have in what industry: Click Inbox > Compose Message. Then you can sort by locations and industry. You can also send these people a message driving them to a discussion on LI or anything else. You have a 50 connection limit.

See what’s been going on with your connections. This is on the front page of LI when you login. If you don’t have many people viewing your profile or have not showed up much in search results, then you need to address your keywords in your profile.

Change your profile once a week, slightly. That way it goes out to everyone in your network to let them know you changed something. People are curious and will want to see what you changed. Gives them an excuse to see what you’ve been up to.

Setting and leaving a group

When you reach your 50 group limit, you’ll have to quit some groups to make room for other, more targeted or more active groups.

Should I Pay for Business version?
Personally, I have not seen the need, but you may. Yes, it would be cool to see who viewed your profile. I don’t really care about InMail. Most of the paid business features are for job hunters and recruiters.

Remove yourself from a list
Here I’ll remove myself from this inactive group. Click More > Your Settings. It may ask you to verify your login.

They gray out the “Leave Group” button to discourage you leaving. Click it.

Settings
By the way, you can change many other important settings on this same Your Settings screen. If you want to stay engaged with a handful of groups, set the delivery frequency to DAILY DIGEST EMAIL.
You may also want to have LI send you an email for each new discussion, so it would trigger you to chime in with answers to relevant discussions right away.
You may want to setup a separate email address for your offering campaign, just to capture the relevant emails in a single place, versus having to sort through your regular email address for emails from your specified groups.

LinkedIN “Answers”

Li Answers is a great place to establish your expertise. Find questions that you can answer. My experience shows that short answers don’t fare well. A well thought out and cogent answer will get more attention and could win you a “Best Answer” award. Look for questions related to your offer. Over at the right there are topic you can browse to find questions in your area.

If you pick one that has zero or just a few answers, you’ll be closer to the top of the answer page. That’s LI’s way of praising you for an early answer. If you pick one that has many answers, and none of them are like yours, go ahead and answer. That means people are engaging in the question. Look for simple questions, not long, convoluted, and unclear questions to answer. Advance Answers Search is a great way to dive deeper into categories of search.

Make sure you sort by date to catch any recent questions that are still open.

In the LI Answers you can “spam” all you want as long as you answer the question.

Keep your answers intelligent and not long-winded. Nobody wants to read 8 paragraphs. My Startup Example would be great for this question. So I posted an answer and led people to my YouTube Video for my offering.

Then when you get an engaged Questioner, they respond, adding more credibility.

To see all your questions and answers, click on My Q&A and see the appropriate tab.

Search for keywords in Answers.
For your offer, find relevant topics in Answers that relate closely to your offer. Here’s an example of a search on Kickstarter. I have a Kickstarter Roadmap/Plan offer, so this is a great place to find question that I can answer directly without feeling “spammy”.

LI doesn’t make it easy to see if a Question/Answer is closed.

Now, finally…

Finding your profitable leads

Your connections can be a great lead generator. The connections of your connections can be even better.

Here’s the exact tactics to make LinkedIn a profit generator for you:
1. Reach out to someone who is not connected that you want to meet. Send them a connection invite with a message. Tell them you know ____ [someone else on LI they are connected to] and would love to meet for a coffee.

2. Peruse your connections every day and see who you can set an appointment with, either by phone or in person. Mutual goals and backgrounds and connections are often enough.
3. The people who respond to your questions or comments are great leads. They already know you a bit, and may get to like you and trust you over time. Call them.
4. Sophisticated LinkedIn users will put their email and phone number in their profile. Call them directly and set a time to meet (phone, Skype, or face to face).
5. Post your blog posts, Quora answers, and all other social media activities you do, including your bit.ly link on LI Groups. Invite comments with pertinent questions about the topic.
6. Post questions that relate to your offer, talk to folks that comment.
7. Do an advanced search on LI for your target customers. Many CEOs and executives are on LI. Invite them to a coffee or phone call via your invitation.
8. Go to LinkedIn Answers. Find questions and answer them. Get exposure to your expertise and provide links to your offers.
9. Ask questions on LinkedIn Answers. Get exposure to your expertise and provide links to your offers.
10. Track and manage your items in LinkedIn. Use the spreadsheet below, so you know what works and want does not. That way you can adjust and adapt.

Tracking Your LinkedIN Items

You must track what you do on LinkedIn or any other social media site, in order to see if you’re being successful and to adjust and adapt to things that work for you. It’s easy if you have a tool. So I give you mine.

Conclusion

LinkedIn can be an excellent way for professionals to find leads. There is no magic bullet. It takes a plan, and the discipline to work it, and diligence to continue it. That’s the secret sauce to making LinkedIn a big lead generator for you.

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