Linkedin is recognised at the number 1 B2B platform for busy professionals with 15 million active UK users and over 300 million worldwide.
While it does not touch Facebook in terms of numbers of subscribers it is a fantastic and unrivalled platform for researching and developing excellent new business contacts which can be developed into clients over time. Knowing how to leverage the searches and get the best out of LinkedIn is crucial to maximise your time and effort.
Below are a list of strategies to develop quality business leads:
1) Get your profile complete and foundations in place
Write a detailed descriptive including a complete profile summary including career history, client recommendations and most importantly a professional photo. Your professional profile is the first place new contacts will examine when they connect with you. Evidence shows according to LinkedIn’s own data, users with 100% profile completeness are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities.
2) Upgrade to a Premium Account
If you are serious about using LinkedIn for business development invest in a Premium Account, Business Plus as minimum which costs £426 per year. Business plus will give you additional tools and functions which are critical to you strategy, for example access to a prospect’s full name and profiles as well 25 inmails. Inmails enable you to send direct messages to anyone on LinkedIn which guarantees you a response, negative of positive.
Inmails can be a great tool for contacting a cold prospect and converting them into a potential leads. A well crafted personalized email request on linkedin via inmail will get a response.
3) Use the advanced Search function to find new prospects
Once you have a Premium Account you can use the advanced search function This function is fantastic for searching for relevant prospects allows several levels of filtering
Firstly you can search on the relationship you have to that prospect. For example you can filter contacts on linkedin who are 2 and 3 connections who you are not directly in contact with but you may have mutual connections on linkedin as demonstrated by connection tab below:
Other great filters include location search, search by relevant groups to join those relevant group to open conversations, previous company of employment, industry, job title, Seniority and when they joined the company.
Once you have your prospects you can use the use the saved search button in the top right navigation and save the list to work on it at a later date:
4) Use the ‘Who Viewed Your Profile’ tab
A fantastic function of Linkedin is the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ tab giving you real time clarity on who is watching your profile:
Depending who they are you can drop them a quick polite follow up message saying something like: “Dear XXXX, I noticed you have viewed my profile. Need any help?” This strategy has worked for me on several occasions.
In addition, you an view who has viewed your profile as a result of posting relevant content on Pulse, Linkedin’s publishing platform.
5) Identifying your prospects through Groups
Topical onversations are going on all the time in LinkedIn groups and answers. To make this work as a business development strategy you need to find the relevant groups where your prospects are populated. To do this scroll down on the prospect profile pages to see their own groups and then join the group and getting involved in the conversations.
Note; There is a limited to 50 groups which you are able to join at one time so these should be joined carefully when prospecting
6) Use Linkedin Targeted advertising
Use Linkedin Direct Advertising Options for developing leads. LinkedIn has the most accurate targeting of any ad platform with no algorithmic guesswork like or Facebook or Google Affinity Segments.
Linked ads allows you target very specifically, for example by location in city, company, industry, what company they previously worked for and what skills have they been endorsed for.
The challenge on linkedIn advertising is that ad text size is limited so this takes some practice to get the messaging right. You should always combine a compelling heading with a clear professional image and a strong call to action with a link to relevant landing page. Marketers are often put off by the cost: minimum cost per click $2 and campaigns usually achieve much lower clickthrough rates compared to other paid media like Adwords. However the lead quality is much higher and an Ad campaign if executed properly on linkedI is a great strategy for generating leads.
In Summary, results may take time so this is a long term play but using the above tactics on linkedIn will build you a solid pipeline of quality business prospects.