In the B2B world, using social media to generate quality leads can feel a lot like running in circles – you’re spending a lot of time and energy trying to get results, but don’t always have any quality leads to show for this effort. Let’s take a break from the social media hamster wheel for a moment and step back to assess why most LinkedIn lead generation fails to work and discover how just 20 minutes a day – when used effectively – can be a real game changer.
Generate More Leads with Content Marketing & LinkedIn
I don’t have to tell you twice that thought leadership is a critical component of effective B2B lead management. Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing but costs 62% less, according to Demand Metric. Thought leadership is the B2B version of content marketing. By creating content that addresses common customer problems or industry trends, you’re also establishing your business as an authority in this field.
71% of B2B marketers say that they use content marketing to generate leads, according to Marketing Profs.
Chances are you’re already on the content marketing bandwagon, whether you’re publishing regular blog posts, offering free webinars or sharing whitepapers. But is anyone reading or downloading this content? Sure, you can crank out 10 blog posts a week, but if no one is reading these posts, they’re not doing much good for your business. This is where social media, and specifically LinkedIn, comes into play.
How to Use LinkedIn to Build Relationships with Leads
Image: licensed from PhotoDune
Social media is a powerful tool for brand building, even beyond LinkedIn. People are more likely to visit a B2B tech company’s website after seeing a tweet from the company, according to KoMarketing Associates. But LinkedIn remains the most effective with 44% of B2B marketers reporting that they have generated leads via LinkedIn, in comparison to only 39% through Facebook and 30% through Twitter, according to ReachForce.
Here’s how to use LinkedIn to naturally build relationships with leads and increase your profile as an industry thought leader for maximum efficiency and impact:
- Join industry-specific groups. Don’t wait for customers to stumble upon your profile or company page. Once they are optimized, get active with LinkedIn groups. Start by targeting five relevant groups and commenting on articles posted and group discussions. Once you’ve become a regular group contributor, you can start sharing your own thought leadership content with the group.
- Capture new leads. LinkedIn Groups gives you access to your exact target marketplace. While you never want to spam a group by sharing 10 different white papers one after another, once you’ve established yourself as an active group contributor, it’s okay to share the occasional link back to your company blog, white paper or webinar – as long as the content to which your linking back is relevant within the current group discussion.
- Automate your lead management. Once you’ve captured lead information via a white paper download or webinar sign-up, the next step is to cultivate these leads for conversion. It may be months before a lead is ready to convert. Marketing automation helps you stay in touch on a regular basis without spamming your leads with unnecessary or annoying emails and phone calls. By using marketing automation solutions such as SalesNexus, Marketo or InfusionSoftfor your lead management, you won’t have to manually track each lead – and you’ll receive customized, automated alerts when it’s time to take action.
These three steps don’t have to be time-consuming or require a significant commitment on your part. All it takes is 20 minutes a day to scroll through your group feeds and comment on the topic at hand, as relevant to your expertise. And by automating your lead management program, you’ll be saving yourself even more time. Best of all, the great thought leadership content you produce will be delivered to exactly the right audience at exactly the right time for maximum ROI — all without running in circles on the hamster wheel.