Being in sales, you sleep and breathe leads. You’ve perfected knowing who to ask, and you know how to incentivize your customers to say good things about your product or service to generate some buzz.
Word of mouth will always be the heart of referral marketing, but referral automation is becoming the face of B2B lead generation.
Good news: that once-small social network LinkedIn, where all the people you know already congregate, has finally come into its own as a referral automation platform—and it’s actually a better platform than all other social media sites, including Twitter, Google+, and even Facebook, put together. LinkedIn accounts for more than 80% of B2B social media leads.
And even better, you can easily leverage it without paid advertising. Here’s how.
Use a Banner Image
The first thing a visitor to your LinkedIn company page will see is your banner—your virtual billboard inviting leads to visit your actual company website. Use a high-resolution, attention-grabbing image that projects your corporate culture and makes your announcements pop.
Make a (Quick) Compelling Pitch
As pretty as your banner is, you want your visitors to keep reading, and you’ve got about two lines to do it. Use those two lines wisely. Identify them, give them a value statement, tell them what they’ll get. Make them want to click to see more.
It’s a huge advertising mistake to first talk about yourself. As proud as you may be of your vision statement, your impressive revenues, your breakthrough product or your international expansion, give your target audience are reason to read on. What’s in it for them? They’ll care about your success only after you tell them how you’ll help theirs.
Drip, Drip, Drip
A LinkedIn post has a pretty good lifespan when compared to other platforms, but you still need to post often, maybe even daily. Keeping updated keeps your feed active. When done right, this will not feel like spam to your readers. Post updates that your demographic relates to. Give relevant information that will be click-through-irresistible for those info-seekers, and give it often.
Use Advanced Search
This is where your inner sales professional kicks in—prospecting. LinkedIn allows you to zero in on the people you need to reach with its Advanced Search feature. It’s on the header menu right next to the search bar, and you can filter your search according to your own specs. (Hint: Save your most effective searches to use over and over again as you fill your pipeline.)
You can also run a search for groups in your niche. While you can’t search groups in as targeted a way as you can search people with the Advanced Search tool, you can look for them based on relevance. Join the ones you can offer value to, and then be active in them. Doing so will help you cultivate blocks of leads. It’s a good idea to search your groups for topics before you post to make sure your question or comment is relevant and fresh and hasn’t already been done. Remember, you’re adding value, not just linking to your blog. Listen to what people are saying, and provide helpful responses.
Also, be sure you familiarize yourself with the rules of self promotion for brand representatives in any group you join. Common sense is usually sufficient, but there may be specifics.
Keep Growing Your Network
This goes back to the basics of using LinkedIn to your advantage. Your warm market will always remain your most fruitful, so keep it alive. The more people in your network, the greater your chances of finding prospects.
So next time you click that little blue icon, build in some time for building leads, and see what it can do for your B2B sales.