How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Leads

by Dave Clarke on April 2, 2014
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Forget six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. The odds of most small-business owners selling anything to the Golden Globe-winning actor are astronomical.

However, in the context of professional networking on LinkedIn, the six-degrees concept can help you boost your bottom line by connecting you with people you can convert into paying customers.

Try these seven ways to generate leads on LinkedIn:

1. Link up. It’s perfectly polite to peruse your connections’ connections on LinkedIn. Make a list of the people in your extended network you would like to meet and then ask your close colleagues to make introductions. Include a blurb about yourself that your contacts can cut and paste into an email to make the process easier for them.

2. Participate in discussions. Insert yourself into relevant conversations taking place on LinkedIn at any given time. Look for opportunities to provide useful advice and do so. This will help you position yourself as an expert on certain topics and encourage readers to pay for your counsel in the future.

3. Google your way in. Conduct a Google search for “LinkedIn” with other specific terms to find prospects for cold calls. For example, searching for “LinkedIn chiropractors Los Angeles” will return pages of people in that target market.

4. Flatter people. Flattery will get you just about anywhere in this world, and LinkedIn is no exception. Identify good prospects and something relevant and kind to compliment them about. For example, you might say something like “I really like the look-and-feel of your website” or “That was an insightful blog post” and then suggest ways you might work together. This might sound trite, but it’s a more effective strategy than you may think.

5. Ping back profilers. LinkedIn shows you who has viewed your profile in the past 90 days. Some of the profiles are public in the free version of LinkedIn. A complete listing of those who have checked out your profile is available in the premium version of LinkedIn. These people probably didn’t look at your profile randomly. Contact them and say something like, “I noticed you recently viewed my LinkedIn profile. Is there some way I may be of assistance?”

6. Use advanced filtering. LinkedIn’s premium accounts let you search for people by name, job function, company name, and company size. Take advantage of this feature to build a customized prospecting list tailored to your needs.

7. Promote your digital content. Share information you’ve published on your company’s blog or elsewhere by posting it on LinkedIn. Solicit feedback to engage interested parties and build relationships with potential customers.

Dave Clarke is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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