LinkedIn is kind of a big deal in B2B marketing. According to data from Demandwell, it’s overwhelmingly favored by businesses for marketing to other businesses, whether as an organic channel (95%) or a paid one (76%). That’s a wealth of opportunity—but how do you tap into it?
The underlying principle is showing people your value as a connection (rather than as a recruit). This means highlighting the work of your business, showing your insights and expertise, and cultivating a worthwhile network of your own. And if you want to a significant number of leads this way, it means doing all that effectively.
Write a headline to get connections
With all the people on LinkedIn, how do you make yourself stand out? The main thing is to highlight your value as a connection (which is different from your appeal as an employee). If people see you as well-positioned in your industry or network, they’ll be more eager to maintain a direct connection with you.
So don’t just highlight your own skills. Instead, show how your business is positioned in a wider network, and what you as an individual specialist can contribute. For example, instead of saying you’re a “Social Media Specialist” working at “[So and so] Agency”, identify what makes you and/or your business special; such as:
- “… Agency. Helping non-profits expand their reach.”
- “… Agency. Unraveling algorithms and connecting people.”
- “… Agency. A numbers-based approach to emotional connections.”
Each one might turn some people away, but it’ll also get others to look more closely. And what you want to do is capitalize on the latter (while accepting the former would’ve passed on a generic headline anyway).
Then have everyone else on your team do the same. It’s especially important for anyone working on lead generation, but even those not directly involved should do so. On LinkedIn, every connection counts.
Hard sells don’t work.
If you want to form connections, which could then become leads, you need to offer them the prospect of some kind of benefit, like access to your network or your insights as a specialist.
This is implicit in every LinkedIn connection, so you have to make it explicit when you reach out, and highlight benefits your prospects will probably care about the most. Tailor it to the person you’re connecting with.
Say, for example, that you were working in remote work platforms. You could start your message by:
- Telling a startup owner you work with lots of startups in various capacities
- Mentioning to a recruiter or HR head that you do a lot of research into how teams work
- Finding common ground with business owners expanding operations overseas
Any of those would provide common ground and give them an idea of what to expect from you. And once you have that connection, you’ll get the chance to eventually pitch your services.
Boost credibility by posting consistently
Your reputation matters in LinkedIn B2B marketing, and the biggest factor in building it is consistency: you should be posting on a regular basis, and your posts should focus on roughly similar subjects. Any format works, whether it’s articles, videos, or short thoughts that get conversations going.
For example, someone who’s into fintech could pick one of various niches to post about regularly. This could be something like financial literacy, infosec, or regulatory practices surrounding digital finance. It could also be something more tangential, like experimental UX designs. The main thing is to pick a lane and (mostly, at least) stick to it.
Narrow your searches for better leads
Lead prospecting is what really makes LinkedIn stand out. LinkedIn’s users, compared to those on other social networks, provide a lot of information about themselves, especially with regard to skills and employment.
Using this user-provided data is better than running on assumptions. Take advantage of it by running searches filtered according to business sizes, professional experience, industries, and so on. With how many people are on the network, even fairly refined searches will get you a lot of contacts—and they’ll be better quality, too.
Leave it to an expert (or assistant)
If you’re not a social media expert yourself — and don’t plan to be — getting someone else to handle your LinkedIn marketing is one of the savvier moves you can make. Freelance social media experts can handle your marketing from start to finish with reliable results, though this could run into fairly high prices.
If you want to keep costs lower, lay out your own marketing plan then bring in an assistant to handle the legwork. Some tasks you can delegate are:
- Prospecting leads based on your criteria
- Sending outreach messages for Connections
- Drafting posts and/or scheduling them for publishing
- Managing LinkedIn ads
Maximize LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great way to refine your prospecting even further, and with custom lists and alerts, it saves you time on running searches manually.
Meanwhile, scheduling and social listening tools can be a big help in coming up with material to post, or finding discussions to participate in.
And, of course, there are LinkedIn ads and promoted posts — and with most businesses in LinkedIn B2B marketing using paid social media posts (Demandwell), you’ll want to keep up.
Ultimately, marketing on LinkedIn is largely a numbers game. If you want to get a lot of leads on it, you’ll need to run a lot of searches, send a lot of messages, publish a lot of posts and leave a lot of comments — and using paid tools just makes you that much more efficient at it.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it should provide you with a solid foundation to start with. Experiment, adjust, and keep your eye on your prospects, and you’ll hit your LinkedIn stride sooner rather than later.