Lead generation through Linked In is an essential part of the features of the media, but one that is frequently misunderstood. Linked In was originally a tool to recruit employees or employees to find employment. It is still is, but the platform has developed in many ways and is now as important as Facebook or Instagram for lead generation, or perhaps even more so. It is regarded as the “social media for business”, but remains misunderstood.

As a business consultant in Hackney, my advice to most businesses is to treat the platform as a form of networking, and to adopt the same principles as physical networking. If you follow a well thought out strategy it is perfectly possible to generate leads through Linked In.

Turn Up

As with physical networking, you have to turn up on the platform. it sounds obvious, but it is a step that is neglected by a great many businesses. 

Turning up means more than just being there. Just as you can go to a networking meeting and sit there quietly, waiting for people to come to you, so too can you sign up to Linked In, and wait for people to connect with you. Connect they willl, but it is to benefit them, not you. You can boost their number of connections. 

If you take (actual) networking seriously, you will probably take care with your appearance when you attend a meeting for the first time when you do not know anyone there. You may wear smarter than usual clothes. Hopefully, you will arrive on time and you will have an idea of how you want to present yourself. 

Turning up on Linked In should be treated in exactly the same way. You will have a properly set up profile, with a good quality headshot and background profile. It is your first impression to a visitor and first impressions count, both off line and online. 

Are you the sort of person who attends a networking meeting and  doles out as many business cards as possible, but speaks to only a few? Generally speaking, it is not an effective networking strategy. 

Effective Networking means 

  • building relationships 
  • Contributing to your network
  • Attending meetings regularly. 

Effective Linked In networking means

  • building relationships
  • Commenting on the posts of others
  • posting regularly and consistently.

Should you attend a networking meeting and try to sell your goods and services to the room? I mean, you are attending the meeting for business not just a good breakfast. So why would you not be there, selling?

The image gives a visible representation of what networking is all about. You are not selling to the room, you are selling to the connections of the people in the room. 

Linked In operates in the same way. You attend, by posting, by connecting, commenting on the posts of others, liking and sharing. 

Commenting, liking and sharing is part of the “contributing to your network. If one of your connections posts, a like, comment or share tells the Linked In Algorithm that this is a popular post that should be shared to more people. The more engagement, the more people will see it. 

 

Consistency

Networking Groups like BNI, Biscotti, Your Business Community (YBC)  emphasise the importance of Consistency. You cannot turn up once and expect a business tap to be turned on. Relationships have to be nurtured by gradually building knowledge and trust in your brand. In Linked In networking, this translates into posting regularly. And just as importantly as posting regularly is ensuring that you are posting content that your audience wants to read.

So it is important to resist the temptation to post offers and sales. Lead generation through Linked In is based upon building your brand as something that people can get to know, like and trust. 

As you will have seen from this website, I sell holidays. It should be an easy sale: everyone goes on holiday. But it is not, because the vast majority of people going on holiday will book online rather than pay a little more for advice and service from a travel agent.

I therefore use Linked In to portray myself as an expert on travel and to educate my readers on the advantages of using a travel agent. I do not post offers. I want people to enage with my posts by commenting on them, liking and sharing them, and it is difficult for people to comment on an offer which might not be relevant to them. The more people who engage with my posts, the more people will see them. Their connections will see that they have commented on, or liked my post, and then hopefully will read the post. 

People do not want to be sold to, whether on social media or at a networking group, so my strategy is to present myself as someone who can help them when they need help or advice.

SO IN CONCLUSION…… 

 

TURN UP

Make sure that your profile on Linked In is fully completed and is interesting.

Post regularly and consistently, providing value and interest. Develop your brand and thought leadership rather than trying to sell.

ENGAGE

Engage with your readers and followers by liking and posting interesting and relevant comments. The purpose behind this is that everyone who reads your comments thinks “Hey, this person is interesting, let’s find out more about him/her, and start to read your profile.

FOLLOW UP

There is no point in going to a networking appointment and not following up with the connections you make. Geography may make it difficult to move that online connection to an offline meeting, so keep i touch through messaging. Find out how you can help your connections.