By Chad Horenfeldt, Regional Manager, Customer Success, Eloqua
If you haven’t logged into LinkedIn these days, it’s time to get back in there and see some of the cool stuff that is now available. A recent survey from OneSource that eMarketer published demonstrated that LinkedIn has become “the most effective social network for prospecting by a wide margin”.
In addition, almost 50% of the respondents said they were using LinkedIn more for research and prospecting that a year before. Here is a good visual of what this looks like when compared to Twitter and Facebook:
It’s Time to Get LinkedIn to LinkedIn – Here’s How
While anyone can setup a profile on Twitter and add connections there are ways to set yourself and your company ahead of the pack and to become lead mean lead gen machines on LinkedIn. Here are my top 10 recommendations that are free and have proven to be effective:
1. Add the Twitter LinkedIn application- We can’t have a LinkedIn post where we don’t talk about Twitter. This is the power of social media — all the tools are very interrelated. In the LinkedIn application area (bottom right of the home page or in the nav bar), you can add the Twitter application, which at the outset doesn’t look that much different from the twitter feed in other Twitter tools like Tweetdeck, but there are two cool features:
- You can easily follow your LinkedIn connections in Twitter (if they’ve provided their twitter address). Click on “Connections” and then on “Not following” and start selecting the people in Twitter you want to follow.
- You can create a Twitter List from your LinkedIn contacts. This allows you to easily interact with your LinkedIn contacts on Twitter. In addition, the list is dynamic and LinkedIn will keep updating the list as your network grows.
2. Create LinkedIn answer feeds- The LinkedIn Answer area provides individuals and companies a great opportunity to demonstrate their expertise by responding to questions in your field. To make it really easy to follow Answers of interest, you can create RSS feeds for specific sections of LinkedIn Answers and track new questions through your favorite RSS feeder tool.
3. Add the LinkedIn Tripit application- Tripit makes it very easy to publicize to the rest of your LinkedIn pals the dates you’re traveling and where your traveling to. You can also see if people you want to meet may be in town during your travels. I blogged about an experience where I had a partner inquire about my travels and offer to meet due to my Tripit update. This feature is really powerful — use it to maximize your business trips. Turn virtual connections into real ones.
4. Make LinkedIn data easily accessible in your CRM- If part of your job is lead generation for sales and inside sales, make it easy for them to access the LinkedIn profile right from the CRM when they review their leads. Making the LinkedIn profile more easily accessible makes your sales team more efficient.
5. Customize your LinkedIn company page- Making adjustments to your company overview and specialties can help your search engine optimization efforts as well as provide prospects with a clearer idea of what your company is all about. See the following LinkedIn FAQ for more details on what you need to do. Make sure you keep it up to date! As a bonus tip, you can add a section where you can promote open positions at your company. There is a fee for this but it may be worth it if you’re company is growing quickly and you are trying to attract the most talented people.
6. Set up an industry LinkedIn group- While you see many LinkedIn groups run by companies, a trend that works well for lead generation is to create an industry group that is not directly affiliated to your company. In a BtoBOnline article, Tim Minahan, CMO of Ariba Inc. describes how the creation of industry LinkedIn groups are key to Ariba’s community building strategy. Minahan states “that these [groups] need to be issues-based and not Ariba-specific”. Another BtoB company, BreakingPoint, has taken this up another level by proactively inviting prospects to their industry LinkedIn group. This may not sound like anything groundbreaking but BreakingPoint is very creative in their approach, which helped increase the group’s growth. They would publish articles in industry related publications and invite interested readers to connect with the author on LinkedIn. Once the LinkedIn connection was made, an automatic email was sent to the prospect inviting them to join the industry LinkedIn group. BreakingPoint then used this LinkedIn group to communicate messages using the LinkedIn email tools.
7. Share content on LinkedIn. This is an easy tactic that anyone on LinkedIn can do. If you have an upcoming webinar, event or new white paper, encourage people within your company to post a profile update on LinkedIn. Typically, marketing drives this effort. While you can recommend text that should be included in these updates, encourage your company to use slightly different messaging so your organization doesn’t appear like a bunch of robots all saying the exact same thing. Social media is all about showing your human side so don’t forget that — allow for creativity. I recommend starting with people that have the most connections and Twitter followers as they will have the greatest reach. You may also need to conduct training sessions so you get everyone on board. The BreakingPoint team uses organized sales plays to ensure everyone is marching to the same beat.
8. Have sales tailor their LinkedIn profiles. This one may be a bit controversial for some salespeople as they may see their LinkedIn profile as their property but again we see BreakingPoint getting sales on board with this concept and having success. As mentioned, they used a formal sales playbook to ensure that everyone was on the same page in terms of the keywords and messages that should be included in everyone’s LinkedIn profile. These types of activities will only help you in the major search engine results pages and demonstrate the expertise and professionalism of your sales team as prospects check out their profiles. Pam O’Neal, Vice President of Marketing at BreakingPoint, goes into more depth on this in her MarketingSherpa presentation which includes LinkedIn profile examples.
9. Follow companies of interest. This is a newer feature that can be helpful to better understand who are the new people being hired in key positions, who was promoted or who may have been let go which can explain why your hot prospect never returned your call. This feature allows you to receive daily or weekly email updates on the companies that you follow. Consider following your competitors as well.
10. Add the Google Presentation LinkedIn application to your profile. You can use this feature to post a power point that provides an overview of a key challenge that your company solves, highlights a recent company webinar or is simply some awesome content that your company produced. This tactic is similar to having the sales adjust their personal profile so it needs to be a well-established process that the sales team buys into. I think anything that helps sales get more deals in the pipeline is something that they’ll consider. This application also allows you to notify your LinkedIn connections via email when you upload a file.
Chad Horenfeldt is the Regional Manager of the Customer Success team at Eloqua and he loves customers. More specifically, he loves helping Eloqua customers become marketing rock stars. To turn clients into stars, Chad relies on his team of Customer Success Managers at Eloqua and his 10 plus years of experience helping companies maximize technology to drive their businesses. You may find Chad offering up tips and advice to marketers on his Anything Goes Marketing blog. Follow Chad on twitter at @chadhorenfeldt