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4 Things to Remember When Looking for Leads on LinkedIn

With over 200 million members in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the world’s most popular social network for professionals.  As such, it’s become a hotspot for B2B marketers looking for new leads. But while fishing in LinkedIn certainly seems like a sound enough strategy– it isn’t as easy as you may think.

Reliably generating leads on LinkedIn requires time, effort and a knack for producing good content. If you don’t follow the proper procedures, you may find yourself wasting hours searching the network with nothing to show for it. So before you go charging out of the gate, use these tips to help guarantee that your lead-hunting expedition will be a successful one.

1)      Tread softly at first. LinkedIn isn’t a place that takes kindly to the hard sell.  Once you’ve connected with potential leads and have joined a few groups, take some time to build up your credibility. Participate in discussions and move forward slowly. Otherwise, you’ll risk looking like a spammer.

2)      Search intelligently. In an ideal world, you would be able to follow all of your leads on LinkedIn and research their streams thoroughly before making contact.  However, since you only have a limited amount of time to spend on the network each day, it’s important to be discerning about who you interact with.

A good way to do this is to take advantage of LinkedIn’s advanced search tool. This allows you to search for people, companies and groups by industry, title, history and even by keyword. Look for decision makers in relevant industries, such as “Marketing Director, Payroll Management” and try to join groups that require approval for membership, as these will often have a better selection of leads.

3)      Post good content. Good content is what gets you noticed on LinkedIn. Posting quality articles, links and news stories is your key to turning leads into customers – so be proactive. Post current, non-promotional content at least once a day to your LinkedIn stream. If you don’t have time to post frequently, then make time. Even putting up a link to a relevant new article from your BlackBerry 10 phone during lunch will help.

4)      Try to avoid paid campaigns. Yes, you can run a paid banner ad for a white paper through LinkedIn’s advertising program. However, unless you’ve already built up a credible profile on the network, announcing yourself so suddenly to your list of potential clients isn’t going to get you anywhere. If you absolutely want to run a paid campaign, then wait until you’ve built up a strong profile so that interested leads who look you up will see that you’re the real deal.

Generating leads on LinkedIn can be a time-consuming and occasionally frustrating process. However, if you follow the right steps then it can help you significantly expand your list of clients and contacts. So keep this advice in mind the next time you start a search on LinkedIn.  You might be surprised at just how effective the right moves can be.