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Like many people, I use LinkedIn to keep in touch with colleagues and contacts. But LinkedIn's value doesn't end there for me. I also use it as a way to generate new leads for HubSpot.

linkedin crowd leads

Below I've listed a few of the best ways to use LinkedIn as a lead-generation tool for your business.

Before I begin, a note of caution: Trying to directly message or reach out to your LinkedIn network or contacts could be considered spam. Please be sure that: 1) people you try to contact want to hear from you and 2) your message is relevant.

Without further ado, here are my tips:

(1) Create a LinkedIn Group - Setup a group with a broader theme related your industry. Use the group to lead thinking in your market, then promote the group and build membership. 

There are a lot of ways to promote your group: Invite relevant contacts from your network to join this group. Feature the group on your company's website. Ask people in your company to join the group. Build a dedicated page or blog for your group. Invite key customers and contacts to join. Create an ad or widget in one of your email campaigns. Invite other experts in your field to join your network or group. Above all, be creative. 

(2) Use LinkedIn's DirectAds - This is a new feature on LinkedIn and is still in beta. It allows you to push relevant ads to targeted demographics in the entire LinkedIn subscriber base. It's very similar to ad targeting in Facebook or Google's AdWords.

(3) Answer Questions on LinkedIn - Ask and respond to relevant questions in the LinkedIn "Answers" section. Have your colleagues engage the LinkedIn audience in a similar way. Anytime you ask or answer a question it shows up in the Network Updates feed for all your connections. Best of all, you gain expertise points in your category if your answer is chosen as the best answer for a particular question. LinkedIn users tend to trust experts in their subject categories and are often contacted directly.

(4) Integrate LinkedIn Into Your Marketing - Anytime you do a webinar or present at a trade show or thought-leadership event, invite your audience to network with you or join your group. You can also notify all the members of your group about an upcoming promotion or event and drive them back to your site or blog.

The goal of all this is simple: to engage an audience and build a network. Do this by demonstrating your expertise and thought leadership. Don't sell your services, but feel free to drive people to relevant content on your site that adds value.

Have you used LinkedIn for lead generation? What has worked well for you?

Photo by davidChief

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Originally published Sep 9, 2008 9:15:00 AM, updated October 01 2013


LinkedIn Marketing