Using Linked In is a great way to make connections with people and network.It is also excellent for looking up information on potential clients and doing your “homework” on people you are going to be meeting. But you can also use Linked In for selling. The first thing you need to consider is how Linked In works and set it in context with other well known Social Media channels.When we use Twitter we use it for three things to pass on useful information/links or to share images or to comment on current events. Facebook is the place where we just chat with our friends.Linked In is where we connect with business people and find out useful information about them. We do not expect to be “sold to” in fact its frowned upon by many Group Owners. So,if you try to sell on Linked In you will face almost inevitable rejection because such activities do not match user expectations.

However, plenty of people are selling successfully on Linked In by adopting a gentle and subtle approach, rather than “in your face”.

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Technically this is known as inbound marketing its really getting the customer to come to you not the traditional outbound way of going to them with your message.So the key to sell on Linked In is really to is to stop trying to sell…! Linked In are constantly changing and improving the features they offer to reflect the number of users who now use it as a sales tool.

So with both these things in mind what are the key things you need to do to get sales leads on Linked In?

1: Have a Strong Call to Action and Link

You can add custom banners to your company page for free with each of these banners linking back to your website.You can add up to three different link-able product banners (646 pixels x 222 pixels) to the Products & Services section of your company profile. This is a great way to funnel Linked In traffic to a targeted landing page.

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2: Target your audience.

Linked In has been making it easier for companies to reach their target audience. Recently, they started allowing companies to tailor status updates to specific Linked In connections (based on industry, seniority, job function, etc.).Companies can target connections with specific status updates based on job function, seniority level, industry, company size and geography.  You can attach files or pictures (along with links) to your status updates.This helps your company status updates look more prominent and ‘Pop Out’ of the update stream increasing visibility and click-through rates with each post.

To do this click on the paperclip icon to attach your image.After attaching your image, you’ll have an opportunity to edit the title of the image and description, which can serve as a teaser to get people to click.To target your audience you must have at least 200 connections in the audience list in order to target them with your update.For example, you may only want to target non-employees with offers. To do this click on the Targeted Audience drop-down to choose your target. Add your status update and link last so that both an image and URL will appear.

3: Use the Linked In Lead Collection Widget

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If you decide to test an ad campaign budget on Linked In,try the Lead Collection widget on your landing page.This little box sits at the top of your website and allows people to easily submit their email address to you with one simple click.

4: Create Custom Calls to Action and Content

Linked In Products & Services pages can serve up different content based on the profile of the user.

Not only does this allow you to use the right language (based on geography), but also feature only the products and services that might interest certain types of people (based on their job function, company size, industry and seniority). It then allows you to provide the right messaging and links.Use the Dashboard to create multiple versions of Linked In company product pages based on audience types.

Creating custom content for specific Linked In members helps you drive them to appropriate landing pages and/or specific phone numbers to reach specific departments in your organisation. Creating unique pages only takes minutes, so the time investment to test this out is minimal.

5: Post Linked In Company Status Updates in the Morning

Aside from posting company status updates during high-conversion periods on your own website, you should also post updates during the times of day you get the most impressions on Linked In.Lana Khavinson, Group Product Marketing Manager at Linked In, says, “We find that companies get the greatest engagement from morning posts. That said, we are seeing engagement rates increasing in the evening as our mobile and iPad apps keep gaining massive traction. We encourage companies to test posting at different times of day so that they can find what works for them and their target audience.”

Engagement metrics on posts can be seen by Admin Users of company pages these show engagement numbers (impressions, clicks and shares).You should test what works best for your organisation to work out what types of posts are driving the most relevant traffic and/or leads to your site.Also look out for what type of content gets the most shares, since number of shares means even more visibility for your business in other people’s Linked In streams.

6: Use Linked In Products & Services Pages Like Landing Pages

You can link Linked In Products & Services Pages to your landing page, you can also allow Linked In members a quick way to ask a question or message you without leaving Linked In? This is a great way to make it easy for customers to contact you for a product or service they are interested in.Besides, getting a message through Linked In and connecting gives you access to prospects’ email addresses. This means they’ll start seeing updates from you, which can help nurture relationships and increase the likelihood of turning prospects into clients.You can add up to three different people in your organisation to receive messages from product pages. To do this, simply go to the Products & Services tab and click on Edit.Then go to the Contact Us section on the right-hand side of the page and add the people in your organisation who are equipped to handle questions from prospects.You might feature someone on your sales team, products team and/or a senior manager (depending the product or service offered).Obviously make sure the person you assign will be frequently checking Linked In for any messages.Also make sure he or she regularly posts about your company to keep any potential leads up to date with new products/services.

7: Send Custom Messages to Your Target Market’s Inbox

Linked In Sponsored Inmail has really taken off. Its one of the best sales tools on Linked In.You don’t need your own contact list because you just work directly with Linked In to identify exactly whom you want to email. Craft your message, add your URLs and then let Linked In do the rest.It’s a great way to build your leads and targeted traffic to your website. To use Inmail you need to subscribe to one of the premium versions so it does have a cost but the ability to target specific people in organisations is a powerful reason to use it.

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When you launch a Sponsored Inmail campaign,the person you’re trying to reach gets a notification about an important message in their inbox. The alert is also visible on certain pages of your Linked In account.The response rate compared with traditional email marketing is very impressive.If the prospect does not respond Linked In credit the cost of the Inmail back to your account so you can use it on another prospect.

8: Promote a Linked In Group Your Target Market Would Be Interested in Joining

If you want to grow your network and leads, you need to provide your insights and ‘thought leadership’ in relevant Linked In Groups where your target market is talking. This doesn’t mean bombarding groups with redundant content and links back to your website. That just makes you look like a spammer (and desperate for attention).Instead, use these groups as opportunities to learn more about your target market and share insights. Strive to become a valuable resource ,contributor and ‘thought leader’ to the community.

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Companies can showcase favourite groups on their Linked In profile, and it’s a great opportunity to guide your target market into a community you’ll be participating in.This is how you build relationships, and over time you will earn credibility, new business and more referrals.You might even consider forming your own group in a particular niche subject or market.

Linked in was designed as a recruitment forum and then became a networking tool and now its adding ‘Sales Tool’ to its credentials. Counter intuitively though to get sales leads don’t sell !

I hope this helps and get in touch if you need our help getting sales leads for your business from Linked In –