The Single LinkedIn Tip Busy B2B Demand Generation Marketers Need

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Here’s the one thing you need to do to get more out of LinkedIn.

Whether you have a free or premium LinkedIn account, there’s plenty you can do to promote yourself and your business. A wealth of third-party applications for sharing your other online content and the advent of open groups have made LinkedIn even more of a one-stop shop for online business networking. Now, consider:

LinkedIn features 90m+ professionals around the world, and counts executives from all 2010 Fortune 500 companies as members (Details correct as of January 2011).

And that’s the problem. There’s so much to do, and so many influential people to tap and respond to (or not). Like most demand generation marketers, I’m incredibly busy. I don’t have much time to focus on things that don’t make a direct impact I can quantify.

But: I count LinkedIn participation as my most worthwhile social media endeavor. (It was also my first venture into social media of any kind.) My top tip may not be everyone’s, but it’s paid off for me in:

  • Shaping my targeted accounts lists
  • Recruitment of great candidates for my agency
  • Keeping me in the know about what my target audience really cares about

Here it is: In all of your LinkedIn activities, be very selective.

Did you just deflate a little bit? Let me explain why this selectivity is so key and how it plays out.

The big temptations of LinkedIn are to connect with as many influential people as possible, and fatten up your profile with as much evidence of your superior experience as you can. But when you feel that itch to overconnect, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Wouldn’t you rather build up a highly targeted base of contacts that you know will be of value to you?
  • Do you want prospective connections to read several fantastic recommendations from key leaders and colleagues who really know you, or balk at wading through tens of testimonials from everyone you could get to exchange recs with you?
  • Reality check: can you truly contribute valuable input to (and take it in from) more than 10 groups?

The specific tasks that drive valuable connections will vary with your background and experience, but here are two mini-case studies to draw inspiration from.

Naturally, I’d love to know your own simple Linkedin tips for busy demand generation marketers. Please share your gems in the comments.

90m+ professionals around the world as of January 2011

6 Responses to The Single LinkedIn Tip Busy B2B Demand Generation Marketers Need

  1. Bob Hebeisen says:

    I think the most important and often overlooked aspect of LinkedIn is participation in the LinkedIn Groups.

    Groups are networks of unlinked like-minded professionals discussing topics of interest.

    Yes, you can prowl the Groups populated by your target audience to farm for sales leads. But you can be less mercenary about it and browse the groups for hot topics to prioritize your marketing messages and keywords, or to guide your product roadmap.

    Also, I have leaned on marketing Groups to crowd-source advice for marketing projects I am working on. For example, I work in channel marketing and was kicking off a reseller recruitment project and I got a ton of good advice from a post in the “VARs / Resellers / Distributors” group.

    • Bob – Good point. I’ve participated in groups (although finding the right ones is tricky) and gained great value from it. We’ve also encouraged (and guided) this approach for our clients – with positive outcomes. Groups are also great for informal market research. Thanks for the feedback. Regards, Lauren

  2. deanhansen says:

    Lauren,

    I would have to disagree on some of your suggestions. I am a open networker with over 8,000 first level connections. While I would imgaine about 5,000 of my connections are not in my industry or an industry which I do business with about 1/3 of my connections are directly relevant to my daily use of LinkedIn.

    The other 5,000 connections are all about meeting more people who will be directly relevant. By letting those open networkers know what you do you’ll be suprised at what some of them return. I’ve made several connections that have proven to be financially rewarding based on the non-focued connections.

    What I can suggest to go with the focused part, is to not only be in a group, but own a LinkedIn group. There is no better focus to what you are seeking on LinkedIn than to create your group with a focused intent and connect with people interested in the same focus.

    Social NetWORKing is WORK. There is no easy way to make it pay off.

    Thanks for the article ..

    • Dean – Thanks for the comment and the great point of view. We’d all love to have 8,000 first level connections. Surely something I’ll strive for. You are right….these is quite a bit of WORK in Social Networking(-: Again, thanks for the comment.

  3. Lauren:

    Complementary to your suggestions for B2B Demand Generation is the need to optimize your personal and company profiles for SEO to amplify your efforts to the “right” audience, whether on LinkedIn or in their preferred search engine.

    http://www.b2bfishbowl.com/2010/12/linkedin-to-seo-3-easy-steps-to-profile-optimization-for-b2b-marketers/

  4. kenny says:

    great post. I love contributing and hearing about B2B IT marketers in the various select groups for theses folks.

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