Everyone is talking about LinkedIn LeadGen these days. It is a social platform for business, a content publishing platform for marketers, a sales tool, a relationship tool.

All these ideas are correct and for B2B companies more true than ever before, as LinkedIn’s influence continues to broaden, now reaching a staggering number of companies in the United States and around the world.

For our purposes, we’re interested in another fact about LinkedIn. It’s the number-one social network for driving traffic to corporate websites and generating leads.

How does LinkedIn accomplish this where many other social networks stumble? LinkedIn enables marketers to target messages and interactions to the specific audiences, publish content that connects with those audiences, and then extend engagement on and off the network.

LinkedIn LeadGen Company Page

While LinkedIn continues to expand its feature-set, you need to master the basics to succeed. Everyone knows how to set up a company page, but very marketers or sales people do a good job. At its most basic, your company page tells users who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you. But you need to go a few steps further to leverage this opportunity.

  • Optimize your company page for keywords – people frequently run searches on LinkedIn, so make sure you show up in results. This is very similar to the keywords for organic search on your website.
  • Build out your company page with tabs. For mid-size companies, these might be ‘Careers’, ‘Products’, and ‘Insights’. Your ‘Products’ tab should be optimized for search.
  • Use the Company Update to market your business to potential customers. Start a conversation about your products/services, employees, and brand. This is a powerful way to reach and engage professionals with relevant content across multiple devices.
  • Add videos and other media (if you have them) to your product/service pages to further resonate with engage users.
  • Add educational offers to your corporate page using LinkedIn’s three panel slider bar with the goal of converting anonymous visitors into marketing qualified leads.

LinkedIn LeadGen: Personal page 

Your prospects probably won’t stop their search with your corporate page. They will look you up and visit your personal LinkedIn profile as well. Make sure this profile page is complete, accurate, and consistent your company’s brand and message.

Optimizing LinkedIn Company Updates

Are your updates up to snuff? To dramatically increase engagement and overall reach:

  1. Optimize introductions and headlines, just as you would with email. Add your point of view, ask thought-provoking questions, and include a clear call to action.
  2. Use a compelling image to stand out from the crowd.
  3. Keep your audience’s attention as you would with a blog, with quality content, and timely information.

LinkedIn LeadGen Sponsored Updates

While standard company updates are a logical way to connect with your existing company followers, sometimes you want to reach beyond your network, especially when you’re just getting started and your network is small.

This is the job of Sponsored Updates, which are paid promotions of status updates that can be viewed by both followers and targeted users currently outside your network. These appear in context, alongside high-quality content from other sources.

Use Sponsored Updates to generate quality leads from your best articles, images, infographics, PDFs, presentations, and videos.

Targeting options 

Sponsored Updates allow you to include or exclude targeted users based on a broad range of criteria. You can define your audience using criteria such as location, company size, industry, job function, gender, age, group associations, school names, and more. Engagement metrics are readily available — and in near real time.

LinkedIn Display Ads

Display ads on LinkedIn are another powerful tool to drive traffic to your website. Your ads can appear on profile pages, home pages, inbox, search results pages, and groups pages. Display Ad formats leverage the unique depth of LinkedIn’s member profile information, offering targeting designed to drive engagement, relevance and response.

CPC ads, similar to Adwords, get your message out quickly and easily. Of course, you only pay for clicks. The big difference between these ads and Google ads, is that you can target your audience in uniquely powerful ways. These is ideal for lead generation as it maps lead data to key demographics you are already tracking. the other difference is that can add images or use video ads — at a premium price — to enhance results.

Sponsored InMail: Deliver Directly to Members’ Inboxes 

LinkedIn also offers Sponsored InMail, which you can use to reach your high-value, targeted prospects with persuasive messages. Again, you can target recipients using LinkedIn profile attributes.

Sponsored InMails have high visibility on LinkedIn, appearing prominently on the LinkedIn homepage and in members’ inboxes. What’s more, you can enhance the reach of your message by including social media widgets to enable your audience to quickly and easily share your message with likeminded professionals.

LinkedIn Activities that will Sweeten Results

There are a lot of other things you can do to take advantage of LinkedIn. I’ve only skimmed the surface of this unique social media platform.  Here are a couple of boilerplate activities that you definitely shouldn’t ignore:

  • Share educational information from your blog
  • Join up to 50 groups where your prospects have joined
  • Share educational information with your groups as allowed
  • Keep an eye on who has viewed your profile
  • Recommend to prospects and clients that they should follow your corporate page

If you have other ideas, please share them. Everyone will benefit.