While many are skeptical about the usefulness of this platform for actually doing business, the data says otherwise. LinkedIn is where B2B buyers go to get advice about efficient operations, to learn about products that help them with their pain points, to cultivate relationships and even to close sales.
LinkedIn truly turned into the B2B prospecting powerhouse that it is today at around the turn of 2011, when the platform’s user base crossed the 100 million mark. Today, its network is composed of 433 million users and counting, and one out of every three professionals on earth has a profile, with these accruing some 25 million personal profile views every day.
There are, however, many misconceptions about LinkedIn’s potential as a B2B prospecting platform. It’s time to debunk a few of the more common LinkedIn myths.
1. On LinkedIn No One Does Any Real Networking
Some people think that LinkedIn is just where you go and create a profile, and then just let it sit there, like a static digital resume. These people believe that the real networking happens offline, at events, or through email or the telephone. They’re wrong.
Social media is increasingly replacing and/or supplementing real-life personal and professional interactions. LinkedIn is the perfect place for building professional relationships, and it’s being utilized every day by millions of workers looking for opportunities and clients. Some 40% of the network’s user base checks in on a daily basis, participating in Group discussions, reading and publishing long-form content and making new connections.
To tap into the biggest opportunities for social sellers on LinkedIn, locate Groups that relate to your industry and become active in them by participating in conversations, posting links to content and commenting on other members’ content. It’s important to avoid being blatantly promotional about your products and services, but instead focus on providing value. Your LinkedIn Pulse posts, however, can include calls-to- action at the end, which can help drive traffic to your website.
2. B2B Buyers Don't Spend Much Time There
LinkedIn is, in fact, one of the most frequented venues for B2B marketing and selling. Forrester found that LinkedIn is the social platform used most by B2B decision makers for business purposes. Data from B2B social media management tool Oktopost indicates that over 80% of lead capture conversions referred by social channels come from LinkedIn.
The best way to hunt down B2B buyers is with a Sales Navigator account, the selling-oriented premium version of LinkedIn. This type of account allows subscribers to search for and export dynamic lists of sales prospects using powerful targeting parameters like function and seniority. You can also receive lead suggestions via email, track every single network user who views your profile and send unlimited direct messages to anyone.
But even for those of us with free LinkedIn accounts, it’s still arguably the best place to do research when looking for gatekeepers at a company. For instance, if you want to offer your solutions to a business but you don’t know whom to contact, all you have to do is search for the company on LinkedIn and then find the right person’s contact information. This is also possible direct from your Leadfeeder dashboard if someone from the company has visited your site before.
LinkedIn Groups are likewise highly effective in this regard. Here, you’re able to see what the top problems facing your industry are and position yourself as someone who can solve them. You can track conversations and determine what type of content to create in order to draw in those B2B buyers – it’s account-based marketing at its best. If you’re knowledgeable about a topic, this helps to establish you as a leader in your niche and encourage people to do business with you.
3. It's Just for Unemployed People and Headhunters
LinkedIn is packed with people looking to grow their careers and businesses. It’s not just a place for the unemployed to search for jobs.
According to LinkedIn’s official stats, the site gains most of its revenue through talent solutions. However, 17% of users have premium subscriptions, and 18% utilize the site for marketing solutions. What’s more, a sizeable proportion of LinkedIn’s members earn significantly more than the averages. According to Statista, 41% of US-based internet users with household incomes of more than $75,000 use LinkedIn.
To maximize your chances of being perceived by c-suite buyers as a worthy and credible networking contact, make sure your LinkedIn profile photo sends the right message. Your profile needs to include relevant experience, a compelling headline and links to content that you publish around the web. You’ll also want to ask former and current colleagues for endorsements and recommendations.
It’s No Myth
When the layers of misconception are peeled away to reveal the truth, LinkedIn emerges as one of the best platforms around for B2B marketers and sellers to promote their goods and services. By using it correctly, you can take your business to the next level and beyond.
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