An interview with “Small Business Expert” Melissa Emerson and Viveka von Rosen of “The LinkedIn Expert” on how to use LinkedIn to generate leads for your business.
Melinda: Can a small business really use LinkedIn to generate leads?
Viveka: Of course! 90% of my own leads come from LinkedIn and up to 60% of my client’s leads do too. I think most people don’t know how to use it correctly is all..its simply, but not easy. According to LinkedIn, over 88% of B2B’s generate leads on LinkedIn. And over 50% of B2C’s generate leads on LinkedIn. Once you understand how it works… and you work it… you should see results.
Melinda: What mistakes do you commonly see small biz owners making on LinkedIn?
Mistake 1: Thinking that all you have to do is create a profile and prospects will fill your inbox.
Mistake 2: Thinking all you have to do is connect to a bunch of people and your funnel will be full.
Mistake 3: Trying to sell your prospect before getting to know them.
Mistake 4: Being inconsistent (or non-existent) when it comes to engaging.
Melinda:What can small business owners do on their profile to generate leads?
Viveka: Create a header image to really make your profile stand out, and then add contact info and CTAs. Dimensions on a header/background image are 1400 x 425 (ish). It’s worth investing in a graphic designer to create something stunning for you. Change them up once in a while. Make sure to focus your summary section (2000 characters) on your target market. Focus on your target market’s wants and needs and how you solve them (WIIFT). Also, build credibility with Recommendations and Endorsements. Finally, build credibility by using media to show examples of your work, client testimonials, product demos.
Melinda: What mistakes do small business owners make when trying to sell on LinkedIn?
Viveka: Trying to sell. LinkedIn is about creating relationships… the sale comes later. As @BobBurg says, “People do business with people they know like and trust.” So you have to grow that KLT factor… by being of service… not selling. Share info that can help your target market in the form of Posts and Updates and private messages
Melinda: Do you have to have a company page on LinkedIn?
Viveka: You don’t have to, but they are free, so why note. An attractive company page with a few updates a week can build credibility with your audience. Like your personal profile header, change up your hero image to reflect events, promotions, etc. Also, if you run ads, you’ll need a company page.
Melinda: What are some success stories you can share?
Viveka: I worked with a client today, and about 10 minutes after our call she emailed me back and said “It worked.” We had reached out to an old colleague to get back in touch. He asked for a consultation with her! A friend of mine congratulated her boss on his new promotion. They had coffee and…long story short, he shared and 3 Million RFP with her that she won!!! Another client got over 1.5 million in funding offers. But didn’t follow up on any of them.
Melinda: What is the ‘secret ingredient’ to lead generation success on LinkedIn?
Viveka: Nurturing your connections. Through content marketing and direct engagement. It’s unlikely you’ll sell a 15K product or service through a text ad…But you might be able to thought a F2F meeting you set up through LinkedIn.
Melinda: Should people invest in LinkedIn ads?
Viveka: If it’s part of a Brand Awareness campaign, you could have some success. I prefer Sponsored updates that are super focused on a niche audience. There’s some good opportunities to do split testing too. There are also some select audiences that you can’t refine just using search (age, sex, etc.).
Melinda: Do small business owners have to have a premium account?
Viveka: Eventually. I always tell my clients to use their free account until they hit a wall. You have to get into the practice of using the features BEFORE your 30 free days expires.
Melinda: How can a small business owner get her employees to use LinkedIn?
Viveka: Show them results. Your own or someone else’s. Incentivize them! Highest ranked employee gets a free Apple Watch (nylon band). Train them… LinkedIn is not as intuitive as it looks.
Melinda: Are there any other tools or resources you recommend small biz owners use?
Viveka: With all of LinkedIn’s restrictions not many 3rd party apps work, but I use Nimble and LinMailPro and eGrabber. I also use Calednly.com for booking appts with my LinkedIn Prospects. And I use 17Hats to qualify my leads. And of course Infusionsoft and Leadpages.
Melinda: Do you have any last words of advice?
Viveka: LinkedIn isn’t so much about numbers as it is relationships. You have to do more than just show up, you HAVE to engage. It’s better to pick 10 prospects to nurture than to blast 4000 connections with irrelevant updates.
In addition to being a regular columnist for the New York Times, she is frequently quoted by other media organizations including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, MSNBC and Fox News. Forbes magazine named her the #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She is an expert on what it takes the start a successful small business, marketing pitfalls to avoid, and how to become a brand in demand using social media. She is the publisher of her resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com, which is syndicated by the Huffington Post and is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months and the ebook How To Become a Social Media Ninja. She is also a regular contributor to Essence magazine and the lead instructor for the Black Enterprise Small Business University.
Viveka von Rosen
Viveka is known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and is the author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day. She has 32,000 followers on LinkedIn and 82,000+ on Twitter. She has taught and trained well over 100,000 people. Viveka takes the social media marketing knowledge she has developed and perfected over the years and transforms it into engaging and informational sessions, providing not only valuable information but actionable tips to your small business up and running on LinkedIn. For more information, visit:www.linkedintobusiness.com.