LinkedIn used to have a reputation as a social media platform for networking and job recruitment.

That all changed in 2016 when Microsoft bought the site. Six years on, LinkedIn is widely regarded as the most invaluable resource, not just for headhunters and job seekers but also for marketers and sales professionals.

For B2B marketers, the significance of LinkedIn cannot be overstated, with a remarkable 80% of B2B leads that come from social media originating from LinkedIn.

There is no shortage of online guides telling you how to optimise your LinkedIn profile and pages to drive clicks to your company website, but that is nowhere near enough.

LinkedIn’s efficiency is no secret – 94% of B2B companies already use LinkedIn for marketing. To stand out in the world’s most popular professional network, you will need to leverage all available tools and adopt the best practices.

Why B2B marketers should use LinkedIn for lead generation

Traditionally, in-person events were the best way to deliver impactful B2B marketing, events like conferences, trade shows, and other professional gatherings.

In the post-covid era, where many of these events were cancelled and postponed, businesses have had to adapt. Even though the pandemic is declining worldwide, in-person events remain impracticable for many companies. Marketing budgets are shifting towards social media platforms and other digital marketing channels.

When it comes to deciding where to invest in digital marketing, LinkedIn wins hands down. Consider the following:

  • You get more leads. LinkedIn has 810 million users, and more than half are active every month. A HubSpot study recently found that LinkedIn had a 2.74% visitor-to-lead conversation rate, making it 3x more effective than both of its closest competitors, Facebook and Twitter.
  • The cost can also be considerably lower. Those conversion rates carry over to paid ads. Another HubSpot study found that LinkedIn ads convert at 6.1%, more than double the rate of similar Google ads. LinkedIn’s cost per click is higher, but the conversion rate makes it a much better value for B2B marketers.
  • The leads are of better quality. LinkedIn has more decision makers than any other social media platform – as many as 20% of all LinkedIn users hold purchasing power at their respective companies. LinkedIn also offers more accurate targeting geared towards B2B, minimising wasted money and effort.

Several tips for LinkedIn Lead Generation

LinkedIn is a unique channel for lead generation. A social media lead generation strategy is essential for LinkedIn, but you need to consider LinkedIn’s special features to get the best results.

The following tips focus on LinkedIn’s distinctive capabilities as a lead generation tool and a social media marketing channel.

1 – Create and Refine Your Funnel

A strong sales funnel draws leads inexorably toward conversion by answering their questions and meeting their needs at every step in their purchasing journey. While that may be the goal, knowing when, where, and how to meet your leads can be difficult.

LinkedIn allows you to publish, test, and refine every layer of your funnel. Brand awareness content is usually at the top of the funnel, while sponsored content posts can be an excellent delivery vehicle for mid-funnel content. Then those all-important bottom-of-the-funnel pitches can occur in sponsored messaging or conversational ads—which LinkedIn lets you personalise. The key is to leverage all of LinkedIn’s unique properties as a platform when you’re creating this content.

2 – Create and Publish Relevant and Engaging Content

Content marketing has become one of the most crucial steps in digital marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, over 85% of brands use this tactic to reach their leads and customers.

Content marketing is an effective way for brands to educate and connect with their leads and customers through exciting and relevant content. Some engaging content examples include blog posts, white papers, webinars, videos, infographics, polls, and other social media assets.

Engaging content that passes along relevant insights and knowledge will keep your audience coming back for more. Not everyone will respond to the same types of content, so it is important to diversify and include a wide range of content and media.

3 – Make Use of Lead Generation Forms

One of LinkedIn’s most significant features is it allows you to add a call to action to your sponsored content. You can attach a signup form to your ads that auto-populates with the lead’s LinkedIn contact information with a LinkedIn Lead Gen Form – all they have to do is enter their email address and click “submit.”

LinkedIn designed their Lead Gen Forms to be straightforward for mobile app users, eliminating the need to type out all their information just to sign up for a weekly newsletter, download an ebook, or whatever the CTA may be. Without a Lead Gen Form, a lead would have to take additional steps to follow the link in the ad and fill out a form on your site before their contact information is captured, so this is a beneficial feature.

4 – Leverage Conversation Ads

LinkedIn users can message each other with the platform’s InMail feature. Conversion Ads allow you to create ads delivered as direct messages from one LinkedIn user to another. These messages can contain personalised content, CTA buttons, and Lead Gen Forms, making them an excellent method for reaching out to prospects.

So far, Conversation Ads may not seem too different from InMail ads or Sponsored Messages. As the name suggests, however, Conversation Ads are more conversational. With Conversation Ads, you can achieve multiple marketing objectives by setting up an interactive experience that feels personal to your audience. This will usually result in higher conversion rates and lower costs per lead.

5 – Explore Matched Audiences

LinkedIn offers B2B marketers various tools to help them target the leads they want to reach. Of these tools, one of the most powerful is the Matched Audiences feature, which lets you retarget previous visitors to your website, target specific companies or decision-maker accounts, or target a list of contacts that you upload.

The account targeting option is particularly effective for account-based marketing campaigns. It allows you to choose which businesses you want to target and serve ads only to accounts that match specific professional demographic parameters that you provide, allowing you to hone in on the accounts with actual purchasing power.

6 – Employ Micro-Segmentation

To get leads to move from one level of the funnel to the next, you have to address and resolve whatever concerns, questions, or unmet needs they have at that particular moment. You need to take a personalised approach, and micro-segmentation is the process that can help you winnow your lead pool down into smaller subsets with shared commonalities.

LinkedIn’s Showcase pages allow you to segment your audience by providing different landing pages for different audience segments. You can group the subsets by location, industry, or whatever makes sense for your business. You can then refine those groupings further as you learn more about each lead.

7 – Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator was designed to automate and enhance the advertiser’s ability to track and communicate with their LinkedIn leads. Sales Navigator can assist in identifying decision-makers, learning more about your existing leads, and even providing recommendations for new leads to scout.

Within Sales Navigator is an innovative feature called PointDrive, which gives you a wide range of robust options for tracking engagement with a lead and delivering personalised multimedia content.

Final thoughts

Most social media platforms were built for friends and family to share photographs, memories, and cute cat videos with one another – before eventually adding business marketing features once the platforms became popular. These outlets simply cannot compete with LinkedIn when it comes to having the culture, architecture, and features that put business needs at the forefront.

Unlike the other platforms where users might see what their friend ate for dinner the previous night or watch funny memes, every LinkedIn user is a business professional ready to engage with like-minded individuals. No other platform can offer such a valuable guarantee for advertising your B2B business.

The numbers speak for themselves: LinkedIn is the platform of choice for B2B lead generation. The question shouldn’t be whether to include LinkedIn in your digital marketing mix but how to pull it off intelligently and effectively?

LinkedIn provides you with a wealth of fantastic tools that can deliver outstanding results for B2B marketers — you just have to know how to use them.