This week, our guest blog post is from Leigh Hopwood, Managing Director, Redd Marketing and Chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) South East Region.

Here’s her top tips on using LinkedIn to generate new business leads.

Finally, B2B companies are starting to realise the value of LinkedIn as a lead generation tool. Not only does it have one of the most up to date and complete databases on the planet, it’s aim in life is to provide a platform for networking.  In B2B technology, people buy from people, so this is the perfect tool to take your business networking to another level.

So how can you use LinkedIn for lead generation?

These days, the chances are both influencers and decision makers are on LinkedIn.  And if they are in the market to buy, then they could be looking for you.  So there are a number of steps to go through to ensure that first they find you, and when they do they like what they see.

Step 1: Create and enhance your LinkedIn profile:

  • Personalise your Public Profile URL
  • Give yourself an appropriate description eg. what you do, for whom
  • Build out your experience – don’t create a CV though!
  • Write a strong summary using keywords and showing off your personality
  • Upload a photo – professional but personable
  • Ask key contacts for recommendations – stagger them and don’t recommend everyone back!
  • Personalise the names of your websites from My Company to ABC Limited
  • Connect your Twitter account and your blog

Step 2: Grow your network

  • Invite individuals – key contacts, colleagues and friends – to connect
  • Join up to 50 groups in your industry or where your target market is
  • Take part in the discussions – but don’t sell as you’ll lose credibility

Step 3: Network and have conversations

  • Listen to what’s being said in groups
  • Take part in group conversations
  • Use Introduction Requests, Send a Message or use Inmail to deliver highly personalised messages to key contacts
  • Commit to a set time or number of messages to send per day – the more the better

The more active you are on LinkedIn, the greater value you can derive from this incredible tool.

You can hook up with Leigh on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/leighhopwood

If you want some support on getting your LinkedIn personal and company page up to scratch, check out our Social Media training workshops.