Business.com Community member Carrie Dunham asked, “How do you generate leads from LinkedIn Groups?” We answered.
Social media is an important tool for every small business owner. Social media websites can be more than just a platform for posting company updates and tweeting out deals. Other, less-known features such as LinkedIn Groups can also be a valuable tool.
Carrie Dunham, owner of the Carrie Dunham handbag and accessory line, asked the Business.com community how to generate leads through LinkedIn Groups: "I am curious how others use social media and social networks to generate leads. I used to like LinkedIn Answers and Groups, but they got rid of Answers and they just released their new navigation and groups are being buried. Seems like they are moving to being just your online resume and helping people find jobs. Social media is important, but I am just getting my feet wet."
We spoke with experts and outlined the steps to generating leads on LinkedIn Groups. [Interested in social media management? Check out our best picks]
1. Join the right LinkedIn Groups.
The first step to creating leads from LinkedIn Groups is finding and joining a group full of potential customers. To do that, you should decide who your ideal client is. Once you know who you want to market and sell your product to, find a group the caters to that community.
"Using that profile, go to the groups that have a large number of individuals as members," said Bill Corbett, Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations. "For example, if you want to market to accountant groups, you go to accountant groups. To effectively convert sales, you have to be in a target-rich environment."
2. Gain trust, create relationships and paint yourself as an industry leader.
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to promote your business and build your community online. By using groups correctly, you can establish yourself has an industry leader and expert. This sends people to your LinkedIn profile and to your company's page.
"Groups are significant part of developing your expertise, your personal and/or business brand, and your community...which then can translate into leads as well as network," said Bernadette Boas, CEO at Ball of Fire, Inc. to the Business.com community. "But you have to be purposeful, genuine and contribute value to those discussions."
It's important not to come off as too pushy by only sharing ads for your business. Instead, share content that is valuable to the people in the group and answer questions. Doing this drives profile views and inbound connection requests, Corbett said.
"You want to be a giver and share relevant information that will allow those within the group to grow, develop a business and become more effective at what they do," Corbett told Business.com. "Do not post ads or aggressively solicit members of the group – get to know them first, build a rapport and then identify those that are potentially interested in your products and services."
Matthew Mercuri, partnership specialist at Broadsign, also recommends being active in LinkedIn Groups by answering questions.
"It's a good idea to have thorough, well-researched and well-reasoned answers with a ton of evidence or personal experience," he said. "One-liners won't suffice. The time you put in to answer those questions tend to develop into actual relationships."
3. Connect and communicate with potential customers.
Once you are engaging with people in the LinkedIn Group and creating relationships, ask them to connect. Because you are in the same group, you become a second-level connection with everyone in the group, which makes it easier.
After you create a connection, you can start communicating with them directly through LinkedIn messaging and share information such as ideas, growth strategy support and teaching them about your product and services, Corbett said. This is also the time to learn about their needs and pain points.
"When the time is right, set-up a call or meeting… and see if there is an opportunity for a sale or a relationship with a referral source or just an ally," he said.
For more information about how to use LinkedIn for business, read this guide on our sister site Business News Daily.