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The Right Way to Use LinkedIn for Sales Leads

March 11, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

The relationship between social media and selling is a passionate one. Social media channels such as Facebook (News - Alert) and LinkedIn can yield great opportunities, but they can also create a lot of extra work, confusion and distraction if not used properly. Unfortunately for many companies, social selling is still a frontier, and many organizations are finding they have to forge their way on their own.

According to Sebastian Jeperson, president and CEO of Vertic Inc., writing for Ad Age, one of the biggest mistakes companies make are how they measure the success of a LinkedIn (News - Alert)-based program, and return on investment. Some executives believe that LinkedIn simply isn’t worth the money involved, but this may be down to faulty measurement of what it’s costing them and what they’re getting in return.

“LinkedIn is a big pond to fish in, and often marketers are confused about how to approach it or are put off by the cost,” wrote Jeperson. ‘Are LinkedIn media buys some of the most expensive? Absolutely, but ask yourself what you would pay for a qualified lead, because that is what is potentially here -- given the right effort.”

While the costs may be steep compared to other online or social selling approaches, the fruits of a successful LinkedIn program are valuable, according to Jeperson, who noted that the true value of LinkedIn is in knowing that it is a narrow funnel: no, there aren’t as many leads at the top, but conversion rates are far better than most other digital channels.

“Ultimately it's about targeting, and if you measure correctly -- specifically, further down the funnel in cost-per-opportunity generated (such as cost-per-lead and cost-per-conversion), your spend can amount to about half the acquisition costs of other methods,” he wrote.

Of course, once the right measurement is in place, marketers need to get busy creating the right experience for LinkedIn. Content creation is critical, and it shouldn’t be the same hashed-over stuff from your press releases. Content that provides real value to LinkedIn members is what draws them in and makes the leads more valuable. Hint: according to Jeperson, it’s not about driving content to a generic Web site or a six-year-old white paper.

“The conversion starts in LinkedIn, but should be carried through. Building the appropriate platform for multiple customized pieces of content on a site and directing users only to the relevant parts will continue the great relevant experience,” he wrote. “For example, write a piece of content that you know will engage CFOs, push it out as a sponsored update in their LinkedIn news feed, and once they click for more information, they will come through to a site with similarly relevant messages -- not the generic one-size-fits-all product offering overview.”

The end result will be an increase in demand and conversion rates, and a small to moderate sized pool of very high-value leads. Today, it’s important to find prospects where they live, and increasingly, they live in social media. Companies can no longer afford to make rookie mistakes in these critical channels. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson