What if there was a way in which you could remove the gatekeepers, taking away all the people blocking you from reaching your customer? What if you could do it without spending any money? There is a way and you're probably already using it. It's called LinkedIn, and specifically Linkedin groups.
LinkedIn has a very handy tool which enables you to see a whole bunch of your ideal leads all together in one place, allowing you to use Linkedin groups to drive lead generation. This is because LinkedIn users join Groups and around 53% join at least ten of them.
LinkedIn Groups are ready made Prospect Lists
Think about it, on LinkedIn someone has already done the hard work for you by creating a Group where all those who are interested in say, 'High Performance Engines' or happen to be 'Golf Industry Professionals' are there, talking about and discussing their favourite subject.
Which Groups are active?
Finding the active ones is a must. Every group on LinkedIn sends out email notifications for new posts (so long as you have activated your email notifications), so you'll quickly know how active a group is. You can also look at previous posts and see how frequently people comment on them. Not all groups are as active as others, the best ones are run by administrators who ensure that life is injected into the the group on a regular basis and that spam is kept to a minimum.
Back when the world was a much bigger place than it is now, when airplanes only took you part of the journey, anthropologists sought out the most remote tribes on Earth. The 1920s and 30s was the heyday of ethnography and the best way to understand how certain rituals worked, and what was going on, was through a process called 'participant observation'. Quite literally, observing and participating. And this is exactly the form your social media marketing should.
Look at what's taking place in conversations, what's being said, by whom. Observe. And then take action. Participate:
- Engage with prospects by joining conversations
- Like what others are saying
- Comment on what group members are saying
- Share your own content, content that you know is useful to the Group
- Add value by posting questions or answering them.
Engage with your target audience using LinkedIn Groups
Always try to post interesting questions or opinions on your subject. Over selling your products or services can be construed as spam and can dilute the real reason Groups were set up in the first place.
Once you have spent some time participating within groups you can go further and take a good look at the profiles of all those in the group - if you haven't already. It is usual that once you have looked at someone's profile, there is a good chance that they will look back at yours (make sure your profile is up to date and relevant). This shows you two things; firstly that the person is active on LinkedIn and secondly it provides you with an excuse to make a connection.
An effective approach to LinkedIn groups:
- Join a limited number of Groups, five is a good number to monitor easily
- People buy from people they know, like and trust. This requires a demonstration of knowledge and experience which in turn builds credibility
- Use Groups to answer questions – be helpful and liberal with advice
- Ask your own questions – open questions – start with ‘How’, ‘What’, Why’
- Aim to become a top contributor
- Time spent on LinkedIn is valuable, so make sure it pays off by having a well thought out approach.
In a short time you will build a list of the people you are looking for. LinkedIn is often treated as an online CV shop. Yes, it is used extensively by recruitment agencies, but it has so much more to offer and those using it properly reap the benefits.