13 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation

linkedin for lead generation

LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting professionally, finding work and sharing content. But have you ever thought of using LinkedIn for lead generation?

We asked 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to explain their best tips and tricks for taking full advantage of the career based site:

“What is one creative way to use LinkedIn for lead generation?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Introduce Yourself

“If you feel comfortable enough with the relationship to make a connection with someone on LinkedIn, feel free to go through his contacts. Copy and paste a short list of names you’d like to be introduced to, and message him asking if he would be willing to make a quick introduction for you to each of them. Include a blurb the person can use to do so. It’s a quick way to get warm intros.” ~ Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

2. Participate in Discussions

“There are targeted discussion groups on LinkedIn for almost every niche imaginable. These are typically full of people looking for support and answers. Give your expert knowledge freely, and start relationships in these groups — you’ll quickly become a go-to source and will generate new leads for your business. ” ~ Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

3. Search for Connections

“A Boolean search on Google is an amazing way to source leads based on keywords in LinkedIn. In the Google search bar, simply type in your string, which could be something like: site: www.linkedin.com AND (“keyword 1” OR “keyword 2″) AND (Seattle OR Tacoma). Hit search, and all the people on LinkedIn that match those conditions will show up. ” ~ Ronnie Castro, Porch

4. Find Common Interests

“There’s a very cool function within the group settings so that you can send free messages to any member of that group, regardless if you’re connected with them. You can join up to 50 groups, so maximize that limit with groups of people or prospects you want to connect with. Make sure that you provide a mutual benefit for both parties when you message potential connections. ” ~ Andrew Vest, Preferling

5. Use Flattery

“One tactic I used a lot, especially when reaching out to other startups, was to compliment their business. I would say that I thought there were interesting ways for us to work together. It sounds stupidly simple, but it’s extremely effective. I’ve closed hundreds of deals reaching out cold via LinkedIn with this technique or slight variations.” ~ Carlo Cisco, FoodFan

6. Collect Leads

“LinkedIn Ads actually has an optional feature called Lead Collection. This feature allows advertisers to collect leads directly through their LinkedIn ad campaigns. Members who click on your ad are taken to your landing page with a button to request you to contact them. It’s incredibly easy for the user, and it’s easy for you to build up a nice lead gen list. ” ~ Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company

7. Research Profile Views

“LinkedIn has a feature that shows you people who visited your profile. I’d contact those people, if they’re a connection, by sending a message that says, “Hi, is there anything I can help you with?” If they’re not a connection, then do a bit more research on them, and send a note saying, “Hi, I noticed you recently visited my profile.” Someone who spent time on your profile is likely a lead worth reaching out to. ” ~ Devesh Dwivedi, Idea2Inception

8. Search with Advanced Filters

“One of the best features of having a LinkedIn premium account is being able to use advanced filters in search. Not only can you search by company and relationship, but premium advanced search on LinkedIn allows you to search by function, seniority level and company size, too.” ~ Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

9. Ask Questions

“Ask questions to the people you’re connected to. Most people connect with great professionals but don’t keep in touch with them. Use your status updates to engage the people that are connected to you so you can stay top of mind. Post about industry trends, motivational quotes and general business questions. You’ll be surprised by how many people start talking. ” ~ Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union

10. Stay Active

“I think LinkedIn Today is a great tool to find newsworthy content to share with your target market. Staying active on LinkedIn with at least a weekly post will keep you top of mind with your network. That passive awareness becomes important when you reach out for an introduction or when someone in your network has a need for your specialty. ” ~ Lauren Perkins, Perks Consulting

11. Connect with Twitter

“Chances are you are pretty active on Twitter. If you are, you can amplify the reach of your updates simply by connecting Twitter to LinkedIn. Now every Twitter update will be reposted to your LinkedIn followers. ” ~ Pablo Villalba, 8fit

12. Publish Articles

“We promote our guest contributions on LinkedIn and engage with prospective clients by asking for feedback on the content. If you utilize LinkedIn to educate leads, you’ll provide more value and ultimately form stronger relationships. ” ~ Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.

13. Be Aggressive

“I’m constantly checking who has viewed my profile on LinkedIn; it’s one part vanity, another part strategy. I sell to a very niche audience and if I see a target customer sniffing around my profile, I reach out to them to learn what they need. Sometimes it’s just to pick my brain but more often than not, they are looking to hire and because I caught them at the right moment, they hire me.” ~ Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

LinkedIn Photo via Shutterstock

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

49 Reactions
  1. I know it’s obvious, but I know too many brands who aren’t there: Use the LinkedIn PPC platform! If you’re paying over $2 CPC on your other channels like AdWords you’ll see a similar CPC but you’ll get fabulously targeted leads that are in the right industries, companies, and positions in their companies.

  2. I haven’t used boolean search functions for quite some time so thanks for bringing this up. I have to agree with you though that compliments are the fastest way to get warm leads, that feel-good factor we all love..

  3. Many people stay away from the aggressive side because it looks needy. I find that creating and posting a business page along with your personal LinkedIn is a great way to get attention because they get viewed more and has what services or products you sell. More people need to create new content though because I see a lot of ideas repeated. Thanks.

  4. Excellent post YEC team!

    There is no doubt about it! linkedIn is a Goldmine for Marketers,Brand manager, HR’s and CEO’s,etc. But 68% people ( 2013, december, Socialbakers.com statics) really don’t know how to use linkedIn properly, That’s why they are just using LinkedIn to send promotion mails,publishing spams adverts on Groups,profiles.

    LinkedIn must create some multilingual strict policies with excellent QA guidelines to prevent such spam for educating people, how to create & manage compelling professional linkedIn pages. Hope it will be there soon 🙂

    Thanks again.

  5. I agree there are some very good ideas suggested in the article. I have tried a few of them.
    I find that a short personal complimentary note works well. I always review the individual profile before I send anything. I receive many positive responses back.

  6. I think that the key to using social media is to really participate in the community. Failure to do that will only lead to a dead account with dead followers. You need to participate to get any form of real benefits from it.

  7. One vital tip that has been of great use to me in generating leads for my business is to garner solicited and unsolicited recommendations with those who you delivered value to over the years (or previously). This does the sales and marketing upfront on a virtual basis and then the closure cycle time is reduced as a direct result. It is important who we get recommended by and how their reputation is in their network over the years.

  8. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this amazing post. I was not aware of -> Connect with Twitter benefit, Thanks for sharing this option.

  9. LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to use when prospecting for business. We have found that creating a meaningful group via LinkedIn, then promoting the group to get targeted participants to join is the first step. Then update the group with good relevant information is the second step. And last, you can reach out to the prospects in your group with a message that will hopefully lead you to a phone call.

  10. Good article! My questions is, this is obviously a time consuming process and you need someone who is familiar with LinkedIn. What if you just want to get prospects from LinkedIn and export it to your CRM? How easy would it be if you can just search for relevant prospects using Advanced search and download the contact info? There are many such tools available out there like SalesLoft, Aeroleads to mention a couple.

    • Thanks for the interesting article, The Young Entrepreneur Council.

      Abhi, you are right, there is ton you can do with LinkedIn’s advanced search feature.

      Most average users typically shoot from the hip when it comes to strategy. It is imperative if you are using LinkedIn lead generation as a prospecting tool you have a clear direction on who you want to connect with.

  11. Thanks for the interesting article, The Young Entrepreneur Council.

    Abhi, you are right, there is ton you can do with LinkedIn’s advanced search feature.

    Most average users typically shoot from the hip when it comes to strategy. It is imperative if you are using LinkedIn lead generation as a prospecting tool you have a clear direction on who you want to connect with.”

  12. Well done YEC!
    You collect informative and helpful quotes regarding LinkedIn marketing. Especially the third point discussed serch for connection, connect the startups and find common interests. Enjoyed a lot

  13. Thank you for sharing the effective tips on Linkedin here. I have a question on this, is it really okay to send messages to the people who I find on “who has viewed your profile”? Dont they find it irritating?

  14. Linkedin is very useful for professional.
    Thanks for sharing an important information about linkedin.

  15. Thanks for this helpful article.

  16. LinkedIn is very useful for business. I understand that, thanks for sharing it

  17. LinkedIn must be very effective for marketing because it is not like others social media. thanks for sharing.

  18. Thank you for sharing precious tips for Linkedin lead generation. These tips are very helpful for the Linkedin business. Nowadays it is very popular eCommerce business trends. I will try to follow your tips. Thanks again.

  19. Awesome post! I was searching for this kind of post.I learned many things from this post. Thank you very much for sharing this post.

  20. Thank you for sharing precious tips for Linkedin lead generation.

  21. Good Article. Thanks for sharing

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  24. Lead generation is the core task which needs to run any business. For that indoor marketing is equally important as outdoor marketing. With these tips, even a layman can do some promotions. Thanks for sharing.

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