Learn the secret to B2B marketing success, time to get to work. In business-to-business social networking, LinkedIn is where it all starts.

LinkedIn is the most professional of the major social networking websites, used by over 450 million business professionals worldwide. It is responsible for more than 80% of a business’s social media leads! Since its focused mainly on B2B connections, LinkedIn is a major tool of your social media marketing strategy.

One of the best features of LinkedIn is the “six degrees of separation” approach it allows you to set up a connection to someone via others quickly. Don’t be surprised to see how close you can connect to your clients or customers – and how connected they are to others, including your competition.

The basic level, LinkedIn allows you to set up a personal profile and connect with other professionals you want a connection with. You will receive updates regularly as your connections update their profiles. Linkedin also allows you to set up a profile for your company to allow potential clients a way to follow your company’s updates and progress.

Bottom line is that LinkedIn works for B2B lead generation. Take LinkedIn to the next level, and use this powerful marketing tool, but take the following recommendations into consideration.

1. Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile: Look at your LinkedIn profile as an interactive resume on steroids. In addition to listing information about your work experience and education, LinkedIn allows you to enhance your profile with interactive capabilities that showcase your expertise.

  • Status Updates:  One of the best ways to keep your connections informed about any changes is by posting status updates, brief statements you feel your contacts would find useful. Include images and links relating to content on your Website or third-party Websites. Appear active in the LinkedIn community, post useful and actionable status updates regularly.
  • Articles: LinkedIn allows you to publish articles to your profile easily. It’s a great way to demonstrate yourself as a thought leader and get exposure to your LinkedIn community.
  • Videos and Presentations: If you post presentations and other content to SlideShare or videos to YouTube, you can display these valuable content items in your LinkedIn profile.
  • Recommendations: LinkedIn makes it easy for you to request recommendations from your connections. A collection of glowing recommendations that underscore your expertise and experience will significantly enhance your profile.
  • Projects: If you have successful projects, you want to highlight, post your projects, including a description, link, and the team members you worked with.
  • Skills and Expertise: Listing your skills and expertise on your profile to help others understand your strengths and improve your ability to be found. Connections will be able to endorse your skills by providing their seal of approval.
  • Publications: Showcase any books you have written or papers that have featured your work.
  • Volunteering and Causes: List of corporations and organizations you support and cause you to support outside of work.
  • Patents, Courses, Test Scores, Certifications, Languages, and Awards: Your connections can view all of your most significant accomplishments.

2. Create a Company Page: Creating a company page tells your company’s story, introduce your products and services, share updates with followers, and recruit new employees. Your company page can feature:

  • Banner Image: The banner image is the first thing people will see when they visit your company page. Design one that reflects your company’s brand and the model that you want to portray.
  • Products and Services: Showcase your products and services, including detailed descriptions, images, feature lists, YouTube videos, and links.
  • Status Updates: Updates that help increase the traffic on your companies page and feature content from your website with links back to the detail. For a fee, you can also promote your updates throughout the LinkedIn community through sponsored updates. The key is to post updates regularly.
  • Career Opportunities: For a fee, you can post open positions to recruit new employees.

3. Take Advantage Of The Features The LinkedIn Community Can Bring: Along with a profile and company page, LinkedIn provides many features that allow you to stay in contact and collaborate with other LinkedIn users, including:

  • Groups: LinkedIn Groups help you stay informed and keep in touch with people that share your interests. Creating your own groups or join any number of groups that focus on your area of interest or expertise. Increase the size of your circle from people who are influenced by participating in discussions in various LinkedIn groups.
  • Influencers: LinkedIn Influencers enable you to connect with well-respected thought leaders from many walks of life. Influencers like Tony Robbins, Guy Kawasaki, and Richard Branson, as well as many lesser-known experts, contribute original content in the form of blog posts. You can comment on their posts and share them as status updates on your personal LinkedIn profile.

4. Leverage LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool: LinkedIn is a valuable tool that can help you grow your B2B business and catapult your career. The following tips will help you use this resource to produce results:

  • Brand Your LinkedIn Address: When you create a LinkedIn profile, it will create a LinkedIn Web address that will appear like a collection of odd letters. You can customize this address to create a branded LinkedIn address with your name. My LinkedIn address is http://linkedin.com/in/bobdestefano.
  • Become an Expert: Post educational status updates and actively participate in group discussions to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader.
  • Warm Call Sales Prospects: If you’re in sales, you can use LinkedIn as a friendly calling tool. If there is a client you want to reach, find them on LinkedIn, and see how closely connected you are. If you have an active list of LinkedIn connections, you are most likely only two or three links away from the client. Use LinkedIn’s introduction features to ask one of your contacts for an introduction.
  • Find Rock Star Employees: Successful business people are always looking for valuable employees that will ensure their future success. LinkedIn’s recruiting tool can be much more useful than traditional recruiting techniques and since you can target applicants based on experience and expertise.
  • Keep Your Connections Current: Whenever you meet someone, connect with them on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to expand your influence and keep connections up to speed on your accomplishments. For the best results, be sure to personalize your introduction message.

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