Recently, I was asked what the fastest way to increase leads online for a B2B endeavor would be.
I thought the question was great but really didn’t have an equally good response which is why I started my research project. That led me to a variety of interesting answers which included ideas like Facebook (not my favorite platform for business initiatives) and CraigsList (which can be a bit spammy in my opinion).
Another idea that I really liked which I believe would be very powerful in generating leads was found in the concept of doing webinars and seminars. I believe that the right LinkedIn Groups can uncover opportunities like these but if that appeals to you too, try these search parameters on Google.
- “Niche” conference
- “Niche” summit
- “Niche” events
- Best “Niche” conferences
- speak at “conference name”
Find opportunities that fit best with your interest and reach out to them. Doing so will put you in front of a multiplicity of people all at once. If you deliver a rock-solid presentation to the right audience not only will you find your client base growing, but you will likely be invited to speak elsewhere as a result.
In the process of my research, I did find a series of videos that surrounded a concept called Lumpy Mail which I thought was cool. There were two reasons that this concept did not win the final prize of receiving my vote. First, a large part of the process is done offline. Second, it seems rather time-consuming but very effective.
What did end up with my vote was LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn is an online business person’s social network which is an excellent answer for the B2B part.
Groups are an excellent way of getting in front of multiple people fast. It’s going to take a lot of work to really get yourself in the position that you deserve and desire. However, you can reach a multiplicity of people simultaneously and if you do it right you become the thought leader in your niche.
What’s Ahead and What’s Not
There are several things this article will not be talking about.
First would be concepts like how to set up a LinkedIn account or what to do to optimize your corresponding LinkedIn profile. I also won’t be covering issues related to LinkedIn company pages.
To narrow the focus, even more, there is a topic specific to LinkedIn Groups that will not be discussed as we move forward. There are two ways to approach LinkedIn Groups.
- Interacting with preexisting groups that others have created.
- Building your own group for other people on LinkedIn to join.
While there are definite advantages to the 2nd idea, I believe that growing your own group on LinkedIn will not return results as fast as being involved with what other people have already done. That’s why this article will be 100% targeted on how to gain leads fast from other people’s LinkedIn efforts Click To Tweet that are already in place.
DISCLAIMER: One last point that I want to share upfront is that I have never actually generated a lead from LinkedIn Groups. In fact, I’ve never really been involved with LinkedIn Groups though that is about to change. What you will find ahead are the golden nuggets of what I uncovered while doing research to answer the question of what is the fastest way for a B2B to generate leads online.
Finding Your LinkedIn Groups
A bad way to approach the LinkedIn Groups concept would be to join groups at random and start posting while hoping for the best. It turns out that an account can only join 50 groups. To make matters worse, a scattergun approach like this will inevitably not put you in front of the right people while increasing the likelihood of being banned from the group because your posts are considered spam in the eyes of the group participants and especially moderators or owners.
Since you want to stay on the good side of everyone taking a more systematic approach to your outreach is highly advisable. What I learned about how to do this is what the rest of this section focuses on.
Before you even start to look for groups to join it is best to ask yourself some key questions like:
- Who is my targeted client, customer or buyer?
- What niche, industry or field am I wanting to reach?
- What is the job, profession or field of my key prospect?
The more you understand who your ideal client is the greater the chance that you will find them. This becomes of paramount import as you do your research phase of identifying LinkedIn Groups that you will want to join. To help illustrate this point, I recently did an article focused on how Dentist can climb to higher positions on Google Maps. If I were to share this on LinkedIn Groups finding out where Dentists are at would be a really good idea.
With the above in mind, it is time to find the right LinkedIn Groups for you Click To Tweet.
One way to do that is to simply search LinkedIn while filtering your results to show only “groups.” Now you can review everything and decide which groups makes the most sense for you to join.
Another way to approach this process would be to visit your LinkedIn dashboard and look for the word “business” in the top navigation. Please note, social networks change things frequently so if that is the case here then look for what makes the most sense and continue the process. At the time of this writing, the result will be the appearance of a drop-down menu with two options.
- My Groups: These are groups you have already joined.
- Discover Groups: Here you will find a listing of groups recommended by LinkedIn as well as being able to research for other groups you may be interested in joining.
HOT TIP: This idea seemed really cool to me and involves Google. Do a Google search for “LinkedIn Advanced Search”. Select groups as what you want to target, enter a keyword or industry to search for and proceed.
Whichever of the 3 methods you choose to use you will now find yourself presented with groups that might be a good fit for you. Don’t join them.
At least not yet. Your homework isn’t finished.
You want to review the group rules before making the request to join.
NOTE: For groups that you are already connected to you can go to the main page, look for group rules and decide if this group will be a good fit for your coming outreach to generate more leads.
When assessing groups that you are not yet a member of go to the group page and you will find an italicized “I” next to member count which holds all the core information for that group. You will find details like demographics and other valuable insights that will let you know if this group will be a right fit for you and your own business objectives.
HOT TIP: Groups with only a few people may not be extremely fruitful while groups that hold thousands of members might find you lost in a labyrinth of other people’s data. While considering all other factors of a group, do consider what audience size you want to become involved with to achieve ultimate success in quickly generating leads from LinkedIn Groups.
Once you have uncovered the groups that make the most sense for you to join send in a request to become a member. Some groups will respond straight away while others may take a bit of time. No 2 moderators are the same and hence the reason you will want to join a variety of targeted groups from the start.
How to Start Group Interactions
After joining a group or 50 what do you do?
In the words of Picard, ENGAGE!
Of course, his engagement and your engagement will likely look a bit different unless you are the captain of a starship. Following are key thoughts to consider when engaging LinkedIn Groups.
First, you want to find ways to connect with other group members. This can be done taking a more aggressive approach by sending them a personalized message that outlines similarities that you share based on the group that the both of you are involved with.
By running a filtered search within any LinkedIn Group, you will be able to create an instant prospect list which can narrow down to such attributes as job titles, company names, and geographical locations as well as other criteria based on your identified preferences. To do this simply go to the members’ page of any group you have opted into joining and start doing your filtered searches.
HOT TIP: Take time to look through their LinkedIn profile to find something of interest to speak about. Even better if you find a non-business topic to discuss because people love to talk about what they love and this is typically an underutilized approach within the LinkedIn social network.
NOTE: Never default to sending out a generic LinkedIn connect request Click To Tweet. Your recipient will see that you are not serious about getting to know them and will return the favor by ignoring your connect request.
When sending your connect request, it is important to really be of value. You can do this in a variety of ways including:
- Asking questions
- Inspiring curiosity
- Emphasizing value
- Requesting feedback
And the list goes on. The idea is that they see your engagement as genuinely authentic. If their perception is anything less than that you lose.
Another way to increase engagements within your LinkedIn Group is by proactively participating in what other people are talking about. You can do this by sharing their content or better yet providing authentic, helpful value to their post that will have the result of them seeing you as the industry thought leader that you want to be.
HOT TIP: Which would you rather people do? Share your content or comment on the same? While there is certainly nothing wrong with sharing commenting is so much more powerful for your end game goal. Therefore, if that is what you want then that needs to be what you give. Even better if you do both, but I believe you get my point here.
One final way of engagement that I would like to bring up here is the creation of polls. While polls are not allowed within every group, those LinkedIn Groups that do permit them can be worked with accordingly.
Polls that ask the audience to choose between a variety of answers can be extremely effective in getting the engagement cycle going.
HOT TIP: Don’t create a poll that is a type of sales pitch. Rather ask questions within the poll that can potentially lead to you talking about what you do but don’t make it the focus. Informative helpful associates that professionals can learn and grow from will always be desired over and above a salesman looking to fill their wallet and bank account.
Sharing Your Own Content
Beyond reaching out and touching someone within your LinkedIn Group initiatives comes the concept of posting your own content. This is not your opportunity to create a sales funnel, at least not blatantly, more on that in a minute.
What you do want to do is create niche targeted in-depth posts that reach the heart of the readers within the LinkedIn Group you are working with. There are several ways to do this including being:
While you certainly do not want to be salesy within your approach you can be intriguingly inquisitive by creating a lead magnet or content upgrade. The way to do this is to provide a rich bounty of solid gold content while holding a piece of it back. For example, let’s say you are responding to a question about ranking high on Google’s snack pack map results. You know that you have written Local SEO Ranking Factors so instead of diving into ranking results directly within your answer allude to your article and let the reader click to discover that you have written over 7000 words or 20 pages on the topic, or whatever the case may be.
Want to take the approach above to the next level? Using a tool like Snip.ly you can share someone else’s related post while offering a banner related to your services within the process. While this certainly isn’t necessary it is very effective.
One way to really catch a groups attention positively is to create your content around questions being asked in the group. The group owner will see you as a person of value. The person asking the question will love reading a direct answer that makes sense. Other group members will be watching the entire process and begin coming to you when they have similar questions that arise.
There are some key questions you can ask yourself while creating content that LinkedIn Group members will rave about.
- Who is in the group and what do they specifically need?
- Where would members of this group want to be in 1, 5 or 10 years?
- How do the members of this group find motivation and drive within their daily lives?
- What topics will this group be ultimately interested in interacting with?
In-other-words, the more targeted you are in the heart of the members of each specific LinkedIn Group you can be the more engaged they will be with what you personally are attempting to accomplish.
If you go over and above the call of duty within this process it may be time to contact the group owner or moderator with a specific request.
That they share your content via a group announcement. Some will, some won’t. It depends on their focus and your content.
To find out who the admins of any specific group are going to the members’ list and click on “admin”. You now know everyone that is at the level you need them to be for posting an announcement to the entire LinkedIn Group.
It might look something like this…
Hi [ group owner’s name],
I sure enjoy being part of your [insert group name] group.
I think you’re doing a fantastic job with [ insert name of group].
As a group member what one thing could I do to help this group grow even stronger?
Notice that I didn’t tell them about my post or my interest in having it announced to the entire group. The goal here is to start the dialog and build into it when and if it makes sense to do so.
Exploding Your Engagement Power
In this section, we will use everything covered above in a position of strategy for your success. First, let’s do a brief review of what you have learned.
Understanding how to find the best LinkedIn Groups for you to interact with.
Uncovering key members of the group which is of most import to you.
Creating high-quality content that everyone will love to share and comment upon.
At this point, let’s heat up everything in a dynamic way of power for your success by direct messaging group members with your content. Here’s the best way to do this.
After opening the members’ page within the group as talked about above hold your mouse on any one member’s name. A box will appear which contains many things including a mail message for that LinkedIn Group member.
However, you don’t want to send them just any message. That might look a bit like spam. Following is an example of a message that they would be more pleased to receive and more importantly respond to.
Hey [insert name of connection],
We are both members of [insert name of group].
May I ask what your core reason for being involved in this group is?
I’m looking to build a core resource list of like-minded people of which I believe you will be one. Just wanting to make sure I’m correct before adding you to the list.
Like the earlier message, notice that I did not share anything about my content that I want to share with them. I’m more interested in starting the engagement first. Leading with a link is a bit spammy in most everyone’s opinion, especially LinkedIn Group administrators who you want to be sure to remain on the positive side of.
Once you receive their reply you can respond by saying something like:
Hey [insert name of group member],
Thanks for replying.
[Put something personal related to the response you received from them.]
Create a page on your website which features the resource list you are building and share it with them at this point. Include a link to their Website within this directory. By doing this they can see that you are serious about creating the directory and as a result, they will be sincere in their responses with you.
Then finish your letter to them by saying.
By the way, I just published an extensive amount of information about [insert topic]. I believe it would be an interesting read for you. May I share its link with you?
I’ve long been an advocate of asking for permission instead of just throwing links at people. While the occasional person may be a bit bent out of shape that you didn’t just send the link far more people will see the corresponding respect within the process as something positive that elevates you as an industry authority within the topic you are targeting.
Recommended LinkedIn Group Tools
You now have the entire process in hand but there are a couple of tools that I found in my research that would further help your process along.
According to my understanding, this first one requires you have a WordPress blog wherein you can install the SumoMe plugin. Once done, you want to enable the option for posting to groups. When you release new content to your group it will automatically be sent to the groups that you are connected too.
With the 2nd tool of reference, all you need is to be using the Chrome browser. The tool I’m about to share with you has a free or paid version with the paid version not being tremendously expensive.
Presenting Dux Soup.
Here’s how to set it up.
- Go to the Google Chrome Store.
- Select more tools and then extensions.
- Scroll to the bottom where you will find “get more extensions.”
- Search for and download Dux Soup.
Once set up make a quick adjustment by selecting options, looking for the rules section and setting the default to 14 days. This will ensure that you visit a variety of people increasing your odds of more people following you back.
Once setup you can start the process of Dux Soup by being inside the tool and navigating to your groups. Select the group that you would like Dux Soup to work with after clicking on the members’ page for that group. Return to the base operations for Dux Soup and select “visit profiles.”
With the paid version of this tool, each time a new profile is visited it will also automatically endorse the top 3 skill(s) Click To Tweet of that person’s profile. This, of course, will be seen by the recipient. The increased engagement will encourage them to come visit your profile and that’s where the fun often begins.
Concluding Thoughts About LinkedIn Groups
While I haven’t yet been an active participant in LinkedIn Groups, based on what I have learned above this will become one of my leading strategies for finding new clients and I recommend the same for you.
It will take work.
I can’t think of a single marketing method available that doesn’t. Even pay per click (PPC) takes the right type of effort and a financial backing. What I have shared above can be done free unless you opt into using the paid version of one of the recommended software tools which are absolutely not necessary.
This document is over 3000 words long at this point and I hope you have seen the extreme value that has been provided within. If so, I have a favor to ask.
Please share comments below related to any of the following thoughts.
- My LinkedIn Groups experience is.
- Questions I have about LinkedIn Groups include.
- I wish this article would have covered X about LinkedIn Groups.
Or anything else that you would like to comment about as it relates to LinkedIn Groups.
LinkedIn Groups Resource List
Officially, this article is finished.
Unofficially some might say that it is just getting started.
While this following section is certainly not necessary, its value will be unquestionable for those who choose to take time to review its content.
First, I would like to share the 5 core articles from which I created the above article with you.
- How to Use LinkedIn Groups for Lead Generation
- 3 Ways to Generate Leads with LinkedIn Groups
- 6 Awesome Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups for B2B Lead Generation
- A 3-Step Guide to Using LinkedIn Groups to Generate Leads
- How to Use LinkedIn Groups to Generate Quality Leads Continuously
Second, here are additional articles that I would recommend reading as it relates to building your marketing plan with LinkedIn in 2017 and beyond.
- How to Create a System for LinkedIn Lead Generation
- 3 New Secrets of LinkedIn Marketing
- How to Promote Business on Linkedin in 2017 [the untold secrets]
- Secrets of LinkedIn Marketing
- 17 LinkedIn Ninja Tricks Experts Haven’t Taught You Yet [2017 Edition]
- An Insider’s Guide to LinkedIn Marketing
- LinkedIn Marketing to Build Your Brand in 2017
- Your LinkedIn content marketing plan for 2017
- Top 10 LinkedIn Business Marketing Tips
- 45 Experts Share Their Biggest Linkedin Marketing Strategy
- 20 LinkedIn Marketing Tips for B2B Strategy
- 7 Steps to LinkedIn Marketing Success
If after reading all the above you are not ready to dominate LinkedIn Marketing in and outside of groups then I am not sure LinkedIn is the right social media platform for you. However, do you know of an article that should be included in the above list that is related to LinkedIn marketing especially with a group focus? Please share it in the comments below and let’s see this LinkedIn Group marketing resource guide grow.
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