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Making LinkedIn generate more job interviews or leads for your business is all about how you think about what you already know works and getting prospects off of social media.

Contrary to what "the experts" say, knowing how to set up an engaging LinkedIn group or attractive profile is not the end game. Nor is finding crafty ways to mention your blogs, webinars or new product releases within LinkedIn Groups going to create sales.

The key to success is actually rooted in creative thinking about what you already know works and getting your target market off of social media. Here's the proof.

Create Content That Provokes

I recently decided to go after a niche market: Small to mid-sized home improvement businesses who need help making social media sell for their dealership or local business. My goal was to create leads for my book and training products--relationships that I could nurture into sales. My strategy was to get people already engaged in discussions relevant to the pain I can cure to actually leave LinkedIn to visit my site. 

First, I created content that I knew would scratch the itch of my target market. I baited my hook. I interviewed a kitchen cabinet industry expert who had something truly different to say about how successful kitchen cabinet dealers are using social media to create leads and sales. What my expert had to say was contrarian, valuable, provocative and actionable. This part was key. This was the barb in the hook.

If you think about it, this approach is not a super-slick-fancy-pants social media idea nor some over-hyped revolutionized version of marketing.

Locate Qualified Discussions

Next, I published a handful of stories and audio interviews on my site featuring my guest, Jim, discussing how successful home improvement businesses are using social media to create leads and sales. He didn't talk about how they should be using Twitter, Facebook, blogs and such. Instead, he spoke on how they are and gave readers/listeners the chance to learn how they can do the same.

I then carefully joined related LinkedIn groups, taking care to make sure I was clear about my intent to join. I had something honestly valuable to share--actionable insights on a topic that is of current interest to group members.

I joined and waited. Within a few days I spotted a discussion on a Kitchen Cabinet industry group where I could answer a question in a way that demonstrated the specific valuable answers my guest expert was offering... but not in the usual way.

Tease Prospects Into Action

The biggest mistake most of us are making when promoting content within a LinkedIn Group is sharing a link back to what we've published. You see, the minute I stopped sharing links and started saying less the more action I got--the more people did what I wanted them to do (visit my site and become a lead).

Yes, we ultimately want to get prospects off of social media (and onto a lead-nurturing system) but how you get them to move is critical.

Lately, the more I'm baiting people... teasing them... the more I'm getting emailed directly through LinkedIn from hungry customers who want to connect, become a lead or buy a product on-the-spot.

Yes, I have a Website that is quite good at selling products and capturing leads so that part doesn't go away. What's key here is how I am teasing my target audience into taking action on something I know they already want to act on. Again, "less is more" is not a new concept but it sure does work.

Here's how I did it. I took 2 of my best quotes from the hour long interview and chummed the water with them. If you want to catch fish you've got to attract the jumbos. Here's one of them:

What social media does is allows access to buyers. (But) then the strategy is to take them off of the social media. Next you put them into a process. This is where we get into emotional-driven, direct response marketing routines... where they find you through relevant content via social media and you put them into a campaign. Dealers can leverage marketing automation technology to deliver more content that nurtures them along toward a sale.

The other quote, in essence, told my target audience what they really want to hear. Success is about getting back to basics, that design (a value-added service that is being commoditized lately) still matters and how social media can be used to become known, liked and trusted in very practical ways if you focus on a simple, easy-to-do process.

Most importantly I provided no link to the content!

Be Provocative to Get Sales

Basically I provoked my target market into contacting me. I already knew this approach works. I figure why not leverage LinkedIn Groups in a way that tempts group members to email me for more details or click over to my profile and then onward to my blog to acquire the knowledge?

Indeed, why can't you leverage this same idea? Sure, you've got to trust that this will work but give it a shot. For me, the results rolled in: A dozen or so industry-specific leads and a handful of immediate sales.

Worth noticing, I also followed a simple, practical system:

  1. I created valuable content (answers to burning questions)
  2. Monitored for people demonstrating need for it (in LinkedIn Groups)
  3. Revealed answers in ways that created cravings for more of what I have to share (provoked interaction)

I didn't merely "tell a story" or "provide valuable content" or educate my target market. That's social media guru blather. I ethically bribed my customers into taking action on something that they wanted to take action on to begin with. I then gave them full satisfaction--useful, actionable answers to burning questions and insights they had not heard before.

How many of you are doing the same? Surely there are more success stories out there. Let's hear some!

Jeff Molander

Published 27 June, 2012 by Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is a professional speaker, publisher and accomplished entrepreneur having co-founded what is today the Google Affiliate Network. He can be reached at jeff@jeffmolander.com. He is a regular contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (6)

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Jez Walters

Thanks Jeff. That's a very thought-provoking article.

I run a large-ish Linkedin Group and as a matter of course I always share a link.

However, having read your article, I will certainly try the techniques you outline and your 'practical system'....it makes sense in a Sandler-reverse psychology sort of way.

Nice one.

Jez

about 4 years ago

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Ben

Will certainly give this a try, could be really useful for Business to Business's like mine.

about 4 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Hi, Jez...
I'm not sure that sharing a link is bad or wrong. I'm simply saying:

1) Everyone does it. It's common. Not unique.

2) We're ALL pressed for time and scanning LinkedIn groups for SOMETHING useful---a diamond in the rough.

I'm simply saying "stand out" (1) by taking your very best, most valuable insight that is like a punch in the face and showcase it (2) in a way that is guaranteed to get the reader to crave more.

I have a sign on my wall to remind myself each day. I think it was Jonathan Fields (author/trainer) that said this:

Every piece of content makes them crave more.

It's a simple rule to live by and when paired with direct response tactics that have been working for decades it's a stick of dynamite... in my experience.

Ben...
Precisely. Especially if you've got a solution to a problem that your customers have--yet don't realize it (yet). The "ethical bribe" is something that alerts them to the fact that they have a problem, right now, and prove it to them in short form. Then tell them you have the answer (earn the click, registration, download... lead!).

Cheers all!

about 4 years ago

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Romona Foster

Excellent information Jeff! What creative ways to generate leads and sales using Linkedin. This is one of the best posts I've read on this topic.

about 4 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Thanks, Romona. It's been effective for me and for those who I know who are using it...

... but I'm always looking for NEW cases to talk about in my posts, books, workshops, keynotes, etc. so if anyone wants to share I'm eager to share w/ others via my work.

I hope others might speak up about their success using this model or something else that's effective for them.

about 4 years ago

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Green Deal

Jeff great post! thanks for the insight into these new approaches of generating sales using new revenue channels

about 4 years ago

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