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!