“Sharing valuable content on LinkedIn Groups is a sure-fire way to generate leads,” advise so many social media marketing experts.I’m not convinced, especially for B2B. Oh, it may generate some leads. But after being on LinkedIn for five years or so, I can count on one hand the number of leads I’ve produced from sharing content in Groups. It does have marketing value, but I wouldn’t advise sharing content this way as your primary lead generation strategy.
Here’s why I think B2B sellers have trouble with this technique for developing leads:
Vendors outnumber decision makers in most LinkedIn Groups – This is as true in social media networking as it is with in-person networking.
Buyers don’t want to generally hang out with vendors, unless they have an imminent need for a service or product — which is rarely the case. Even within industry-specific networking events, you can find it a challenge to meet your ideal customer.
For several years, I was a member of the American Marketing Association, and I attended their events and volunteered for some of their activities. Yet, in the several years of doing these endeavors, I only ever met one member of my target market. Almost all of the AMA’s committees and members were from the vendor side of the marketing world, such as ad agencies, SEO specialists, graphic designers, and copywriters. Decision makers from the corporate side of the world, such as managers and CMOs, were almost never present.
Decision makers belong to groups that block vendors from joining. You may find a LinkedIn Group where your prospects are members. If you can join, that’s great! But some Groups gate their membership, sometimes even requiring you to complete an online application so they can weed out vendors.
Competition – Your competitors are likely using the same “post and share” technique, so the chances of your target customer seeing your post is relatively slight, especially if the Group has lots of postings on an hourly basis. You’re often at the mercy of being “at the right place and the right time.”
What I do instead…
Since joining as a premium LinkedIn member, I’ve been using my copywriting skills to carefully craft messages that I send directly via LinkedIn Mail to members of my target audience. I get a much better response from this lead generation tactic than I do from sharing content the usual way.
As mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely that the prospect has an immediate need for a vendor’s service. But that’s okay. If I get a response to my first contact message, at least I have introduced myself and started the engagement process rolling. Then I send an occasional touch base note — and this is the time and place where I share with them valuable content and resources.
Spend some time creating personalized LinkedIn messages for your prospects and see how it compares to just posting content in Groups.