b2b-brands-use-linkedin-online-lead-generationWe live in a social-media dominated world, especially if you’re under the age of 40. Your friends are always tagging you on Facebook, you like to follow what Kim Kardashian posts on Twitter, and you never forget to post a childhood photo on Instagram for #ThrowbackThursday.

But despite the popularity of these social media sites, no one ever asks you to look them up on LinkedIn. We lump LinkedIn with the other social media platforms, but it’s not really the same kind of website. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are really based on the premise that you want to share your life with your friends and family, and eavesdrop into theirs. LinkedIn is more like one giant career fair. Most people don’t post funny cat pictures on LinkedIn or share their intimate thoughts. Heck, your boss is probably on LinkedIn; you don’t want them seeing that stuff.

But there is one area where LinkedIn excels compared to its social media counterparts: B2B marketing. Because it’s the haven for business professionals, there are many possible leads on the site. You just have to know how to find them. Here are three ways you can accomplish that:

Identify and target the decision makers

Most B2B marketers are familiar with the concept of the “decision maker.” There can be many people that can benefit from your products/services, but you’re going to need the approval of a manager or vice-president in order to complete the sale. Frontline employees don’t have the authority to make deals – but the decision maker does.

LinkedIn will allow you to view profiles based on factors like company or connections, so you can use it to identify the decision maker you need to reach. For example, you can search for the company page and identify the head of marketing. Or, if you are already in contact with one of the company’s employees, use their profile to find their boss.

Post content to your company page

You should already be doing this across all of your social media accounts, but it can be especially helpful for B2B companies. Anytime you have new content or a special offer or promotion, post it on LinkedIn. Not only will this help your company page garner attention, it could also catch the eye of a prospective customer. Showing off your quality content will help users see the expertise you possess, and they will then view you as a credible, professional player in your field/market.

Use LinkedIn’s paid advertising program

LinkedIn took a while to get its ad program going, but it’s begun to pick up steam thanks to its features. You can use LinkedIn’s advertising service to send custom ads to specific audiences, based on targeting factors you choose; for example, you can target users based on job title, job function, company, industry or location (among others). This allows you to target management-level employees at various companies, so you can reach those coveted decision makers.

Another great paid feature: the ability to contact anyone on LinkedIn. Currently, you can only contact someone you are connected with, unless you get a mutual connection to “introduce” you to someone new. But with LinkedIn’s InMail system, you can reach anybody on the site, whether you know them or not.