How do I unlock the lead generation potential of LinkedIn? If there is one question about LinkedIn I get asked more than any other, it’s this one.
We know that LinkedIn is a networking platform. We know it holds tremendous potential when it comes to building relationships with prospects, clients, and strategic partners. But the burning question is how do we make this machine work for us?
Most people, especially those who are newer to the platform, think the answer is largely about tactics. “Maybe if I change my profile photo, more people will want to buy from me.” “Maybe if I find the perfect headline, leads will show up in my DMs.” “Maybe if I post every day of the week or twice a day, my pipeline will be full.”
And sure, when we work with our LinkedIn clients, we take care of the tactical stuff. The first thing I do for each client is The LinkedIn Roadmap. It’s an audit of their profile with custom recommendations. And when you improve your tactics, you will see your metrics (e.g., follower count, search appearances, and profile views) improve—especially if you’re starting basically from scratch with very little strategy.
But tactics are the basics and getting obsessive about the basics is a surefire way to ignore what would really generate results. For most of our clients (and I’m betting for you too), tactical changes alone won’t move the needle on lead generation.
If you’re a thought leader, the number one thing you can do to unlock the lead generation potential of LinkedIn is to figure out how to safely share your innovative ideas on LinkedIn. What does this look like? Let’s dig in!
Making Your Ideas Safe for Primetime
I once heard a speaking coach say that when you get up on stage, your goal is to get the audience to make a decision about you within the first 30 seconds. I think something similar also applies to LinkedIn. Your audience on LinkedIn should have no question about where you stand and you accomplish this by sharing your most provocative ideas.
When you say something that draws a line in the sand, you’re getting people to choose a side. Whether they jump on your side of the line doesn’t really matter. In fact, if you say something they disagree with, they may be more likely to engage with you in conversation, which can be great. The important thing is that you get comfortable creating comments and posts that are galvanizing, polarizing, or provocative.
Note that I’m not endorsing unprofessionalism here. I’m also not suggesting that you talk about politics, religion, sex, or any other topics that are gratuitously controversial. Instead, you want to stay within your professional lane and think about what you believe that sets you apart from others in your industry. These are your differentiators.
Now, being provocative, even within professional guardrails, doesn’t always feel comfortable. It can be downright scary. Unless you are the sort of person who really loves to provoke others, the prospect of showing up on LinkedIn in this way probably evokes some anxiety. But stay with me and focus on how you can safely share your innovative ideas with the world.
It helps to have a strategy for spreading ideas so that you can let go of worrying about the inherent risks involved and that’s what I want to share with you in what follows.
Trust me. If you want to optimize LinkedIn for lead generation, ideation is what will really move the needle for you. So let’s look at the five categories of posts that tend to trigger our anxiety and some prompts to help you ideate around those categories.
5 Categories of Posts and Prompts to Test Your Edges
There are five categories of posts where you can be provocative while staying within your professional lane. The prompts I share under each category are meant to help you think deeper so you can find the confidence you need to share your most innovative ideas.
1. Personal Posts
Personally, I rarely share personal posts (see what I did there?). But they are an excellent way to evoke emotion, engage others, and get people talking. Sharing personal experiences is a powerful way to get people on your side—and they’re even more powerful when you use them sparingly.
- What is the one story you tell that fascinates people the most?
- What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about you and your business?
- What is the one thing you’ve never said out loud, but which you know needs to be said?
2. Educational Posts
Sure, we’ve all heard the marketing advice that we should educate our prospects about the work we do. But how can you do this in a way that goes beyond the surface level? Forget about the tips that every other consultant shares over and over.
- What is the one thing you wish prospects knew before they came to you?
- What makes you want to bash your head against the wall (proverbially, of course)?
3. Process Posts
Behind-the-scenes posts often do well. This may be one of the easiest places to share something provocative or controversial. All you have to do is share something about your process that might surprise people.
I have a distinct advantage here with ghostwriting. Most people who have never worked with a ghostwriter don’t know how the process works. So when I share that my process is really collaborative—that I meet with my clients weekly to talk through different pieces of content—my audience is often surprised and interested to hear more.
This is also a good example of how you can share something “provocative” in a positive way. We’re not interested in shock marketing here.
- What is surprising about the way you work?
- What do you do differently from others in your industry?
- What is the one thing that makes your process successful?
4. UVP Posts
When we talk about creating content that tests your edges, we’re really talking about how you define your unique value proposition (UVP). If you’ve ever done work to come up with your UVP, you know what a monster of a process it can be. It can feel like a constant sharpening of your brand and even deeper, a business strategy. For a living, breathing company in growth mode, discovering your UVP is an iterative process, which means it’s perfect fodder for content ideation.
- Have you gone through a pivot with your business?
- What gives you a unique perspective on your client’s goals?
- What do you do (that adds value) differently than others in your industry?
- What is your differentiator and how has your thinking about it shifted over time?
5. Intellectual Property or Framework Posts
Talking about your intellectual property or the frameworks you have invented is the final category of posts. Your favorite clients may be able to share insights for this one because it’s all about how you drive results.
Now, you may worry that if you share too much about your intellectual property or your frameworks, someone could come along and “steal” your process. I can understand wanting to be a bit guarded here, but let’s keep this in perspective. It is pretty difficult to reverse engineer a process from a LinkedIn post about your framework.
The more likely impact of sharing a post about your intellectual property is that people who are sitting on the fence about working with you, will get excited about working with you. Posting about your IP is often worth the risk.
- What do you know gets results?
- What do you know does not get results?
- Do you have a surprising example that shows the value of your intellectual property?
I know that having answers to the questions under each category won’t magically dissolve your fear around sharing ideas that are new, innovative, and provocative. Sometimes it helps to have someone to bounce your ideas off of and you’re in luck because that’s what I LOVE to do with my clients.
If this all feels a bit overwhelming, register for one of my monthly LinkedIn hot seat coaching events. We’ll workshop ideas together and then you can hop on a call with me and I’ll give you some one-on-one expert help. By the end of that call, you’ll feel confident enough to share your innovative ideas on LinkedIn.
And if you’re ready to book that call with me right now, send me a message through my contact form and we’ll get you booked ASAP. I want you to be damn confident about the ideas you share on LinkedIn!