Three Ways to Use LinkedIn to Reach Industrial Prospects


On the face of things, social media doesn’t seem like the best fit for industrial marketing campaign dollars. The fast-paced, interaction-driven nature of platforms like Facebook and Twitter aren’t the homes of engineers and procurement professionals while in the workplace. But in ignoring social media as a marketing channel, many industrial sales and marketing professionals are missing out on the vast potential of LinkedIn as a source of industrial prospects.

LinkedIn, the only major social media channel designed solely for professional interaction, is a juggernaut, with more than 300 million active users and a huge foothold in almost every major industry, including manufacturing. So, how do you take advantage of it to generate new leads and get the most out of your marketing dollars? Let’s take a closer look.

Social Listening and Active Engagement with Sales Tools

LinkedIn offers a suite of sales tools designed to leverage and provide access to its database of business users. For business development and sales, in particular, these resources are invaluable. Tools that can be used specifically for generating sales leads and engaging with recent contacts include:

  • Sales Navigator – Designed as a sales intelligence tool within LinkedIn’s database, Navigator allows you to search for leads and target accounts based on a range of criteria, save them for future follow-ups, get alerts when someone engages with content you are tracking and much more. It’s a must have for anyone actively tracking new or potential sales leads.
  • InMail – InMail messages allow you to send a message to anyone on LinkedIn whether you are connected to them or not. You only pay for the message if they respond to it, and it’s a great way to break into a new account that was previously unavailable to you.

The goal of these tools is to provide greater access to the 300 million people on LinkedIn, without requiring tedious manual work with the standard search tools. Take advantage of that whenever possible.

Engage in Groups and Public Article Posts

LinkedIn’s content resources are equally vast. They provide the opportunity to establish yourself or your company as a thought leader in the industry, an important step for manufacturers eager to stand out against the competition. These tools include:

  • LinkedIn Groups – Groups are exactly as they sound – frequently closed groups of professionals in a specific industry or vertical that share resources, ask questions, and provide value to each other. You can join up to 30 groups with a personal account. You should find as many as possible and track conversations to which you can add value.
  • LinkedIn Articles – You can also publish articles directly to a personal LinkedIn profile. By default, these articles are displayed to everyone in your network. The larger your personal network, the more people will see it. More importantly, though, they will be amplified if those people in your network share it, like it, or otherwise engage with it.The goal of these content-oriented tools is to help you reach your already existent audience with new and useful information. If you’ve invested the time to build that network, take advantage of it by publishing every few weeks.

Tap into the LinkedIn Advertising Platform

Finally, there is the more traditional end of the LinkedIn marketing ecosystem – the advertising platform. LinkedIn Ads can be targeted using any of the demographic information collected about users by the system. This includes location, skills, job title, industry, seniority, years in the industry, and even the groups they are members of.

For an industrial company with a small number of target accounts and specific titles within those accounts you want to reach, this is invaluable. The cost of these ads is slightly higher than in other comparable ad networks in Google or Facebook, but the quality of the people who see your ads is significantly higher, especially in the manufacturing space.

Getting the Most from LinkedIn’s B2B-Focused Features

Whether you are preparing to launch a new marketing campaign and are unsure of where to allocate your time and budget, or you have been running a campaign with a wider net and are not seeing the results yet, LinkedIn should be part of your future plans. The ability to target the people you are trying to reach in the place they are spending their time is invaluable and the results you can generate as a result are significant.

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