1. Participate in LinkedIn Answers: This is one of the more useful (and under-utilized) tools on LinkedIn. It’s a section where people can ask industry-specific questions and get advice. And guess who’s giving the advice? You are, because you’re an industry insider with a lot of helpful knowledge, right? Answering questions related to your industry on a regular basis can help you establish yourself as a thought leader. If you have blog posts or other content that provides helpful information about another user’s question, make sure it’s optimized for lead gen (with a call-to-action), and link to it in your answer.
  2. Add LinkedIn Applications: One of the more interesting places to visit on LinkedIn is the Applications section. This is where you can find and add new and interesting apps that can improve the experience people have on your LinkedIn page. Let people know what business books you’re reading with Amazon’s ReadingList app. You can even set up simple polls to find out what’s on the minds of your customers and prospects. For lead gen, and an app that pulls your recent blog posts onto your Page.
  3. Join LinkedIn Groups: You should definitely join several groups on LinkedIn. The trick here isn’t just joining the obvious groups in your industry, it’s joining groups that are outside your industry that might help you grow your business. By stretching out a little bit, you’re expanding your reach, which is always good for business and helpful in lead generation. So, for example, if you’re an accountant, you don’t want to just join accounting groups — you’ll want to join groups for entrepreneurs, small business owners, restaurateurs and other groups outside of your immediate circle.
  4. Conduct a LinkedIn People Search: This is a terrific tool for sales people, people looking for jobs, or business-to-business owners who want to get their foot in the door at a large corporation. Just do a people search for your target company using the upper right-hand search box. When you generate results, use the refining options on the left to view your first connections (also known as direct connections and your second connections. Assuming you have no first or direct connections, filter by checking off the “2nd connections” box. This will return a list of names of people at your target company. On their individual profiles, you’ll see a list of your shared connections. From that point on, it’s a cakewalk. Just ask your friends to introduce you via LinkedIn to the people at that target company with which you want to connect. Bingo, you’re in.
  5. Experiment With LinkedIn Direct Ads: LinkedIn has an advertising program that can be used to drive new prospects to your landing pages, LinkedIn groups, or other destinations. The ads work the same way Google paid search ads work. You simply write a headline, add some copy, and create a destination link. Then you bid on how much you’ll pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad. If you pay $1 to LinkedIn for a click-through and it takes 50 clicks before you convert a customer, then you’ve just spent $50 for 1 customer. If your product sells for $500 each, investing $50 to generate $500 is not a bad return on investment.
  6. Try LinkedIn Mobile: Yes, LinkedIn has a mobile application. If you haven’t already downloaded it to your smartphone, just go to your app store and download it for free. The LinkedIn mobile app is best used when you’re at a trade show or an event where you’re making one-on-one contacts, and it’s best used on the iPhone. During a conversation with a prospect, ask them to turn on LinkedIn on their smartphone. Then, bump your phones together lightly. If they have an iPhone and their settings are correct, then LinkedIn will transfer contact information between phones using Bluetooth. No typing, no misspelled words, just instant transfer of information … and a lead!