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Leveraging the various social media platforms for optimizing thought leadership, uncovering new targeted-prospects and engaging conversations that guide prospects towards your specific “need to have” value proposition is the new marketing imperative.

There was a time when social media was fairly cut and dry when it came to which platform to use for which desired activity:

  • Facebook ~ LIKE ME
  • Twitter ~ LISTEN TO ME
  • YouTube ~ WATCH ME
  • Blogs ~ AGREE WITH ME
  • LinkedIn ~ HIRE ME

One of the most surprising metamorphoses is LinkedIn, which has evolved from a primary purpose of online resumes or cloud-based business Rolodex into a primary lead generator and business networking.  LinkedIn now boasts over 200 million professionals using it for:

  • Staying informed about your contacts and industry
  • Finding people and knowledge needed to achieve specific goals
  • Control of professional identity online

So it comes as no surprise that many sales and marketing professionals are looking for creative ways to add LinkedIn into their inbound marketing strategies.  The Young Entrepreneur’s Council recently published a blog titled “13 Creative Ways To Use LinkedIn For Demand Generation” and offers the following advice:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Participate in discussions
  3. Search for connections
  4. Find common interests
  5. Use flattery
  6. Collect leads (optional LinkedIn Ads)
  7. Research profile views
  8. Search with advanced filters
  9. Ask questions
  10. Stay active
  11. Connect with Twitter
  12. Publish articles
  13. Be aggressive

I’ve also found that the best use of LinkedIn is in the Groups section.  I would recommend participating actively in any group directly related to your target markets as well as monitoring any group in an adjacency and responding when appropriate.  Sometimes it makes sense to start your own group and use polls as well as thought-leading content to drive participation.  Remember that 1 question well crafted will generate 100X more interest in your specific value proposition than 10 statements.