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Does LinkedIn Win the B2B Lead 'War'?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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In a blog posted just this past April 29 on socialmediatoday.com, David Meerman Scott made the astonishing claim that LinkedIn is up to four times better at generation of new business leads than either Facebook or Twitter.

He notes, “I presented at the LinkedIn #B2BConnect 2012 event on April 17, 2012 in Mumbai, India. A few weeks ago as I was preparing my talk, I asked my friends at HubSpot if they had any data on the effectiveness of LinkedIn that I could share with my audience.”

A colleague at HubSpot came up with some pretty fantastic data, according to Meerman Scott:

“In a study of 3,128 HubSpot B2B customers, LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.60%, four times higher than Twitter (.67%) and seven times better than Facebook (.39%). The methodology was a data dump of all of HubSpot customers' social media traffic and leads collected through the HubSpot system in 2011. From there, data was segmented to look at B2B companies that had generated visits and leads from social media. Companies that generated less than two leads in the year were excluded from the sample.”

Okay, that would be pretty normal review of ROI and lead generation analysis. So far, so good.

Meerman Scott concluded his blog by stating: “This data clearly shows that LinkedIn is a good lead source. But few B2B companies use LinkedIn to its full potential.”

Meerman Scott also qualified his blog by commenting that he is on the HubSpot board of advisors and serves as Marketer in Residence for the company and was compensated for his speaking appearance at the LinkedIn #B2BConnect 2012 event.

Let’s look at his claims for a moment. Like many of you, I have a LinkedIn account and have a profile there that I try to keep reasonably updated. Since one of the best ways to look for a new position or expand one’s knowledge is to build a network, LinkedIn is indeed top-notch among social media for building professional connections. I have, as well, used the site via its Jobs section as a way to look for new opportunities.

Effective lead generation is perhaps one of the strongest tools a B2B PR professional can use to develop more business and customers for his or her company. Any time a visitor to a company’s website, trade show booth, or other can be converted into a solid lead (known as the lead conversion rate) it's a great thing for any enterprise. And the visitor-to-lead conversion rate is one of the easiest methods of checking for effectiveness of PR campaigns and ROI.

As I’ve noted in previous blogs, we should not rely totally on one or another form of lead generation but rather, use any and all tools available at our disposal. This clearly would mean continuing to use traditional methods such as bingo cards, email newsletters, collecting references from customers, PR pitches in magazines and trade journals, “pressing the flesh” at trade shows, etc. It also means effective and judicious use of the latest technology available. Using professional networking sites as LinkedIn to generate B2B leads surely supports this.

Don’t you agree?

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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