LinkedIn is a viable tool for generating quality residential leads. The social media platform is no longer just for finding employment
By Michelle L. Cramer
Given all the photo-centric social media options that appeal to spa retailers, engaging on LinkedIn may be a low priority. The LinkedIn of the past was all about finding a job, but these days, the platform is a melting pot of professionals sharing content and establishing credibility in their area of expertise.
John Boyles, founder and owner of Sunset Spas in Moberly, Missouri, says he has used LinkedIn to follow up with existing customers who use the site. “LinkedIn would be perfect for a B2B company whose services are specifically geared toward other business professionals and companies,” he says. Boyles says he is considering adding consultation services to his resume, which would lead him to approach LinkedIn differently than he does now.
Meredith Volpe, backyard sales consultant for Ocean Spray Hot Tubs and Saunas in New York City, manages only her personal LinkedIn profile, representing herself as sales professional, rather than the company directly. “I use LinkedIn as a tool to get my name out there so people who are perhaps landscape designers in need of a hot tub for a client come straight to me,” Volpe says. “I personally make every effort to interact with these other professionals, and it has paid off for me personally.”
Volpe mentions that a comment on a pool professional’s installation post led to a conversation with a landscape designer, who has since referred two clients to her. Another attempt at a professional partnership with a pool builder who only provided spillover spas led Volpe to visit the company’s office. The staff shut her down repeatedly, but — unwilling to give up — she became acquainted with the company owner on LinkedIn and, following that connection, emailed him. “[I suggested he] offer my name and number when a client shows that they’d like a freestanding hot tub or outdoor sauna to complete the already gorgeous yard he’s provided,” Volpe says. He’s since referred two customers to her.
While Volpe focuses her attention on her personal profile and making new professional connections, Kristy Verity, director of sales and marketing for Ocean Spray, manages the company’s LinkedIn profile, posting three to five times a week.
“I have found LinkedIn to be a source to nurture our message, gaining trust and awareness from a public eye who may not even be in the market for a hot tub or sauna,” Verity says. “On behalf of Ocean Spray, I strive to engage a conversation and connect with people by sharing useful content, without so much concentration on lead generation. The lead is certainly stronger when the salesperson connects directly and offers customized information.”
Verity sees the highest level of engagement on the company’s LinkedIn profile compared with other social media platforms. “We maintain the company page on LinkedIn as a supportive marketing took and content generator, with conversational value,” Verity says. “Nurture over nature, if you will.”
Verity has learned that the LinkedIn audience is educated, discerning and unimpressed with a profile that lacks relatable content. “I highly recommend using LinkedIn as a source to stake your claim as an industry professional,” she says. “All in all, the concept is simple. You just need to ask yourself ‘Why?’ Why would someone read this? Why would someone ask you for more information? Why would someone purchase from you? ‘Why?’ is always my deciding factor when marketing.”
- Start with a well-crafted description, company story, logo and nice cover photo.
- Have employees link their profiles to the business page to show company pride and open conversations with potential leads.
- Follow business pages and connect with professionals in complementary industries.
- Utilize the People You May Know function to find more connections.
- Don’t be a hustler. Draw in leads through consistent, quality content that establishes you as the professional.
- Keep your connections local to avoid pitches from wannabe business partners.