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Using LinkedIn and Quora for Lead Generation

xkcd cartoon: It's like shooting lonely, angsty fish in a barrel

Cartoon courtesy of

OK, this cartoon is an admittedly cynical analogy to make to lead generation, but what the heck. I’m not suggesting that posters to LinkedIn and Quora are lonely or angsty, but I am saying that generating leads from them is frequently like shooting fish in a barrel. If you haven’t considered it before or don’t know how or just need need a kick in the pants to get going on it, then read on!

LinkedIn and Quora are two of the best kept secret weapons in lead generation. I’m frustrated on an almost daily basis when I see questions on those sites that are direct inquiries about a product or service that’s offered by someone I know (a client or colleague). These are softball pitches that should be knocked out of the park, but instead they fall with a soft thud and roll to the backstop. These are perfect opportunities to do the following:

  • Practice the “social” part of social media – engaging in conversations
  • Spreading your content and creating back-links
  • Beginning a new relationship with a gift
  • Bringing leads into your sales pipeline

Let’s get to it…

Step #1: Start Trolling

This step is fairly easy on LinkedIn. Their “Answers” feature is broken down into categories and sub-categories. Each of these is available via RSS subscription. For example, the Sales and Marketing topic contains eight sub-topics and two of them, in turn, have sub-topics.

LinkedIn Answers: Marketing & Sales

LinkedIn Answers: Marketing & Sales (click on image for full size)

LinkedIn RSS feeds

LinkedIn RSS feeds (click for full size)

Quora is still a bit new and hasn’t developed ways to easily monitor the questions without visiting the site itself. Part of the reason for this is that the topics are not predetermined by Quora; any user can create a topic themselves. As a result, you can select a much more granular set of questions. Additionally, you can follow other Quora users and individual questions. The main difference between Quora and LinkedIn is that Quora allows users to vote up and down other users’ answers and also supports threaded conversations.

Quora Topics

Quora Topics (click for full size)

Step #2: Answer Questions

Once you come across a question that deals with your product or service, you have an opportunity. But don’t kill your sale! If you try to launch into a direct sales pitch, you’re going to turn everyone off and perhaps be flagged as a spammer. Instead, do the following:

  • First and foremost, answer the question! It’s very frustrating to read through a list of answers that dart off into tangents, especially if those tangents are naked sales pitches.
  • Second, include a link.
    • If you have an existing blog post or web site page that provides additional information, that’s great! After answering the question, say something like, “The following link contains some additional information that you may also find useful.”
    • If you don’t have an existing blog post or page, consider creating one. This is also a great way to generate ideas for blog posts if you’re stuck.
    • If you don’t have the time to create content to specifically address the question, then include a link to an appropriate “About” page for either the product or service. This is a last resort and should only be done if your product and/or service is directly related to the question.
  • Third, invite the person to follow up with you personally. Most times, I’ll send this invite privately. You’d be surprised how many will do just that.

LinkedIn Answer Example

I’ve found LinkedIn to be very valuable for lead generation and secured a couple of clients from answering questions. Quora is a new experience and I haven’t landed any new customers yet, but I did have one of my answers featured on the Duct Tape Marketing blog.

What’s working for you? Any additional tips or tricks?

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