20 LinkedIn Tips for B2B Social Media Success

B2B marketers are looking for ways to improve their social media marketing results, and one of the platforms that helps with that is LinkedIn. Many B2B companies have seen success on the professional social network by getting employees to represent the company in addition to their own experiences, managing company pages and even running industry groups.

Below are 20 tips that will help with many aspects of LinkedIn, both personal and for your company. Each one of the tips has a link to the original source, so many more tips can be found by clicking through and reading more. If you have other great tips for B2B companies, please share them in the comments below.

Personal Profiles

1. Use a professional-looking photo that is tight and well-lit with limited background distractions. (Source)

2. Customize your website listings. (Source)

3. Use LinkedIn to follow up after other communications. (Source)

4. Teach LinkedIn strategy and tactics to your employees. (Source)

5. Endorse others first and endorse fairly. (Source)

Company Pages

6. Choose keywords in your company description that your potential customers might look for. (Source)

7. Target your posts by Industry or Location. (Source)

8. Build followers for your LinkedIn company page. (Source)

9. Amplify through your network. (Source)

10. Monitor and focus your efforts. (Source)


11. Use “Tags” to categorize your connections. (Source)

12. When you think it could benefit your business, ask your contacts for introductions to their contacts. (Source)

13. Understand the psychological needs of people on LinkedIn when connecting with them. (Source)


14. Have sales reps join industry and local LinkedIn Groups. (Source)

15. The best groups have discussion topics that do not always begin with blog article links. (Source)

16. Send messages to a large number of people for free. (Source)

Lead Generation

17. Target searches for keywords you’ve identified as central to your business. (Source)

18. Create free banners on your products/services page. (Source)

LinkedIn Advertising

19. Each element must attract the audience you’re targeting and inspire people to click on the ad. (Source)

20. Create a special landing page just for LinkedIn ads. (Source)

What are some things you have done to grow your B2B network or expand your company’s presence on LinkedIn?

5 Ways to Generate Leads from a LinkedIn B2B Company Page

Many B2B companies have been successful at generating leads from LinkedIn, but there are features of a company page that B2B marketers are just not aware of. Most B2B companies have company pages on LinkedIn where they include a keyword-stuffed paragraph or two of marketing-speak. It also shows the employees who work at the company. This is the most basic option for LinkedIn.

1. Products and Services

The first thing that you need to do is enable the Products and Services function of the company page and begin adding products and services. This is where the action happens on the company page. Recommendations aren’t given for companies. They are given for products. Several of the follow lead generating suggestions are based on areas in the product and services tab. Note that you can be flexible with the definition of what a product is. If you have a compelling ebook that is appropriate for a LinkedIn audience, add that as a product. You can direct visitors to a download page with a lead form to receive the ebook.

2. Free Banners

Want to test some new creative ideas? Want to test some landing pages? LinkedIn gives you three free banner ads at the top of the products and services page. Create images that are 640×220 pixels, upload them to your page and add a unique URL, preferably to a landing page, and you have free ads. All you need to do now is make sure you are directing traffic to your LinkedIn products and services page.

3. Personal Contacts

Prospects don’t always like filling out contact forms because they never know who is going to contact them, but what if you could show them real people, with pictures and everything, that they could connect to for more information. This personalization of contact can be set by product, so consider adding people who have a high enough profile in your business or who have a title that makes sense for the contact. This can be viewed by some prospects as a purely “for more information” request about the product or service, so product managers can be a good fit, but these are leads. Clicking on this link is someone raising their hand and expressing interest.

4. Video with Call to Action

Each product and service entry has a space to link to a YouTube video, which appears embedded on the page. Video is another way to tell the story of your products. There are many ways to include calls-to-action in a YouTube video, which should be considered for the ones on your LinkedIn page. Everything you do on this page should provide enough information for prospects to decide that your products and services should be in the consideration phase of their buying process. You need to make it easy for them to take the next step and become a lead.

5. Status Updates

Companies can share status updates with those following the company. This is different than sharing information on your personal profile. You should have a content plan for sharing on your company profile. Share a mix of third party articles, company blog posts, links to ebooks and webinars, employee information and other content appropriate for your LinkedIn audience. Cross promote LinkedIn groups and events to continue to build your audience across LinkedIn. The main thing to do for lead gen is to make sure you are providing compelling offers with calls-to-action so prospects can become leads for your B2B company.

Have you taken advantage of all the lead gen levers that LinkedIn offers on your B2B company page?

5 Ways to Measure Results of B2B Social Media

B2B marketers like to measure things. This is not measurement for its own sake, but to determine the results of their marketing efforts. Social media, since it occurs online, is filled with measurable elements, but it can sometimes be a challenge to know which ones are worth measuring.

Start by establishing a set of goals and objectives for your social media efforts. If these goals are realistic, and measurable, you can determine how you doing in social media by examining how you are hitting your goals. And it is super-awesome if these social media goals relate to your higher level business objectives. This is easier if your company has clear marching orders, but you should at least have some idea how your company is looking to grow its business.

1. Growth of Following

Every B2B company that starts in social media begins focused on increasing followers and fans across their social profiles. While this is a tactic that should be pursued to increase the reach of your following, it is not a metric that should be obsessively measured and reported to your management. This is better understood if and when you understand how your number of followers relates to conversions. If you know that for every 1000 followers or fans, you get five leads, that is useful information. If you are trying to get to 1000 followers just to show your boss that “social is working,” you have not demonstrated anything.

2. Conversions

Measuring conversions is the best place to start because these are actions your visitors and followers can take that have some connection to your business. You may have already determined that there is some value in these activities. This could be signing up for an email newsletter or subscribing to your company blog, but it could also be participating in a survey or leaving a blog comment. These are the things that take a visitor and get them closer to the top of the funnel. They may not be a lead yet (which we will look at next), but they have done something that shows they may have interest in you product or service in the future.

3. Leads and Sales

As many B2B companies have long sales cycles, leads are used as a proxy for sales. Generating leads through social media and tracking those efforts through your buying cycle should be one of main components of your social media efforts. If you are creating content on a blog, and you should be, to drive traffic to landing page offers for ebooks, webinars and other deeper educational content, the reporting depends on both your volume and the sophistication of your systems.

A raw number of leads generated from social media is a good start, but you should endeavor to push this further. Can you break it down by platform, offer and types of content? That’s the front end, but what about the back end? If you can measure how these leads convert to sales, then you have a better understanding of what types of content and activities appeal to your customers and prospects. This will allow you to further optimize your B2B social media efforts.

4. Cost Savings

Social media can reduce costs but you need to be realistic about measuring the real cost savings. Companies often cut outside expenses (traditional advertising and marketing) and replace them with internal costs (employee time), and the public perception of social media being free drives this approach. This does not take into account the employees’ time to create content content, manage social profiles, or even the other jobs functions that now get short-changed because they have added social media to their daily activities.

A better way to look at cost savings is to isolate it to a given activity, like customer service. Using social media to reduce the call volume of a call center is measurable if you know what an average call costs. Determine the average cost of resolving customer service issues via social media and the difference is your cost savings. Tracking this over time to meet a goal in call deflection is a measurable result. There may be upfront costs developing the process, training and materials for response, but over time, this can be more efficient for many companies.

5. Return on Investment

And finally, the last piece of measuring your results is determining the return on investment (ROI) of your efforts. This is simply determined by taking the return, or revenue, and subtracting the investment, or cost, and divide it by the cost. The hard part of determining ROI is to figure out what to include in the return and the cost. While you need to put some timeframe around these measurements, for example conduct a 90 day campaign to contain both the return and the investment, there are other ways to think of return. In The B2B Social Media Book, we suggest using a Lifetime Value of a Customer as a better return value than an individual sale. This really shows the true value of your activities to the business. The numbers are measured in dollars and the ROI is frequently expressed in a percentage. If you can accurately calculate the ROI of your social media efforts, you can compare them to other marketing activities to determine their cost-effectiveness.

Measuring B2B social media serves two main purposes. The first, and more important, is about determining success in meeting your social media goals, but the second is reporting on those results in a way that show the value of social media to your management. Ideally, there is no difference between the two. What has your experience been in developing measurable goals for social media, meeting them and reporting on them?

Creative Commons Image from Flickr

Only 13% of B2B Marketers Drive Leads with Social Media

In a recent study of B2B marketers by BtoB Magazine, 59% of those surveyed answered that online lead generation is their biggest marketing challenge. While email is their number one source of online leads, only 13% of respondents reported that social media was their greatest driver of leads.

The survey broke out marketers from agency professionals, which yields a bleaker picture. 18% of agency respondents are getting more leads from social media than other sources, while only 11% of marketers are. The study also found that only 5% felt that social media was a mature and well-optimized part of their marketing mix. 55% of those surveyed revealed that they were in the early stages of social media, and 14% of B2B companies were not using social media at all.

Does this survey seem in line with your experience of social media to drive leads and become fully integrated in your B2B company’s marketing mix?

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Tweet This Stat 59% of B2B Marketers Find Driving Leads Online Their Biggest Challenge

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Tweet This Stat 20% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Paid Search Than Any Other Online Source

Tweet This Stat 13% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Social Media Than Any Other Online Source

Tweet This Stat 5% of B2B Companies Have Optimized Social Media into their Marketing Mix

Tweet This Stat 55% of B2B Companies are in the Early Stages of Social Media Marketing

Tweet This Stat 14% of B2B Companies are not using Social Media Marketing

The B2B Social Media Book as a Social Network

Now that the Kindle version of The B2B Social Media Book has been out for about six weeks, we’ve noticed something interesting. One feature of the Kindle is that highlighted passages not only show up in everyone’s version of the electronic version, but the most popular ones show on the Amazon website. This tells us (as authors of the book) which ideas most resonate with readers. But it also tells readers which ideas were noted by other readers.

This builds some social proof for the ideas (“I can like this passage because others did”), but it also starts a community, or social network, around the Kindle readers of the book. It’s almost like a secret society where people leave messages for each other in the book. While you are reading along, you might pause a little longer on a highlighted passage because someone else thought it was important. In the past you might have checked a book out of the library and it had some notes in it, but that didn’t build any real connections. As more people read the Kindle version, and annotate their copy by highlighting passages and ideas, the collective version of what’s important grows. This is a very interesting development in group book reading.

Below are the 10 most highlighted passages from the The B2B Social Media Book. They are all from early chapters, which makes sense this early in the release of the book. However, the first part of the book is the setup for the later tactic sections, so we expect that even long term earlier chapters will be over-represented in this list. And just for fun, since this book does have two authors, we do get a bit competitive about whose chapters have more highlighted passages.

1. Highlighted by 18 Kindle users
Does your offer:
1. Solve a problem for the prospect?
2. Align with the product or service of the business?
3. Provide unique information not easily found in other online resources?
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

2. Highlighted by 14 Kindle users
For a B2B company to have successful search engine marketing in 2012 and beyond, it must leverage social media.
(Chapter 3: Yes, Chapter 3 in a Social Media Book Is about Search )

3. Highlighted by 13 Kindle users
Prospects don’t want to hear about your products. They want solutions to their problems.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

4. Highlighted by 12 Kindle users
Need for Generating Higher Revenue with Lower Marketing Budgets
(Chapter 1: Why B2B Is Better At Social Media Than B2C)

5. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
Maximizing content discovery can be done by producing awesome content and reducing fiction around sharing that content.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

6. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
Instead, it is one piece of a well-planned and executed inbound marketing strategy that is tightly aligned to business objectives.
(Chapter 1: Why B2B Is Better At Social Media Than B2C)

7. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
B2B companies are better suited for social media marketing than B2C companies.
(Chapter 1: Why B2B Is Better At Social Media Than B2C)

8. Highlighted by 10 Kindle users
Reducing approvals and empowering marketing to ship online content is the single biggest lever you can pull to increase lead generation.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

9. Highlighted by 7 Kindle users
Generating leads using social media starts with three core elements that are the linchpin for the entire online lead generation process: offers, calls to action (CTAs), and landing page.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

10. Highlighted by 8 Kindle users
A lead is someone who raises his or her hand—a person who demonstrates interest in something that a business has to offer.
(Chapter 2: Five-Step Social Media Lead Generation Process)

Do you have the Kindle version of The B2B Social Media Book, and have you highlighted any passages? Have you ever highlighted anything in a Kindle book?

5 Ridiculous B2B Social Media Marketing Myths

B2B social media is gaining wider adoption. We are past arguing if B2B companies can use social media like we did in the early days of this blog. With the gradual adoption of social media marketing for B2B companies, some misconceptions and myths about B2B social media have been born. That’s okay, because myths are a part of change in any aspect of life. Heck, when people started using microwaves one of the big myths was that they leaked electromagnetic radiation. Change and myths go hand-in-hand.

Let’s squash some of the most ridiculous B2B social myths now before they spread any further!

5 Ridiculous Myths About B2B Social Media Marketing

1.  B2B Social Media Isn’t About Selling
This is likely the most common myth. Since social media marketing started to emerge there has always been a misperception that selling is off limits. This is wrong. Spaming people in social media is always off limits. Giving someone what they want when they want it is always a great thing. This is what selling in social media is about. It isn’t about endless product tweets. As we cover in The B2B Social Media Book, it is about providing relevant content and conversion opportunities through the buying cycle using social media.

2.  B2B Social Media Doesn’t Have a Clear ROI
In the world of social media, some purists, or “treehuggers” as I call them, will say things like “B2B social media doesn’t have an ROI. It has a return on emotion.” That is absolute crap. As marketers we are in business to generate revenue. Social media can be a valuable part of B2B lead generation. When B2B social media has a lead generation component calculating ROI is a simple math problem. You simply look at the revenue from the leads generated from social media and the cost it took to acquire that revenue. B2B social media has a clear ROI. Don’t listen to the treehuggers.

3.  B2B Social Media Can Replace Offline Marketing
Social media is only one piece of an integrated marketing effort. It is unlikely that social media can replace all of your current traditional marketing efforts. The truth is that to go cold turkey from traditional marketing is stupid. Instead, social media and traditional marketing efforts should be combined to amplify each other. Doing a direct mail campaign? Why not try testing including your LinkedIn Company Page URL? Don’t ignore offline. Figure out strategies for online and offline marketing to work together.

4.  B2B Social Media Is About Narrow Targeting
This might be the myth that bothers me the most! In B2B marketing it has always been thought that it is all about extremely focused and targeted marketing. The problem is that in a world of social media marketing is no longer linear. Everyone has the potential to influence another person or spread your content. For the first time a non-customer can actually have monetary value to your business. While someone may never buy your product or service, they can easily refer someone else that will. In the world of B2B marketing building an ever growing social media reach has never been more important. Forget targeted! Take a cue from the B2C folks and work on pumping up your social media reach.

5.  B2B Social Media Is Only About Lead Generation
Yes, Jeff and I wrote an entire book about social media lead generation, but that isn’t the only application of social media for B2B companies. In fact social media has applications across most aspects of a B2B business. For example, Lead management, is a post lead marketing process where social media can be extremely valuable. You might want to use data from social media to help better sales qualify a leads. You might want to send a custom product focused email to anyone who is an existing lead and mentions your product on Twitter. This is a simple example, but social medi can be a valuable source of data to determine which of your leads are sales-ready.

Did a miss any B2B social media myths? Which B2B social media myth do you think is the most widespread?

Photo credit: Flickr

Approach Your B2B Social Media Strategy from Many Sides

Many B2B marketers approach their social media programs from a tactic entry point. There is pressure to get started. Sometimes that pressure is from above. Sometimes it’s from below. There can even be pressure from the industry and competitors. This is why so many blog posts about social media focus on the tactics. They answer “how to” questions. They help solve marketers’ biggest challenges. And the small ones too.

Social media succeeds for B2B companies when it starts from a strategic level where goals and metrics are tied to higher level business objectives. I feel like I say this all the time. Not just here on this site, but in my day job, in presentations and in our book. But it is still worth reminding marketers of this. The following articles all get you thinking about higher level strategies that you need to put in place. Even the LinkedIn article about new demographic data available in the platform, which seems very tactical, should make you think about your target audience and how to reach them. Those are strategic thoughts, or at least they should be.

Have you seen any other posts recently that have inspired your strategy approach? Share them in the comments below.

The Evolution of B2B Marketing: Why Generating Leads Isn’t Enough Anymore
from MarketingProfs
If you’re like most B2B marketers, you diligently plan and execute campaigns to drive new opportunities and, ultimately, increase revenue. But unless you’re ready to rethink marketing’s role, you may be throwing precious budget dollars out the window and missing opportunities to drive real customer value.
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Social, Content & Selling – a Chief Revenue Officer’s take
from Inside Sales Experts Blog
I recently participated in a conversation over at Focus.com: How can you create a culture where your employees feel comfortable creating content? The idea being, that the creation of content is now an organizational responsibility as opposed to just being Marketing’s. At one point in the dialogue, I was sick of hearing what all the pundits think (myself included) so I threw down the glove and asked a Sales Exec to chime in. Well, Alex Shootman the Chief Revenue Officer of Eloqua did.
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Lessons from a B2B Summit Coach: Five Steps to Cut through the Noise, Turn off the Hype and Create a B2B Social Media Program that Works
from B2B Lead Roundtable Blog
I am further convinced social media is one of the most challenging channels for B2B marketers to manage. It’s so unpredictable, yet there’s so much pressure surrounding it – everyone feels like they need to be on every social media channel or else. And there’s so many people claiming to be social media experts, but don’t just blindly follow their advice. You see, I don’t believe anyone can be a true social media guru because there are constantly new ideas, platforms and methodologies.
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ZMOT, and what it means to B2B marketers
from Velocity B2B Marketing Blog
What is Zero Moment of Truth and what do buyers do during ZMOT?
They google, of course. They learn about their choices online, read reviews, watch videos, etc., etc., etc. To big brands like Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola and General Electric, the new mental model defined by ZMOT has attracted a tremendous amount of attention. Research undertaken by Shopper Science indicated that ZMOT was even more influential on purchases than the original stimulus that starts a purchase decision, and the first moment of truth. Arguably, ZMOT carries more importance for B2B markets than it does for B2C markets, as the larger the purchase the more time for pre-purchase research.
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LinkedIn Becomes More Relevant for B2B Communicators
from B2B Voices
LinkedIn continues to be enhance its platform for B2B communicators. Last month the company announced that companies could stream news and information from its corporate page. That was a small change and a much needed addition. But a much bigger change has just happened.
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42% of B2B Marketers Report Zero Social Media Leads

According to a B2B social media survey by Pardot, B2B cloud marketing automation software provider, even though 95% of B2B companies report using social media (a number that strikes me as way too high), nearly half of them (42%) have received no leads or can’t attribute any leads generated to social media.

B2B marketers are responsible for generating leads and social media should be part of that process. Using social media for just brand awareness, connecting and engaging is not enough. And it is not what B2B marketers should be spending their time doing. A coordinated plan of blogging with calls to action on every post, and sharing that content on company social media profiles can generate leads.

Other statistics from the study:

  • 11% of companies have a formal social media policy
  • 55% said contacting a social media-generated sales lead by phone or email is ok
  • 48% said the reverse is true and it is ok to respond to phone or email leads via social media
  • 100% said it is acceptable to invite a prospect to join a marketer’s online social networks
  • 31% said it is acceptable to critique a competitor via social media

How do these numbers compare with your B2B company? Are you able to attribute leads to social media?

7 Awesome Email And B2B Social Media Integrations

B2B Social MediaGreat inbound marketing is integrated marketing.  Social media can’t be an isolated tactic and succeed. Instead it has to be part of an overall inbound marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization, blogging, email marketing, marketing automation, and other strategies.  One of the most powerful points of integration exists between email marketing and social media.

For most B2B marketers their email database is the most powerful tool with the biggest reach at their disposal. When teamed up with B2B social media, email becomes even more powerful. This integration lays the foundation for a future in which email is a less reliable source of lead generation.

7 Steps For Integrating Email With A B2B Social Media Strategy

1. Include Social Media Follow Links In Email Marketing Messages – It seems simple, but many B2B companies simply don’t do it. In all of your marketing email include clear and visible links for an email recipient to click on and follow your active social media accounts.

2. Use Social Media To Grow Your Email List – It isn’t enough to have a prospective customer only connected with you via social media. Getting them  on to your email marketing list will increase their likelihood of becoming a lead. Schedule regular updates to encourage social media connections to become part of your email community. Note: It is critical when doing this to set expectations. Let you social media followers know what information they will receive in your emails.

3. Test Email Marketing Offers In Social Media – Since your email list is your most significant marketing channel, you don’t want to waste it. Share a lead generation offer to your social media connections before your email list to determine if it converts visitors into leads at a high enough rate to merit an email send.

4. Use Email AND Social Media To Nurture Leads – Nurturing existing leads is about far more than email. Social media can be a valuable way to move leads through the sales funnel. Sharing content on social media that helps move leads from investigators to buyers. Use your marketing automation software to help you send custom social media messages to leads when they take an action on your website.

5. Source Email Content From Social Media – What are your social media connections talking about? Use hot topics in social media to fuel content for new email marketing offers and copy. Give people the information that want!

6. Make One Coordinated Push – When you send out an email marketing message for lead generation it should be part of a coordinated push. A blog post about the offer should go up that day and social media messages about the offer should be shared throughout the day. This coordinated push will help to maximize response rates and subsequently leads.

7. Source Leads Correctly – Make sure to use tracking URLs to understand which leads for a particular campaign are coming from social media versus email marketing. Data is powerful. Having clean data will allow you to make informed choices about future campaigns and  increase results.

Have you seen benefits from integrating your social media and email lead generation efforts?

6 Instant B2B Social Media Lead Generation Improvements

Social media that doesn’t drive revenue doesn’t last. As B2B marketers, focusing on generating leads and revenue is our top priority. Social media can help. It can help reduce cost of customer acquisition and provide sustainable long-term lead flow. As a marketer who is already leveraging social media, how do you supercharge your efforts to make sure that you maximize leads from your social media marketing time investment?

Their are tons of approaches to help do this, but let’s start with six that can provide an instant boost to your social media lead generation efforts.

6 Instant B2B Social Media Lead Generation Improvements

1. Add a Call-to-action to your Business Blog – One of the biggest mistakes B2B marketers make is forgetting to include a call-to-action on their blog. Have an upcoming webinar that you are using to drive leads? Put a link or image to drive registration in your blog sidebar or at the end of blog posts.

2. Share Lead Generation Offers in Social Media – Social media purists would tell you that tweeting out a landing page to an ebook or product demo shouldn’t happen. They are wrong. Prospects that have opted into your social media content want more information about industry best practices and your business. Sometimes this might be from a blog post or an email. Other times it will be from a more hearty lead generation offer. Go ahead and start sharing these in social media.

3. Test Paid Methods of Building Social Media Reach – Social media advertising is an interesting beast. Beyond doing pay-per-click lead generation, marketers can also use tools like Facebook’s promoted stories to increase the number of likes on a Facebook Page. The benefit to paying for reach is that unlikes of social media accounts is fairly low. So instead of paying per lead, B2B marketers can pay for a fan or follower that has the potential to drive multiple leads over their lifetime as a connection. You will need to do some math to determine how many leads a follower or fan generates for your business over their lifetime, but that is another post for another time.

4. Follow, Friend, and Connect – You have to have social media connections to see and spread your content in order to generate leads. A simple way to get more social media connections is to search for related connections on a social network and then connect with them. Taking the simple action of connecting exposes your social media accounts to new connections and results in reach growth over time.

5.  Leverage Email – Email is social. Make sure to include links in your email to make it easy for email list members to connect with your business in social media.

6. Analyze Offers – Marketing without data crunching only results in wasted effort. Look at your lead generation offers and see how they perform in different social media channels. Use this data to promote the best performing offers by channel. This should increase your overall lead flow by channel by making simple changes.

We cover this topic in MUCH more detail in The B2B Social Media Book, but these are a few simple action items to get started. What other lead generation suggestions would you make for B2B companies?

Photo credit: Flickr