Social media is a platform for businesses to create brand awareness as an industry leader, provide customer service, and promote services and products. Lately, it has also become a marketing tool for businesses to generate sales leads, with some reporting a revenue increase of 24% when utilizing social media for lead generation.

As a B2B marketer who uses social media as a marketing tool, LinkedIn is my social platform of choice for B2B marketing. This is because it is geared towards those who are looking to network as well as stay on top of industry trends, versus other media networks that tend to be used for less business-oriented tasks.

Like many other social platforms, LinkedIn also caters to social media marketing, and provides opportunities to do so using sponsored content, Inmails, LinkedIn Groups, and Slideshare, to name a few. LinkedIn recently announced their newest marketing tool, Lead Gen Forms, which promises to harness the information already listed in a member profiles to generate sales leads.

How LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms for marketing works.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Ad

Since LinkedIn is a business networking platform, most users have a profile that contains information that is requested on a typical lead generation form: name, company, title, contact information. What LinkedIn has done is create a form that is automatically filled in with a user’s profile information at the click of a button.

The marketing part is simple: just create a lead generation ad and assign an appropriate call-to-action (CTA), such as downloading a white paper or signing up to find out more information about a service. Once the member clicks on the CTA, a pre-filled form comes up with pertinent information populated from their member profile. That information is then sent to the LinkedIn Campaign Manager, allowing you to manage the member’s information that was collected from your Lead Gen ad.

This new LinkedIn service has the potential to be a game changer for B2B marketers, because most profiles are kept up-to-date, giving marketers access to more accurate member information. More importantly, for the member, it’s a no hassle way from them to get what they are looking for without having to deal with filling out a form, and the ease of use makes it accessible to mobile and desktop users alike.

Our thoughts on the new LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms service.

Given our experience with traditional lead generation forms, we decided to put Lead Gen Forms to the test, using a $50 marketing credit we received in a promotional email.

A new ad was created using an appropriate lead generation form and target audience, and the ad ran until the $50 credit was exhausted. Unfortunately, Lead Gen Forms didn’t produce any leads. However, marketing is a bit of a science: it requires lots of testing, analyzing, and evolving to reap the rewards of success.

Although the process of creating and setting up the sponsored ad was relatively easy, the user interface for creating the actual lead generation form and linking it to the sponsored ad was a bit more labor intensive. I found myself clicking blindly around the page, not knowing what I had to do next. LinkedIn would benefit from making it easier to navigate through the process, so that you are not bogged down by creating a template and can focus on putting together your content.

Overall, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms is a great concept, and although we didn’t get the results expected, with minimal effort we still managed to gain more engagement and more impressions than we had previously derived from typical sponsored ads on LinkedIn. Although we still have more trial and error ahead of us before we gain our first lead from the service, I’d still recommend it to those who want to incorporate it into their standard repertoire of marketing tools.

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