LinkedIn is pulling ahead as a leading social media marketing channel for bringing in new business prospects.

In a commercial landscape where real-time integrated marketing reins supreme, brands must be ‘always-on’ if they intend to stay at the top of prospects’ minds. Where should brands focus their social content efforts? It depends, of course, on the customers – but recent data from RS/WUS’ 2013 Agency New Business Thought Leadership Survey, suggests LinkedIn is pulling ahead in lead generation.

Around 46 percent of respondents said LinkedIn was the most important social media marketing channel for bringing in new leads. Just under 25 percent listed blog content as the best medium for lead generation, followed by an even number citing Facebook and Twitter (13 percent), while just around 2 percent credited Google+.

Brafton previously reported that LinkedIn is coming into its own, as marketers recognize the network’s vast potential for propelling corporate goals in addition to discovering job candidates. With more than 225 million monthly active users representing major brands across industries, the channel puts companies in direct contact with B2B – and B2C – decision makers.

Perhaps more telling of LinkedIn’s glowing future – the site now offers more ways to get brand messages in front of target audiences. Marketers can share organic content within their direct networks and groups, follow conversations started by influencers or purchase promoted ad space to make messages visible in front of ideal audiences.

While LinkedIn is putting the right pieces in place to give brands commercial opportunities, marketers are responsible for sharing digital content that not only engages prospects, but also compels them to enter the sales funnel. Brands can determine whether their practices are meeting performance benchmarks by assessing their company page analytics, which helps them gather data about the content that earns the best audience response so those approaches can be repeated.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.