The Startup’s Playbook to Finding B2B Customers on LinkedIn

The secrets to turning LinkedIn into a lead generation machine 🚀.

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

I sometimes startle awake in the dark night, bathing in cold sweat and shivering uncontrollably because I dreamt that I had sent someone that horribly generic line in a connection invite.

Worst opening line ever?

LinkedIn actually ditched it in their newest version. No more random having to specify how you know each other by ticking some random boxes and no more default connection invites that make you want to kill yourself.

Looks like they finally figured out that the power of LinkedIn lies in building real social relations that allow for 1 and 1 to be more than 2.

As a marketing dude, I spend a fair amount of my time on LinkedIn. I’ve found it a powerful platform to extend reach, build influence and generate leads.

I do this by listening, talking, helping, sharing, engaging and writing.

I use automation so I can focus on the art of building human relations.

This Playbook will teach you how to:

  • build an inbound lead generation machine
  • grow your network using little-known tactics and automation
  • use automation to build powerful human relations that will get you sales
  • turn your connections into a fanbase
  • write epic content that will skyrocket your influence
  • sell on LinkedIn

Here’s the thing: LinkedIn is an ocean of B2B leads.

You just need to know how to fish.


I’ve included TL;DRs (Too Long; Didn’t Read) at the end of every section so you can get a quick recap before you move on.


Play #1: Stand Out 🕴️

Ever noticed what happens when you visit someone’s LinkedIn profile?

They visit you back. Not all of them, but a lot.

We’ll talk about how to automate targeted profile visiting in Play #5.

For now we’ll focus on how to make a good impression.

👉 Anyone visiting your profile can be a new lead or business partner.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is on fleek for the occasion 😎.

There’s been so much writing about optimising LinkedIn that it’s hard to still make a difference there.

I mean, you know your picture should look professional. You know you should incorporate some kind of branding in your background. You know you should use keywords in your tag line. You know you should add skills, experience and education. You know you should tell your story in your summary.

You know all of that already. Everyone knows that. Which is what makes these tactics useless if you’re looking to stand out.

Here’s a checklist if you want to make sure you’re not missing anything.

Do whatever the hell you want with your LinkedIn profile

That’s my advice.

For the sake of network and influence network, your LinkedIn profile should:

  • reflect who you are
  • give off positive vibes towards visitors
  • trigger curiosity

Basically you want people to feel like you’d be an interesting addition to their network when they check out your profile.

You want your profile to seriously improve the odds of people going Sure thing! whenever you send them a connection invite.

Still, with most people knowing what makes a good profile, you’ll need other ways to show the money than just your profile.

👉 That’s what this Playbook is for.

For the sake of maximum business exposure, you can however highlight the value you have to offer in your tagline 👇.

Other users will see your tagline when you pop up in their notifications and everywhere else they’ll see your profile: search results, their news feed, the People You May Know — section etc. Your tagline is like a signature that travels wherever your profile shows.

It’s an effective way to immediately make an impression and trigger curiosity about your startup.

This may conflict with your ambition to be likeable because however you spin it: promoting your business that way is not something everyone will appreciate.

But that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people will have seen it.

If they do give in to that curiosity, make sure you give them their time’s worth by making your current value proposition crystal clear 👇.


TL;DR

  • LinkedIn is an ocean of B2B leads
  • make a good impression
  • but don’t forget to just be your lovely unique self
  • give off a positive vibe and trigger curiosity
  • highlight value in your tagline and on your profile

Play #2: Get Yourself Some Friends 👫

Chances are you’re still low on LinkedIn connections.

No worries.

There’s a quick win to get yourself up and flying in no-time 🚀.

Go ahead and click My Network from the top bar.

On the left of the page, you’ll be able to connect your email address — how many do you have? 😎 — and source contacts to connect with.

Just hit Add Connections and see who likes you enough to say yes.

Next, click More options and you’ll be able to upload a .CSV — list with emails to connect with. LinkedIn will find profiles for these emails.

Don’t hold back from connecting with existing customers, trial users and even email list subscribers.

LinkedIn is a great place to get in front of prospects and build your know, like and trust factor. Engage with your connections, share and create epic content to claim thought leadership on your topic and help out where you can.

If you help people advance in whatever they care about, they’ll respect you, they’ll trust you, they’ll engage with you, they’ll want your help, they’ll seek your opinion, they’ll share your content.

And they’ll buy from you 🤝.


TL;DR

  • get a head-start by connecting your email accounts (multiple)
  • connect with customers, trial users and email list subscribers
  • engage with your audience to build your know, like and trust factor
  • build thought leadership by helping out and creating epic content
  • help people advance in what they care about and they’ll buy from you

Play #3: Get Yourself Some More Friends 👫👫👫

LinkedIn is all about building reach and influence. You want people and prospects to know and recognise you as a leader on your topic. Whatever that topic might be.

LinkedIn is basically a search engine, only showing you updates from first — second and third — degree connections.

In the very beginning, every single one of your first-degree connections has a fu*kton of second-degree connections — all people you’re not connected with yet.

The more first-degree connections you have, the more second- and third-degree connections you’ll have. Your face and content will start showing up in their feeds — if only you have valuable stuff to give out.

It’s like a snowball 🤔.

You’re literally just a few connections away from coming onto the radar of millions of new people. Every new connection is a gateway to a new pool of potential leads, partnerships and business introductions.

Reach comes before influence. Don’t waste your time on creating great value if only your own cute little local network will get to read it.

Of course, sharing great content will help to increase both reach and influence because it will draw people to your profile.

The two go kind of hand in hand.

Still, building influence will go more smoothly if you already have an extensive reach and engaged audience in place before doubling-down on it.

A network is no audience

So I should just connect with as many people as possible? 🤔

Hold your horses, son.

So, no. Not exactly.

When building your reach, beware to not dilute your network. Don’t go randomly adding people who have nothing to do with what you do and the stuff you share.

100 likes mean a lot more if you have 1k connections than if you have 10k.

You can assume your ass LinkedIn’s algorithm cares about this ratio too. The more engagement on your content, the more relevance it will be given.

Building thought leadership implies building an audience. A network is no audience. An audience engages and comes back for more.

Does your network do that?

⚠️ This is where LinkedIn’s snowball effect can hurt you.

Irrelevant connections carry irrelevant second-degree connections who in turn are also not likely to engage with your content.

Not setting high standards on who you add to your network can severely punish your ambitions to build influence, in spite of a large ‘network’.

Rule of thumb for adding people to your LinkedIn network 👍:

  • People you’ve worked with or interacted with professionally 🤝
  • People you’d like to work with or interact with professionally 😍
  • People you consider interesting for your business — i.e. leads, possible partnerships, business introductions 😏

Enough with the lecture, time to get down to the good stuff.

Here’s a few tactics you can try to strategically grow your network 👇.

1. Personalise each connection invite 📨

You’re at a networking event and some guy you’ve never met in your life comes up to.

He introduces himself, speaks some nice words showing he knows who you are and reaches out his hand.

Do you shake his hand?

Of course you do 🤝.

Don’t treat LinkedIn any differently.

Think of connection invites as you going up to someone you would like to get acquainted with.

If you’re looking to build a relationship with someone, start off on the right foot.

Introduce yourself and specify why you want to connect.

People will be way more inclined to accept your invite and, once they do, you can immediately get a conversation going. This is crucial to building meaningful relationships both parties can later benefit from.

Needless to say: ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn’ is worse than not writing anything.

2. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature 🖋️

Old but gold. This is a dead easy way of ensuring a steady influx of connection requests.

Putting your profile in your email signature leaves the initiative of sending a connection request into the hands of the other party.

Not only does this save you time, you can also rest assured that these are quality connections that want to engage with you.

3. Source connections from engaged communities 👥

The internet is more social than ever.

We gather ourselves in highly-specific communities with like-minded people. For business these are mostly LinkedIn and (more and more) Facebook Groups.

A lot of the people in these groups qualify as people you’d like to work with or interact professionally. These often make great additions for your network.

They’re like you. You already know what these people care about and what kind of value they’re looking for. They’re not just likely to engage with the content you share, they’ll also probably bring with them a lot of connections that share the same interests.

👉 All of them are now within your reach.

Josh Fechter — Master Growth Hacker and Founder Badass Marketers & Founders Facebook Group

I’ve gotten a huge amount of new, relevant connections from Facebook Groups on startups, SaaS and growth marketing. These groups often have dedicated threads where people can post their LinkedIn profiles in.

If there isn’t one of those threads yet, you’ve got yourself a great opportunity to start one and gain influence 💪.

4. The ‘People You May Know’ — Hack 😎

Another great place to look for new, relevant connections is the People You May Know — section.

These are people from your 2nd-degree network LinkedIn thinks may be of interest to you. You can check out suggestions by hitting the My Network tab from your top toolbar.

Now, let’s take our first steps into the wonderful world of automation.

👉 You can in fact send all of these people an invite with a single click.

No, you don’t have to be able to code. Copy-Paste will do the trick.

Open up Chrome’s JavaScript Developer Console.

On Mac:

  • Go to [View] — [Developer] — [JavaScript Console].
  • Or right-click somewhere on the page and clicking [Inspect].
  • Or use the short-keys CMD+OPTION+J

On Windows:

  • Go to [More Tools] — [Developer Tools]
  • Or right-click somewhere on the page and clicking [Inspect].
  • Or use the short-key F12.

Now, some users recently got a new UI for People You May Know, all nice and pretty with tiles. I’ll share two codes, one for the old UI and one for the new one.

Paste the following code into the console:

(OLD)

var connections=0;
var rejections=0;
function connect(){
var e=document.getElementsByClassName('mn-person-card');
for(i=0;i<e.length;i++){
var addMember=false;
var headline=e[i].getElementsByClassName('mn-person-info__occupation')[0];
var des=headline.innerHTML;
for(j=0;j<keyWords.length;j++){
  var reg = new RegExp(keyWords[j], 'i');
  var checker = des.match(reg);
  if (checker){addMember=true; break;}
}
if(addMember){
e[i].getElementsByClassName('button-secondary-medium')[0].click();
console.log(des);
connections++;
}else{
e[i].getElementsByClassName('button-tertiary-medium-muted')[0].click();
rejections++;
}}
console.log("Invitations Sent:");
console.log(connections);
console.log("People Dismissed:");
console.log(rejections);
scroll(0,100000);
scroll(0,0);
scroll(0,100000);
}

(NEW)

var connections = 0;
var rejections = 0;
function connect() {
    var e = document.getElementsByClassName('mn-pymk-list__card');
    for (i = 0; i < e.length; i++) {
        var addMember = false;
        var headline = e[i].getElementsByClassName('mn-person-info__occupation')[0];
        var des = headline.innerHTML;
        for (j = 0; j < keyWords.length; j++) {
            var reg = new RegExp(keyWords[j], 'i');
            var checker = des.match(reg);
            if (checker) {
                addMember = true;
                break;
            }
        }
        if (addMember) {
            e[i].getElementsByClassName('button-secondary-small')[0].click();
            console.log(des);
            connections++;
        } else {
            e[i].getElementsByClassName('mn-pymk-list__close-btn')[0].click();
            rejections++;
        }
    }
    console.log("Invitations Sent:");
    console.log(connections);
    console.log("People Dismissed:");
    console.log(rejections);
    scroll(0, 100000);
    scroll(0, 0);
    scroll(0, 100000);
}

👉 Hit Enter

Now. Remember how we said to not just randomly add people?

If you would hit connect right now, that’s exactly what would happen.

You don’t want that. You want to make sure the people you invite to your network are interesting to you and likely to engage with the value you have to share.

That’s why we’ll be filtering the people we add based on keywords in their names and tag lines.

var keyWords = ["CEO", "Founder", "Founder", "Growth", "Sales Director", "Sales Manager"];

(Keywords are not case-sensitive)

👉 Adjust keywords to connect with profiles you want to target and hit Enter.

Note that a keyword like ‘growth’ will connect with all profiles highlighting growth on their profile, like growth hacker, growth marketer, growth strategist and head of growth.

Almost there. One thing left to copy-paste:

connect();

👉 One last Enter and see the magic unfold.

You’ll see something like:

These are the numbers of people that matched the keywords versus the ones that didn’t.

When you’re done, the feed with connection suggestions will refresh. You can now just retype connect (); and it will just start over again.

Every time you go in to connect, you’ll see a ton of notification boxes pop up, confirming your invite was sent.

To dismiss all of these notifications at once, use this code:

while(1){document.getElementsByClassName('notification-item')[0].getElementsByClassName('close')[0].click();}

Yes, I’m aware of the fact that this way of connecting with people doesn’t allow for personalised invites.

Don’t let that stop you from engaging with your new connections.

Just keep track of the people accepting your invites and strike up a chat regardless of the out-of-the-blue invitation to connect.

In fact, why not kick off the conversation by saying you’re sorry for not specifying why you wanted to connect?

The point is this:

You should be talking to every single one of your connections.

Ain’t nobody got time for that? Well, that’s where automation comes in 😏.


TL;DR

  • get yourself a head-start by connecting your email accounts (multiple)
  • connect with customers, trial users and email list subscribers
  • engage with your audience to build your know, like and trust factor
  • build thought leadership by helping out and creating epic content
  • if you help people advance in what they care about, they’ll buy from you

Play #4: Automate & Build Real Human Relations 🤖

Yesterday this guy — let’s call him Marcus — sent me a message on LinkedIn following our fresh connection.

I never met Marcus in my life. I have no idea what he’s good at or if he’s a trustworthy person or whatever.

Still, Marcus thinks its a good idea to just send me a bunch of eBooks. Totally out of the blue.

Well, not totally out of the blue. He claims to have chosen me to receive these eBooks.

Thanks so much, Marcus.

Needless to say, he just has his eyes set on my precious email address.

Why’d you have to ruin it, Marcus? We could have had such a beautiful future together 😢.

All jokes aside 👉 this is the absolute worst way ever to start off a new connection on LinkedIn. There’s no coming back from this.

I kick people like Marcus back out of my network so fast they’ll probably never know they were ever connected to me in the first place.

Winning on LinkedIn is not about having the most connections. It’s about having the most meaningful connections. Connections you’ve never talked to are meaningless.

When you chat with people, make it about them. Not about you.

It’s not the size of your network that matters, it’s how engaged they are.

People won’t buy from you because you happen to be connected on LinkedIn.

People buy from and refer to people they know, like and trust.

This is a universal truth.

It was true when Dale Carnegie first wrote it in How To Win Friends and Influence People and it’s true today.

Getting connections is just the start. Don’t stop there 👊.

If you’re looking to get leads out of LinkedIn, you’ll have to go beyond hitting connect and invest in building real human relations.

How?

By not being like Marcus.

By pulling instead of pushing.
By putting your connection’s interest above your own.
By being selfless instead of selfish.
By giving value instead of taking it.

By being a human being.

👉 The very best thing you can do as a startup founder is to earn a reputation for helping others.

1. Chat is king 👑

We already talked about personalising your invites and aiming to talk to every single one of your connections.

By now you probably got that ‘talking’ doesn’t equal firing off ebooks nobody cares about. Like Marcus.

By ‘talking’ I really mean talking.

Ask about projects, be curious, listen, help out where you can and throw in a couple of jokes while you’re at it.

Don’t connect with people because you want to sell to them.

Connect with people because you genuinely want to get to know them.

You can’t fake this.

People can smell a phony from miles away. Even over broadband.

If you show genuine interest in people, they’ll show interest in you too.

If you ask what they’re working on, they’ll ask what you’re working on.
If you ask if you can help them out, they’ll ask if they can help you out.
If people know, like and trust you, they’ll choose you over someone they don’t.

You get what you give. On LinkedIn, in business and in life. Always.

So how do you chat with every single one of your connections if you’re batch-adding them like I just showed you?

👉 The answer to automation is more automation.

With GPZ LinkedIn Tools you can mass-message your LinkedIn connections.
(Another option would be LinkedInHelper. Whatever floats your boat)

I know, it sounds a little backwards after getting all dramatic about genuinely showing interest in people and building deeply meaningful relations. But…

Think about these two things:

  • How different are your 1000 hellos going to be?
  • Count on having about a 60% response rate

🤔 Why the fu*k would you type hello 1000 times if it’s only going to get you 600 hellos back?

It makes way more sense to send 1000 hellos with one click and spend your energy where it really matters 👉 talking to people that say hello back.

🤖 Use automation in a way that enables you to be more human. Automate the mindless tasks and focus your mental energy on building real relations.

You can automate openers, but anything beyond that is too much.

As soon as the Hey, nice to meet you too! hits, it has to be all you.

Automation can scale your reach, but not your relationship building.

At Salesflare we believe in automation of mind-numbing tasks so people can focus heart and mind on things that truly matter. Like human relationships.

👉 Here’s what my opener usually looks like:

Hi [FirstName], great to connect! What are you currently working on?

P.S. Are there any skills you would like me to endorse you for? 😉

Of course, [FirstName] will be replaced by the recipient’s first name — giving it a personal touch. Yes, LinkedIn automation tools can do that.

2. Endorse people 👍

Offering to endorse people for their skills in your opening line is an excellent way of showing you’re in it to help out.

They’ll immediately feel sympathetic towards you if you start off by offering them a small act of kindness. As much as endorsements on LinkedIn mean close to nothing when it comes to real skill, it’s safe to say everybody kind of likes getting them.

If you endorse people, they’ll endorse you back.

In fact, a shitload of endorsements on your skills don’t prove that you’re amazing at those skills. They prove that you have an engaged network that is willing to give to you and is thus a sign that they value you.

If anything, they’re a sign of influence.

For a while, I used to endorse people before I started talking to them.

I turned it around because I realised it made me look like I was already expecting something in return from them before the relationship even had a chance to take off. It makes you come off sleazy and untrue.

3. Giving is your Superpower 💁

Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving . . . Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.

💬 Bob Burg and John David Mann

‘The Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea’

Whatever you’re doing on LinkedIn, whether it’s chatting with people, sharing updates, writing articles, engaging in comments or giving out endorsement 👉 Aim to build a reputation as a giver rather than a taker.

Aim to give away value so good you could have charged money for it. To show that you’re in the business of helping people rather than helping yourself. This will make you stand out.

Giving builds your ethosthe authority, credibility and honesty that comes with your message and is essential for persuasion.

Giving builds your know, like and trust — factor.

Giving builds your ability to influence and thus to sell.

People aren’t looking for sales pitches. They’re looking for ways to reach their goals. If you’re looking to turn connections into leads and customers, giving is the name of your game.

Giving out high-value is a low-threshold way of helping your target group while learning where you can make a difference. It’ll help you build a loyal audience that trusts you to solve their problems.

If you give people exceptional value regardless of whether they ever pay you a dime, you’ll be the first one that comes to mind if they’re ever in need of the kind of value you’re creating: your product and everything that revolves around it.

  • 🖐️ Giving allows you to connect with leads without pitching. They’ll lower their walls because they’ll know, like and trust you.
  • 🖐️ Giving pulls people towards you. No desperate cries for attention needed, just magnetic superpowers.
  • 🖐️ Giving will make you a trusted authority in your field.


TL;DR

  • don’t be like Marcus
  • don’t sell, don’t offer ebooks, don’t try to fish for anything
  • especially not as an opener
  • make it about them, not about you
  • chat is king
  • talk, give value, show genuine interest = be a human being
  • don’t fake — it won’t work anyway
  • you get what you give
  • automate your openers to scale your reach
  • but beyond openers it has to be all you
  • endorse people
  • endorsements are not a sign of skill, but of influence
  • giving builds your ability to influence and thus to sell

Play #5: Deploy the Dux 🦆

Before you set sail on the prospect ocean, you need to know what kind of fish takes your bait.

Figure out your customer persona 👦👧 — a fictional, generalised personification of your ideal customer you can boil down to a couple of key searchable parameters.

🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆

Once you know who you’re looking for, track ‘m down on LinkedIn by setting criteria like industry, company size, geographical area, seniority level etc.

You can make this work with a regular LinkedIn account, but if you have some cash to spare it’s probably worth upgrading to Sales Navigator. It has more powerful filters that will get you better leads.

Here’s a search query for founders, co-founders and CEOs of Berlin startups.

👉 Open-minded, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial decision-makers who are likely interested in automated solutions for sales pipeline management. Textbook Salesflare customers.

Now it’s time to get the Dux in on the action 🦆

🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆

Dux-Soup is a little Chrome extension you can use to automatically visit all of the LinkedIn profiles on a search result page.

These people will be notified of you visiting them. A lot of them will visit you back.

You’ll be getting new connections, introductions and leads without lifting a finger.

Not just that.

You’ll also have their names, industries, roles, company domains and whatever else they have filled in on their LinkedIn profiles. Exportable as a .CSV — file.

You can now reach out to these people using InMail messages or with a cold email.

As of recently, Dux-Soup can help you to find email addresses paired to LinkedIn profiles. It’ll ask you up front if you want it to. Found email addresses are traded in for points. You can buy points or acquire them by trading in email addresses of your own.

The old ways still work like a charm too👇.

Export the data from Dux-Soup and hook it up with tools like FindThatLead, Toofr or VoilaNorbert. To find your email finding knight in shining armor, check out this excellent research article from WhoIsVisiting.

You can also go with Elucify, a crowdsourced and free database that has over 100,000 company profiles and business contact emails. All you need is first names, last names and domains.

Note: to get Dux-Soup to work with Sales Navigator, you’ll need to go Pro. This will set you back $15 a month, but it’s well worth it. It comes with an extra bunch of cool automation features such as limiting Daily Visits and adjusting Visiting Speed.


TL;DR

  • figure out your customer persona
  • Sales Navigator may be worth the money
  • Dux Soup is a ducky robot that auto-visits profiles
  • people will visit you back
  • and you’ll have their data
  • Dux Soup can even get their email addresses — if you pay (of course)
  • there’s other ways to get emails too

Play #6: Show Up In Newsfeeds Every Day 😎

Now that you’ve built up a large audience, it’s time to start rolling out updates and articles (more on articles in Play #7).

Why, you ask?

1. Post regularly to stay top of mind 🙋

Most people on LinkedIn just lurk and follow.

That’s your opportunity to stand out and claim thought leadership.

Be omnipresent with epic content.

This is where carefully building an engaged audience pays off.

Up to you to turn the audience into a fanbase.

2. Post regularly to drive traffic 🚦

You know what happens if your face pops up all the time in other people’s feeds and every time it’s something high-quality?

People will like, comment and share. Spectacularly increasing the reach of your post across first, second — and — if it’s truly epic — third-degree connections.

People will want to know more about you.

They’ll check out your profile, your blog and your product. They’ll land on your email list. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll become your customer.

3. Post regularly so you can engage 😘

Engagement is the number one key to killing it on LinkedIn.

As a rule of thumb, aim to spend just 20% of your time on creating content and 80% on engaging with your connections.

Reply to as many people as humanly possible. Like comments on your posts. Try to answer to everyone asking for your opinion, feedback or help.

👉 You’ll get back what you give them.

A lot of these interactions will lead to private chatting and evolve into deep, meaningful relations. Relations that will get you sales.

People buy products with a familiar face attached to it.

What the hell does ‘regularly’ mean anyway? 🙄

LinkedIn claims 20 posts per month will get you to reach about 60% of your total audience — equal to about one post per work day.

This is a significant upgrade from the 20% you usually reach with one single status update.

Key takeaway: you’ll reach more people and extend your influence as you post more often.

What should you post? 📝

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been spying on some of the most influential people on LinkedIn, trying to crack their code.

What is it that makes posts on LinkedIn magnetic?

Here’s 4 types of posts you can try out to build engagement and influence.

Post #1: The Thought-Provoking Influencer 🤔💥

These are personal opinions that are (slightly) controversial and serve as food for discussion.

Gabe Villamizar — Head of B2B Marketing at Lucidchart (Cloud-based visualisation apps)

Not a lot of people have the balls to come out and challenge the status-quo. The ones that do tend to get appreciation and following quickly.

They blow the whistle on trends that need to be talked about.

This is a powerful way to becoming an influencer in your space.

Alfie Bektas — Affiliate Marketing Director at Blue Owl (Patent-pending affiliate marketing technology)

Start off with powerful one-liners to grab attention. Use blunt language and don’t be shy to use capitals for emphasis. Avoid adverbs and adjectives. End your post with a powerful question or call-to-action to drive discussion and engagement.

Brandon Redlinger — Director of Growth at Engagio (Account-Based Sales and Marketing platform)

Brandon Redlinger totally nailed it in this post as he grills sales spammers. (Brandon was mentioned as a pioneer in this excellent Autopilot blog post on LinkedIn Publishing)

Last one 👇.

Scott Ingram — Strategic Account Manager at Relationship One (Marketing & Sales Consultancy)

Scott knows what’s what 👏.

Post #2: The Universal Wisdom 🦉

Beautifully phrased wisdom bombs that inspire and empower.

It’s the kind of stuff that flips your world upside-down as you read it.

It hits you hard because you know its true.

Gary Vee is an absolute badass at this.

I can just randomly pick a post from his LinkedIn feed. Every single one of them would prove my point.

Gary Vaynerchuk — Universal Guru

You don’t need to be Gary Vee to pull this off though.

One guy that’s really rocking LinkedIn lately is Thomas Ma.

His posts are a blend of his personal, hard-fought journey as he tries to make it as an entrepreneur and powerful lessons he learned along the way.

Thomas Ma — Co-Founder Sapphire Apps (Brand Amplifying Apps)

These are the type of posts that lift you up out of everyday confusion and fill you with heavenly inspiration.

Post #3: Episodes Of Personal Growth ✌️

Thomas has reported being inspired by Gary Vee’s idea of documenting rather than creating when it comes to connecting with content.

People love stories about other people because it’s easier for them to connect with. Document your personal journey in a way that it inspires people.

Here’s another one of Thomas’ updates:

Thomas Ma — Co-Founder Sapphire Apps (Brand Amplifying Apps)

👆 Note how the picture makes the share even more easy to empathise with.

The takeaway here is to share your journey by sharing everyday stories about personal, yet professional wins your audience can easily relate to and learn from.

💭 Stories always connect.
Especially stories about common heroes working their way up to the top.

You can treat your status updates as a tear-off calendar: teeny-tiny episodes in the larger story of your personal growth that work as daily inspiration for your audience.

Post #4: The Heart-Warmer 😍

These are the kind of posts that restore your faith in humanity.

(Caution: faith in humanity tends to fade away quickly again. Enjoy it while it lasts)

They make you feel all warm and optimistic.

Take this post for example 👇.

Kenny Goldman — Sales & Customer Success Helpful.com (Video Messenger for Work)

You know what I mean? 😌👇

They’re stories that warm your heart to an extent that it almost feels like the poster had to share them, as a service to the rest of mankind.

It’s hard to do these kind of post on command — stories like these happen to you or they don’t.

The key takeaway — also from other post types — comes down to not holding back on sharing stuff from your personal experience.

You’ll be amazed by how many people you can inspire by stuff you encounter in your daily life, especially if they come with inspiring lessons.

Punit Soni — CEO & Founder Learning Motors

Here Punit combines a heart-warming story with a Universal Wisdom.

Just look how many people appreciated him sharing ex-colleagues reaching out to him and wishing him good luck. Mankind at its best.


TL;DR

  • post regularly to stay top of mind and build influence
  • post regularly to drive traffic
  • post regularly so you can engage
  • regularly means every work day
  • post thought-provoking statements
  • post universal wisdoms
  • post to share your personal journey of growth
  • post heart-warming stories

Play #7: Write Epic Content

In the land of online marketing, content is king. LinkedIn is no different.

With more than 450 million highly professional people looking for better ways to do business, you have yourself one hell of an audience to showcase your know-how to.

Even more so than status updates, putting your stuff on LinkedIn can be a quick way to become an influencer in your space.

Think of writing as a way to scale your leadership.

☝️ Not just that.

LinkedIn also sends nearly four times as much traffic to your website as Twitter and Facebook.

This makes it the #1 platform to repurpose your B2B content on.

That’s just staggering. I mean 👉 What are you waiting for?

How-tos? Do’s & dont’s? Best practices? Quick wins? Deadly sins?

Say no more, brother/sister.

The Secret Sauce to Crushing Content on LinkedIn 👨‍🍳

First off — What should you write about on LinkedIn?

Content Marketing Institute found the top shared articles on LinkedIn to share these five P’s:

  • Practical
  • Professional
  • Personal
  • Portray a path for change
  • Point toward peak experiences

Ryan PaughI Didn’t Speak For 10 Days. Here’s What I Learned…

Turns out the ingredients to successful LinkedIn articles are not that different from the ones that make up great status updates.

Tell a personal story and connect it to lessons your readers get value from.

Whether you’re a hungry wolf set out to conquer the world or a seasoned professional with an established reputation — what unites us is that we will all learn and grow until the day we draw our last breaths.

We’re social creatures that thrive most when we can build upon one another. Sharing your journey of personal growth empowers that feeling of community and inspires your audience to kick ass too.

Magic Formula = Personal Story + Valuable Lessons

Stories are the most powerful way to make your message stick.

In fact, our brains are more triggered by stories than by anything else.

Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different. The result is persuasion and sometimes action.
💬
Jennifer Aaker — Stanford’s Graduate School of Business

Stories are the best way to engage an audience. Remember how in history class you always get the events right and the dates wrong?

👉 Great stories stick, boring facts don’t.

So write from your experience in a way it brings value to your readers. You’d be amazed by how many want to hear your story.

Include pictures of your own (more than one) and use inspirational quotes that appeal to a large audience. Don’t shy away from using personal pronouns — they make it easier to connect with your reader.

Of course you can also score big with stuff that doesn’t make you want to rethink your whole life.

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your stage. It’s like your blog so you can also just try to write about whatever you care about and learn from your audience’s engagement to get to content-audience fit.

If you’re looking for content inspiration tactics, start here.

(Aim for) one article per week ✍️

One great post may get you a lot of likes, but they won’t get you a following.

Create FOMO by feeding your readers high-quality content on a regular basis.

⚠️ But: quality trumps quantity, always

Don’t write an article a week when you feel like you can’t keep up the quality.

If you put up trash, you’re pretty much telling LinkedIn that your stuff isn’t worth spreading. Once you’re in that shit, good luck getting out.

Long-reads work ☝️

Buzzfeedification of the Internet, anyone? 😑

For a while the Internet seemed to have given up on people having attention spans. Content was turning into a steady stream of churn-and-burn listicles, vines and tweets.

👉 Anything a goldfish couldn’t process was out of question.

Long reads? They’re nice, but…

Right?

Well, the numbers are in.

LinkedIn is disproving the idea that longer, more thoughtful reads and shareability can’t go hand in hand👇.

Source: OkDork

👉 The longer your post, the better.

Do give your audience their time’s worth though. Make every word count.

Content without network will get you nowhere 🙅

As great as your content may be, LinkedIn is still about networking and building relationships.

That’s why this Playbook started off with tactics to grow your reach and influence.

And that’s why you should put no less than 80% of your time engaging with your connections by liking, commenting and endorsing.

If this starts taking too much time, do look into LinkedIn automation as we talked about before. Stuff like GPZ LinkedIn Tools will help you automate your interactions without them knowing about it.

Write for mobile 📱

Assume people are reading your content on their phones during quick coffee breaks.

👉 Don’t kill ‘m with long paragraphs.

Also: use the different available headings (H1, H2, H3) to divide your post in sections that are easy to skim through.

Make your headlines and images stand out 😮

This can be crucial to a piece of content either falling flat or taking off.

If you’re starting from the bottom, your primary concern will be to get your content read. Image and headline are the only two things showing in the sidebar and on content navigation pages. Make ‘m count.

LinkedIn’s audience digs content that helps them to be successful at what they do 👉 personal growth, habits to maintain and mistakes to learn from…

You get it by now, don’t you? 😏

Here’s a couple of guys/girls who nailed it:

Pro tip: A/B test your headlines. Publish your post under one headline, but then tweet it under different headlines and use unique bit.ly links for each headline. Edit the original headline to the one with the most click-throughs.

Repurpose your content on LinkedIn 🔁

Not everything you share on LinkedIn must be life-altering. We found it a great place to republish old content on.

Especially when you’re in early growth stages, you may get a lot more views on LinkedIn than you’ll get on your own blog.

True, it won’t drive too much direct traffic to your website, but if the content is great, people will check you out and your startup with it.

Oh and don’t worry about Google penalising you for duplicate content.

Spend 20% of your time writing — 80% engaging and promoting 🎙️

Again this 20/80 thing? Yes, again this 20/80.

More than any other platform, LinkedIn gives more relevance to your post as it gathers likes and comments. If you want something to be seen, it’s crucial that you invest in content promotion.

Pro tip: Put a call-to-action at the end of your post.

Something like:

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, show some love and hit like!

It may seem a little cocky, but people will be happy to do it if your post gave them value.

(While we’re at it, while don’t you like this post 😏)


TL;DR

  • writing is leadership at scale
  • LinkedIn is the #1 platform to repurpose platform on
  • practical, professional, personal, portray a path of change, point toward peak experiences
  • magic formula = personal story + valuable lessons
  • great stories stick, boring facts don’t.
  • (aim for) one article a week
  • quality trumps quantity
  • long-reads do work
  • content without a network will get you nowhere
  • write for mobile
  • make your headlines and images stand out
  • repurpose content
  • spend 20% on writing and 80% on promoting

Bonus: Mix With Facebook Ads For A Killer Cocktail

How about we add a pinch of Facebook to make it really groovy? 😏

A quick way to turn your LinkedIn connections into leads is by showing them Facebook ads with relevant value.

You can easily do this by loading your LinkedIn connections as a Custom Audience in Facebook.

Head over to Settings & Privacy under your LinkedIn avatar.

Under Account look for Getting an archive of your data.

You’ll get a .CSV with all of your connections’ data, including email addresses you can load into Facebook as a Custom Audience.

This Facebook Playbook will teach you more about mastering the world’s fastest platform to sell.


What’s up with LinkedIn Ads?

Nobody really cares about LinkedIn Ads because of, well, Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads are cheaper and come with (way) better targeting possibilities. They also come with the world biggest social platform.

It’s easier to sell on Facebook. Its community is more sociable and less wary of being tricked into sales pitches all the time. It’s the fastest platform to build your know, like and trust factor and thus the fastest platform to sell.

LinkedIn seems to be turning around on that. There’s less boundaries on engaging with people you’ve never met before and business in general is becoming more social. Younger generations more natural with building online relations are leaving their mark on the community, making it more engaged than ever.

And yet they still may have to turn it up a notch. As the line between business connections and online friends becomes smaller and smaller, Facebook is giving LinkedIn a run for his money and may even end up killing it.

Facebook to LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t planning on giving up without a fight and recently announced Matched Audiences: three new targeting tools that allow you to combine LinkedIn’s professional data with your own first-party data.

It finally gives you the power to target website visitors, contacts and specific accounts on LinkedIn.

I haven’t tried it yet and that’s the reason why it’s not in this Playbook. I’ll hit you guys up when I have more insights to share.

In the meantime: I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn 😎


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Gilles DC

Growth Strategist at Salesflare
I’m the former growth strategist for Salesflare — the simply powerful CRM for small businesses. Growth and automation are my jam.

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