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8 Best LinkedIn Practices – From Demand Generation to Social Selling

The following is a recap of the 8 best LinkedIn practices webinar with Andrei Zinkevich and myself.

In the webinar, we covered demand generation, growing your network, automated social selling on LinkedIn, and other best practices you need to keep in mind when generating leads.

Andrei is the co-founder of FullFunnel and ROIplan, an overall great guy, and as a marketer with over 15 years of experience in B2B marketing and sales – he knows what he’s talking about.

If you didn’t get the chance to watch the webinar live – you can still watch the replay here.

But if you prefer reading, continue with this article for some of the best LinkedIn practices you’ll need within B2B marketing – with proven examples, templates, and more.

We’ll be using personalization, dynamic GIFs and images, unique LinkedIn search and targeting tactics, omnichannel outreach, and more.

And be sure to keep an eye out for LinkedIn best practice #7 – as it’s one of our most effective lead generation tactics we’ve used. It’s completely unique and almost no one is using it.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • #1 Growing Your LinkedIn Network With Your Target Audience
  • #2 Building a Relationship and Engaging With Your Active Audience
  • #3 Capturing Demand and Profiling Your Prospects to Come Up With a Personalized Offer
  • #4 Converting Conversations Into A Discovery Call Without Sounding Like a Robotic Sales Rep
  • #5 3 Best Converting LinkedIn Search Tactics That Work Regardless Of Your Niche
  • #6 LinkedIn Outreach Messaging and Examples That Work
  • #7 Hyper-Personalized Image Strategy and Sequence Flow That Gets Replies
  • #8 Easily Replicable OmniChannel Sales Funnel That Uses Multiple Touchpoints

Most of the growth-hacks and marketing tactics will use LinkedIn automation. If you want to follow along, we recommend doing so with the world’s safest LinkedIn automation SaaS – Expandi.

Oh, and be sure to read all the way through for some special gifts at the end!

Ready?

Without further ado, we present you:

#1 Growing Your LinkedIn Network With Your Target Audience

Have you ever received a connection request like this one?

“Hi {first_name}!

Seems we both like SaaS and startups.

Let’s connect”

And then, once you accept the request, you get an instant follow-up that says:

“Hi {first_name}!

Thanks for accepting my request.

We help…

Would you like to learn more and book a call with me?”

Like most people, my reaction is a strong NO!

These kinds of templates don’t work anymore. 

The rules of LinkedIn outreach have changed. 

And we’re here to make sure you know how to grow your network and generate B2B leads without people blocking you immediately after your first message.

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

This is what most of our best practices below are based around. 

So, if you jump into selling straight away on LinkedIn – you’re going to have a bad time.

What should you do instead?

First, you should define your audience type.

4 Types of audiences you will connect with on LinkedIn

There are 4 main types of B2B audiences you should know about:

  • Engagers – People who are highly active, love your content, but will never buy from you.
  • ICPIdeal customer profile. People that work for a relevant company and fit your ICP. Usually, they’re decision-makers or work under and report to the decision-makers. In most cases, these people will be glad to accept your request as long as you’re presenting yourself well, and your pitch should be personalized to them.
  • Event organizers – People organizing events you want to speak at and are relevant to your business. If your outreach is good and you’re creating relevant content, you’ll have no problem connecting with them.
  • Co-pilots – People who have the same audience but sell different solutions to your ICP.

Now, once you’ve defined your audience, you need to start thinking about your outreach.

One of the best reasons to connect with your leads on LinkedIn is having a common interest in something.

If you mention something specific you and your prospect have in common (e.g. same community group), most people will be glad to connect.

This can be something as simple as having a mutual Facebook group, you participating in the same event, or you listened to their workshop.

If you’re following all the best LinkedIn outreach practices, you can reach a connection request acceptance rate of up to 90%!

Here’s where to find people like these:

  1. Find a person (influencer), LinkedIn group, or a hashtag your target audience follows and engages with.
  2. Write down what you like about this person or group (personalization). If you decide to connect with the hashtag followers, write down the reason you’re following this tag and mention some of your favorite contributors in your connection request. The more specific – the better.
  3. Set up a Connector campaign on Expandi and start connecting with 30 people on a daily basis.

#2 Building a Relationship and Engaging With Your Active Audience

So, you’ve connected with your target audience on LinkedIn.

What now?

Well, you need to start building and cultivating that relationship to grow your following.

And the easiest way to do so is by becoming interested in other people, rather than getting them interested IN YOU.

Sounds familiar?

This is what most marketing is based on.

You’ll gain much more replies by asking questions and getting your prospects to talk about themselves, instead of pitching them about what you do and your services.

Remember, more ‘YOU and less ‘I’.

Your job is to ask questions, give value, qualify your prospects, and then, help them (which should come up naturally). If your prospect is qualified and relevant, your conversation should naturally steer towards their problems. Then, you can naturally bring up how you help (your solution).

Be curious, ask questions, and you’ll find that most people are glad to talk about themselves.

Fortunately, this can be automated as well.

Simply by showing interest and using personalization, you can reach a connection request rate of up to 90%!

To recap:

  1. Define your target audience, where they live, and what kind of content they consume. They might have engaged with your content, commented on an influencer’s post in your niche, attended the same event, and so on.
  2. Write a message thanking them for being an active part of your network or for engaging with your content. Then, ask about their current goals and priorities.
  3. Set up a Messenger campaign on Expandi and start engaging with 30 people on a daily basis.

#3 Capturing Demand and Profiling Your Prospects to Come Up With a Personalized Offer

For this step, ideally, you should ideally have some level of following and be creating content on LinkedIn.

Case studies, in particular, work best here. Because they’re valuable and also show how you’ve solved problems your ICP faces.

Here’s what Andrei did:

  1. Created a post on LinkedIn about his case study that generated interest, engagement, and comments.
  2. Once the post gained enough comments, he wrote another post about the case study that was more practical and in-depth.
  3. Scraped list of people who commented on the first post. Reached out to them with a link to the case study, and followed up with a survey to nudge the prospects into reading.

With up to 300 comments, you can tell there’s an audience interested in what he’s writing about.

There’s probably some demand among those people too!

This means the people who engaged with the post on LinkedIn are ideal for outreach.

You can automate the outreach process and follow-up with a survey in case they didn’t have the chance to go over it.

Inside the survey, consider including challenges your target market faces.

Such as:

Information from the survey will help you learn more about your ICP and might even come in handy during your discovery call.

To recap this step:

  1. Create a LinkedIn post promoting a case study related to your product, offer, or service, and ask people to comment if they’re interested.
  2. Create a survey that will help you learn more about the challenges your prospects face.
  3. Set up a messenger and connector campaign on Expandi to send them your case study. Messenger campaign if you’re already connected (1st-degree connection) and connector campaign if not (2nd or 3rd-degree connection).
  4. Set up a follow-up message 2 days later if they haven’t replied with a link to the survey.

And then, here’s how you can work on booking a discovery call with your prospects on LinkedIn:

#4 Converting Conversations Into A Discovery Call Without Sounding Like a Robotic Sales Rep

The most common form of LinkedIn outreach is also the type that ends up being marked as spam.

This is the type of outreach that uses zero personalization and has more ‘I’ than ‘YOU

Something like this:

Obviously, this won’t go far.

Your outreach should include personalization and a personalized offer on how you can help your prospect. If you start pitching your services in the very first message, no one will listen.

Here’s an example by Andrei:

And then, you should always follow-up asking if your content was helpful.

And then, if the content was indeed helpful for the prospect, that’s when you can go in for the discovery call where you can further answer their questions and provide best practices.

To recap, if you want to convert conversations into discovery calls on LinkedIn, you should:

  1. Find engaged ICPs from your network (prospects you had conversations with).
  2. Set up a messenger campaign on Expandi to share a relevant case study with your network (or send it manually), depending on the context of your previous conversations.
  3. If they haven’t replied, politely follow-up to remind them.
  4. Then, if they say the case study was helpful, suggest scheduling a call where you can share more best practices and answer their questions.

Now that you know how to grow your network and engage with your audience, let’s move on using LinkedIn search tactics and outreach campaigns for your sales funnel to generate leads.

#5 Top 3 Best Converting LinkedIn Search Tactics That Work Regardless Of Your Niche

There are a lot of different ways to reach your target audience on LinkedIn.

The best ones that worked for us include Target post engagement and LinkedIn Sales Navigator searches.

Luckily for you, these search tactics work in any niche, because they use existing LinkedIn content that your target market already engages with.

So, once you find the content, you’ll have no problem reaching out to your potential sales prospects on LinkedIn.

But before we go in-depth into those tactics, there are a few search concepts you need to know about if you’ll be doing LinkedIn outreach using Expandi:

  • Basic search – Search URL from free version of LinkedIn. You paste in the URL and Expandi will automate your outreach to those prospects you searched for.
  • Sales Navigator Search – Saved URL search of a Sales Navigator search result.
  • Recruiter Search – For recruitment. Check out our guide to LinkedIn for recruitment if you’re interested in using LinkedIn for hiring.
  • Post Engagement – Scraping list of people who engaged with a post (liked or commented), we’ll cover this below.
  • CSV Import – If you have your own custom spreadsheet file of people you want to reach out to. You simply upload this into Expandi and prepare for outreach.

Wondering if Sales Navigator is worth the $64.99/month subscription?

Check out our guide to using LinkedIn Sales Navigator in which we go in-depth as to when you should (and shouldn’t) buy the premium version of LinkedIn.

Now, here are the 3 LinkedIn search tactics you should know about.

Target post engagement

This search tactic includes scraping people from a LinkedIn post they engaged with (liked or commented). Then, we reach out to them and mention the specific post in our request to give them a reason to connect.

If you have something in common with your sales prospect, they’ll be much more likely to engage with you.

So, you can use an influencer’s viral post with a lot of comments, or create one yourself…

Then, we simply retarget all the people who liked or commented on the post using Expandi.

By mentioning something specific from that post (personalization)  in your connection request, most people will be glad to accept because of the mutual interest.

We’ve achieved a 72%+ acceptance rate using LinkedIn target post engagement tactic – which is what makes it such an effective outreach best-practice.

Check out our full article on LinkedIn content retargeting to see the full campaign and the exact templates we’ve used for this tactic

Targeting through Sales Navigator #1

Using Sales Navigator, you get access to advanced targeting.

With this search tactic, we connected with 2nd-degree connections who changed jobs in the last 90 days and are part of a specific LinkedIn group.

Not bad personalization, right?

This way, you can congratulate them and mention you’re also in the same group. Which makes for a warmer intro request and will get a higher acceptance rate.

Using this tactic, we’ve achieved a 60%+ acceptance rate.

Targeting through Sales Navigator #2

The other targeting tactic is through connecting with 2nd-degree connections who posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days and finished school similar to your niche.

In case you were wondering, yes, you can filter for school using Sales Navigator.

You can also get creative and write LinkedIn and growth-hacking-related keywords in there!

This way, you can say you visited their profile and noticed that they completed the school (or online course) you were referring to. 

Then, say you’re also a fan and ask a specific question to get a higher acceptance rate.

Using this tactic, we’ve achieved a 52%+ acceptance rate.

Essentially, with the above 3 LinkedIn search tactics, you’re basing your outreach template around your search results, which are different and effective in every niche.

Which is also what makes them so effective. There’s a lot of room for personalization here depending on your search tactic.

#6 LinkedIn Outreach Messaging and Examples That Work

There are many different LinkedIn templates out there. But the best ones are that you’ve tried, tested, and can say they work for your audience.

Which connection message sounds better?

“Hey {first_name}!

Saw you were working at {company_name}! I love what you do.

Would love to connect and tell you a bit more about what I do.

Thanks.

(Your name).”

Or:

“Hi {first_name},

Recently stumbled upon your (LinkedIn post/article/video) about (topic), and I couldn’t agree more about your point on (topic).

I’d love to connect and keep up-to-date with your content on (niche).

Sincerely,

(Your name)”

Obviously, the second one is much better as it uses personalization and compliments the prospect.

You should always be using some form of personalization in your outreach. In LinkedIn best-practice #5 you saw the different search tactics you can use. So, consider basing personalization around your search results.

Here are a few more examples of effective LinkedIn outreach messages:

The reason the above templates work so well is that we were targeting a specific group of people, and we can already assume their interests (based on the post, school completion, or changed job roles)!

And using Expandi, you can even set it so that your profile will actually visit the prospect’s profile. Meaning, they’ll get the notification that you clicked on their profile, which makes your outreach much more believable. And hence the – “I visited your LinkedIn profile (Yes, I really did)…” part.

Some of the satisfied replies:

#7 Hyper-Personalized Image Strategy and Sequence Flow That Gets Replies

This is one of the most effective outreach tactics we’re going to cover here.

For this outreach, we’ll be using personalized Images and GIF animations in your outreach.

With the Expandi Hyperise integration, you’ll be able to use not only text in your outreach, but also dynamic images and GIFs!

Yes, you read that right.

You’ll be using dynamic images from Hypers into your clients’ inbox through Expandi.

With this LinkedIn integration, you can personalize for:

  • Shapes.
  • Logos.
  • Websites.
  • Names.
  • Images (profile image).
  • Maps.
  • Apps.
  • Profiles.
  • QR Codes.
  • And more.

Here’s the flow for this tactic:

And here are some of the many customized and personal GIFs we’ve used with the success of our team members.

The results?

55%+ Reply rate and many happy leads.

This tactic is still new and not many people are using it yet. Which is what makes it so effective and unique.

For more info on how to set up an outreach campaign like this and how to edit your own custom images, check out our full article here: Send Next Level LinkedIn Campaign Messages With Hyper Personalized Images.

#8 Easily Replicable Omnichannel Sales Funnel That Uses Multiple Touchpoints

Last but not least, our final best practice is not only about LinkedIn.

With this strategy, we’re using an omnichannel sales funnel that engages with prospects on multiple channels.

Looks complicated, but it’s actually simple and easily replicable.

Here’s how it works:

  1. We start with LinkedIn and send a connection request message using Expandi. Consider using the search tactics in best practice #5 to find your audience.
  2. Then, we send a Webhook using Zapier that grabs the prospect’s email and name (from LinkedIn) and sends it to your CRM of choice (HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.).
  3. If the prospect accepts your LinkedIn request, we also send that info (name, email) to an email marketing tool of our choice (we use Lemlist).
  4. Then, you can embed Hyperise integration (dynamic image or GIF) into your email content as well. 
  5. If the prospect clicks on the image in your email, you can even design a personalized landing page (with their name, company name, logo, etc.) using Hyperise where they can book a meeting.

Finally, here’s what the personalized landing page looks like.

Wondering how to set up a full omnichannel outreach flow that begins on LinkedIn?

Read our full guide on omnichannel outreach which uses Expandi, Zapier, Lempod, and Lemlist for a true omnichannel outreach strategy.

LinkedIn Outreach 2.0 – Rules to Keep in Mind

LinkedIn is not a numbers game anymore.

You can’t spam outreach to 100 prospects in a day with the same, sales-y template that everyone else uses. They will block you, and possibly even report you. This is how your LinkedIn account gets suspended.

So, when doing LinkedIn outreach, be sure to keep the following rules in mind for safe lead generation:

  • Auto warm-up – Warm up your profile properly and send no more than 3% of the total amount of your 1st-degree connections. Consider sending the first 100 connection requests first manually before using automation for maximum safety.
  • Pending connection requests under 500 – Using tools like Expandi you can automatically withdraw pending requests after a number of days (if an invite has been pending for more than 10 days, chances are, they probably won’t accept it at all and you should withdraw it). If you have too many pending requests, LinkedIn will see it as a red flag and think you’re spamming people.
  • Invite 2nd-degree connections – Try to invite as many 2nd-degree connections as you want to start with. If your acceptance rate is lower than 60%, try to send under 20-25 connection requests that use personalization to boost your rate. 

The most common reason why people get their LinkedIn accounts suspended is that they use spammy outreach and no one wants to connect or engage with them.

So, be sure to always use personalization and aim for a high interaction rate.

To recap, here’s what LinkedIn outreach 2.0 rules look like:

Conclusion

And that’s a wrap!

Hope you enjoyed the above LinkedIn best practices and have a better idea of how to start generating demand and boost your social selling efforts.

Now, before you click off, we have one last surprise and hope you enjoy your gifts!!

Last but not least, if you have any questions on LinkedIn and B2B marketing, be sure to join our communities here:

Happy prospecting!

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These template sequences get results:

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  • Houston Golden – How to become a LinkedIn Influencer
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