LinkedIn automation is everywhere. You’ve probably heard of it. And all about how valuable it can be for outreach and generating leads.
It can save you hours, if not days, of messaging people and really skyrocket your social selling.
Imagine not having to message your leads one-by-one and being able to automate sending a connection request to all the CEOs in your area who work in tech and marketing.
Not bad, right?
Now, you’re probably thinking – I don’t know, the whole thing sounds confusing to set up. Will I need many other sketchy LinkedIn apps to take over my account? What exactly will I be automating? Is it even safe?
Well, don’t worry. You’ve just found the most comprehensive guide on the topic and I’m going to show you all the ins and outs of LinkedIn message automation.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- LinkedIn Automation – What You Need to Know
- Why Automate LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Message Automation How-to and Best Practices
Are you ready?
Here’s a quick crash course on the best LinkedIn automation tools and tips for 2020.
LinkedIn Automation – What You Need to Know
LinkedIn is one of the best (if not the best) channels to distribute content and generate leads if you’re in the B2B world like me.
You can find just about anyone there and the whole platform is really just a bottomless well of sales opportunities.
It’s a lot easier to get in touch with any decision-maker than any other platform, and you’re just one search away from a filtered list of your audience – down to their locations and job industry.
But with that said, many people think LinkedIn automation is spammy and ineffective.
After all, it’s automation, so it must be spammy, right?
Well, not quite.
The key to LinkedIn automation is to be genuine and honest.
People think automation and they assume you must be sending 100+ LinkedIn messages per day – causing havoc in the inbox of your leads.
Now, here’s the thing:
There ARE people who do this on LinkedIn. People who spam you vigorously with the same, boring copy-and-paste templates and force a reply from their leads. And I’ve personally gotten a lot of these kinds of automated messages on LinkedIn too…
You can tell it’s automated because it only mentions my first name and the general industry I’m in (online & network marketing). While in reality, I run Expandi (which is a growth-hacking SaaS).
Don’t worry, by the time you finish reading this guide, you’ll know the exact outreach LinkedIn connection message templates to use to connect with just about anyone.
We’ll cover it all. But until then, here’s what you need to know.
LinkedIn automation is an effective way to automate certain tasks, such as:
- Sending a connection request message.
- Hyper-personalize your messages based on your target audience’s profile information.
- Creating a social selling campaign with follow-ups.
- Choosing your custom target audience for your outreach.
- And then – get key insights from your campaign insights with specific metrics.
You can have your LinkedIn message automation campaign running in the background while you work on other tasks of your business.
Now that’s efficient!
But before we cover all the ins and outs of LinkedIn message automation, there’s one other thing you need to know first:
This is an important topic to cover.
LinkedIn doesn’t like spam. Officially, MOST LinkedIn automation tools go against their Terms of Service.
Because they’re spammy, low-quality, and often send out an inhumane amount of messages per day.
In other words: If you’re messaging 100 people in 5 minutes, LinkedIn will be quick to notice and flag your account.
Meanwhile, if you’re messaging around 3 different people every 20 minutes – your account will go under their radar.
Similarly, the type of LinkedIn automation tool you use will also impact the safety of your LinkedIn account.
There are 2 types of LinkedIn tools you need to know about.
Chrome-extensions are basically LinkedIn plugins you download from the Chrome app store and they integrate into your browser.
But they’re not very efficient. Nor safe for that matter.
Let’s take an example: Dux-Soup.
It’s one of the popular LinkedIn tools on the market. I’ve actually used it before when I used to offer LinkedIn-done-for-you as a service. The tool offers some basic automation (nothing advanced) but it lives in your browser. So, if you close your laptop, the extension shuts down as well.
So, essentially – it’s easier for LinkedIn to detect it (because it’s front-end, in your browser), it doesn’t offer extra advanced benefits, and really isn’t as convenient as you’d think for a LinkedIn automation tool.
And then, there’s the other type of LinkedIn automation tool that’s better and safer.
As an example, Expandi is a LinkedIn automation tool that lives in the cloud.
What makes it so different from other tools on the market?
Well, for one, we take safety seriously.
Cloud-based tools live on the web, and not in your browser.
Meaning, they run 24/7 and they’re much safer because they don’t integrate into your account from your browser. LinkedIn can’t detect Expandi mimicking your account to send out messages, because it’ll think it’s you who’s doing all those actions.
Expandi also has some extra built-in features that make it impossible for LinkedIn to find out you’re using an automated tool. Such as:
- Dedicated IP address – You get a dedicated, personal IP. So that every time you log in, your location and IP are the same. With Chrome-based tools, it often shows you’re logging in from different countries each time (huge red flag for LinkedIn safety).
- Mimics human behavior – Expandi mimics human behavior. Most Chrome-extensions don’t take this into account. That’s why LinkedIn is quick to notice accounts sending 1,000+ duplicate messages at 3 A.M. It’s simply not human!
- Action limits – You can set specific action limits on your tasks and have your LinkedIn campaigns running in the background as if a human is manually completing all those tasks.
- And more.
For more info on safety and advanced features, check out how Expandi compares to Dux-Soup here.
To recap so far: A lot depends on HOW you use LinkedIn automation (which we’ll cover below too).
Do it right and you can have LinkedIn campaigns running in the background, with an almost ~49% acceptance rate, while you continue to work on other tasks.
Sounds great, right?
Here are some other awesome benefits you can get with cloud-based LinkedIn automation.
Why Automate LinkedIn
Wondering why people choose to automate LinkedIn in the first place?
It’s simple really.
Let’s say you want to start generating leads via LinkedIn.
You already know who your target audience is and you’re ready to start messaging them.
There are two ways you can do this.
You can manually run a search for your target audience on LinkedIn and start writing a personal message one-by-one. You’d visit their profiles, click on the ‘Connect’ button, and type up your request message.
But the next thing you know – you’ve wasted up to an hour, and you still have a long way to go.
As an example, my target audience is people working in marketing & advertising and information technology & services industries. If I wanted to connect with people working in those industries inside the Netherlands – LinkedIn would give me a list of 1,400 results.
And there is NO way I’m writing 1,400 separate connection request messages and follow-ups.
Besides, I’d have to re-use the same information from all of their profiles – their first names, their industry or job name, location, and so on…
Can you imagine writing all of that in your LinkedIn connection requests each time?
Well, luckily, you don’t have to do that.
There is a better way to approach your lead generation. And yes, you guessed it, the solution is LinkedIn automation.
Here are a few other reasons why you should strongly consider LinkedIn automation.
This is one of the main benefits.
At this point, it’s not about being lazy, it’s about being efficient.
LinkedIn automation can help you save hours, if not days or months, of writing the same outreach cold messages and finding your target audience.
Let’s face it: There are a lot of mindless and boring lead generation tasks we have to endure through as marketers.
There are some things that should be automated and some things that shouldn’t.
As a rule of thumb, you automate repetitive, manual tasks with LinkedIn automation tools.
At its core, social selling is about building a relationship and engaging a prospect. So, you shouldn’t automate conversations between you and your leads. Too many people already do this and that’s why LinkedIn automation gets a bad rep.
Instead, you should be automating things like:
- Visiting profiles.
- Sending connection requests.
- Following up with your prospects.
- Scraping LinkedIn, Facebook groups, and scraping Sales Navigator lists to import a list of your target audience.
- The first LinkedIn cold message to your prospect (sometimes).
Let’s say you already know where your target audience hangs out.
As an example, this can be a LinkedIn group, Facebook group, or even a comments section of a popular influencer in your niche.
You could copy-and-paste their names into the LinkedIn search and manually send a connection request one-by-one…
Or, you guessed it, you can automate this entirely.
As an example, I once used LinkedIn message automation to target people from a Facebook group and gained a 72% acceptance rate, 49% reply to follow-ups, and most importantly – 42 booked demos.
Simply because I had my ideal customer profiles written out in detail and knew all about their pain points and desires.
In this case, it was the members of the Dux-Soup Facebook group.
And instead of messaging them one-by-one, saying:
Looked at your profile and saw we were in the same Dux-Soup Facebook group.
Would love to connect with you.
I scraped the entire Facebook group and automated my outreach.
The best part?
This took less than 25 minutes.
- I used Phantombuster Facebook group extractor to gain the list of members in the group.
- I then used LinkedIn profile URL finder.
- Finally, I uploaded that list into Expandi and sent them a relevant connection request template (something like the following):
Saw you are also a member of the Facebook Group “Dux Soup users”.
Would be awesome to connect with someone like minded to see if there is any merit for collaboration.
Simple, but effective.
Here are the results of that campaign if you’re curious and here’s the full case study:
Sales navigator, advanced features, and integrations
Want to level up your LinkedIn automation skills?
Until now, we’ve been covering surface level automation – connecting with your audience, replying, follow-ups, and more.
With some advanced features, you can throw LinkedIn Sales Navigator into the mix, combine LinkedIn with email marketing, integrate with your CRM, go omnichannel and more.
There are so many other growth-hacks to consider that listing them here would take forever.
But for the most part, you’ll be using Zapier to integrate your favorite LinkedIn automation tool (Expandi?) with other apps to really boost your marketing efforts.
Through Zapier, you can connect Expandi to:
- Your favorite CRM.
- An email outreach and marketing tool to target your leads in a true omnichannel way.
- Facebook ads to retarget your warm leads on Facebook through a custom audience.
The point is: There’s a lot of different ways you can use LinkedIn automation.
From a simple LinkedIn search result outreach to using LinkedIn Sales Navigator for advanced filtering, LinkedIn is not a game of numbers anymore.
It’s all about finding new ways to personalize your outreach if you want to succeed with LinkedIn lead generation in 2020.
And speaking of, here’s how to do just that.
LinkedIn Message Automation How-to And Best Practices
Finally, the ‘How’ of the guide.
As mentioned above – personalization is key.
If you want to stand out and actually start generating leads through LinkedIn automation, you need to start personalizing your messages.
Most people skip this step and that’s where they go wrong.
For what it’s worth, just about everyone can personalize LinkedIn messages with first name and last name mentions.
It’s cliche at this point.
You need to do better than that.
Let’s take a look at the different personalization tags you can use that will grab information from your prospect’s LinkedIn profile:
- Dynamic Placeholder
Now, all of them are self-explanatory. Except for the Dynamic Placeholder tag, right?
Essentially, it’s a custom tag, unique to Expandi, that’s determined when you launch your outreach campaign. It is then adapted to the individual you’re trying to reach.
This way, you can personalize your campaign based on your targeting and it will come out different each time – depending on who the campaign is addressed to.
I used it for one campaign when I wanted to target bloggers who had written about LinkedIn automation tool alternatives and let them know about Expandi.
I didn’t want to sound cliche and say I had read their article in my outreach, so, I used dynamic personalization to mention specific info from their articles in each LinkedIn message (e.g. their mentioned solution).
- Connection request accepted – 69%
- Responded on follow ups – 83%
For more info and a detailed step-by-step explanation to this LinkedIn growth hack that goes beyond first name and last name, check out the full article.
Preparing for outreach
I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
LinkedIn campaigns begin before you start sending automated messages.
In fact, there’s a lot you can do to prepare before launching an automated LinkedIn outreach campaign.
Here’s how to make sure your campaigns are getting the acceptance rate and responses they deserve:
- Optimize your LInkedIn profile – The very first thing people will do when they receive your message is check your profile. Make sure your profile, tagline, summary, and your content align with your brand.
- Define your audience – Having the right target audience can make or break your automated LinkedIn outreach campaign. People are tired of being retargeted with the same outreach methods that sound spammy and try to sell with the first message. Make sure you have a clear persona and know what their pain points are.
- Campaign templates and messages – People often start selling themselves in the very first connection request. People on LinkedIn detect spam a mile away. Instead, use these 10+ proven LinkedIn connection message templates
- Connect Zapier – As mentioned above, Zapier can be an incredibly powerful way to boost your LinkedIn automation. You can connect it to your CRM to track results or your favorite email outreach tool to target your leads on other channels. If someone sees your message on LinkedIn and then get an email from you the next day – they’re almost guaranteed to reply.
- Campaign results and analytics – Finally, the best way to analyze your LinkedIn automated messages is to analyze your results and analytics. With Expandi, you just press the ‘Stats’ section and get all the campaign results (how many people accepted, replied, etc.) at a glance. With this info, you can then tweak your connection request messages and experiment to find the winning templates.
Choose your strategy
Still feel limited by the personalization tags above?
Most marketers don’t want to admit this, but a lot of how your LinkedIn automation campaigns will perform also depends highly on your outreach strategy.
Your LinkedIn automated messages will only be effective if you’re targeting the right people.
Here’s a few of my favorite campaigns that are incredibly simple yet still get proven results.
- Content retargeting growth-hack – Find a viral post from a popular influencer your target audience looks up to, copy the link to the post, paste it into Expandi, and automatically reach out to everyone who liked or commented. I gained a 72% acceptance rate and a 40% response to the follow-ups with this strategy.
- Outreach message strategy that gets you light years ahead of your competitors – Use BuiltWith to scrape sites using Albacross, then FindThatLead to upload their domain names and turn them into verified emails, and finally, turn those names into LinkedIn profiles using PhantomBuster. Reach out using Expandi and mention that you’d like to connect to fellow Albacross users. More than 70% accepted my invitation request here and 50% responded to follow-ups.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator growth-hack – Use Sales Navigator to filter your audience using advanced targeting, copy the URL address, import to Expandi and get ready for outreach.
Originally published September 14, 2019, updated April 24, 2021
LinkedIn automation doesn’t have to be hard.
With Expandi, setting up a campaign takes less than 10 minutes and you don’t even have to write your outreach templates. You can just plug-and-play proven cold outreach messages from our blog.
And we’re always giving away our insights and case studies – based on what worked.
Ready to start generating leads on LinkedIn? On autopilot? In your sleep or while you’re working on other business tasks?
Add me on Facebook and let me know you’re ready to start 10xing your leads with the world’s safest LinkedIn automation tool.
I’ll grant you a free 7-day trial and you can start running outreach campaigns the same day.
Not sure where to begin?
Here are a few other proven LinkedIn social selling tactics you can look into: