There are different schools of thought surrounding LinkedIn automation tools. LinkedIn’s position on the use of automation tools is one reason to avoid them, but are there good reasons why you should automate LinkedIn to grow your business? Are LinkedIn automation tools worth it?
This guide is meant to help you make the decision of whether or not LinkedIn automation is the answer to your sales efforts. I’ll be walking you through how LinkedIn automation works. But before we look into that, why should you use LinkedIn automation?
Why LinkedIn automation?
As LinkedIn and other social platforms become more relevant as the preferred channels for young professionals to connect and network, traditional sales prospecting channels like outbound emails and calls become less effective.
For example, with cold email cadences, you’ll send out 1000 emails to incur a 15% open rate with a 2% reply rate, of which more than half are unsubscribe me's. Cold emailing might have been effective in the past, but that’s definitely not the case today. Cold email is outdated, and you should look beyond spammy, cold sales tactics.
Further, it’s likely that a great percentage of your emails never make it to the intended recipient. Google and other email service providers are getting better at detecting automated emails, sending them directly to the spam/junk folder. Email deliverability is not where it used to be. There was a 17% drop last year and we can expect those numbers to rise in 2019.
Cold, unsolicited calls are even worse—seriously, what’s worse than getting a random call during the day from someone trying to sell you this and that. It’s hyper disruptive and damaging. We can’t believe people still cold call prospects. This is a tactic that should have been abandoned years and years ago.
As cold outreach become less effective, many sales teams are turning their attention to social selling on LinkedIn and other social platforms as a warmer approach that offers more flexibility and functionality like visiting profiles and sending messages and invites to connect. Plus, you get to engage prospects where their attention is, which opens more sales opportunities.
LinkedIn is the best social network platform to help sales teams connect with prospects, other professionals, and businesses to expand your professional social network and help you engage directly with potential customers.
To automate the process of social selling, there are many LinkedIn automation tools to automate profile visits, messaging, connection requests, and many more. And by LinkedIn automation, we don’t mean automating every possible engagement. No! There are some things that should be automated and other things that shouldn’t be automated.
A rule of thumb is to automate repetitive, mundane tasks that distract you from focusing on what’s important like having real conversations with prospects. Don’t automate conversations between you and the prospect. At the core, sales is about relationship building through meaningful interactions. Relationships are not something you can or should ever automate. What’s the point of sales, anyway, if not for building relationships?
That said, here are 4 reasons we think LinkedIn automation is worth a look.
- As part of the sales process, LinkedIn automation frees you to focus on initiating conversations and relationship building interactions.
- Manually visiting profiles, sending connect requests, and following up with messages are easy tasks when you have 2-3 leads. But when you get to 10+ leads, it starts getting more difficult to manage and stay organized. You need a well-structured approach to sell and LinkedIn automation makes the process seamlessly organized.
- Automation builds your network while content builds brand awareness and loyalty. So with the right automation tool, you can build relationships and expand your network in the right way—through content. On LinkedIn, that may come in many different forms such as posts, comments, direct messages, your profile page, headlines, profile summaries, etc.
- LinkedIn is networking in the digital age; it's where business professionals hang out. Stay ahead of the times by engaging your market where they prefer to network.
Many people believe LinkedIn automation is spammy and ineffective. The key to using LinkedIn automation is to be genuine and honest, and not engaging in activities that you wouldn’t want to be done unto you.
What is spamming on LinkedIn?
To avoid spamming, we must first understand what spam means in terms of social selling on LinkedIn. Here are some examples:
- Endorsing someone you don't know
- Pitching your company in comments
- Self-promotions of any kind (obviously)
- Sending a sales pitch right after someone accept your connect requests
- Sending follow-up messages over and over again
- Scraping and sending emails to personal addresses (don’t do it)
Instead, you should:
- Visit Linkedin profiles and send connect requests to prospects that are likely interested in what you have to offer. This is a big step from cold emails — an approach that is cold and spammy.
- Follow up with new connections and add value with quality content.
- Treat prospects kindly and build relationships like you would in real life. See prospects as new friends; how would you build a strong relationship with a new friend?
How automation for LinkedIn works
Just like every other social network, any action on LinkedIn triggers a notification. This notification is then sent to the user the action was performed on to hook them and bring them back to the platform. (This is called the Hook Model as explained in the 2014 book Hooked by Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover. It answers why social media addiction is a thing now.)
Most people are addicted to these notifications so when they see one, the immediate action is to open the app and respond to the activity. Notifications tell them the action you've performed on them. For example, you visited their profile, sent them a LinkedIn message, invited them to connect, etc.
Instead of doing this manually, LinkedIn automation is essentially performing these actions to trigger notifications that get you noticed. These actions often result in a response from the users (leads) to visit your profile, connect with you, check out your content or posts you've liked, or even check out your company.
In other words, LinkedIn automation triggers notifications that initiate varied responses from potential leads.
Social selling and LinkedIn automation
Social selling is all about being social, which on LinkedIn is about creating value through quality content and engaging with other people’s content. These sales engagements should never be automated.
There are certain actions that can and should be automated. These types of actions rarely require human input, i.e. automating profile visits and connect requests. The purpose of LinkedIn tools isn't to automate just about every action. No, that would be spammy!
Use Linkedin automation to connect and network with people who may potentially be customers, followers, brand evangelists, product ambassadors, etc. But to do this effectively, you have to engage and keep engaging with quality content.
Once you're connected, it's all about human-to-human, personalized conversations. Keep in mind that sending a sales pitch right after you’ve connected with a lead is the worst way to initiate a conversation. Do not use your Linkedin account to pitch your products or services to your target audience. Instead, build your brand and let your brand do the selling.
“One of the hardest things to do is hit a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher (especially if you’re on the San Diego Padres). From fastballs traveling nearly 100 miles an hour to curveballs and everything in between, it’s difficult to make contact with the ball, let alone get a hit that actually counts.”
In other words, slow down your pitches. Take it slow and start with building genuine relationships. Social selling on LinkedIn is all about that. Here are some tips on how to build a good relationship with prospects:
- Be honest, be genuine, know what you’re selling, and sell for the right reasons
- Give value by delivering relevant content, actionable advice, and information or news they actually need
- Understand pain points and move toward solving them
- Don't just promise to solve their problems, provide a well-detailed strategy
- Build trust by connecting with them emotionally and putting their best interest first
- Personalization is key; stop using cookie cutter sales scripts and templates
Growing your business with LinkedIn automation
There are lots of ideas and ways to grow a business with LinkedIn automation.
While this should be a post of itself, the results obtainable from using this or that LinkedIn marketing hack varies from one person to another.
As such, it’s better to simply share some thoughts. Lead your own way!
Build your network of leads, followers, and brand ambassadors
Profile visits, sending invites and follow-up messages and other related activities have taken social engagement to a whole new level. Since LinkedIn automation tools offer personalization and allow you to sequence and automate repetitive engagements, you’ll have more time to do the things that matter most in sales: relationship building. In other words, more time creating meaningful content that not only builds your brand presence but also stay relevant with your network. This will help generate leads to grow your business.
Give value to your network at scale
Automation reduces the time you spend doing mundane social activities that sales bots can and should handle. This creates enough time to deliver more relevant content to your network and provide cohesive experiences. Content marketing on LinkedIn has long been a surefire way to attract and convert prospects and communicate with your network at scale. The first step is to define a content marketing strategy, which should cover the type of content you produce, how frequently you publish them, and the type of information your core audience will find valuable.
Build your brand presence through network effects
Network effects are one of the four defensibilities that create the most value for business owners and sales managers in the digital world. Google, Facebook, and Apple are some of the large companies that use this defense mechanism to ensure their products/services keep selling once the usage has reached a certain level. Now, the question is, how do network effects work on LinkedIn? It's simple: When your network engages with your content, their LinkedIn networks will also see that they've engaged with that content. This serves as social proof and makes your offering more valuable for others.
LinkedIn automation the right way
There is a right way of automating LinkedIn and social selling. Applying spammy email tactics to the social selling channels is the worst way to engage potential customers and incredibly damaging not only to your reputation but to the brand as well.
Social selling is about connecting and building relationships with other LinkedIn users through content. LinkedIn automation should be only be used to help you connect with those leads, not to spam them with automated follow-up messages in the form a sales pitch. Social selling and LinkedIn automation are not about pitching, but about relationship building.
Despite the fact that LinkedIn warns against using automation tools, we believe that sometimes in life you have to break some rules to push technology forward. It’s time we take sales beyond just cold, unsolicited, spammy, disruptive, salesy calls and emails. B2B lead generation through the LinkedIn network is a much warmer approach...and frankly, it's more effective than outdated email and call tactics.
While we think the pros outweigh the cons, the final choice is yours. We believe LinkedIn automation is the next evolution of sales enablement, and you don't want to miss out!