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LinkedIn is a cringefest but it works for B2B startups - Here's what you need to do to generate leads and get clients

I recently sold my SaaS company and we got about half of our clients via LinkedIn. This is not a pitch about using a LinkedIn automation service or hiring someone to send templated messages.

I'll provide you with some tips and tactics on how you can use LinkedIn to your benefit to book meetings, drive traffic to your website, and get clients.
Like most things, the more work you put into it, the better results you'll see.

You may know some of this, some things you may not know are about gaming LinkedIn's algorithm, LinkedIn Pods and how to leverage the Reciprocity Principle.

  1. Post Consistently

It's a pain in the ass to post on a regular basis but it's key to building a following. This is hard, I struggled with it for a variety of reasons. Knowing what I know now, I would have dedicated more time to LinkedIn instead of testing other channels because our buyer persona is active on LinkedIn. And I would have created a content calendar and not thought too much about what I posted to ensure I was active most days.

This is the hardest part but even if you're not posting 5 days a week, you can still get leads and clients.

Here's a list of 31 post ideas: https://revpilots.com/31-great-linkedin-post-ideas-to-improve-engagement-with-examples/

  1. Be Known For Something

Build a personal brand on LinkedIn. It's not complicated. Post about whatever your niche is and what you know well. You should be an expert on something, let the world know. Give away your expertise. And remember, even the basic stuff you know has value.

The 101 knowledge may have wider appeal than the more 401 stuff. Don't overestimate your prospects.

  1. This Is Key to Remember (and will help you in all aspects of sales)

Nobody cares about your business. They care about themselves and only themselves. Once you realize that the person on the other end is self-centered when it comes to sales interactions, and rightfully so, this will help you approach things so you benefit them and rejection will sting less.
Never connect with someone and immediately pitch them. Ever. It’s not effective and it shows you only care about yourself.

  1. Gaming LinkedIn's Algorithm With Your Posts

LinkedIn cares about "dwell time" on posts in the feed. The longer people spend reading your posts, the more they'll get promoted by LinkedIn. This means writing a post with a hook before the "see more..." button to get people to click "see more..", write the post so it's spaced out line by line, some call this "broetry" but it works, and longer posts usually perform better.

Also, if it makes sense, ask a question or have a CTA at the end of the post to drive engagement. Limit the number of links, max of two links, none is ideal. LinkedIn wants people to stay on LinkedIn, add a link in the comments after you post or edit the post after it's posted and include a link in the body. Limit hashtags to 3-5, I prefer to select hashtags with large followings that my buyer persona would follow.

Posts that you "share" do not perform well so post the original. Video doesn't perform as well as text posts in my experience. Respond to comments and like the comments.

https://engineering.linkedin.com/blog/2020/understanding-feed-dwell-time

  1. Profile Basics

Make your profile a landing page more than a resume. Leverage the featured section with your two best items, ideally short demo videos. Your headline should not be your job title, a formula you can use is I help X with Y by Z, with z being what differentiates you. Get a decent profile pic. Most B2B buyers will check out your profile before buying.

  1. The Reciprocity Principle is powerful!

Do giveaways related to your expertise or offering. We built a search engine designed for b2b salespeople. What we did was post on LinkedIn an offer for "free research reports" (using our own product) then our buyer persona would message us asking for a free research report. This was a worthwhile giveaway because we gave away something people would pay for. After we sent the report, they would ask us how we did it, if they could get a demo, sign up, refer us to a decision maker, or simply thank us. Some of the people who thanked us ended up becoming unofficial ambassadors, tagging us in posts and recommending us to other customers. What's something you can give away that's related to a problem you solve?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_psychology)#The_power_of_reciprocity

  1. Repurpose content

You will post text statuses that do well. You can turn those into mini guides and use them as giveaways in the future. This can also be turned into blog posts, tweets, etc. And you can re-use LinkedIn posts. In fact, two statuses I posted turned into blog posts which ended up ranking in the top 3 on Google.

www.canva.com is your friend.

You can make a guide that people will value in 5-10 minutes. Do not spend a ton of time making it. The content is more important than the design. The design will be good enough.

  1. Build Your Network

I prefer not to write messages when adding people because most people will accept based on your profile, not your message. If you can write a quality, personalized message, go for it. The ROI is not there, in my experience. Add people on a regular basis who fit your buyer persona.

Additionally, write thoughtful comments on posts by people in your industry who have high engagement. You can also "follow" people and engage with their content. This is a good way to build a genuine connection. Add people who engage with your posts.

  1. Some LinkedIn Truth

Despite what they may say, a lot of the "thought leaders" used LinkedIn pods early on to build a following. They did post consistently but they helped each other out or used random pods. To this day, people who get ridiculous engagement are liking and commenting on each other's posts. You can post your status in a few groups/slack chats that are relevant to your space. They often have channels for this.

I wont name names but there are people now who get hundreds, sometimes thousands of likes because they got started this way. Lame content does well. The guy who interviewed the homeless, drug addict who didn't shake their hand during the interview but is now the CEO gets a lot of likes and comments, probably tens of thousands of views. That's good for exposure but not necessarily for your business. Highly engaged niche audiences are more valuable.

  1. Your LinkedIn Competition is Noise

The feed is filled with shitty posts and inboxes that are filled with pitch after pitch. NEVER pitch someone after you connect. It's a terrible way to do business. If you want to message someone, personalize it (you'll stand out) or provide them something of value without asking for anything. Play the long term game.
https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/sales-navigator - LinkedIn Sales Navigator is worth it for the search functionality. The LSN messages are worth close to zero. They just don't convert. So I wouldn't recommend buying it if you wanted to send more messages.

  1. Other things...

Make your profile public so you get a touch point when you view someone's profile. There are tools to automate viewing of profiles that violate linkedin's ToS but can be worth it to drive views back to your profile. People will be curious about who is "StartupSales" when they see I viewed their profile, view my profile, view my featured items, go to my website. LinkedIn was the #1 referral source for our website, btw.

Anyway, that's a lot to take in for a post. Happy to answer any questions and if you sell anything in the B2B space and want to get started using LinkedIn, get started! It's a great platform when used properly. But still a cringefest.

  1. 2

    This is great! Definitely bookmarking this.

    A couple Qs:

    1. Do you have one or two good examples of a LinkedIn profile set up as a "landing page" rather than a resume? In general does it make sense to create a new LinkedIn profile specifically dedicated to this?

    2. You've made it clear that this is a stategy for generating inbound leads, not for cold outreach. However I am a little unclear on what the KPIs of a successful implemenation of this would be. Is the goal to get prospects reaching out to you directly via LinkedIn's inbox? OR its more above driving traffic and prospects to the content that you post?

    3. It seems like this approach could be replicated Twitter and Facebook with a few tweaks. Have you had any success expanding this approach to those channels?

    1. 1

      hey @muhammadatt !

      1. https://revpilots.com/how-to-make-a-great-linkediin-profile/ - this should help
      2. you can definitely do cold outreach and should, but the goal of doing the giveaways is that the prospects come to you. With regular posting, when you do your cold outreach, people will be a little more familiar with who you are. Cold outreach should be part of an outbound sequence where you are combining email, linkeding, calls. Also, if they engage with your content, you can use it as a reason to message them in a casual way (no pitch) to start a convo.
      3. I haven't but it would work on other channels if your buyer is there. My buyer persona (salespeople) is all over LinkedIn so the focus was there. It's social selling so no reason it can't work on fb and twtr.
  2. 2

    Thanks for the informative post.

    I've started to see that there is a golden rule to any form of sales & marketing...

    Always offer value.

    The biggest reason why sales pitches don't succeed & why marketing campaigns fail, is the perceived (super important word - perceived) value wasn't clear or compelling enough.

    People shy away from offering value either due to taking too much effort or time, which is exactly why they aren't getting results.

    I too, don't post often enough on LinkedIn to my businesses detriment, however this gives me motivation to make a start.

    Right now however, I'm refining the content strategy to bake in as much value into every step of the way - from my email templates, sales processes & website landing pages.

    Without demonstrating higher value over my competition (my USP is baking business strategy into video production which a lot of my competitors don't offer), I'm never going to stand out, or have my customers value my product. That means, I lose out on revenue and conversions.

    Appreciate the reminder !

    1. 1

      great to hear, you nailed it. My only advice is not to try to make it too perfect. you;'d be surprised how low the bar is and how much you know that you take for granted

      1. 2

        Advice is spot on. Perfection is the enemy of published ;)

  3. 2

    Awesome tips! I get how LinkedIn is cringey but it does work. As a freelance writer, I get leads from there.

    1. 1

      Thanks and nicely done!

  4. 2

    Thanks for the tips. It seems like a lot of my industry is on LinkedIn. I've starting building my network and am not selling yet with a lot of luck so far just connecting. However, I keep maxing out my weekly connection requests. Does anyone know a way around that?

    1. 1

      I'm not 100% sure but if you have a premium/paid account you might be able to add more. Maxing out is fine, with time you'll have a ton of connections.

  5. 2

    Genial, gracias por los tips. Felicitaciones por la estrategia de tu empresa en linkedIn.

  6. 2

    Thanks for sharing this. I was struggling with LinkedIn. Lots of useful tips here. Good to hear your company got acquired!

    1. 1

      Thanks, hope this helps!

  7. 2

    This is a great example of a valuable gieaway. Thank you

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