LinkedIn is a rich source of information on influencers, journalists, and c-level executives who you might want to reach out to and collaborate with. 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers.
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn first is also a good idea because people are more open to someone approaching them.
In fact, people are 3 times more likely to respond to an InMail message that traditional email. The platform is meant to build new connections and nurture business relationships.
But LinkedIn is also huge and can appear daunting at first. You got to approach LinkedIn outreach the right way. Getting bloggers, journalists and decision makers in organizations to notice your brand is no small feat.
You need to have an engaging story, and there are certain rights and wrongs you need to keep in mind. Follow these best practices to make prospects interested in your pitch, not annoy them.
Laying The GroundWork
Being prepared is key in order to make your prospects more likely to connect with you, and for you to be able to make the most of those connections.
Optimize Your Profile
Before you start approaching prospects on LinkedIn, make sure that your profile is aligned with what you want to convey. The first thing most people do when approached on LinkedIn is to view the profile of the person who messaged them.
Complete your profile and keep it up to date with a summary and other relevant details. Write in the first person, explaining what your brand is all about and why would an influencer or prospect be interested in your story.
Don’t just list your skills and attributes. Connect your experiences and qualifications with solutions to problems that your target influencers will be interested in. Help the prospects see how you can benefit them.
Write Some Articles
LinkedIn also allows you to write articles, which then show up in your profile. Considering that about 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions (managers, VPs, Directors, C-level), you should definitely write a few before you start prospecting.
Articles demonstrate some of your thoughts and expertise on subjects related to your industry and help establish your credibility and knowledge, which comes handy when prospecting influencers on LinkedIn.
They create a good impression on target influencers and make them more likely to trust and work with you. Check out my complete tutorial on web content writing.
Consider Going Premium
As you may know, you can send LinkedIn messages only to your first-degree connections. To reach out to someone not in your connections, you need an InMail.
However, the LinkedIn InMail feature is available only to Premium and Sales Navigator users. LinkedIn’s premium plans may seem to be on the pricey side, but can be helpful if you can afford them.
Features like improved search, lead management and more InMail messages are great especially for prospecting.
With advanced search for example, you can easily find the right people to reach out to. You can also integrate the LinkedIn Sales Navigator with your email client such as Gmail or Outlook.
Sync With A CRM
Once you have started making LinkedIn prospecting work for you, you’ll likely start generating leads who are interested in proceeding further.
In order to efficiently manage and process these communications, you should have a system in place.
It helps if you have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account, in order to sync with well known CRM solutions. It is possible to monitor prospects manually, but expect to spend more time and effort then.
In any case, you must ensure your hard work on LinkedIn is fully utilized and no leads are slipping through the cracks.
Finding Influencers On LinkedIn
Looking for influencers on LinkedIn is great because it’s like a search engine, but for professionals all over the world. For all the people on LinkedIn, LinkedIn has collected and organized a lot of useful data, which you can use to find influencers to prospect.
The boolean strings and filters supported by LinkedIn Search can help you narrow down your list for prospecting influencers on LinkedIn and have a positive impact on the quality of results you get from your outreach. Results can be narrowed by industry, location, company, and other specifications.
Check People Also Viewed
This awesome LinkedIn feature helps you turn one target influencer into several. When checking out LinkedIn profile of a prospect or customer, make sure to check out the ‘People Also Viewed’ box in the right sidebar.
This box shows other professionals on LinkedIn who are similar to the profile you are viewing. So you can add them too in your LinkedIn outreach list.
Reaching Out To Prospects
Once you understand what to say to influencers on LinkedIn, it can be like your biggest professional coffee shop.
You’ll be able to engage and build relationships via messages, updates and articles. These relationships will translate to social shares, backlinks and press mentions in the long-term.
Compelling Subject Line
When it comes to getting an influencer on LinkedIn to open your message, a simple Hello in title won’t suffice. A prospect doesn’t know who you are and what you want.
So your subject line should be able to provide a gist of your message, as well as a reason compelling enough for them to read the message.
If the prospect is connected via LinkedIn with one of your connections, you should leverage that relationship. You can also stand out by mentioning one of their interests in the subject line. It shows you have done research on them.
- Share Your Expert Opinion With A Fellow Group Member?
- (Shared connection) suggested that I reach out to you…
- Hello from a fellow avid Scuba diver
- We overlapped at Rutgers for two years, but….
Introduce Yourself First
When sending a message, make it easy for the influencer to figure out who you are. Don’t make them click to see through your profile in order to identify you.
When you introduce yourself in a line or two up front, the prospect can focus on the content of your message without distractions.
If you’re not a big, well-known brand yet, it’s also better to provide some kind of social proof such as number of customers, VC/client names, awards or anything else that helps establish credibility.
For example, in your LinkedIn outreach, you can say something like:
Hi [Name], hope you’re having a great week. My name is [XYZ] and I am a [Job Title] at [Company Name], a company which [Description/Value Proposition/Social Proof].
Personalize Your Message
The importance of personalizing your approach when prospecting influencers on LinkedIn cannot be understated.
When sending a message, use a subject line which conveys something specific, and remember to address by their first name. It should seem like your message is specifically for them.
Find something to appreciate, as soon as possible, like something you observed in their profile and social activity.
Read one of their articles, for example, and bring up the points which you also agree on:
- I've read and really enjoyed several of your articles on [topic] -- especially like how you [did X]. (I also noticed [detail from profile], which is pretty cool.).
- I shared your video on ABC with all my coworkers - the best coverage I’ve watched.
- Your experience at ABC company, XYZ company, and background in product management is really solid.
Highlight A Commonality
Another thing that shows you have done your research is to highlight some sort of commonality. It can be a mutual contact, a group that both you and the prospect are part of, the college you went to or something you observed in their profile and social activity. For example:
- It’s great to connect with someone who’s also a part of XYZ group.
- I came across your LinkedIn profile and your path is very similar to the one I hope to take.
- I also noticed from your profile that you run 4 miles a day. That’s awesome, I am a runner too but only manage 3 every other day.
Give Value First
No matter how you approach it, the most important rule of LinkedIn outreach is always try to give value first, rather than asking for something right away.
For instance, you can offer a content resource, a research study, introduction to someone they would like to connect with, a recommendation or something else.
Your comment on XYZ brought to my mind this excellent report from ABC. It’s surprising to learn that …
Your first message should always be about building trust and forging a relationship with the influencer, not to pitch something or ask for a favor.
It’s only after you’ve connected and engaged with them a little bit, that you can follow up with a small ask.
It’s also a good idea to appreciate them first and explain why you are contacting them only.
Since you write a lot about [topic], I thought you might be interested in hearing about [insert pitch here]. I think you would find our story intriguing because [Reason]. I’d love to get your thoughts on X.
Offer To Help
When prospecting influencers on LinkedIn, make it about them. Ask a question to uncover their current problems and challenges. Show a genuine interest in learning about their current situation. Then offer to help. Here are a few examples:
- Do you have any unanswered questions about XYZ?
- If you ever need insight on X, I’ll be glad to offer a hand.
- Or connect you with someone who can.
End With A Specific Request
Every message you send should have a clear next step for your prospect to engage further. The first goal of your LinkedIn outreach is to start a conversation, not to pitch your idea,
Whether it is to read through the content you shared, to connect with you on a social channel, to set up a short call to discuss or anything else, make your ask clear and explicit.
Don’t keep them wondering as to what you want. And whatever you’re asking in the message, make sure to tell the influencer how grateful you are for their time or consideration.
Tell them you appreciate their insight, for example, and looking forward to hear their feedback. If you have done everything right and captured their interest, there shouldn’t be any trouble for them to follow through.
- Is this a priority for you right now?
- I am curious to learn your thoughts on XYZ.
- I was wondering if you would like to connect and grab coffee sometime?
- Would you be open to discussing this over a short call? I’d really appreciate it.
- Do you think this is something your audience would be interested in?
With all these tips and tricks up your sleeve, I hope you’re feeling confident enough to start practicing connecting with prospects on LinkedIn.
Start by making a list of your target personas. Then work your way up, refining aspects like your LinkedIn outreach and process as you go. The more relevant and clear your message, the better results you will get.
Eventually, you’ll find it easier to connect with prospects and have a system which generates fresh leads for you week after week.
Did I miss anything? Did you try these tips? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.