When people look at your profile, they decide whether you’re worth connecting with in several seconds. These are the questions that go through their head when making this decision:
Do they look like a domain expert?Do they look like a leader?Can they help me?
If you can trigger a “yes” to each one, then you can connect with venture capitalists, Fortune 500 founders, and thought leaders – at scale.
Your Profile Photo
It starts with the headshot because people mentally digest pictures before they even read. You don’t need anything over the top.
As long as the viewer believes you put in the effort to take a professional headshot, then you’ve increased your add-back percentage. What’s your add-back percentage?
It’s the percentage of the connection requests you send out that get accepted.
You can create an automatic human connection by simply smiling, it makes you feel inviting and you appear friendly off the bat.
Make sure that you don't go over the top with what you're wearing, just wear what you normally wear to a meeting or to work. People want to get to know you based on your picture.
Think of it as your first impression.
If your background is too distracting, then there's a tendency for the person to get distracted from your headshot, so keep it clean.
After you're done, you can run it thorugh a photo analyzer application such as Snapper which uses artificial intelligence to show you how you can improve your photo.
Something candid and simple will do.
Your Cover Photo
The next step is optimizing your cover photo. There are three photos that will increase your add-back rate:
You with a relevant influencer in your industry
You speaking in front of prospects
You at a local landmark (only works if you’re connecting with people in your city)
Alternatively, you can use a little bit of everything or use your cover photo as a space to promote your products such as the way digital marketer Neil Patel did his.
Once your viewers finish judging your headshot and cover photo, they’ll read your headline. The more thought leadership you can portray here, the higher increase you’ll see in your add-back rate.
This doesn’t mean writing “Thought Leader” in your headline.
You need to list tangible accomplishments or awards, preferably with numbers; otherwise, people won’t believe you. If you’re lucky, they’ve given a check mark against your headshot, cover photo, and headline.
Now they’re reading your bio. This is your opportunity to get them to click-through to your landing page.
You have to be able to detail everything that you do in a couple of lines, so get creative!
The biggest mistake I see from almost everyone on LinkedIn is lack of specificity. I don’t know what they do and how they can help me.
If you can’t state your business proposition in two sentences, then you don’t have a business.
It also helps if you put your contact details in the first line of your bio for people who want to contact you immediately. It saves them a lot of time from going through your entire bio, and it helps you convert faster.
When there is an opportunity for you to move a prospect faster through your sales funnel, you should do it.
Your bio should also have relevant links to publications that you are featured in and your portfolio. If you have other links that deserve a click, you can place them here.
If you're leaving a link to a landing page on your website, make sure that the landing page itself is customized to thank for coming in through LinkedIn and that you record the UTM for your Analytics.
Step 2: Auto-Connect to Thousands of Prospects at Scale
With several clicks, you can connect to hundreds of targeted prospects at scale.
Founders of 500+ employee companies in the software space? Done. Directors of Innovation of 250+ employee companies in the marketing and advertising space? Done.
And they’ll accept your connection request because your profile is optimized. To make this magic happen, you need to buy the Chrome extension, Linked Helper ($15/month).
To use the tool for expanding your network, write an invitation message. You’ll see the option in the middle drop-down. Write an intro message that’s NON-SALESY. Focus on establishing a common bond.
For example, in the message below I’m reaching out to founders in Los Angeles. I ensure that I include both keywords (e.g. founders, Los Angeles) in my message.
This message will go out to everyone you auto-connect with – possibly thousands of individuals. Next, I plug-in a relevant search query into LinkedIn Sales Navigator. If you don’t have Sales Navigator, then don’t bother to run automation. You’ll get your profile banned.
Now I click “Connect all 2nd contact in Search.” The tool will automatically start connecting with personalized messages to everyone in the search query.
Don’t connect with more than 150 people in a 24 hour period; otherwise, you risk the potential of getting banned. If you send out 150 requests every other day, you can expand your connection base by a couple of thousand targeted prospects every month. Powerful.
Now that you have a strong connection base let’s ramp up engagement.
Step 3: Publish Viral LinkedIn Posts Every Week
You have many prospects in your network. Do you immediately follow-up with a sales message?
You need to nurture them with value – every day. You need to leverage statuses to get seen and heard. An excellent status takes less time to create and will get far more eyeballs than your published post.
Look at this status I created – over 8 million views.
Before you jump in trying to repeat my success, you need to know how to write to drive engagement. It starts with the first two sentences. If those don’t pull your reader’s attention, then you’ve lost them.
Every quality piece begins with a problem, significant change, announcement, or credibility:
The last two sentences are almost as important as the first two. If people don’t walk away feeling a strong emotion, then don’t expect them to like, comment, or share your post.
Provide them an “aha” moment: You’re almost a pro. However, you’re missing everything in the middle. Here you want to tell a story with tangible examples.
Without a story, no one will care. To tell a gripping story, you need to pull out every adjective from your dictionary, including amazing, super, nice, great, wonderful and best.
Here's another example:
Michaela Alexis writes many of the most engaging articles on LinkedIn. This has led to her receiving many podcast, speaking, and job opportunities.
Here’s a look at the engagement on her most recent posts:
What makes her LinkedIn articles different?
Michaela Alexis told us,
“Linkedin is a unique community. You can’t just write. Yes, you may end up with some home runs, but you have to spend about 20% of your time writing, and the other 80% engaging and sharing updates.
People need to see you actually growing to believe that you know what you’re talking about or listen to what you have to say.
Trust me, there are far better writers than me, but they aren’t spending as much time as me building relationships.
In terms of format, I never write anything that will take longer than 5 mins to read. Always assume people are consuming content on a quick coffee break. I follow the same format, always.
First part is a personal story. Second is the result. Third is how that result can be replicated.
I literally respond to as many comments as humanly possible. Then, I answer as many messages as possible, but it’s grown so much that I’m bringing on interns to categorize my messages.
I know Gary Vee is all about personally replying, and I agree with him. As such, I also share my articles on Medium, and have had a few picked up by publications that way.”
Michaela did leave out that she uses images of inspirational quotes for almost all her LinkedIn article cover photos. These perform well, especially when paired with personal photos in the article.
Step 4: Engage With People
One of the best ways to get yourself out there is to start enaging with people. It tells people that you care and that you are active in the community. However, it does come with one major problem.
It's incredibly time-consuming.
However, there are ways to automate this process.
You can use Dux Soup ($15/month) to begin auto-viewing profiles.
The paid version has support for Sales Navigator and Recruiter, enables you to download visited profile-data as a CSV, re-visit based on previously downloaded CSV, have unlimited visits/day and tagging.
When you download Dux Soup, click on options to configure your settings as seen below:
When you have your desired settings in place, then use your LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Recruiter to conduct a search query to begin auto viewing profiles.
If you want to capitalize on more of your existing network with messaging while expanding your network in a highly targeted way, then you’ll get better results with GPZ LinkedIN Tools.
GPZ LinkedIN Tools is for automated message sending, auto connecting, and auto viewing. The interface is very intuitive enabling you to set up a campaign within minutes.
In this example, we use the Auto Message Sender campaign.
From here, we configure the New Connection Messenger feature to send messages to specific people based on the URL corresponding to an Advanced People Search.
Now, you can send hundreds of messages every day to people in your network. This is a great way to give value to your LinkedIn connections at scale.
Or, you could also get them to join an event that you have by using a template message such as this:
I want to reach out because we’re connected, and I noticed you work in [i.e. growth marketing] in [i.e. San Francisco]. I thought you could help me for 3 seconds.
I’m excited to announce that the [name of event] in [i.e. San Francisco]. It’s been featured in[i.e. Forbes, Entrepreneur] as the next [i.e. Dreamforce].
The event starts in two days! The speakers include:
[Big name #1]
[Big name #2]
[Big name #3]
Please take 3 seconds to let me know what you think about the [event]:
You can find more details and register here: [landing page URL]
Thank you so much for your time.”
Step 5: Use Engagement Posts to Drive Subscribers
To turn your engagement into email subscribers, you can offer a relevant download or ask them for their opinion on a content release.
Because LinkedIn decreases engagement for posts with links, I’ll put the link in the first comment. When I hit thirty comments on the piece, I’ll move it to the text area because garnering the initial engagement is the hardest.
When you're ready to give out stuff for free, you establish yourself as a confident thought leader who strives to add value to people in their network.
You establish your integrity and you get to help people in the process. This helps drive up business.
Step 6: Use Appreciation Posts to Develop Key Relationships
LinkedIn loves when you appreciate people in your network. They go crazy over it. The formula:
Introduce the problem you had before your meeting
Explain the credibility of the person you’re meeting using a tangible example
Dive into the key learning lessons from the conversation using bullet points
Publicly acknowledging how people help you is one of the best ways to create valuable relationships.
It shows you’re willing to vouch for a friend not only to one person but your entire network. It also works when you're thanking people in your own organization as well.
Step 7: Prep Your Statuses Using Quora to Create the Best LinkedIn Content
All my best LinkedIn statuses were written months before I began posting them. How?
They were my answers to questions on Quora.
In fact, 8/10 my most viewed statuses were initially written on Quora. I use Quora to validate my content before I post it on LinkedIn. This means that if my content gets high engagement on Quora, then I’ll repost it on LinkedIn.
There’s a slight mismatch. LinkedIn statuses only allow for 1,300 characters, unlike Quora which has no limit. As a result, when answering questions on Quora, it’s best to keep the 1,300 character limit in mind.
Step 8: Retarget on Facebook
You’ve learned a few masterful tactics, but there are still more. This one can drive many leads and engagement for you. Grab the list that you have and start retargeting ads to them.
Also you can retarget your LinkedIn connections on Facebook, too.
To grab your LinkedIn connections:
You can find the option to do so in your LinkedIn Settings – Getting an archive of your data. Once you export your connections, LinkedIn will send you a list of their emails.
Upload these emails lists to Facebook as a custom audience, then start running ads.
I run video ads because the cost-per-view is less than several cents while still keeping an option for them to click-through to my website with a “Learn more” button.
You can even grow this list to make more connections by creating a "lookalike audience" using the primary list of prospects that you have.
This will allow you reach people of the same demographic by using Facebook's algorithm. This amplifies your reach even further and doesn't require any extra effort.
You are working on persuading people to check you out, and its proven that people who see you on other mediums are more likely to be curious about you.
If they see you on both Facebook and LinkedIn then you're doing a good job.
Make sure that you're linking to a landing page.
Step 9: Interview High-Value Prospects at Scale
If you implemented the content tactics outlined above every day for a month, then people are starting to follow every post you publish. Your network knows of you and people in their network know of you.
It’s time to make sales. We sell in a genuine way – by focusing on relationship building using content marketing. This tactic is more useful if you have high-value prospects.
This means your average deal size should, at least, be one thousand dollars.
Because almost every conversation leads into “What do you do?”, our angle is to get high-value prospects on the phone with you before they even receive a sales pitch. How does this work?
We offer to include them in blog posts, podcasts, case studies, live stream videos, or even online magazines where you can highlight them. We’re playing to their ego – and it works.
Here’s an example message:
This message has over a thirty percent reply rate. Here’s why:
1. Appreciation“I love the work you’ve done for [X company]” 2. Credibility “Podcast that gets 2,000listens an episode” 3. Community first “As an entrepreneur building a vibrant community of founders” 4. More appreciation “Knowledgeable speakers and people crushing it in tech such as yourself” 5. Example of a previous episode (not in the picture) “Here’s an example of a previous interview with [insert credible name]: [link here]” 6. Straightforward call-to-action (not in the picture) “Do you have fifteen minutes to talk this Wednesday @ 2 P.M. PST?” With this template, I’ve had the founder of Zapier and Zoom respond to me. It’s that good.
Step 10: Turn Your LinkedIn Connections into a Vibrant Tribe
Once you’ve connected with and nurtured many of your target LinkedIn prospects, you have the leverage to build a tribe. This happens in a Facebook Group, not a Slack community or a LinkedIn Group – those are dead zones. To get people into your community, there are two ways:
LinkedIn messaging (more painful, but still works)
Here’s the email template I’ll send out to all my LinkedIn connections:
“Hey [first name]
As a LinkedIn connection and fellow founder, I wanted to personally invite you to a founder Facebook Group I organize that’s very active, Marketers & Founders.
I happen to run one of the largest marketing communities in Silicon Valley (3000+ members) and the Facebook Group (6000+ members).
The Marketers & Founders Facebook Group is moderated by a few of the best, so it’s invite-only.
Aj Cartas; 1.2 million social media fans and is an influencer lead @TopBuzz
Taylor Pipes; content strategist @Evernote
Me ???? Past head of growth for @22Social, @UpOut, and @GrowthX.
If you want to know more info, feel free to reply."
To email them at scale, you need to have a few warmed up email accounts tied to a domain you don’t use for your website or primary business but sounds relevant to your brand.
For example, I used “marketersfounders.com”.
Here are the two tools you need to send emails at scale:
Tool #1:Google Apps
A Google Apps account will enable you to create many email addresses tied to your “temporary” domain. I recommend sticking below 300/day per an email address and starting off at 20/day for the first three weeks.
Tool #2: Mailshake
This tool will enable you to send thousands of emails/day if you have many emails attached. It’s the best tool for sending emails at scale with the shortest learning curve.
It took me around twenty minutes to understand the entire tool and another twenty to begin sending emails.
2. LinkedIn Messaging
Andrei posted on LinkedIn asking whether people were interested in joining his B2B SaaS community. As a result, he received almost over 1,000 responses.
That’s 1,000 new members from one post. He only had 2,000 connections when he posted this.
The next step is paying a VA to use your profile to connect with all these people and send them a message with your community link.
After emailing and posting on LinkedIn, you should have a couple of thousand members in your community. Well done.
Step 11: Encourage them to Subscribe on Messenger
The first step is to pick a messenger tool.
I use ManyChat because of its feature versatility to capture leads with dedicated landing pages or people commenting on a Facebook post.
If you’ve ever used an opt-in tool on a blog, then you’ll have a similar experience when setting up ManyChat. The learning curve is only a couple of minutes.
To get the initial subscriber base, I ran a giveaway encouraging people to jump on. This gave me three-hundred-and-fifty Messenger subscribers.
When I had enough traction for the Facebook Group, I required members to opt-in via Messenger to gain access. As of writing, this approach has led to over five hundred more subscribers in the last month.
After a month of using ManyChat, I leveraged my base to bring in another several thousand subscribers by having the most successful book launch on Product Hunt.
Soon after, I ran another giveaway. If people commented on my Facebook Fan Page post, I’d send them my viral LinkedIn templates. I received over one hundred comments.
As per ManyChat, if someone comments on your post, they immediately become a subscriber.
Play ball where they play ball. It’s easier to get someone to subscribe via Messenger if they’re already on Facebook.
Step 12: Follow-Up with Quality Inbound Opportunities
I have a problem.
Too many messages. I get hundreds every day across LinkedIn, Facebook, and email. To sort them out, I hired an assistant.
If you’re looking to stay lean, then you can hire a virtual assistant, too. I’d check out Upwork; it’s one of the best resources to hire virtual assistants.
If you’re publishing content, building your list, and driving engagement, then you’ll get flooded with inbound opportunities. I don’t have the time to look through them all, so I hire people to do that for me.
I pay more to hire people who have experience in my industry. They’re far better at identifying valuable opportunities.
Create a Powerful Ecosystem</strong id="create">
To excel at one social platform, it often requires the help of others because excellent marketing is an ecosystem. You’re competing for attention.
To drive millions of views on LinkedIn, you need to combine the forces of Facebook and Quora.
Wherever your prospects go, they’ll see your engaging content. And by the time they hop on a call with you, they have already trusted you. Say goodbye to your normal sales cycle by mastering LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: We do not officially endorse the use of any third-party tools to enhance or automate parts of the LinkedIn audience-building & outreach process, as this violates their terms of service.
Failure to heed this warning could result in permanent suspension from the platform.
About the Author
The name’s Houston Golden. I’m the Founder & CEO of BAMF ― a company I’ve grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $4M in revenue over a span of 3 years.
How did I do it? Well, it’s quite simple, really. I’ve helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win). I tell you how on this blog. Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.