3 Ways You Can Use LinkedIn For Lead Generation (and 1 way you shouldn’t)


Here are four ways you can use LinkedIn for Lead Gen. The first three will all work, depending on your client’s strengths and weaknesses. The last one, well, we will burn that bridge when we come to it.

Publish and link

Publish content that leads people back to your website. On your website, in exchange for their email address, they get valuable content such as an e-book, case study, checklist etc. This is the “classic” lead generation system used all over in email newsletters, columns, you name it.

This tactic depends on the reach the company already has. A lot of people need to see your message.

Designate And Follow Leads Using Sales Navigator

You can use Sales Navigator on LinkedIn and designate people and companies as leads. You will then see those lead’s activities and can use them as a springboard to contact the prospects.

This one is hit and miss as it depends on the target companies or people being active on LinkedIn. The rule of thumb for internet use is 90/9/1. Ninety percent lurk, nine percent participate and one percent generate. So in general, if you have a thousand leads you are following on LinkedIn, only a small number of them will be active.

Find ’em yourself

You can go straight to using LinkedIn to identify prospects and reach out to them via email or LinkedIn, or both. This idea actually takes the lead gen out of it, but if you know who your prospective customers are, it is often a better idea to go hunt them down, than hope they drop by.

But most people don’t like using the “P” word (prospecting), or the “W” word (work), so they succumb to the siren call of….

Automated LinkedIn add-ons and systems

Very dangerous. This usually consists of automated software that sends messages or connection requests. Violates LinkedIn’s terms of agreement and people that get caught get their accounts closed and are banned from using LinkedIn.

I get asked multiple times every week: “what automation software do you recommend for” and then they ask about sending connection requests, or auto-commenting on posts, or sending messages. And I answer “none.” I don’t care how much time it may save you, I have good reasons why you shouldn’t use automation on LinkedIn.

Reason #1: Like most trendy tactics, it’s wearing thin

Remember a few years ago when saying happy birthday to each other on LinkedIn was a thing? And salespeople started piggybacking sales pitches onto their birthday greetings? And how that got old pretty quickly? Well automated everything is getting like that. People have seen it before.

Reason #2: Quite honestly, it can make you look stupid

And that is because by definition setting loose parameters to be able to use the software puts you in weird situations. I think most of us have received sales pitches from people trying to sell us the services that are hilariously unsuited to us and would be obvious to anyone who had taken the time to read our profiles.

I am a big believer that how you treat your prospects is a preview of how you will treat them as your customers. And automation screams “I have no time for personal attention, and this is all just a numbers game.” I find it telling that one of the big promotional tools used in selling automation is how much your time is worth and how you can save that time. Of course the flip side of that same coin is that your prospects do not deserve your time.

Reason #3: LinkedIn can close your account and ban you permanently

And they do. Two things you can’t do on LinkedIn is scrape data and have somebody else or automated software using your account. As automated software needs access to your account to get the data – from a search for example – and then to take control of your account to send the invitations or messages, automation breaks the user agreement for both of these.

And for anyone who thinks that the odds are so low they won’t get caught, I have one suggestion. If you habitually believe it is a good idea to go for a walk whenever a thunderstorm begins, because the odds of being hit by lightning are so low, then automation may be for you. But for the rest of us who just thought “the risk is not worth it” we will pass thanks.

The only people who truly profit from LinkedIn automation are the people selling it to you.

Stick to the first three methods I discussed above. Trade valuable content for email addresses, use Sales Navigator to follow people, or find and approach your prospects individually on LinkedIn.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.

Want more like this? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/