When we shifted our focus towards LinkedIn we brought with us years worth of experience doing cold outreach campaigns, mainly on email, as well as insights into how LinkedIn works as a place where people meet and interact. While we could have predicted some things and expected others, there were aspects that surprised us altogether.
So before we started to offer LinkedIn campaigns as a service in our company, we had to make sure we understood how LinkedIn works. There are a couple of things you need to have in mind when you start running a cold outreach campaign on LinkedIn, but the main one is this: it’s a great platform for meeting people, but not a great one for talking to them.
Here’s why we think LinkedIn is great for an intro, not so great for the actual conversations.
1. You can find just about anyone
LinkedIn is essentially a huge database where everyone’s main interest is to keep their own record up to date. Unlike Facebook, there are few people who voluntarily delete their LinkedIn accounts (or never create them in the first place), making it highly likely that you’re going to find whoever you’re looking for.
Plus, on the rare occasion where you can’t find someone in particular, there’s a good chance you can find one of their closest coworkers.
2. Breaking the ice is easy
How do you break the ice with strangers? You find things you have in common. Finding something in common with one of your new LinkedIn connections is as easy as shopping at the supermarket: just look at their page and choose whatever you want. People have everything on display on LinkedIn, from their backgrounds to their hobbies.
What’s more, if you have a valued connection in common, that’s already a small win for you. “Hey, I’m X” sounds bland when compared to “Hey, I’m X, Y’s former colleague, I see you have him as a connection too!”
3. Feedback is usually honest
People aren’t looking to waste anyone’s time, not even when they’re “cold called” on LinkedIn. If you reach out to someone with a business proposal and you follow all the right steps (building a rapport with them before you go for the sell and generally avoiding making common mistakes) you’re usually going to get a clear yes or no, and honest feedback.
4. Talk at length elsewhere
A clear yes isn’t a sale, however.
One of the most common things we’ve discovered on LinkedIn is a tendency for people to drop out of the conversation – sometimes for weeks! – if it continues on LinkedIn for too long. Most of them end up replying again, but when the conversation has been paused for longer than a few days you can rarely re-capture their interest.
So we always advise to invite LinkedIn contacts to other forms of communication: email, Zoom/Skype calls, phone calls, all of them work a lot better than LinkedIn and they capitalize on the existing interest from your prospects.