Without a doubt, LinkedIn has become a default go-to prospecting tool, especially for SDRs. Whether it’s about searching for the right audience, building relationships, or starting conversations, LinkedIn is one platform you cannot afford to miss.
A survey by Hubspot found LinkedIn to be 277% more effective for lead generation than other social media platforms. And of all leads generated from social media, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
But there’s one problem—very few sales professionals use LinkedIn effectively.
Have you, as a LinkedIn user, ever been pitch slapped?
Every other day, right?
If you haven’t heard of pitch slapping, it refers to someone sending you a connection request on LinkedIn and then immediately pitching their product/service as soon as you accept their connection request.
In other words—slapping their pitch on you almost instantly.
No one likes that. And yet bad pitches are part of our daily LinkedIn experience.
Here’s an example:
The above sales pitch is mass blast without researching the prospect or attempting to build any sort of relevance.
If you’re an SDR and use LinkedIn as your daily hangout platform for prospecting, then you better do it right. And if you are serious about leveraging LinkedIn for demand generation and building your pipeline, this blog post will help you with your content strategy.
Do you really need a LinkedIn content strategy?
As an SDR, it’s part of your role to identify potential prospects, reach out to them, and explore an opportunity to see if your product can help solve their needs and pain points.
But first things first, we all know that no one likes to be pitched. We all receive sales pitches daily, and we almost instantly tune out the moment we sense a pitch coming.
And yet, when we receive a LinkedIn DM (direct message) from someone we know, we always respond to them. In fact, we often naturally gravitate towards people we trust, even if we didn’t have prior interaction with them.
Why does that happen?
It is because trust is already built. It’s already there in the form of content they create on LinkedIn—it could be posts where they express their point of view towards a topic, comments on posts where they contribute valuable inputs, and more.
When you’re in an outbound role like SDR, where you’re reaching out to prospects daily, it’s all the more important to have a LinkedIn content strategy whereby you build trust for yourself and the brand you represent.
The more you and your brand become familiar with your target audience, the easier it is to build conversations and relationships with them.
Great! What does a LinkedIn content strategy mean?
Keeping it simple and in first principles, having a LinkedIn content strategy means having clarity on the topics you’ll be discussing on LinkedIn in the form of posts, comments, 1:1 conversations, etc. These topics then extend to the tactical aspect of how you make those discussions engaging and effective.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile for your target audience
Your LinkedIn content needs to have a trustworthy face. The LinkedIn profile page is like the clothes you wear to a networking event. Start by window dressing your profile page to make a great first impression.
If you search for “SDR” or “sales development representative” on LinkedIn, you will come across several profiles that don’t even have a profile picture. They have other details missing, such as no description text in the ‘About’ section, lacking text or image on the banner, or a total lack of featured posts.
How can you, as an SDR, expect prospects to accept your connection request or engage with you when you don’t even have basic, verifiable information about yourself?
Every small detail matters in the world of social media—from your profile pics to the endorsements you have earned from your colleagues. Use your LinkedIn profile page like a valuable real estate to communicate everything you want your prospects to know before you say “hi” to them.
So put up a smiling, confident-looking profile picture, complement it with a banner image (preferably about the brand you represent), and fill in all the important details that prospects can read when they skim through your profile page.
LinkedIn has one more underutilized area you can leverage to improve your prospecting. For instance, did you know you can create a customized CTA link right below your contact info?
Here’s how Carl Ferreira, Director of Sales at Refine Labs, uses the space to link to his company’s podcast.
You can use the section to link to your company website, signup page, demo page, pricing page, or calendar booking page.
The moral of the story—leave no stone unturned on your LinkedIn profile page to start your sales prospecting on a high note.
How to choose content themes for your LinkedIn strategy
Most SDRs don't put in enough effort to build their LinkedIn presence because they don't know what content to create. Creating content on LinkedIn isn't about creating content on a single topic/theme or format, such as text or videos.
In real life, none of us speak about the same topic all the time. Our online presence needs to be an extension of who we are.
One way to approach this is to create content themes and extend them to specific topics that you are comfortable talking about or that represent your brand.
Here's an example of how to arrive at identifying the right topics to write about:
Now, if I add bullets by expanding on these themes making it relevant to me, here’s how it looks:
By doing this, I now have multiple topics on which I can create content. In fact, I can go with one theme daily every week and never run out of topics to discuss.
For example, let’s say my theme for today is “Skills,” and the selected sub-topic is “Ability to simplify,” all I need to do now is pick up a marketing topic that’s often misunderstood and simplify it based on my past observations and experience.
And here’s what I came up with:
Here’s another example, this time representing the PoV theme.
We at Avoma believe that all-in-one solutions are the future of SaaS buying. So a lot of us—including our CEO—take a strong stance in spreading that idea to our network on LinkedIn or have strong opinions when that topic comes up in our feed.
Having a point of view doesn’t just help you stand out, but it attracts genuine engagement and meaningful criticism from people who might not agree with you. And that’s a good thing—you position yourself as an original thinker who doesn’t conform to the same thoughts around them and can earn top mindshare among prospects who align with your point of view.
The only caveat—it’s good if your perspectives match the values of the product or the brand you represent. Otherwise, you will row the boat in a different direction than your company.
Remember some of these tips before you make your next post:
i. Relatability and relevance > your expertise.
ii. Focus on one core message per post, don’t try to say too many things at one go.
iii. Be open to different levels of engagement, agreements, and disagreements.
iv. Don’t waste your energy trying to beat the LinkedIn algorithm. Your energy is better spent on building relationships using your content.
v. Keep it conversational.
Identify what kind of content works for you
Once you’re settled on the topics and themes to discuss on LinkedIn, the next step is to figure out what content resonates with your audience. In short, you need identify the topics that result in:
- Better engagement on the post (i.e. gets more comments)
- 1:1 conversations and discussions on DMs
- Sign ups or demos scheduled, and more.
As you start testing our content based on your daily themes, you’ll start seeing patterns over time. You’ll notice certain topics in certain formats that resonate with your audience the most.
In general, a lot of people on LinkedIn believe that the platform favors text-only posts. And then there was also a period where the LinkedIn walls were flooded with polls as it resulted in getting lots of views and engagement.
The truth is—you need a good mix of text-based posts, native videos, images with descriptive captions, infographics, opinion polls, carousels, memes, and a lot more.
As an SDR, you can start with text posts because:
- It takes less time for you to create text posts between your busy schedule of managing lead lists, cold calling prospects, attending meetings, and following up with warm leads.
- Most SDRs are naturally good at writing—thanks to their cold emailing skills. If you can deliver a solid elevator pitch, you certainly can wax eloquent via LinkedIn posts.
- The production complexity of writing text-based content is way lower than creating videos, photos, infographics, or carousels.
Whatever content topics and formats (video, memes, etc.) you choose, make sure you build strong story narratives around them—because stories are what differentiates your content from the gazillion of other LinkedIn posts. Tell the stories in a way that strikes a chord with your audience.
If you can map them to your target audience's problems, you'll hit a jackpot!
A common issue with most of the LinkedIn content that doesn’t work is—it’s too meta. What’s the point of posting vague content that doesn’t give you any takeaways or doesn’t talk to anyone in particular?
From my experience, I would highly recommend you to start with commenting usefully on the posts of your target audience before starting to post yourself.
LinkedIn content strategy: The 10-3-1 framework
Being active and engaging on LinkedIn doesn't just mean just posting content several times a day. It’s also about connecting with the right people, following the right accounts, building conversations with your target audience and thereby building trustworthy relationships.
For instance, even if you can't create a new post every day, you can engage with the right handles. Anybody can take out at least 10 minutes in a day to do that—no matter how busy you are.
To that end, the 10-3-1 framework is a way to structure your LinkedIn activity without spending a lot of time on LinkedIn everyday, and focusing on your core activities.
What is the 10-3-1 framework?
It simply means sending out 10 targeted connection requests, commenting meaningfully on 3 posts, and making one 1 post on LinkedIn everyday.
Increasing the number of targeted connections everyday without making a sales pitch, and commenting meaningfully (example: sharing a solution based on your experience, as a response to the problem shared on a linkedin post by someone in your target audience) - are two of the most underrated ways to increase your prospecting surface area.
It not only increases the size of your prospect list, but also helps you become a recognized face in the community over time. And if more members of your team can do this on a daily basis, it improves the overall awareness of the brand you represent.
In the beginning, you might feel a bit awkward or might find it tough to find the right people to send connection requests to. It’s okay to feel that way when you are starting—you will overcome the mental hurdle pretty quickly. And connecting with the right people is easier than you think.
Here are a few ways to find people to connect with:
- Search for a company page, select “People,” and send connection requests to the ideal people from the list.
- Go to the “My Network” tab. LinkedIn will recommend new connections under the “People you may know with similar roles” section based on your recent LinkedIn connections.
- When you are viewing someone’s LinkedIn page, find potential connections from the “People also viewed” section in the right panel.
- Find people to connect to under the “People you may know” section.
Don’t just connect with anyone and everyone for the sake of growing your network. Make sure they are prospects you want to nurture or people who you can learn from.
Deepen relationships with your first-degree connections, find new second-degree connections to turn them into first-degree connections.
The next step is relevant-commenting. When you comment, make sure your comments add depth and elicit meaningful responses. Steer away from making superficial comments like “Love this!” or “Thanks for sharing” or “Always great reading your posts” that make you sound like a bot. Leave it to members of LinkedIn pods.
In addition to adding new connections and making 3 comments per day, start making one post per day based on the themes identified above—which gives you an opportunity to establish your credibility and PoV.
All it takes is 20–30 minutes of your time everyday to follow this framework and you will see the cumulative impact. The impact isn’t just in terms of your LinkedIn engagement, but also in terms of people recognizing you and your organization when you reach out to them as part of your prospecting.
Lastly, as much as it is important to add new connections, it’s equally important to prune your connections from time to time to ensure relevance.
For example, some of my first-degree connections on LinkedIn were people whom I went to college with, people whom I hadn’t spoken to in 10 years. I cleaned up those connections because I wanted to make sure that I’m connected only with my target audience to maximize the impact of my posts and engagement on LinkedIn.
Always play long-term games with long-term people
It’s easy to give up on LinkedIn when your content doesn’t perform well. But it’s short-sighted to blame LinkedIn’s algorithm or feel that you are too late to the party if everybody except you is crushing it on LinkedIn.
Succeeding on LinkedIn, like any other business strategy, takes time and patience. Don’t expect an overnight victory by posting on LinkedIn twice a day for a week. Instead, focus on the following things:
- Follow a proper strategy and apply it consistently
- Treat your time on LinkedIn like a long-term campaign
- Be nimble and course-correct your strategy when applicable
- Learn from your experience and the people around you
Initially, you might feel rejected, ignored, and frustrated—but you already know that’s how prospecting is. LinkedIn is no different as it all comes down to having enough touches with your ideal prospects before you take the relationship to the next level.
Invest your time on LinkedIn to build relationships and thereby a personal brand. Over time, your investment will pay off good dividends and lead to a compound effect of good results. E.g., it can help you build a steady pipeline of inbound interests that automatically come to you.
Let me name-drop some people who invested heavily in their LinkedIn content strategy and created undeniable clout in their respective niche. I highly recommend you to look up the following people on LinkedIn:
They all offer value-packed advice for people in their network which is why their personal brand has skyrocketed over the past couple of years.
And they didn’t have it all right out of the gates. If you go to their individual profiles and look at the posts from 2019, you would see that the quality of their content wasn’t that great and they had paltry engagements.
That’s the thing about LinkedIn—or life in general. If you keep at it consistently, don’t shy away from being judged publicly, and articulate your thoughts and ideas—you will soon attract an audience that finds value in what you have to say.
Naturally, being better at expressing yourself will also help you become better at your craft. In that sense, writing is selling at scale. It helps you network across the globe and better package your ideas to the world.
As an SDR, your job on LinkedIn is to turn outbound sales efforts into enough inbound interests to fill your lead pipeline. So instead of seeking instant-gratification for your efforts, it’s far more rewarding to treat LinkedIn as a side gig to make hay with social selling.
Using LinkedIn analytics tools like SHIELD can further help you understand what’s working and what’s not in your LinkedIn content playbook.
We will see you at the top
At the outset, it might be a bit too much to imagine yourself applying all of the above tips, especially if you don’t spend too much time on LinkedIn. It’s understandable—there’s certainly a tiny learning curve that you need to overcome to build a habit of being a regular on LinkedIn.
But don’t let it overwhelm you—breaking out on LinkedIn is much easier than you think. You just have to fall in love with the process, which happens once you start blocking out time to be present on LinkedIn.
A fair word of warning: like other social media platforms, LinkedIn can be pretty addictive—especially when you start seeing success with your strategy.
Don’t let LinkedIn’s viral reach get into your head.
Keep in mind that your end goal with social selling is prospecting and LinkedIn is just a tool to help you do that. If you spend 6–8 hours every day in other prospecting activities, dedicate about 30 minutes of your time daily to apply the above tips.
Did you find this article useful? Let us know. And since we are talking about LinkedIn, it would be amazing if you can follow Avoma.
All the best with your LinkedIn content strategy!