I have been using LinkedIn since 2003 and have been a big believer in this platform for a long time but not for the reasons you probably think.
Conducting marketing on LinkedIn is just a tough game. The platform's purpose is heavy networking, which makes direct response for purchases and leads difficult, except for a few industries/offers. So besides having an online resume and job searching, is there any other benefit to having a LinkedIn profile?
The power of a LinkedIn connection
If LinkedIn is not being used in your marketing strategies then you're missing out on an effective and fast way of building your email lists. If you have had experience doing paid ads on LinkedIn then you probably think there is no value in LinkedIn besides job searches. The power is in the connection. What I am about to reveal to you will drastically change your perception of LinkedIn and help you grow your email marketing list.
The power of a connection is that each time you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you acquire their email address.
In the middle of 2015, however, LinkedIn quietly removed the tool to export your contacts and took steps to make it more difficult for you to get your connection's email address. With a bit of digging and effort you can still get your connections' email addresses and here is how:
First, log into your LinkedIn account and go to "My Network"
Then, click on "See All"
Next, click on "Manage synced and imported contacts" on the right side of the page.
Click on "Export contacts" on the right side of the screen under Advanced Options. You will notice this option under the "Your contact import is ready" screen.
Select "Fast file plus other data" and then "Request Archive." If you choose the fast file option, you should be able to get your connection data as well. I prefer the "Request Archive" option because it's a larger set of data from my online profile at LinkedIn.com.
Once LinkedIn provides the data, you will need to download it from the same archive area referenced above. It will be available for download as a ZIP file. Once you open it you need to select the "Connections" Excel book.
You will find all your LinkedIn connections email here. You can sort them by company, position, name or tags.
Why should you care about this?
Both individuals and brands should understand the powerful implications this tactic has. Did you know that people you email from your LinkedIn account are more likely to engage with your email message because they are familiar with you?
People on LinkedIn tend to get bombarded with sales pitches and other solicitations. Moving these connections to a more formal medium boosts your engagement and at the end of the day helps you push forward your own marketing initiatives. This also makes you look a lot more professional then sending a sales pitch as a direct message in LinkedIn.
Big brands, guess what? PEW did a demographic survey of LinkedIn users and found that they are highly educated and typically have a high household income. They have a digital affinity and are also technologically inclined. That means you have a huge list of brand ambassadors waiting for you to connect with them. When it comes to sales and business development, your sales staff is probably already leveraging LinkedIn in some way. Using your own sales force's network to build yours is a winning strategy and these emails can be used in various digital marketing tactics like custom audience and look a like modeling.
How to Get More LinkedIn Connections
- Reach out to new connections daily. LinkedIn will stop your connection activity if you go too fast.
- Import your personal Gmail contacts and connect with people you have spoken to in the past.
- Use Hootsuite and schedule social media updates at least once a day on LinkedIn and up to three. This gives you "TOMA" (top of mind awareness), which encourages new likes and shares.
- Always use #hashtags and don't go to crazy. Provide at least three relevant hashtags.
- Clean up your profile and make sure you look professional. Consider a professional headshot and custom cover image.
- Thank people who have connected with you.
- Start conversations with people.
- Like and engage with other people's content.
Most importantly, leverage their emails using Constant Contact or MailChimp and send them emails for whatever your current objective is. You could sort your list by CEOs and send them all an email with your design portfolio and then ask if they have any jobs currently open. Work smarter, not harder guys. This will make you stand out from your competition when looking for a job.
Business pages do not allow you to pull email addresses from your connections. The below tactics should be done by every individual responsible for sales or business development in your organization. The following tactics must be done from your sales employees personal LinkedIn profiles. The following tactics will help build your brand ubiquity and equity while leveraging your employees network. The below tactics are "in addition" to the individual tactics listed above.
- Use LinkedIn's professional suite to increase your reach and results for business leads and recruiting through your sales people's LinkedIn profiles.
- Based on your company's email acquisition goals, do searches based on demographics or job titles and connect with those people to grow your lists.
- Cross promote from other social platforms. Ask your Instagram and facebook audience to follow you on LinkedIn.
- Build out your profile, upload content to pulse and upload examples of your work or product.
- Share content in groups, join groups and engage with group members.
- Have different team members target different groups/audiences.
- Have a unified reason your team is reaching out to people and measure its performance.
- Create amazing content for your team to share to their networks.
At the end of the day, it's all about results, right? Consider tying this tactic with a holistic social media, content and email marketing campaign. You'll be glad you did.