For a lot of people, prospecting and social selling on LinkedIn is a no-brainer. However, lead generation just seems to be getting harder and harder. Thousands of professionals—including your top prospects—sign onto LinkedIn every day, so why not start using it to your advantage?

If you’re going to use LinkedIn for your outreach and communication, it’s important to learn how to use it properly to maximize your efforts. LinkedIn reported that the average number of prospecting messages being sent to leaders is 10 per day and up to 200 a month!

Do: Join groups where your top prospects hang

Joining groups for the sake of joining them kind of turns you into a lurker more than an active participant, but when you pick them with intention, they are a great tactic to use. Make sure you are joining groups that your ideal clients and top prospects would be interested in. Do extensive research on what they are looking for and their pain points, and comment on relevant points to get visibility. And don’t be shy, you can also initiate a conversation and create your own posts.

Don’t: Try to sell directly in the groups

If there’s one thing people don’t appreciate is to have total strangers try to sell them something. Try to offer value and read what posters have to say before you engage in a conversation about how LinkedIn users can benefit from what you have to offer.

Trust should be built or you can easily shun any opportunities and be labeled as ‘too pushy’. 

Do: Use the 50% rule

Whether your posts come from your personal profile or a business profile, the rule still applies. LinkedIn suggests that you make sure that you link to external content—whether from an expert or from leaders in the industry—about 50% of the time. Research has shown that when people see you as helpful, they are more likely to respond positively to you. 

Don’t: Bombard your potential leads through the messaging system

LinkedIn allows you to send direct messages to your prospects, which is one way to use Linkedin for lead generation. You can message people in a group, send them a message before adding them as a connection, or simply send them a DM and tell them about new offers. But make sure you don’t start pestering them immediately about all you have to offer. Build trust and form a relationship with them first. 

Do: Research

Find out what your ideal client needs. Find out what makes them tick. And only once you’ve established a good rapport, will you realize that selling to them will be natural, you’ll simply be offering your top prospects value. 

Here are some extra tips to really drive it home:

  • Check out the ‘people also viewed’ and find common ground

  • Reach out to prospects in new roles

  • Check out the networks of your competitors

  • Use the alumni search tool

  • See who has commented on your prospects’ posts

The best takeaway from this list is that you should never rely solely on sending out a ton of messages and hoping that they stick. You should have a strategy that includes a lot of research and adds value. The more you can personalize your communication, the better. When it comes to creating long-lasting relationships with your top prospects and future customers, you shouldn’t be cutting corners. 

But strategizing takes time. So if you can’t cut corners with outreach, where can you get the time back? 

Read more here on how sales automation can save you tons of time, so you can focus on where you’re needed most.