How to Automate LinkedIn Messaging? Hands-on Guide

How to Automate LinkedIn Messaging? Hands-on Guide

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Here at Reply, we’re big believers in sales outreach as an effective way to build a reliable pipeline and grow your business. Yet, its success depends mostly on the three key factors: targeting, channels in use, and your ability to scale it.

If targeting is pretty obvious – the days of the “spray and pray” approach to cold outreach are long gone! – the choice of outreach channels and strategies to ramp up the whole process might still be the topic of discussion. 

Whether you firmly believe in email-only outreach or choose to smile and dial, both channels can be automated to increase your reach. But what if you want to get ahead of the competition and adopt LinkedIn as your sales engagement channel? Automation doesn’t seem so easy in this case. Yet, it’s still possible.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to automate LinkedIn messages and help you choose the best tool for the job.

Where is LinkedIn in sales engagement process?

Although emails and phone calls are considered the traditional business communication channels, sales prospecting can be performed using many other tools. Depending on the specifics of your audience, this can be anything from text messages to snail mail.

However, the social media here play by far the most vital part. And since outreach is usually applied in B2B sales, LinkedIn has already become the go-to platform for most SDRs.

Why is that, you ask? Let’s see…

  • Vast pool of contacts. There are 830 million members on the platform, mostly business professionals 
  • Active engagement. The platform saw a 55% increase in conversations among connections in 2021 with an average session length of 6:07 minutes, according to the reports
  • Business-related audience. The data shows that nearly 60% of LinkedIn users worldwide are between the ages of 25 and 34 years old. Moreover, the platform claims to reach more than 65 million business decision-makers. 
  • Convenient toolset. LinkedIn comes with additional features to help you find and engage your prospects, most free to use. Even its basic search gives you enough tools to sort out the perfect-fit prospects.
  • Source of information. Prospects themselves turn to the platform for research and thought leadership on a variety of topics, which makes engagement on LinkedIn low-hanging fruit.

On the other hand, LinkedIn outreach definitely takes some time and grit to ace. Among the most important downsides of the platform are its strict usage policies and limitations. As a result, it’s difficult to automate (unlike email, for example).

Power up your sales engagement activities with Automated LinkedIn steps in Reply.

Does LinkedIn send automated messages?

Well, it depends on what type of automated messages we’re talking about.

In case you want to set up an autoresponder or make the messaging a bit more prompt, LinkedIn offers a set of solutions to facilitate that. This includes smart response suggestions for quick reply.

If you want to automate LinkedIn messaging at scale, i.e., send a large number of personalized messages to your contacts or connect with people outside of your network, consider using third-party tools to orchestrate the process.

We will get to the software recommendations and overall process explanation later. But first, let’s address the most burning question about LinkedIn message automation – it’s safety.

Is it safe to send automated LinkedIn messages?

There’s a lot of speculation when it comes to LinkedIn automation. Some say that it’s a sure way to get your account blocked. Others have been successfully using various tools for years without any consequences. 

Technically speaking, any form of automation falls into the don’ts of the platform’s User Agreement. This includes using “bots or other automated methods to access the Services, add or download contacts, send or redirect messages.”

Some sources even claim that there’s a list of such tools that have been officially banned by LinkedIn!

However, considering the abundance of LinkedIn automation tools out there, we can state that the policy isn’t so strict or it’s easy to bypass it. If you do your research on the subject, you can find a ton of information on how it works to make such tools safe to use. 

Without getting into too many technical details, it all depends on the platform limits. This may include the number of API calls that the tools makes when running automated tasks on LinkedIn as well as more common limits, e.g., messages and connection requests sent. 

See how we handle LinkedIn limits here.

So, answering the initial question: Yes, sending automated LinkedIn messages can be safe if you use trusted tools and stay within the platform line to avoid setting off any alarms.

How do I create an automated message in LinkedIn?

Now, let’s get down to business and see how this works in practice. First of all, it’s worth noting that there are a few types of messages you can send via LinkedIn: 

  • InMails that you can send to anyone (as a paid option) and
  • direct messages that can be sent to your 1st degree connections (absolutely free of charge).

You can also include short, personalized notes into your connection requests using automation tools. Depending on the type of message you want to send, the templates and certain details of the process might vary.

As mentioned earlier, you can only send automated messages on LinkedIn using dedicated third-party tools. So, the first step of the process would be to connect your LinkedIn account to that tool.

You can find detailed instructions on how to do that with Reply here

After that, the process is pretty much the same, regardless of the software you use:

  • Get a list of contacts you want to message. You can either research the matching prospects manually or import a ready-made list from a trusted data provider. Just make sure the list contains valid LinkedIn profiles. 
  • Craft your template based on the type of message you will be sending. The most important element of any outreach message is personalization. Since you will be sending automated messages, you might want to use customization variables/snippets or advanced personalization options with images or video.
  • Set up the sequence with automated LinkedIn messages. This involves the schedule – the number of messages you want to send to each prospect within the campaign and their frequency.

Once you’re set, you can launch the sequence and it will run on autopilot. Once the prospect responds, most tools will stop sending automated messages immediately.

Pro tip: Amplify your LinkedIn messages with multichannel engagement

If you’re looking to get the most out of your outreach campaign, depending on just one channel isn’t the best strategy. Consider mixing a few channels and using various types of interactions instead.

For example, viewing a prospect’s profile or sending a connection request on LinkedIn prior to dialing them directly or reaching out via email can be a great way to break the ice. You can either refer to this in your introduction or use it as a read for outreach. This can also help you get your face and name in front of the prospect’s eyes so you don’t sound like a complete stranger.

The same logic can also be applied the other way around. A subtle LinkedIn touch can be a great follow-up strategy in case your previous email or call has been ignored.

Process automation solutions for LinkedIn

One of the emerging sales tech trends, LinkedIn automation has already become a battleground where dozens of tools compete with each other while trying to navigate the limitations set by the platform itself. And I’m definitely curious to see who will win!

At Reply, we’re always up for a challenge too. That is why we’ve built the automated LinkedIn touchpoints, including message sending, into our core sales engagement platform. Based on extensive research and in-depth technical understanding of the platform as well as the key aspects of cold outreach automation in general, this feature is fully operational and safe to use. And you’re welcome to try it out.

Want to see automated LinkedIn steps in action? Sign up for a free 14-day trial with Reply and give it a try.

If you want to do your own research first, we have some useful tips you can use as a guidance. But first, let's talk about all the LinkedIn activities you can automate using such tools.

Can you automate other LinkedIn activities?

We’ve already talked about the automated message sending in detail, but there are more activities to streamline here. For example, automated LinkedIn prospecting might also include other types of touchpoints, like profile views, connection requests, content interactions, etc. 

Just as in the case of automated LinkedIn messages, the software of your choice will perfectly imitate your behavior performing those actions on your behalf. All you need to do is provide the access to your personal profile.

For more detailed information on the process see this article.

Speaking of the more general use case, not just direct outreach, there are also tools to automate content publication or even further interactions in the comments (via the so-called “engagement pods”). 

While having some help getting your posts out is generally ok, robotic interactions with the said content are known to be one of the worst practices for LinkedIn automation. The unnaturally high number of likes and generic comments may raise some red flags and get your account banned.

How to choose the best LinkedIn automation software?

With a few established leaders in the industry, new tools emerge every year (if not quarter), offering a more convenient, safer, or more integrated way to automate messages in LinkedIn and orchestrate other activities.

That said, there are a few criteria to pay attention to when shopping around for a suitable solution:

  • Safety and limits. Of course, you should be aware of the existing platform limits and always keep them in mind. However, the tool you choose should provide additional safety nets so you don’t get carried away and violate the platform policies. 
  • Types of touchpoints. With direct messages being a kind of must-have for automation, the ability to streamline profile views or connection requests is also a way to diversify your outreach and make it more effective.
  • Personalization. There are many ways to make your messages feel warm at scale. This includes variables – merge fields in the message automatically populated with the relevant data – as well as visual elements like images, videos, or GIFs (typically via third-party integrations).
  • Multichannel engagement. As mentioned above, LinkedIn outreach is great, but if used in combination with email, calls, and other channels, it could be a real game-changer.
  • Integrations. Any software you add to your stack should work well with the rest of the tools, be it CRM, data sourcing and enrichment, etc.

Based on these parameters, Reply seems like the best LinkedIn automation software. 

We care about your safety, offer various types of touchpoints (all automated for your convenience), dynamic personalization variables you can use in your messages, extra channels to boost your performance, and a ton of integrations to make it an integral part of your sales stack. And the best part is that you can try it before you buy it with our free trial.

If you’re looking for more suggestions, there’s an exhaustive list of vetted tools in our Sales Tools Catalog.

Final word

The world’s most popular business networking platform, LinkedIn is a powerhouse that drives traffic, engages prospects, builds your reputation, and sells. It offers a ton of opportunities for SDRs and salespeople. 

The key here is to know how to use them to your best advantage. That is why you should consider automation.

Automating your LinkedIn touchpoints, including messages, can make a big difference when it comes to sales development and prospecting. Essentially, it allows you to spend less time contacting prospects manually, and more time building rapport, nurturing relationships, and closing deals.

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