Want to Engage Warm Sales Leads in Real-Time on LinkedIn? Now You Can.

If LinkedIn is just another social media platform you’re checking in on now and again, you’re missing a huge opportunity not only to connect with leads, but to do so in real time.

LinkedIn’s recent revamp includes some key updates and improvements to its messaging features, which is great news for your sales and marketing efforts.

On LinkedIn, using messages for 1-on-1, personalized marketing is critical to fostering the relationships that land you new business.

(Related: How to Win New Business using LinkedIn.)

Finding the Context for a Conversation

You don’t bring a bullhorn to a cocktail party. You also wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.

So why do professionals behave so differently on social platforms like LinkedIn?

To be clear, LinkedIn is not about spamming the masses and interrupting people by shouting your sales pitch to anyone and everyone within earshot.

Again, you can’t just message someone out of thin air and ask him or her to do business with you. Rather, LinkedIn is all about leveraging a treasure trove of personal and professional data to practice 1-on-1, personalized marketing.

Messaging Magic

If you want to connect with and message someone you don’t know, you should take a quick scan of that person’s profile and find a way to break the ice that doesn’t have to do with business.

Maybe it’s where he or she went to school, or where he or she lives. The idea is to find a unique and personal way to being a new conversation.

Moreover, when you ask someone about his or her hobbies, passions and interests outside of work, it helps build a relationship and context around something important to him or her, which again helps you stand out in that person’s memory. It also paves the way for future messages as a friendly, non-work theme you can weave into each one.

And with LinkedIn’s new messaging features, you can engage in instant conversations right from your prospect’s profile, or wherever else you are on the site, helping you maintain that context.

Maybe you read an interesting article that you want to share with a connection, or you see a relevant post. Even better if you create your own content that your connection would find helpful or relevant to their business, and use LinkedIn’s messaging platform to share it with them.

(Related: How to Build and Effective Sales Funnel on LinkedIn)

The key with messaging is to have the right context for the conversation so it flows in an authentic way, without being too sales-y or spammy. The ability to “read” your prospects helps you understand what to engage them about and how to engage them.

And the willingness to make an “ask” at the right time makes all the difference when it comes to converting a lead into a customer.

How the New LinkedIn Messaging Features Work

You used to have to leave what you were doing on LinkedIn to go into messaging, which made it a little clunky to message efficiently.  Now in desktop and mobile, you have a messaging pop up window that you can work with wherever you are on the platform, creating a more seamless experience.

Messaging is also enhanced with some automated suggestions for contacts to message as you work in LinkedIn.

For example, if you’re researching a particular company you’d like to do business with, the messenger window will automatically suggest people you’re already connected to who work there, and bring them to the top of the window. In this case, LinkedIn’s done the work for you!

The messenger will also give you suggested text to quickly send messages and replies, saving you more time and energy.

Here’s a video from LinkedIn that demonstrates the new messenger.

Bring on the Warm Leads

Again, if you’re only checking LinkedIn once a week or so, you’re missing a high value opportunity to chat with your professional prospects while they are working.  With 500 million members, LinkedIn is the place where your ideal customers are already hanging out looking for resources, news, training, potential vendors and more.

From the new LinkedIn messaging inbox looking and feeling like a text exchange, to users now being able to see when someone else has read your message and/or if they are typing a reply, LinkedIn messaging has become more and more and like a real-time conversation, which is fantastic.

Make sure you don’t miss the boat – start taking advantage of these new opportunities to create real-time, contextual conversations with your ideal prospects over on LinkedIn!