Do a search for Twitter tools, and you’ll find a plethora of apps to use. If you do the same for LinkedIn tools, you simply don’t have the same ecosystem.
Why, you ask?
LinkedIn is infamous in the social media marketing industry for limiting the usage of their API for 3rd party applications to tap into. Twitter, on the other hand, has been laissez-faire about letting other companies tap into their API–but even that is changing.
When you think about LinkedIn’s approach, however, it does make some sense.
One of the differences between LinkedIn and other social networks is its enhanced privacy. Unlike with Facebook, for example, you can’t normally message people outside your network. It’s also harder to grow your network or increase your LinkedIn connections, because you need to know someone who can introduce you to an intended contact.
While the enhanced privacy makes it more difficult, the decision-making demographic that is strong on LinkedIn make it a great place for social selling, especially because people in their profiles tend to focus more on their professional lives, instead of hosting vacation photos.
Thus, this article on LinkedIn tools will focus more on the social selling rather than marketing side, where tools can only post to your Company Page or LinkedIn Profile. However, in order to maximize your ability to sell in a more “closed” network, there are a number of LinkedIn tools available.Here are my favorites, together with some LinkedIn tips to help you maximize them, and while it shouldn’t come as a surprise, this list of LinkedIn tools will begin with those that LinkedIn directly offers.
LinkedIn Tools from LinkedIn
How often do you get advertisements for LinkedIn premium accounts? Unless you’re already a premium member, there’s a good chance they’re always trying to get you to upgrade. Trouble is, until recently, there wasn’t a form of premium for sales professionals. Recruiters, job seekers, and high-level professionals got all of the attention. However, LinkedIn has developed Sales Navigator for sales professionals.
What is Sales Navigator? It’s a Premium package that provides you with a quota of InMail credits, the ability to unlock the full information on blocked profiles, and interface with CRM software. They’ll also help you find sales leads and store them in your account for contact later. Team-level sales navigator accounts also help you build connections by identifying team members who are connected to a sales lead, which saves you on InMail credits.
If you have a Gmail account that you use for business, consider the Sales Navigator for Gmail plugin. At its most basic, this plugin allows you to see information on social contacts and sales leads coming from LinkedIn profiles. According to LinkedIn, this plugin provides insights into contact behavior, allowing you the opportunity to improve your sales pitches with great ice breakers. As described, the plugin is available to users of free LinkedIn accounts. For Sales Navigator subscribers, there’s also a save-to-CRM functionality, along with the ability to see who can introduce you to this person on LinkedIn (TeamLink).
SocialCRM LinkedIn Tools
CRMs were never built to handle social media profiles. That is, until Nimble came around!
Want to take all your contact data from one place and put it into an easy-to-use CRM? Nimble will let you do that, with a number of easy import options. This one’s undergoing some changes due to LinkedIn making contact-building much harder recently, but there are still several ways to leverage your LinkedIn data. Data gathered other places through the Nimble platform can be used to send personalized (and knowledgeable) connection requests on LinkedIn. As a result, it becomes more likely that they will accept the connection. Overall, the biggest advantage of Nimble is that it also has a contact manager, which works around many of the restrictions social media networks have implemented recently. Either way, Nimble can keep track of all your contacts, no matter where you found them. It sure makes things easier!
Automation LinkedIn Tools
Disclaimer: As you can imagine, LinkedIn, or any other social network, don’t like their users using these types of automation tools. There have been anecdotal stories of people who have been kicked off of LinkedIn for using them, and I continue to see surges of visitors to my blog post on why you might be restricted on LinkedIn that proves my point.
While I am not necessarily recommending that you use them, you should be aware of their existence if you haven’t heard of them before. And since my last update of this tools post, I have witnessed a surge of these tools, hinting at a growing user base and demand for them.
In other words, use these at your own risk. ;-)
Another LinkedIn marketing automation tool, Expandi is intended to increase your list of contacts. It also automates responses, helps manage campaigns, and works with LinkedIn chat. Unlike some other applications, Expandi has little risk of getting you banned: after all, it’s designed to work with Sales Navigator and Recruiter Premium. In other words, Expandi is compatible with premium LinkedIn memberships, so LinkedIn is getting their cut. As an added bonus, Expandi helps you leverage analytics and campaign tracking. Messaging and engagement are something you still have to do yourself, though.
Want something that automatically engages with your LinkedIn network, while also searching for and visiting potential customers? Dux-Soup is a lot like eLink, in that it automatically searches LinkedIn for profiles of people who might be interested in your products and services. The “you’ve been visited” or “you’ve been found in a search” notifications from LinkedIn encourage the target to visit your LinkedIn profile and hopefully connect. In addition to these features, however, Dux-Soup also will endorse people for skills, send automated greetings, and even help post things on profiles. The highest tier of service will even interface with your CRM software. Nice!
Alfred is an automation tool that is designed to simplify and improve the ease of use of LinkedIn, while helping you connect with others and find connections and customers. Alfred’s LinkedIn automation tool is unique among its type, as it allows you to construct several personalized messages, to be sent out according to the responses of people to whom you’ve reached out. Alfred also offers optimization marketing tools, in order to maximize your LinkedIn account and effectively display and promote your company or brand across more than one social media platform. Alfred is designed to work with LinkedIn, Twitter, and your email, to make sure you are reaching as many people as possible and engaging with potential clients, customers, and connections.
Zopto markets itself as the #1 LinkedIn automation tool. Zopto’s generation tool focuses on providing a one-stop-shop for LinkedIn marketing efforts, as it provides not only automation and lead generation tools, but also serves as a single base for multiple users, offers insights and stats to review your marketing efforts, and easy integration with CRM systems and other sales tools to make sure that your systems are working for you–even if you’re not sitting directly at your computer. Zopto also offers cloud-based systems, allowing you to use a sales tool and connect with your professional network wherever you are.
Ultimately, Zopto markets itself as a way to enter simple search terms (or complex ones) and sit back while enjoying faster conversions and a better sales outreach program. Zopto is an ideal tool for anyone who is struggling to maintain their organic searches and subsequent efforts to reach out.
LinkedHelper is a combined automation tool and CRM. The combination allows users to enact their marketing plan in one place, rather than having to jump back and forth between one social media network and another. LinkedHelper does just what its name suggests: it helps increase qualified leads by automatically reaching out with a personalized note to all 2nd and 3rd level contacts. Rather than relying on individual profile visits to create an effective sales tool, LinkedHelper effectively functions as a LinkedIn recruiter, without sacrificing the personal touch that comes after individual profile visits and active engagement with prospective clients and connections. The inclusion of a CRM allows LinkedIn small business owners to feel safe and comfortable building a CRM, without sacrificing convenience or ease of use.
We-Connect focuses the majority of its energy and offerings on reaching out to potential prospects. With several different template options for outreach messages and the ability to craft a personal message to automatically reach out to new or potential connections, We-Connect is an excellent tool for anyone who is eager to automate as much of the messaging process as possible. This allows users to reach out to hundreds of prospects, if desired, without sending only canned, spammy messages. While it may not qualify as lead generation on steroids, it does save quite a bit of time and energy regarding reaching out to qualified prospects and growing your network.
We-Connect is an ideal tool for people who are looking to automate their LinkedIn marketing efforts in a way that allows for organic conversation starters rather than clearly automated messaging.
Need an easy way for your LinkedIn-based content to be seen by those outside your LinkedIn network and contact list? That’s the premise behind Lempod. The program works like this: set up a “pod” for your entire company. When someone in the company posts on LinkedIn, everybody else automatically “likes” the post, resulting in its being visible to everyone on their network and contact list. However, you don’t really want other people to know you’re using this service, and for that reason the “pod” is secret. Individuals can use this browser extension, too. In this case, the “pod” or automatic feedback group members can be people you know and trust, and not just folks from inside your company.
Octopus CRM is a LinkedIn automation tool with an eye on building your sales funnel and making sure you are connecting with new and existing connections as often as possible. Octopus CRM allows LinkedIn small business owners to maintain existing connections and develop new prospective clients and connections by keeping your messaging systems up to date with the people you are connected to and those who are connected to your own LinkedIn links. Octopus also functions as an analyst, and allows you to review your marketing strategy to determine what is and is not working with LinkedIn ads, automated messages, and any bulk message systems you’ve put into place. Finally, Octopus includes a safety feature in its program to make sure that access to contact information and passwords are not breached, and immediately alerts account owners to any suspicious or fraudulent activity.
As a CRM and LinkedIn tool, Octopus CRM functions as a co-existing database of professionals and lead generation tool, which allows two halves of a standard business model to converge: the maintenance of current customers and the addition of new clients.
Data Scraping LinkedIn Tools
If you ever have a chance to meet an executive from any social network company, a word that you will not want to loosely throw around is “data scraping.” Using a data scraper goes against the terms of service for any given social media site. However, it doesn’t mean that people don’t use them, and they have been known to be a great growth hack for many social networks for some time.
Similar to the LinkedIn automation tools above, using a data scraping tool carries with it some risk. However, because you are not automating your activity and because these data scraping tools rely on you safely using them across a wide variety of social networks, I would tend to believe they are less risky to use – but that is only my personal opinion. ;-)
Need to get those sales leads…now? Phantom Buster is a content scraper that works with a wide variety of online platforms, including LinkedIn. Yet, it does a lot more than scraping information. You can use it to automatically engage with social media posts, respond to messages, and accept connection requests, for instance. On LinkedIn, Phantom Buster will help you find those hidden emails. While you can download emails for free if someone is connected to you, those second and third degree connections make you work to find the information. Phantom Buster goes through all that information, while also gathering actionable insights about all the LinkedIn members you specify.
Especially if you’re mostly a B2B business or marketing professional, Lead Grabber Pro from egrabber is an excellent list-building and LinkedIn lead generation tool. This automated tool does both Google and deep-Web searches for people in your target markets. Then, the automatic email-finding functionality locates the most current email addresses for your list. Essentially, this SaaS Web-based program is intended to assemble a prospect list with minimal effort. For LinkedIn users, Lead Grabber scrapes the information off of the profile and adds it to any other data on the same consumer. It also gains information about the type of interests someone has, and helps generate LinkedIn “likes.” Overall, it is a nice prospect list-building tool for busy professionals.
LinkedIn Tools for Google Analytics
How does turning your organic website traffic into sales leads sound? This is the basic premise of Leadfeeder, which works alongside your Google Analytics information to help you find hidden sales leads. After all, more conventional prospecting methods don’t uncover everyone who is interested in your products or services: a lot of people don’t talk much about what they’re interested in on social media. Or, they might discuss their interests without signaling what products or services they use. Leveraging Google Analytics data to mine for hidden leads is great, but Leadfeeder has another great trick up its sleeve: LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration. Since Sales Navigator is fairly new, not everyone has worked out how to integrate with it yet. Leadfeeder’s a newer product, so they have already adapted. Best of all, Leadfeeder is intended to integrate with a wide variety of CRMs and other applications, as well.
LinkedIn Tools for Analytics
Companies and individuals wanting to take their LinkedIn analytics and statistics to the next level should check out Shield App. This is a LinkedIn-specific analytics tool that takes Google and LinkedIn native analytics, and gathers even more information from them. Simply link your LinkedIn account to the application, and it’ll start gathering the data you need. Business accounts can add a whole bunch of LinkedIn profiles, and view them from a common dashboard. This helps marketing agencies see what’s working across clients and compare one client’s performance with that of others. Having so much information in one place sure helps with reporting! As an added bonus, with Shield, you can keep track of which items of content fall under what categories and keep track of your audience demographics.
What is your favorite of these LinkedIn tools? Let me know in the comments below!
Hero photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash
LinkedIn Tools FAQs
LinkedIn tools help you make the most out of your LinkedIn presence and the time that you spend on the platform. There are several LinkedIn tools available online depending on their purposes. LinkedIn itself offers tools namely LinkedIn Sales Navigator as well as their LinkedIn Premium which includes tools to help you find a job as well as to hire people.
LinkedIn is a large database of professionals. It is a good tool for connecting with other professionals, friends, and corporate executives. If you are looking to manage your career, LinkedIn is the best place to be! You may want to start creating a LinkedIn profile as early you are still in college to maximize your presence.
LinkedIn is the 2nd most preferred social media platform by B2B marketers — next to Facebook. You can use it as a sales tool by publishing high-quality content that will help you increase your brand/business’ reach. Check these 11 tips on how you can create a powerful LinkedIn content strategy for your business.
Yes, LinkedIn will stay relevant in 2022. Most LinkedIn users have college degrees and belong to high-income earners. Furthermore, professionals, decision-makers, corporate executives, and senior-level trust this platform. In fact, the site continues to grow with 2 new accounts created every second.
Before you put any skills in your LinkedIn account, you need to ask yourself first what is your goal in creating a LinkedIn account. Are you looking for a job? Then you should put relevant skills in line with the industry you applying for. The idea is to put top skills that are appropriate and will make a positive impression on your profile.