I started using LinkedIn four years ago to grow my business, Intelus Agency. At the time, we were a full-service digital marketing agency—we've since evolved into a niche LinkedIn content marketing, outreach, and advertising agency.
When I started, the main thing holding me back from getting better results on LinkedIn was just bandwidth. LinkedIn is a relationship-driven platform, and relationships take time.
With that in mind, I started searching for ways to automate LinkedIn. But as it turns out, automating relationships isn't a great idea, and I learned that the hard way. So I honed my process, and eventually figured out what I could delegate to robots and what I needed to do myself. Once I found the balance, it transformed the way I work and the way my clients work.
Here's how I streamlined and automated my LinkedIn marketing—and how you can too.
8 tools to streamline your LinkedIn marketing
Resume Worded (profile review)
AnswerThePublic (topic ideas)
Airtable (content management)
LinkedIn retargeting (advertising)
1. Resume Worded
The first thing I did was optimize my LinkedIn profile. I figured no one would pick up what I was putting down if my profile wasn't polished. I found a handy tool called Resume Worded, which scans your LinkedIn profile and gives you suggestions on ways to optimize it for better visibility and professionalism. That was easy.
After optimizing my profile, I started posting content in my feed as a way to drive more traffic to my profile and website. The most difficult thing was figuring out what to write about—and even when I had an idea, I was always doubting if people would even find the content valuable.
I turned to AnswerThePublic to automate my content idea creation. All you have to do is enter a search term, and it will automatically generate mind maps and lists of related topics that people are searching for.
Once you've written your content (and you can even get AI assistance there if you need it), you'll want to include some visuals: maybe an image, a video, or a carousel slider. This was always a daunting task for me. I knew how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, but they were tedious, and I always felt like I was starting from scratch.
That's when I fell in love with Canva, which is the perfect tool for non-designers who need to do some quick designs. With one click, Canva can remove an image background, which means I can take a low-quality cell phone video shot in my bedroom, and convert it to a high-quality branding image. I just add a new background, some filters, a headline, and a call to action, and I have a professional image, ready to be used in a LinkedIn post.
Creating content for LinkedIn is a complicated process, so you'll want some sort of app to keep track of it. I tried a lot of different tools for content management, including Asana, Trello, and PromoRepublic, but none of them worked how I wanted them to. Then I was introduced to Airtable.
Airtable is a database app: it's as easy to use as a spreadsheet, but way more powerful.
We use Airtable to help our clients manage their content for LinkedIn. We add text in the Content Caption field and an image in the Thumbnail field, and we use the Status field to indicate which part of the development process the post is in. We even have an Airtable automation set up to automatically notify members of the Intelus team when it's their turn to work on the content. For example, our content editor, Clara, gets notified via Slack when posts are ready for her to review and edit.
When I first started creating content, I had a not-great typo in one of my LinkedIn posts and was publicly shamed in the comments: "This is why you shouldn't Reading Rainbow your content." (Harsh but warranted.) We now have an editor, but we've also added a robot to the mix.
Grammarly reads your content and calls out any and all issues: everything from typos to overly wordy sentences. Ignore the suggestions you don't like (bots make mistakes too), accept the ones you do, and that's that. You can even use the Chrome extension to check for grammar issues in your Canva designs.
I'm guessing anyone reading this article has a social media management tool already, but if not, take a look at Zapier's picks for the best social media management apps. Once your content is ready to go, plug it into your app, and automate your scheduling.
I wanted to be sure my posts were getting engagement—to know if my efforts were paying off. Before we discovered LinkedIn analytics automation, we spent a ton of time manually adding data to spreadsheets to report on metrics like followers gained, likes, comments, and views. Shield was a complete game-changer for us at Intelus Agency, eliminating human error and 100% automating the reporting process.
We use Shield to improve our clients' LinkedIn content marketing strategy, too, by leveraging filters to pinpoint the highest performing posts—so they can make more of the content that performs better. Here's a quick peek at how we quickly see which posts reached the most people.
After streamlining my LinkedIn content marketing, I started wondering if I could automate some of my LinkedIn outreach efforts too.
Outreach on LinkedIn was how I proactively built my sales pipeline during times when we weren't generating many inbound leads. I would look people up on LinkedIn, send them a personalized connection request, then after they accepted, I would start a conversation, slowly moving toward a sales conversation.
It worked, but it was time-consuming. I wanted to automate the process, but I had no interest in being a fully-automated spam robot, sending the exact same message to 1,000 different people. So I decided to build my own system, and I used Zapier to do it. Zapier is an automation tool that connects all the apps you use. We use it (via a webhook) to connect LinkedIn, Slack, and Airtable: when someone accepts a LinkedIn connection request, Zapier automatically sends a customized message to Slack to notify our account managers to follow up.
We then write our own follow-up notes, since those absolutely should be personalized, coming from a human. The automation allows us to speed up our follow-up process without turning into a soulless robot.
The prospect's lead information is also automatically added to Airtable, so the account manager can easily keep track of leads—no data entry required.
We also leverage Zapier's webhooks and the labeling feature in our LinkedIn outreach platform to automatically create contacts, accounts, and deals in our Freshworks CRM when specific labels are applied to leads within our system. It saves so much work in helping our sales development reps with outbound calls and emails.
With this setup, most of our CRM data entry is automated.
Zapier is an automation tool that connects your apps and moves information between them, so you can focus on what matters most. Check out this Zapier demo to learn more about how it works.
8. LinkedIn retargeting
One of the most powerful LinkedIn automation tools is built in to LinkedIn's advertising platform: retargeting. Before discovering LinkedIn's native retargeting features, we had to manually import lists into LinkedIn to build retargeting campaigns. Now, all we do is add the tag to our website code and make a simple ad with a daily budget—LinkedIn will then display ads to people who visit your website.
Of course, it takes time to optimize the ads for better performance, but the ad delivery is automated once it's set up. We've seen some impressive results and ROI at Intelus Agency—and for our clients—using this kind of retargeting.
Find your automation sweet spot
By automating only the things that made sense—and putting everything from campaign creation to reporting inside one system—we've saved tremendously on time and resources setting up and managing LinkedIn campaigns for our clients.
LinkedIn automation is great, but it's not meant to replace you completely: it's meant to save you time to invest in other activities on LinkedIn. This kind of hybrid LinkedIn marketing automation—splitting the work between humans and computers—gives us the best of both worlds. We use software to automate the tasks that don't require the human touch, freeing up time to focus on the tasks that can't always be safely automated, like leaving a thoughtful comment on a prospect's post or having a meaningful conversation with them via LinkedIn Messaging.
I hope this inspires you to find your automation sweet spot.
This was a guest post from Chris Mitchell, the Founder of Intelus Agency, a LinkedIn marketing Agency helping B2B companies put their LinkedIn content, outreach, and LinkedIn advertising on autopilot. To get a free consultation or a trial of Intelus Agency's LinkedIn marketing services, visit https://www.intelusagency.com. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Read our guidelines, and get in touch.