LinkedIn Hacks for Startup CEOs

The truth is that people connect with people, not companies. The aim of LinkedIn marketing is lead generation, period. You might really love sharing content from your startup's page but remember people connect with people. So you need to market your LinkedIn profile, not just the company page.

Unposed group of creative business people in an open concept office brainstorming their next project.

To generate leads with your profile:


  • Connect with the right people
  • Pitch them the right message
  • Follow up without being annoying


After you've identified a pool of connections, you need to identify who you want to be in contact with by narrowing the pool to people that have some kind of connection with you.

Interact with their posts for a couple of weeks to gain their attention. Be sure your conversations are genuine. Don't try to start by telling them how awesome your product is. Start with a personal message. Just introduce your company in one chatty line. You might ask them to suggest when a good time would be to discuss some ideas with you.

If they say yes, you're set. If they're in the 60% of users that don't respond, don't give up. Send a carefully structured followup in one week, then again in another week. Then move on to a different potential lead, two attempts is enough.

You need to work on lead generation every day.

Sort through LinkedIn groups and disregard those that are basically spam or totally inactive. Find some that you can target for meaningful conversations. Once accepted, discuss issues and audit conversations that are in progress. Request to connect with people you think could be prospects. Start a friendly conversation. Start new conversations with the group.

You can use filters available with LinkedIn's premium package to focus on the leads that match your client base. Filters like company size, keywords in job role, location targeting, and industry are good starting points.

It's been said LinkedIn is a veritable ocean of B2B leads, you just have to know how to fish. Here are some details on the most effective way to fish.

Stand Out

Be sure your picture looks professional. Incorporate your branding in your background. Use keywords in your tag line. Add skills, experience, and education. Tell your story in your summary.

Your profile should reflect who you are and simply radiate positive vibes to visitors. You want to trigger curiosity. You want people to feel you'd be an interesting addition to their network so that they accept your invitation to connect when it arrives.

Your tagline is your signature that appears wherever your profile shows up. Make your current value proposition absolutely clear to encourage their interest in your startup.

Build connections

Connect with existing customers, trial users, and email list subscribers. Engage with your connections by creating and sharing content to help out where you can, and begin to claim thought leadership on your topic.

Help people in areas they care about, and they'll respect and trust you. They'll engage with you and want your help. They'll seek your opinion, and they'll share your content. 

Then they may very well buy from you.

Keep building those connection numbers

The more first-degree connections you have, the more second and third-degree connections you'll have. Your name and content will start showing up in their feeds and you need to be sure that what you're putting out there offers real value to the reader.

Look here to find additions to your pool of connections:

  • People you've worked with or interacted with professionally.
  • People you'd like to work with or interact with professionally.
  • People you consider interesting for your business as leads, possible partners, or for business introductions.

Personalize each connection invitation. This is you approaching someone you would like to be acquainted with at a face-to-face networking event. Introduce yourself and tell them why you want to connect.

Another option is to add a link to your LinkedIn profile to your email signature and give the initiative of sending a connection request to the other party. This will assure you that these are people that actually want to engage with you.

Look at relevant LinkedIn groups for people you'd like to be connected to and seek to add them to your network. You know what they care about and what kind of value they're seeking. Not only are they likely to engage with your shared content but they'll likely bring more connections with them that share the same interests.

Use the people LinkedIn thinks may be of interest to you for sourcing connections from your second-degree network.

Build human relations

Earn a reputation for helping people. If you show genuine interest in people, they'll show interest in you as well. Ask them what they're working on. Ask if you can help them out. As they get to know you, trust you, and like you, they'll choose you over anyone they don't know, trust, and like.

As you offer people exceptional value regardless of whether or not they ever purchase from you, you'll be the first one that comes to mind when they're in need of the kind of value you're creating. This allows you to connect with leads without any pitching.

Show up regularly in newsfeeds

Post regularly to stay top of mind. Excellent content is a major plus. Posting regularly drives traffic and engagement. Reply to everyone. Answer everyone asking for your feedback, opinion, or help.

Types of posts to use in building engagement and influence:

  •  Thought-provoking influencer: Personal opinions that may be somewhat controversial but serve as fodder for discussion.

  •  Universal wisdom: Nicely phrased bursts of wisdom that can empower and inspire.

  •  Personal growth story: Offer bits of your personal journey to inspire and make it easier to connect with you.

  • Heart-warming: Stories to restore some faith in humanity.


Write Epic Content

The top shared content on LinkedIn has been shown to contain these qualities. It is practical, professional, personal, portrays a path for change, and points toward peak experiences. And remember humans are hard-wired for stories, not logic or facts. We are literally wired to understand and retain stories.

Offer readers stories that include valuable lessons. Quality always wins over quantity in considering how much content to post.

However, even the best content won't get you where you want to be without a network to help disperse it. The rule of thumb is to put 80% of your time into engaging your connections by liking, commenting, and endorsing. The remaining 20% is for producing your own original, thoughtful, and engaging content.

Unlocking Growth Guide Inbound Marketing

Shelley's been in Seattle practically since the dawn of time. She enjoys having fun (seriously) with research and writing. In her off hours she reads and walks, although not at the same time -- because tripping over sidewalks is embarrassing.

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