LinkedIn’s Voice Note feature is its answer to WhatsApp’s audio feature. It lets LinkedIn members send a quick 60-second audio message to first-degree connections through their mobile app that can be listened to at their connection’s convenience. A great social selling tool you’d think, but even though it’s been available for over a year now, it’s generally fallen a little flat. (Just ask yourself – how many have you received?)
But this year we’ve seen a spike of interest in the feature. It’s not surprising when Clubhouse has sparked an audio-only social networking craze and we look for more ways to replicate real-world conversations in a socially distanced world.
So, if you’re still on the fence about LinkedIn’s Voice Note feature or want to learn when to use them, you’ll find the answers here.
The Pros And Cons Of LinkedIn’s Voice Note Feature
Just like with video, audio messages can never replace written messages entirely. A Forbes survey showed that senior executives are watching and sharing more online video but they like information in a mix of text and video. The same will be true for audio and the trick is to experiment with what works for you and your audience.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider with LinkedIn’s Voice Note Feature:
PRO: It Can Help Your Message Stand Out In A Sea Of Messages
Despite LinkedIn’s Voice Notes being available since 2018, most LinkedIn inboxes are full of written messages and pitches. Sending a Voice Note will naturally pique people’s interest and we all know that sometimes all you need is for your message to be heard instead of deleted.
CON: You Can Only Send It To First-Degree Connections
Even with a Sales Navigator licence, you can’t send a LinkedIn Voice Note to anyone other than a first-degree connection. It’s an interesting limitation, which may suggest that LinkedIn are reluctant to subject users to messages from strangers that require active engagement.
PRO: A Personal Touch When People Are Ready
WhatsApp audio messages have been something of a lifesaver for a busy world. Text messages have quickly become our go-to means of contact when we’re too busy to commit to a real conversation or we know the other person has a lot on their plate. But sometimes a more personal touch is needed, which is when audio messages become invaluable.
LinkedIn Voice Notes can do a similar job professionally. Instead of interrupting a connection when they’re busy (or making them screen a call) your message receiver can listen to your message when it’s convenient for them.
CON: Would Video Be Better?
Although audio content is a current trend, video does give you more opportunity to send a message that showcases your personality. We already know that there’s an average 19% open rate when using video in emails. Although LinkedIn messages are a slightly different medium, it’s safe to say that video is likely have a similar positive uplift in responses. And just like with audio apps, video messages are relatively underutilised on LinkedIn messaging.
Videos do require a little more effort as you need to be camera ready.
PRO: They’re Much Quicker
It’s much quicker to record a quick message on-the-go or when rushed. Many of those that have sent me LinkedIn audio messages have openly admitted that they did so because it was a much easier way to stay in touch.
CON: They May Not Be As Convenient For Recipients
While it may be quicker for you to send a LinkedIn Voice Note, it may not be quicker or easier for your recipient to listen to it, that convenient time we spoke about earlier, might not come. A written message can quickly be scanned but an audio clip requires a time commitment, and a quick glance isn’t possible. The flipside, of course, is that if they do listen, you’re more likely to be heard!
PRO: It Doesn’t Look Like A Copy And Paste Job
Nobody likes receiving a message where the sender has clearly not taken the time to find out more about you and your needs. Sending an audio message automatically differentiates your messages.
Con: A Standard LinkedIn Voice Note May Do More Harm
If you don’t take the time to personalise your LinkedIn Voice Note (other than to remember your recipient’s name and company) then it could soon seem like a gimmicky way to bypass the delete button you may have otherwise received. Remember, it takes longer to listen to a voice message and so you need to take extra steps to ensure it’s worth their time.
4 ways To Use LinkedIn’s Voice Note Feature
LinkedIn's Voice Note feature can be used in many ways for social selling. Here are four instances where it’s worth experimenting with them (and remember to test video messages too!).
Thanking New Contacts
Your new contact is already warm, so why not build on it with a personalised message thanking them for accepting or sending a connection request. Let them know what content they can expect to see from you and tell them how much you look forward to engaging with theirs's in the future.
Keeping In Touch With Existing Account Contacts
Social selling involves securing repeat business from happy customers too, so why not use LinkedIn voice notes to send a more personalised congratulations when a key contact has done something particularly noteworthy? It’s similar to the difference between someone taking the time to say Happy Birthday on Facebook or sending you a recorded voice message or video.
You can also nurture relationships with prospects with a message that shows you’ve taken the time to really acknowledge what they are doing or interested in. Just bear in mind that sending an audio note along these lines too soon may appear overfamiliar, so it’s best to wait until you've already established a level of mutual engagement on LinkedIn.
Following Up With Existing Leads
According to HubSpot, studies show that the optimum number of touchpoints with buyers is said to be eight and, as you would expect, a balanced mixed of communication channels works best.
Adding LinkedIn Voice Notes to your mix of communications is another way to keep your sales outreach interesting for buyers. The fact that it’s a more unusual way of communicating may just help you make the breakthrough with a busy lead.
As with any LinkedIn feature, the key for social selling is to experiment with what works for you and your audience and stay ahead of changing content preferences. It’s always best to start small and see if it has any impact and remember to keep it part of a varied mix of social selling content tactics. I’d love to hear your thoughts on LinkedIn’s Voice Notes. Are you using it? Do you see better engagement when you do?