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Hacking Linkedin for Start Ups. How to get your data back from Linkedin…

What if I told you that you were wasting a source of leads?

Leads that have already engaged with your brand and message? Leads for whom you know their complete career history, contact details and interests?

Well it exists, and it’s all the people who have liked, commented or engaged with your posts on Linkedin. The problem is that because they aren’t clicking on your link, visiting your site or filling in your form it’s tough to get their details and process them efficiently.

This hack will help you get your valuable leads back from Linkedin.

You’ll be able to:

  • Take advantage of a free source of leads — all the people who have engaged with you on Linkedin.
  • Dramatically improve your lead scoring by factoring in a user’s actions on social media.
  • Flag to your sales team when a new prospect has engaged with your business on social media. Get em while they’re hot!
  • Tell a specific sales person that one of their leads has liked a company post.


  • Linkedin = I think it’s the best social network for B2B marketers.
  • PhantomBuster = Awesome collection of APIs for marketers.
  • Google Sheets = Our homebase. We cover really cool functions in this hack.
  • Zapier = Connect a bunch of platforms together.


  1. Automatically see who likes or comments on any of your Linkedin posts* (If you’re sneaky, you can also do this for your competitors’ posts**).
  2. See how many of those likers / commenters are already in you CRM. If they are, find the relevant lead owner and let them know.

*You can do this manually of course, but if you’ve got a bad ass content machine churning out loads of posts it’ll take you forever and it’s pretty boring work.

**To do this hack, you need a list of the URLS of all the posts you want to track. If they are your own, you can simply export the URLS from your Linkedin Admin panel. If you want to collect who liked or commented on your competitor’s posts, you’ll need to manually build a list of their URLs.


1. Get a list of your Linked posts.

First, we need a list of all our Linkedin Post URLs.

  1. Go to your Linkedin company page (you need to be an admin)
  2. Click Analytics
  3. Select Updates
  4. Click Export and choose your date range.
Download a list of all your Linkedin Posts.

Once the file has downloaded, check out the second tab “Update Engagement”. You’ll see the list of post URLs in col B.

Make sure you open the second tab “Update Engagement”.

Copy and paste the entire sheet into a new Google Sheet. Make sure to:

  • Paste it into the left most tab in Google Sheet. It’s critical because our API will only look at the left most tab.
  • Delete the top row “Engagement metrics…”. This is critical because you’ll need a column name.

2. Find out who Commented on your posts

We’re going to use PhantomBuster. It’s a collection of awesome APIs that let growth marketers connect different tools. It works by pretending to access the site as a human. For example, you provide your session ID for Linkedin and PhantomBuster will slowly collect all the data, behaving as if were you.

This means:

  • By mimicking your behaviour, it’s less likely to be flagged by Linkedin, Facebook etc as long as you don’t go crazy with the amount of data you want to collect at any one time.
  • There’s a risk that you’ll get caught and banned by Linkedin etc. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!

If you are going ahead, get yourself set up on the free trial.

To start, we’re going to use the Linkedin Post Commenters API.

Click on the
  1. Click on the three dots next to Launch.

2. Add your session cookie. There’s instructions if you click the little ? mark. I’d recommend adding the PhantomBuster chrome plugin, which makes it super easy — just click the “Get Cookie from Linkedin” button.

3. Add your public Google Sheet. Making sure that your list of Linkedin Post URLS is in the left most tab, click on Share (in the top right), then click the “Copy Link” button. Paste it into PhantomBuster.

Grabbing your share link from Google Sheets.

4. Tell PhantomBuster which column has the URLs. Enter “Uptake link” in the Column Name field. This tells PhantomBuster to take the Linkedin Post from the second column in your Google Sheet.

5. Then, hit launch!

BOoOoM! Now, wait a bit and you’ll have your list! You can download it if you like.

But, what we really want to do is to automate the heck out of everything, so we’re going to bypass ever having to download a CSV, and instead….

3. Import the list of Post Commenters into Google Sheets.

Rather than muck around with uploading CSV files ourselves, we want Google Sheets to import the latest data automatically.

So before you click out of PhantomBuster, we want to grab the URL of where the CSV with all our data is, so right click “Post Commenter.csv”, then “Copy Link”.

Now go back to Google Sheets and create a new Tab.

Call it AUTO Post Commentators or something. I like to colour dynamically generated tabs in Red, so I know not to touch them again.

In the top left cell, use this formula: =IMPORTDATA("***paste the URL from PhantomBuster***")

The ImportData tells Google to pull through all the data on the URL, so you end up with something like:

Pretty cool right?

4. Import your Linkedin Comment likers too.

Repeat the last couple of steps, but using the Linkedin Post Likers API instead.

5. Dedupe your new Likers and Commenters.

So, you should have two independent dynamically updating tabs, one showing your Linkedin Likers, the other Commenters.

You’ll probably find that there’s a bunch of people who have both commented AND liked your posts. And you’ll have others who have commented or liked multiple posts. To make things easier, we want to remove all those duplicates.

So, create a new tab in Google Sheets and enter this formula in the top left

=UNIQUE({‘AUTO Post Likers'!D:D;'AUTO Post Commentators'!A:A})

Here’s how that formula works:

  • Unique = this independent fellow will only pull in unique values from the columns you specify
  • Auto Post Likers = this is my tab with the Phantombuster data on Post Likers. D:D is the column which has the profile URL. Replace with whatever you’ve used.
  • Auto Post Commenters = same as above, but for Commenters rather than Likers.

You should end up with a long list of Linkedin profile URLs in column A.

Build a master dashboard

We want to take that list of profile URLs and build a dashboard that tells us more about our new friends:

Your brand new, awesome master dashboard!

Here’s the data you want and how to get it:

1 Their Linkedin profile URL.

  • You already have this when you set up the =unique formula above.

2 The post they liked or commented on.

  • Use VLOOKUP to find the post in both the likers and commenters tabs. Use this formula:

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP($A5,'AUTO Post Likers'!$D:$K,8,0),VLOOKUP(A5,'AUTO Post Commentators'!A:G,7,0))

  • VLOOKUP($A5,’AUTO Post Likers’!$D:$K,8,0) = “Hey Google, look at the tab “AUTO Post Likers”, and check out columns D to K. If you see the data in cell A5 (the Linkedin Profile URL), then return the value in the 8th column (the URL to the Linkedin Post). Thanks.”

3 / 4 Their name and job title

  • Use the same VLOOKUP up logic as above.

5 Their company

  • This one’s a bit trickier, as Phantom Buster doesn’t return the company name.
  • However notice that the job title returned typically takes the format of FANCY JOB TITLE at COMPANY NAME. Notice the ‘at”? We’re going to use a formula to extract the text after the “at”. Use this formula:
  • =RIGHT(D12,(LEN(D12)-FIND(" at ",D12)-2))
  • This bad boy is saying “Google, find ‘at ‘ in the text string in Cell D12, and return all the text to the right”.
  • RIGHT = Return the characters on the right hand side of the text string in cell D12, after a specific number of characters.
  • LEN = Count the number of characters in cell D12.
  • FIND = Tell me the placement in the character string in cell D12 where “ at “ starts. The -2 means jump back two spaces.

6 Engagement date

Use the VLOOKUP formula. You could also create a column which tells you how long it’s been since the engagement happened using =TODAY()-engagement date

7 / 8 Lead Owner and Lead Status

This is a little more involved, so I’ll write a seperate guide on how to do this.

In principle, you need to find the Linkedin Profile URLs for your leads and contacts and add them to two additional tabs in Google Sheets. Along with the Linkedin Profile URL, include the name, lead or contact owner and lead or contact status. There’s PhantomBuster API which does exactly that, but you need to be a bit careful with it.

Then it’s just a case of cross referencing new leads against your existing ones. A good way to do this is to use Linkedin Profile URLs as the unique identifier for leads and contacts.

Side note: using Linkedin profile URLs
* Typically we use a person’s work email address, but that can be a massive pain to get if you don’t already have it (even using etc).
* We’re scraping Linkedin Profile URLs for new people that engage with us. To get Linkedin Profile URLs for our existing leads and contacts, use Phantombuster’s Linkedin Profile URL Finder API.
* Thought experiment: Linked profiles might actually be a better long term identifier for people’s work lives than emails. People change jobs every couple of years, so while their work email changes, their linkedin profile URL doesn’t.

You can also use Zapier to keep things in sync. You need to connect your CRM to Google Sheets, then set up a Zap to push any new leads or contacts through to your Google Sheet as a new row.

Leave a comment, or message me and I’ll make sure you’re the first to know when I publish it.

If you’ve followed all the steps so far, you should have a dynamically updating dashboard that tells you who has liked or commented on your Linkedin posts, the post in question, all their details, whether that person is already in your CRM and what their current status. Wowsers.

Notify your team when a new person engages

The next step is to actually do something with this data. A great place to start is with Zapier. Zapier lets you connect various platforms together (think IFTTT for marketers).

A really useful trigger in Zapier is “when a new spreadsheet row is created”. The easiest way is to use the =QUERY formula to pull out the data that we want and order it in ascending order by date (this is super important because we want new engagers to be added as a new spreadsheet row).

This is the formula:

=QUERY(Summary,"Select A,C,D,E,F,G,H I Where G MATCHES '(Lead owner 1|Lead owner 2|Lead owner 3)' ORDER by F ASC",1)

QUERY = This is an awesome Google Sheet function that lets you treat a spreadsheet like a database. It takes a while to get your head around it, but it’s well worth it.

“Summary” = I just set the entire dashboard we made in the previous step as a Named Range in Google Sheets called “Summary”.

SELECT A, B, C etc = Return data from these columns in the Summary named range.

WHERE G MATCHES ‘(Lead Owner 1| etc = This is giving the Select function certain criteria to operate within. IE, return those columns in the Summary named range when Col G (which is the lead owner column) contains Lead owner 1,2 or 3). In other words, it’s saying “Show me the Linkedin engagers who are already in my CRM and have one of these lead owners”.

ORDER by F ASC = Column F is engagement date and ASC means ascending. This means that the newest engagers are added as a new row. Which is awesome, because that’s exactly what we want to make the ZAP work! :)

What’s next?

Once you’ve reached this stage, you can use Zapier to pretty much do what you want.

Using Zapier to create a new lead when a new engager is identified.

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Push new Linkedin engagers to your CRM so they become part of your sale team’s workflow.
  • When you find a Linkedin engager that is already in your CRM, send the lead owner a Slack message.
  • Update a specific field for a Lead when they engage on Linkedin. For example, change their lead score.
  • There’s literally hundreds of things you can do from here!

I’m currently working on a sequel to this guide that focuses on Zapier. It’ll include:

  • How to get your marketing tools to work in harmony.
  • Giving yourself massive leverage.
  • Automating Social Posts

About me

I’m a Growth Marketer based in Sydney Australia. I love working with awesome start ups to help them grow into successful businesses.

If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch… well, get in touch!



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Mr Michael Tan

Mr Michael Tan

Growth Marketer for Start Ups. Sydney sider. Life long learner. Get in touch: