Social Selling: Icebreakers in messaging or how to double your Response Rate
How to melt the ice with Social Selling?

Social Selling method involves attracting potential B2B clients and building trust with them on social media. Before starting to sell your product or service through messaging, it's essential to break the ice first. This is where succinct phrases, known as icebreakers, come into play. They are used to draw the potential client's attention, making the conversations easier and more natural.

In this article, Olga Bondareva, the founder of the Social Selling agency ModumUp, shares practices on how to transform standard social media sales into non-trivial and warm interactions using icebreakers.
Icebreakers in private messages: what kind of beasts are these?
Icebreakers are short phrases designed to initiate the connection as well as strengthen trust and partnership on social media.
Examples of icebreakers:
  • 1
    Humor and self-deprecation
  • 2
    Any shared background or mutual interest that connects you with the person you're texting to (e.g., alma mater, hometown, favorite music band, movie)
  • 3
    Informal short video or audio, which must be natural and not selling. However, there's a drawback: you'll likely need to create personalized messages for each contact
  • 4
    Personalization based on profile posts (drawback: hard to scale for a large number of contacts)
  • 5
    Holiday greetings
  • 6
    Greetings in the local languages
Now, we will dive into practical examples.
Icebreakers: Common Ground and Humor
Let's compare two messages: One without icebreakers and the second with icebreakers.
First example:
  • Hello [Name],

    I work at the ModumUp agency, specializing in Social Selling – B2B lead generation through personal profiles on social media. Our primary clients are tech companies like NetApp, Microsoft partners, AWS partners, EXANTE and others.

    Would you like to discuss our approach in detail? I'd be glad to share our case studies and other materials on Social Selling.
Second example:
  • Hello [Name],

    I also graduated from the University of Texas at Austin - what a small world!

    I work at a Social Selling agency called ModumUp. We manage LinkedIn personal profiles, connecting with clients, partners or employees, as well as helping to develop personal brands of top managers.

    Would you like to set up a quick call? So, we can figure out what kind of beast Social Selling is 😄
The first message sounds more formal and pushy; it feels robotic. It could be sent to anyone, as it lacks a personal touch and simply isn't engaging target audience.

It's quite obvious that we used icebreakers in the second example by mentioning the same university. Furthermore, we simplified the language of the message, making it more conversational. In conclusion, we added some humor by including the phrase, "What kind of beast Social Selling is"

The messaging results: the first cold message got a Response Rate (the percentage of responses to the number of messages sent) of 15%, while the second one, with icebreakers, achieved 30%. The target audience and business proposal remained unaltered. According to our agency's benchmarks, a Response Rate ranging from 10% to 25% is considered average, so anything exceeding this range is categorized as high.
Advice from the ModumUp team
People appreciate emotional messages. We all love humor, so don't hesitate to crack a joke and be yourself. Such messages encourage dialogue and help build trustful relationships.
Icebreaker: Simple Conversational Language
There are some recommendations on how to make text more easily understandable: avoid jargon and clichés, simplify complexity, and use a conversational style. This is also one of the icebreakers' techniques.
Advice from the ModumUp team
Always read the final version of the message aloud. Consider whether you would speak this way in a conversation with a potential client or not. If you come across parts where you stumble or feel it sounds unnatural, that's a signal that those phrases would be better off changed.
Next, let's move on to icebreakers that various sales experts recommend for personal messages.
9 Attention-Grabbing Templates to Make Your Messages Stand Out
Active LinkedIn users often receive messages with manipulative undertones and generic wording. For instance, messages like these:
  • "Here's what you need to know ASAP."
  • "Got 5 minutes? I have something you need to see."
  • "Your boss is going to love this!"
Typically, these messages leave people indifferent or even irritated. Often, they don't finish reading them and send them straight away to spam. To avoid this and hold the potential client's attention, you can use short icebreaker phrases.
Here are a few examples from the Sales.Rocks article that we found catching:
  • "Surviving Monday" – demonstrates that we share the person's emotions (after all, who really loves Mondays?)
  • "I promise this is the last email you'll receive from me" – conveys a sense of caring.
  • "Before we head into the weekend" – reminds that the weekend is coming, and that's always something to look forward to.

Here are more interesting ways to engage with a person in messages from Findymail:
Use phrases that trigger the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect:
  • "Have you heard about [NEWS]?" "Is your strategy missing [TACTIC or TOOL]?" — Be cautious with this one; it might be perceived as manipulation.
Add useful information:
  • "Did you know that [%] of your customers in [SEGMENT] want to [GOAL/TREND]?"
To avoid making the person feel like they are missing out or unaware of something, you can adjust the tone of voice slightly. This way, they won't feel as if they've missed something important or are uninformed.
Include a personal backstory in the message.
  • For example, how you casually discovered a place that could be improved and how you know how to help:
    Hi Sarah,

    I'm a caffeine addict, sipping my second double espresso today and it's only 11 am.

    I recently googled "best coffee shops in Atlanta" and notices your competitors are ranking higher that Caffeine Atlanta.
A search screenshot: Let's put Caffeine Atlanta here instead
Begin the conversation by complimenting the person or company's business achievements. You can find this information on the company's website or the individual's LinkedIn profile.

The advice: Add a personalized postscript to your message. For instance, mention something you noticed on their profile, like where the person lives or which sports team's matches they attend, and amaze them by revealing that you are (what a surprise) also a big fan of the same team.
  • Hi Andrew, Hans here. Really enjoyed reading your case study on last year's SEO project your team did with Apple. Impressed you managed to land them a 300% increase in organic traffic to product pages.

    Not to compare apples to oranges, but at Lyne we also help companies increase their campaign performance to help hit growth targets. If you're using cold email to land more clients like Apple you'll love this: we use AI to help you personalize your cold emails faster you can boot a Macbook.

    Most of the companies we work with see a 200%+ increase in warm response rates.

    If you're not too busy optimizing H-tags, would you be curious to learn a bit more?


    PS. I see that you went to USF - go Bulls! I'm curious to know how it impacted your career path.
Ask questions and find out if you have common interests and hobbies. Here are some Crom Ramen examples:
  • "Hi [Name], I saw on your LinkedIn profile that we share a passion for hiking! Have you been on any great hikes lately? I think about [Place]. Did you were there?"
  • "Hi [Name], I noticed from your Facebook that you're a big fan of [sport]. Do you play, or do you just enjoy watching?" Depending on the answer, invite them to a game and chat there, get to know each other, or even ask to play together.
An example of the message from the article, where multiple phrases immediately capture our attention:
  • Hey Landon, fellow (former) farmer here (an unconventional introduction with personal details that becomes the creative umbrella for the entire message),

    Love seeing how you're applying the farmer work ethic to business (adding an unusual compliment).

    Reason I'm reaching out today (explaining the reason for writing),

    ... can be a challenge for small marketing agencies (demonstrating our understanding of the industry and potential client's pain points).

    If you feel like harvesting a few more clients this quarter (explaining how we can help solve a specific problem),

    Would you be interested in learning a bit more? (asking a soft question without immediately suggesting a call)."
At the end, we use an icebreaker—a casual postscript that highlights mutual interests.
  • Hey Landon, fellow (former) farmer here. Love seeing how you're applying the farmer work ethic to business. I definitely believe it's unmatched and great to see you're succeeding because of it.

    Reason I'm reaching out today is because from experience I know that appointment setting can be a challenge for small marketing agencies. That's where we come. We've developed an AI-based tool that helps you easily personalize your cold outreach so people love your emails more.

    Most of our users see a 200% increase in demo booked rates in their first months.

    If you feel like harvesting a few more clients this quarter, would you be interested in learning a bit more?


    P.S. How's your Michael Scott impression?
Advice from the ModumUp team
Use icebreakers, ensuring they are both clear and culturally appropriate when interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
In a world where communication takes place both online and offline, we compete for the audience's attention. However, many individuals feel uncomfortable and wary when it comes to talking with strangers. That's understandable; they just don't know what to expect. To establish a connection between you and a potential client, try initiating your communication on social media with icebreakers. These techniques will help destroy the dementors of the unknown and create the feeling that you are on the same wave as your conversation partner. Once the ice is melted, your business proposal for partnership is more likely to be met with less resistance and skepticism.