The Guide to Social Selling on LinkedIn
You’ve read blog after blog with titles like “What Is Social Selling?” and you’re ready to dive in. You know the benefits of social selling, why social selling B2B companies works, and how social selling on LinkedIn seriously moves the needle.
Then you login to Sales Navigator and you’re at a lost. So many connections! So much content! How can you possibly stand out and engage buyers in a way that feels authentic and gets results?
You’ve come to the right place. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about social selling on LinkedIn. Soon, you’ll feel right at home on LinkedIn, wondering why you ever spent any time cold-calling or emailing.
Building a Strong LinkedIn Sales Profile
First thing’s first: your profile. This page is more than just your business card and your resume. This page is everything about who you are and what you know. Building a strong profile is the foundation on which great social selling strategies are built.
PhotoYour photo appears everywhere you do on LinkedIn, in comments, in InMails, and in shared connections. Make sure you use a professional photo that’s friendly and inviting. Don’t forget to smile!
HeadlineAlong with your photo and your name, your headline is what people first read about you when you comment or share content on LinkedIn. This is your first opportunity to tell the world who you are and show the value you can bring to buyers.
Don’t just say “sales professional” or “account executive.” Instead, talk about what problem you solve or the solution you deliver so buyers can quickly understand how you can help them. For example, if you sell a CRM solution, your headline can read “Helping business connect and engage with their buyers.”
SummaryYour summary is an extension of your headline. Here, you can go into more detail about who you are and what you do. Describe your role and the solution you offer as well as why you’re passionate about the job.
Remember to keep this section brief; anything longer than a couple of paragraphs will deter people from reading in full. Focus on some key results you’ve achieved and the goals you will help prospective buyers reach.
ExperienceHere’s where you can more fully tell the story of your background and experience. Fill out this section with relevant work experience, starting with your current role.
Like a resume, make sure that you flesh out the results you’ve gotten in each of your job duties, the more specific the better. Avoid vague phrases like “Focused on customer service.” Instead, use action phrases like “Deliver 400% ROI for customers through strategic implementation.”
Building Strong Connections on LinkedInLinkedIn is a social network, which means it’s time to get social. By connecting with potential buyers, you can fully leverage the power of social selling on LinkedIn by sharing valuable content with connections that may soon become customers.
Like any prospecting tactic, building a network on LinkedIn requires a focused approach with a clear sense of who your target buyers are. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes finding the pertinent information about your buyers easy. Here’s a few strategies you can try.
SearchLinkedIn’s search feature is great place to start finding connections. Beyond looking for an individual by name, LinkedIn has powerful filters that allow you to find connections based off job title, job function, company size, industry, and more. This is why having your target buyers in mind is so important; by leveraging these kind of searches, you can quickly connect with lots of people that would benefit from your social selling efforts and eventually become customers
“People Also Viewed” SidebarLots of sellers are already social selling on LinkedIn to great effect, and many of them will employ the same tactics you’ll use in identifying and connecting with potential buyers. LinkedIn aggregates those searches and automatically recommends other potential connections based off the people you’re already viewing. Connecting with these people is a great way to quickly expand your network while getting a better sense of other job roles and function that you cater your social selling to.
Shared ConnectionsNo doubt you’ve heard about the power of referrals. Turns out they’re just as important on LinkedIn! When you view someone’s profile, you see what connections you have in common. This is the perfect opportunity to ask a customer or coworker for an introduction rather than sending a cold connection request.
Building a Strong Personal Brand on LinkedInBeyond a strong profile, social selling on LinkedIn depends on building and maintaining a strong personal brand. This is most reflected by the content you share and the way you engage with your connections on LinkedIn.
The worst thing you can do is be seen as someone who sells too aggressively online. Social selling is the art of creating an atmosphere of collaboration, engagement, and trust. If you constantly try steering the conversation back to your product, you’ll be seen as pushy and disingenuous.
Instead, by talking about the philosophy and the ideas around buyers’ problems and your solution, you present yourself as helpful and sincere, someone who genuinely wants to solve problems rather than someone who just wants to sell.
To do this, follow these rules
Share ConsistentlyAn inconsistent social selling strategy is about as good as no social selling strategy at all. If you only share and comment intermittently, your presence won’t be felt as strongly by your connections and prospects.
The goal is to create a persistent presence that enforces that sense of trust and subject-matter expertise that are crucial to a strong social selling strategy. By sharing regularly, you stay top of mind with your connections and your cumulative social selling efforts have a better chance of turning into a sale.
Share Personalized ContentA lot of content that gets broadcasted on LinkedIn is just that: broad. It’s aimed at a general audience without any personalization. While this content can be effective in showcasing your thought leadership and subject-matter expertise, it doesn’t speak to any one buyer.
The real power of social selling on LinkedIn is the ability to create personalized content that speaks directly to a buyer, their challenges, and their needs. A great way to do this is by sending a personalized video either as an InMail or tagged post. This can be in response to a recent conversation you’ve had with that buyer or a piece of content they’ve shared recently. Though the audience is smaller for that personalized content, the opportunity for engagement (and by extension, sales) is exponentially greater.
Share Timely ContentLinkedIn is a real-time view into the top-of-mind topics and challenges of your connections and buyers. Each time they share or interact with a piece of content is an open invitation for you to put on your social selling hat and add your perspective to the conversation. However, responding after the fact lessens the impact; helpful though your response may be, it might no longer be relevant unless you reply in a timely matter.
That’s why it’s crucial to respond in a timely matter. When you see a connection interacting with a piece of content or sharing something about a topic, don’t hesitate. Respond quickly and offer your ideas and expertise in context of the content the buyer was originally interacting with. Of course, this doesn’t mean sacrifice quality for speed; make sure your response offers value while still being something a buyer will enjoy seeing.
Ready to plan your own video social selling strategy? Download our guide, “The Ultimate Guide to Video Social Selling,” and learn how to improve response rates and book more meetings using personalized video in your social selling.
Posted on July 20, 2018