It can’t be stressed enough that LinkedIn is the place to be if you operate in the b2b field and and would like to start building a successful social selling strategy. You can expect that ALL your prospects, and then I really mean ALL, have a profile on LinkedIn. There is no other place I can think of where all your customers and prospects come together. This makes it worthwhile to build a strategy for LinkedIn that leads to more business and helps you to build mutual beneficial relationships.
Last week I attended the virtual LinkedIn Success Summit organised by Liam Austin. The summit included presentations from a wide range of LinkedIn and blogging experts. I am happy to share the 10 lessons I learned about social selling.
1.Stay close to your selling proposition
Keep your messages and the articles you share tight to your selling proposition. Share about topics you want to be known for. LinkedIn is a way to build your personal brand. Consistency, Clarity and Customer focus are the three criteria your brand identity should meet.
2. Create a customer centric profile
Perry van Beek shared great insights about building a customer centric LinkedIn profile. Your profile is the shop-window to the world. It can be the first impression people get from you. This is the place to address your customers and potential customers in a compelling way
3. ‘Entice me with your headline’
Your headline is crucial to your success and can determine whether people will view your profile or not. Have you ever done a search and scrolled through the search results? Which headlines stand out? The ones that tell what people do, that are specific and include relevant key words. Pay attention to the first three words.
4. Get to know your prospective customer
If you have a list with prospects you would like to approach, find out what they share on LinkedIn. These are the topics they find interesting. You can do this simply by clicking on the drop down menu at the right side of someone’s profile picture (next to “send a message”).
5. Go from obscurity to visibility
Jamie Shanks shared a great step-by-step approach that you can use as part of your social selling strategy: F.E.E.D: Find decision makers, Educate your audience, Engage with them and Develop a relationship.
The educational part refers to the content you share. As it can be time consuming to find great content to share, you can make use of sites like feedly.com. Here is a great blog post to check other relevant content curation tools.
6. Move from curation to creation
In addition to sharing other people’s content it is important to create content yourself. The best place to publish your content is your own website. This is the place you own and which will always be there. It is also the place where they can find out more about you in a (visual) setting that represents your brand. Make use of the publishing tool on LinkedIn as well, because this ensures more visibility for your blog posts.
7. Be creative and get discovered
Jeff Bullas stressed the importance of sharing content in different formats. Some people love to read blog posts or articles, others like to learn by viewing slides or watching a video. One blog post can be translated into various formats. Once you get discovered, the journey with your potential customer has started. So get creative in the way you share your content.
8. Marketing is 75% education
Educating your audience is a crucial part of your social selling strategy. Selling is about offering value, not about telling what you do. A research by Forrester showed that people have gone through 70% of the buying cycle before they engage with a seller! Even if the number in your industry would be lower, it shows how important your online activities are.
9. Take the conversation offline
Social selling is not replacing offline selling. It should seamlessly be integrated in your offline selling strategy. Sharing content can be a great way to fill up ‘the dead zone’, Jamie Shanks explained. This is the period that the customer is not talking to you face-to-face. However, social selling can never replace real life contact. Most experts advise to take the conversation offline after two or three emails.
10. What to do in 5 – 15 minutes on LinkedIn per day?
Scroll through your timeline. React to what people in your network post and say in a sincere way. Share a relevant article or publish your own blog posts. Link with relevant people who have viewed your profile. Find out what they do. Ask yourself if they could be relevant to your network. Scroll through their profile and see if there is anything in common you can relate to. And if applicable, invite them to connect by sending a relevant, personal message. Check out the discussions in relevant groups at least twice per week as well.
Have you already built a social selling strategy for LinkedIn?