LinkedIn is one of the oldest (2003) and really one of the more sophisticated social media sites for business people. Designed to connect professionals and showcase their resumes, few companies thought to market their products and services on the platform in the early days. Today, however, it has grown into a thriving community that presents plenty of opportunities for sales with just a little bit of creativity.
- Join Groups – Even though LinkedIn groups are not what they used to be, if you pick the right group, they can still be a great place to find and connect with like-minded individuals. Social Selling on LinkedIn works best when you are a part of the communities you wish to sell to. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this easy with a variety of groups based on profession and interests. When you join a group, you expand your network in every direction and can begin pulling leads from any vertical you choose. It is the both of best worlds with a specialized, but wide audience all in one place. Professionals who use LinkedIn for networking are also more likely to share products and services they believe in with their peers, increasing your visibility with time.
- Produce Quality Content – Another important part of being a successful seller on LinkedIn is creating quality content. Not only can you share great content with LinkedIn Publisher, but you can use Sponsored Updates to share that content. However, you must keep in mind the audience you are addressing and ensure that the content you are sharing is up to par with other professionals in the arena.
- Use the Right Tools – While LinkedIn is a great platform for Social Selling, sometimes it needs a little nudge! (Especially with the new User Interface.) Fortunately a number of developers have introduced browser based extensions that can help you track your contacts and find new leads. These extensions (Nimble, Dux-Soup, eGrabber and LinMailPro to name a few) allow you to see recent activity and gauge the level of interest from prospective buyers. This all improves your ability to guide the buyer’s journey.
- Be Consistent – When you first join LinkedIn with the intent of social selling, it’s easy to be dazzled by all of the information and possibilities in front of you. You suddenly have a direct line to professionals from all walks of life. You can take a peek into their lives and take your time planning your approach. However, this process is also time consuming. Many would-be social sellers start out strong and then lose momentum over time. Prospects who may have taken interest initially will soon lose interest if you stop producing content or initiating contact. Be very selective on who you engage with, and make sure to engage consistently.
- Set a Goal – When it comes to Social Selling on LinkedIn, many companies approach the platform with indifference. If sales happen then that’s good, but it’s almost not expected. Because there are no goals or systems in place. This makes it hard to achieve results. In order to actually make sales on LinkedIn you need to reach for a specific outcome. This serves two purposes. First, it forces you to make a plan and take action continually (see point 4). Secondly, it encourages you to learn from your mistakes over time. Instead of giving up when something doesn’t work, commitment to a goal will make you look at what went wrong and change your strategy accordingly. It may be difficult to track metrics specific to LinkedIn, but it is definitely worth your time once you have the system down.
Learning to make social sales can be challenging at first. However, LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity for B2B sales where other social media sites are not quite as robust. The type of interaction and networking that happens on LinkedIn offers an easy way to expand your reach to other professionals and quickly become a leader by impressing other leaders in their fields. The most important thing to keep in mind when you begin is consistency and quality as you build up your profile on the site. Establishing great content is the key to growing LinkedIn Social selling.