LinkedIn offers business professionals the ability to network focusing primarily on professional interactions. This makes LinkedIn vastly different from that of Facebook, Twitter and other social media services. It also means that many people jump into a sales conversation WAY too early!
While advertising and marketing products through social media can prove financially beneficial, abusing your connections on LinkedIn with hard sales tactics can really backfire! However, you can create great rapport with your prospects by focusing on social selling. If you are interested in expanding your online footprint and want to move into LinkedIn Social Selling, here are five steps and methods you need to utilize.
- Create an Effective, Professional Profile
LinkedIn is different from other social media accounts. It is important to treat it differently. Every aspect of the profile must showcase a professional look to it.
This begins with adding a background image that reflects your business brand. And if you can add your contact info to it, more power to you! Are you graphically impaired? You can find someone of Fiverr.com to do it for you.
You will also want to add a professional photograph. Having a picture in general is necessary, but sticking with a professional, business friendly picture instead of the fun, hanging out with friends Facebook picture. People are not looking for friends on LinkedIn. They want business partners they feel confident buying from.
The more information you put about the company in the profile the better. This includes adding a summary, providing media such as a video introduction, presentation or other content can showcase your business as well. If you have any videos on your website make sure to include these in your page as well.
- Leverage Connections
LinkedIn is all about networking. Through networking you form mutual connections, just as you would in the traditional business world. Nurturing these connections can lead to sales. Should you identify a connection between you and another business or individual you wish to sell to, do what you can to nurture this mutual connection. LinkedIn shows you who you have in common, so actively nurture that relationship and leverage it to your advantage. Not only can you learn more about these potential buyers through the connection, but prospects will feel more inclined to do business with you if they have already done business with a mutual friend or previous (or current) client. Use Introductions and ask for referrals!
- Connect With Your Top Clients
Grab your past and current client list and start connecting on LinkedIn! It doesn’t matter if it is a lone individual or a larger business, make sure to connect with them. Nurturing and growing new relationships just through social media can take time. As you already have a strong rapport with the customer, this connection will do one of two things. First, it helps build your professional relationship with the current client. Second, it may lead you to additional customers similar to your current top tier clients. Either way it helps boost sales and leads while using the LinkedIn Social Selling advantage.
- Monitor Your Client’s Feeds
Clients will update information about their own business or professional needs. By staying on top of their real-time information, you instantly gain a beat on if they need additional products or services you can offer. The more you know about your clients and what they are doing, the better off your own business is. Perhaps your client just signed a major expansion deal and you know they will need more of your company’s products. You can customize a marketing plan, create new sales services or offer a discounted price based on the new client information. In the business world knowledge is power, so educate yourself on your clients. Also, feel free to congratulate them on any business advancements they make. Gratitude can go a long way.
- Publish Content
This is a feature far too few users on LinkedIn actually use. However, that is good for you because it will help your content stand out from the competition. You may be surprised as to how much content you may publish on LinkedIn. Google allows a direct publish feature through YouTube and many blog services offer the same thing. Publishing content on LinkedIn gives you access to a host of advantages. First, it keeps your profile constantly in front of your connections. They will receive notifications on when you publish new material (both in their email and on their personal LinkedIn pages). The content can prove insightful and answer vital questions a client may have about your business. Your published content can also attract new connections who may never have found your profile otherwise. There really is no reason why you shouldn’t publish content to LinkedIn. It is easy, you’re likely already publishing content to other social media accounts, and you’ll reap the rewards from doing so.
LinkedIn is a free network you need to take advantage of. Not only does it expose your business to potential clients and partners you’d typically never come in contact with otherwise, but the networking aspect makes it a vital tool in growing your company. Now, by taking advantage of different LinkedIn Social Selling opportunities, you can directly profit off of the social media account. All you need to do is begin implementing these five different tips.
And of course, my latest book, 101 Ways to Rock Your Personal Brand is all about – just that!