Linkedin Social Selling January - 31 tips, one each day
January 2018 is a Linkedin Social Selling month at tomlaine.com! I will be sharing 31 social selling tips related especially to Linkedin, one each day, throughout January. And at the end of the month, there will be a little surprise for all you social sellers!
The tips all come here, one by one, so that at the end of the month you can see all of them in one place:
- Create buying personas for your target audience. If you can't identify who your potential customers are, how can you try to influence them? Are they even present at Linkedin, are you in the right place at a right time? Do you understand their needs or problems? It all stars with listening! Social selling is not about you and your products, but your potential clients, their needs, problems, and you helping them find a solution. It's about customer service, creating value, and being present.
- Set daily goals for what you want or need to achieve through social selling, don’t just go at it without a plan and hope for the best. Goals help with content planning, too! No plans or goals most often means poor execution, no commitment, no measuring, no improvement. Goals help you focus, target, remember, measure and improve! And you want results, or at least your boss does... Simple Excel sheet or Evernote will do to begin with, no need for fancy and expensive tools, but something that has reminders and alerts would be great!
- Check your settings, make sure your network is hidden from your competitors. You don't want them to go through your network and start approaching your existing clients, do you? But you could do that to them, if they haven't hidden their networks. So check: https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/connections-visibility
- Get to know your network and your target audience. Do you already know people from your target companies? Who are the most networked of them all? Who is the most networked person in that particular company who surely knows all the internal decision makers and can help you identify and even reach them? Who should you network with and befriend? Who are the key decision makers in a buying process? And ask for introductions to those you don't know yet well enough to contact directly. One part of getting to know your target audience and network is to identify their interests, the groups they belong to and participate in, and then open the discussion about or at those instances! Remember, the closer you are to someone on LinkedIn (network level), the more information you see about their profiles and activity! Reach out to the network hups, influencers and most networked people, get them so share your content.
- Change profile visibility setting that allows you to visit profiles anonymously. Find and research your competition, copy best practices, identify differences, take notes on keywords, network, and content, what to copy, what to do better, how to differentiate. Remember to change the setting back to open to keep all good features available. BTW, not the fully anonymous mode, but the semi-anonymous. Fully anonymous setting hurts not just profile, but the search and learning as well. The setting can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/profile-visibility
- Create a full and keyword optimized profile. Linkedin is one of the very few social media services that allow us to do any kind of profile SEO. There are several factors at play when your profile is being ranked against other Linkedin users when someone is searching for a skilled individual like yourself. 3 main factors that enable you to rank high enough for it to matter, are your network size, profile keyword quantity and keyword quality. So, remember to network reasonably openly, choose your "key" keywords wisely, and use them plenty in your profile. That's the basics.
- Make contacting easy, write your contact details openly to your profile Summary, so people don't have to send introductions, use costly InMails or to send networking invitations just to reach you! Or worse, to google your email address.
- Add visual content; add cover picture, photo and attachments, and relevant links to your website, brochures, webshops, etc. Visuals not just tell a story worth a thousand words, make the reading experience more pleasant, keep interest in your profile, and attract the reader to follow any link related to the visual.
- Network. Constantly. Everywhere. Network actively. Not just with people who approach you, but with people in your target audience, the companies you wish to reach - they don't yet have to be the right decision makers, you may not even know yet who influences buying decision or who are the network hubs! It's easier and more successful to send invitations to people you've already "met" online, e.g. via groups or after commenting their blog posts, or they commenting yours...
- Personalize your connection requests, let people know who you are, remind them where they know you from or what you may have in common, why you want to connect and how it can benefit them. Give them an incentive to accept your invitation, perhaps something that may add value to them in the future.
- Use group discussions, status updates or articles as an excuse to send an invitation, remind people who you are and explain why you should network (because you're interested in the same topics!). Don't push! With Linkedin, network size matters in so many ways.
- Write recommendations and give endorsements, show interest and respect to others. Ask for recommendations also. If you're shy to ask for recommendations, it's especially important to be proactive and write recommendations to those who you wish would write you one.
- Comment and share other's content relevant to your niche. It's about you, it's about adding value and building trust - it's about them, your target audience. Build your personal brand on helping and supporting others, sharing content that adds value to the reader also when then content is originally from someone else, comments other's posts, and engage into conversation. As long as the content is relevant to your skills or the products and service you wish to promote or company you represent, it's all good!
- Remember to publish status updates preferably on a daily basis, and make them worth reading - links, tips, stats, news, all relevant to your target audience. Become a knowledge hub for your niche, a trusted source of information. Share your views and insight. Be present! Post updates that are current, utilize relevant news or trending articles of interest to your audience, and encourage them to engagement.
- Link your content to landing pages, share downloadable materials, etc. to identify the interested parties and to be able to do direct marketing or contacting afterwards. The more relevant an update or article is to your skills or the products and services you wish to promote, the more exact potential customers you attract. Make sure you are able one way or the other to identify them or to be able to run marketing on them. If nothing else, check who has reacted to your post or visited your profile recently!
- Be consistent with your social media activity, don’t just do it in bursts. Some people will spend a few days all over social media, and then go quiet for a week or two. Best results come from regular, consistent activity. Set daily time slots to do social selling, just like you would set times to do cold calling, or any form of prospecting.
- Optimize the content publishing times, date and hour. Ask colleagues to engage to build reach. Not all publishing times are good, even if with Linkedin it's not as critical to post at certain times as it is with some other social media. During office hours Tuesday to Thursday are optimal times, Sunday evenings and Monday to Thursday evenings between 6-8 PM are quite good also. And to build reach and potential virality, ask friends or colleagues to react to your posts as soon as it is posted, preferably within the first 1-2 hours. The first reactions determine how Linkedin will be showing the post to others.
- Check your profile for profile views! No one comes to your profile by accident, there's always a reason. It may not be the right reason, but always a reason! Whether someone has performed a search for your name, the company you represent or keywords they are interested in. They have found you with a particular criteria high on the search results, and have decided to open your profile (most likely based on your profile Header). Remember, they probably have at least dozens or hundreds, likely thousands or tens of thousands or more people to choose from if they used a keyword search. Profile visits include a lot of warm or even hot leads!
- Check your metrics! Do your updates and blog posts add to your following? Do people like, share or comment your posts? Who are the people who start following, how do your follower and network analytics look like? Are you reaching the RIGHT audience? What kind of content they react best to? How does that effect your activity planning and content (style, topics, length)? You can find a great amount of hidden leads just by following who's viewed your profile and then reaching out to them, asking what the reason may have been and how you can help! For me, that's worth a whole lot of money! A great number of decision makers search for content online before they ever talk to a sales person, or even before they've made a decision to buy a certain service or product. You have a chance to influence the buying decision before they've even realized what they are going to buy, which solution best fulfils the need. And THAT is worth muchos dineros!
- Follow people and companies. Follow the people you find interesting and influential (have you noticed the Follow-button?). When you follow someone, their updates come to your wall. Do you read it or is it too crowded? What do the updates mean to you, a reason to react? Could you build your brand by commenting to influencers' posts, can you make them follow you and react to your posts? Could and would you tag them to your post after they've noticed you?
- Follow LinkedIn feed, blogs, news, group discussions and trending topics for useful content, statistics, and more. If you're short on topics to talk or write about, there are plenty of those out there, if you just engage into conversation and follow your feed! Don't be a wallflower!
- Forward interesting news to your existing or potential clients directly, show that you remember, care, understand and are willing to help them. Commit! Build trust and relationship.
- Follow key industry experts, influencers and writers, they release lots of great tips and tricks that can help you in your job or give you content to share with your own network. Recycle good stats, points, ideas, and insights, you don't have to come up with new and novel insights yourself all the time. Show that you know who to follow, who are the experts, show that you know your niche inside out!
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups, and post to the chosen groups min. 2-4 times per month, preferably much more often (depending on a number of groups and your focus area). Again, become a trusted source of information, but also join the conversation, be helpful, don't sell, don't push. Build relationships and trust. And those of you who just cursed the groups and this advice, Linkedin has just announced major updates regarding groups to be rolled out soon in bunches. So yes, the Groups are becoming relevant once again!
- Create your own LinkedIn Groups and grow them. A LinkedIn group is a great way to be seen as thought leader in your industry which in turn is great for creating sales opportunities. The group admin also has some pretty interesting features available, such as free messaging to each individual one by one or all group members together. The admin may also decide who's posts are pinned to top, who gets to post what and when. Interesting opportunities...
- LinkedIn is a great database. Even if you don't find the right people now, save searches and alerts to identify if anyone matching your criteria joins the service or changes jobs and becomes relevant to you. If you manage to identify active networkers in your target audience, they know lots of people also in real life, thus networking with them and befriending them sometimes helps identifying even those decision makers who are not on social media.
- To build long-term pipeline, use your LinkedIn profile link in your business card and email signature. That way the people you meet and exchange messages with, have an easy way to network with you. And vice versa of course, make it a habit to send LinkedIn invitations to people you meet and discuss with, you never know when they become even more relevant to you. At minimum level, LinkedIn is an address book that updates itself!
- Add links to your social media profiles to your email signature. This allows everyone you communicate with access your social media content easily, and the likelihood of networking at Linkedin etc. increases greatly.
- Linkedin doesn't contradict or replace other social media. Social media services compliment each other well. Keep consistent between all of your social platforms. If you are sharing a piece of content, share it across all social media streams, just remember to "localize" it to fit the media. Different people follow you at different media and at different times.
- Use network reminders to your benefit. Can you find interesting topics to discuss just by looking at their profiles, mutual friends or past schools, or do you need work anniversaries or birthdays to strike a conversation?
- Move discussions from Linkedin to f2f. Always look for the opportunity to move an online relationship offline and to a phone call or rather a meeting. Social selling allows you to build relationships, find decision makers and influencers, connect, convince and convert, but you still often need f2f on top of that to close the deal. Social selling is a brilliant opportunity, but doesn't replace all traditional methods, but rather compliment them.
There's more to it, much more. Here are just 31 tips to build your presence at Linkedin, a dent in the hood of Linkedin social selling opportunities. If you wish to know more, subscribe to my newsletter or give me a shout!
Now, go get 'em!