Social media has become a networking hub for sales reps who feel displaced after having their networking events and all other forms of meeting in person shut down due to the pandemic. Your company has likely been paying an increased amount of attention to their social media pages and the interactions that have been happening in the review and comment sections. You and your coworkers are also probably scanning these pages for potential clients or at least a chance to make another sale to an existing client. Social selling is also a growing trend of 2020 and LinkedIn is the hot spot for this activity.
Why Only Use LinkedIn for Outreach?
“LinkedIn is typically the only platform that directly leads to new business,” writes Aja Frost in a recent HubSpot article. Why? It’s the only social media platform that was built specifically for business purposes. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks added business capabilities after they were created, but consumers still primarily use these networks for personal outreach. If you reach out to a prospect on their personal Facebook page, they’ll probably feel confused and maybe even that their personal space was violated. If you use LinkedIn, however, your prospects are already expecting, and probably are hoping for, business outreach.
Using LinkedIn for Social Selling
Hopefully you already know how to do research and identify new prospects, so let’s skip ahead to the nitty gritty of social selling optimization using LinkedIn.
Work on Your Profile
Chances are, when a prospect gets your first message, they’re not going to respond right away. They’re going to do their own research on you, starting with your profile. Make sure it has the information they need to know. Most profiles are created for hiring purposes and the information highlighted around their jobs is focused on how great they are at selling. Prospects do not care about that. Even on your LinkedIn page, there’s only one thing your prospects care about when researching you: How qualified you are to help them.
Start with your summary. Frost says you should use this section to, “Describe your role, your unique value proposition, and why you’re passionate about the job. And don’t be afraid to give your summary a little personality. You want readers to feel like they know you already.”
Next is your job description for your current role. Don’t tout your sales numbers or skills like most sales reps do. That’s for hiring purposes. To sell, you need to spotlight how you’ve helped your clients. List how much money you help your customers save on average (or a minimum). And point out specifics that will help your prospects see themselves as a potential client of yours (Frost recommends a descriptor such as, “Work with businesses in X, Y, and Z industries to reduce manufacturing defects by 3% on average.”
Selling on LinkedIn
The first step to social selling on LinkedIn is to post content that is valuable to your prospects. “You can share original content created by you and your company, relevant insights from thought leaders in your ideal customer’s industry, or a combination of both,” says Frost. “Your goal should be to share information that speaks to the main challenge or problem your prospects are looking to overcome.” You can also share this content with your LinkedIn groups that you joined to find new customers.
When you find a potential prospect (or better yet, they like or comment on your content in a group, saving you the effort of the effort of tracking them down) send them a personalized message. An example suggested by Frost is, “Hi [Prospect Name], I appreciated your thoughtful comment on my latest post. I would love to connect to learn more about your experience.” Now that you’ve got your foot in the door, start meaningful conversations with them about their industry and company. When you can identify a need from these conversations, set up a time for a phone conversation. Boom. Social selling.