Engaging with Prospect

In our last article, we showed you some good ways to identify and find prospects through LinkedIn and we touched on engaging with them. Today, we want to focus on the engagement part and expand on processes and strategies you can put in place for engaging with your targets on LinkedIn. We’ll tackle some tips that you can use to improve your LinkedIn engagement strategies and develop more relationships with ideal prospects.

#1) Study Your Prospects’ Profile


This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many sales professional out there could be doing a better job if they would only just take the time to dive into some research for each of the prospects that they speak with.

Take some time to read their profile. What do they have to say about themselves? Where did they go to school? What does their previous employment look like? How have they grown as a professional throughout their career?

The more you know about them as people, the more that you can cater your messaging to them. In the beginning, having a baseline of knowledge about your prospects is so critical for developing that initial connection and setting the stage for further collaboration. A terrific complentary tool for that is Accompany, which provides quick profiles and gives you great conversation starters. The tool even syncs with your calendar and tells more about the people in your next meeting. Through the calendar connection, it even automatically extracts dial-in information from all your meetings and turns tedious typing of dial-in and passcode combinations for conference calls into a one-click thing. Magical.  

#2) Look for Common Connections or Interests


Do either of you work in the same industry or with the same people? Do you know someone at a company that they may potentially have a relationship with? LinkedIn’s shared connections are a great starting place for finding this information.

When you search for a profile using LinkedIn’s standard search form, their system lets you know how many connections you have in common with a given person.

Leverage any special connections or interest that you might have in common. These are great conversation starters and the information here will give you common ground to build on with other relevant questions, content, and information that you decide to send their way.

#3) Personalize All Messages, Be Specific


Automation is changing the way that we do business and smart salespeople can find innovative ways to integrate automation into social selling on LinkedIn. However, the conversations that you engage in should not be automated in that way.

From your first connection request through every interaction you have — your goal should always be to personalize your messaging and tailoring your topics and viewpoints to match your prospect’s way of thinking. Reference things that are specific to their work history, company, products, business, or industry. Really, find any way to show them that you aren’t sending them automated messages and demonstrate that you are engaging with them in a genuine way. Often, that’s the main hurdle for developing relationships through LinkedIn.

#4) Keep Your Messages Short


People are busy and respect people that show them that they value their time. You don’t want to send a 1,000-word opening introduction to a new prospect. Instead, keep things short and sweet. If you send them a message, keep the focus of the message on one thing. Ask one question. Share one piece of content. Mention one connection that you have with them. In doing this, you’ll increase the likelihood of receiving a response and put yourself in position to play off of that response with your next reply.

#5) Ask Questions


Everyone likes talking about themselves, including your prospects. Asking questions about their work, company, product, or industry can be a great way to start a conversation with a new prospect and begin gathering more information that you can use to fuel future discussions. Too often, social sellers will use gimmicks meant to persuade without taking the time to get to know a prospect first. So start there — with getting to know and understand your prospects.

Bonus Tip - Get Away From LinkedIn


You’ve nailed the art of engagement on LinkedIn and people are actually reading your messages and replying to them. But one of the key obstacles folks run into is that the conversation will always stay in LinkedIn. Try to get away from the LinkedIn messenger platform and transfer the conversation directly over to email as quickly as you can, ideally even with the first message.

The reason you want their email is easy: you can send them more detailed information, it’s better formatted, attachments look better and you have their email address. That’s key, because most people check their email multiple times per day - but folks may not be so diligent with their LinkedIn messages. And it happens quickly that a LinkedIn message falls through the cracks and will never be seen again. If you have a CRM or lead generation tool, the prospect’s email address also lets you do targeted and scheduled outreach. In a nutshell: ask them to send them their email address, so you can send them more information.

Social Selling on LinkedIn — A Powerful Platform


LinkedIn is without a doubt the most powerful platform for B2B social sellers. It gives you unprecedented access to prospects and data about them that would be hard to come by through another means. However, this access doesn’t make you successful on its own. You have to know how to identify prospects on the platform and then successfully engage with them. The tips outlined in this article should give you a good starting point for improving your social selling on LinkedIn and engaging with more prospects, more meaningfully.

Had any success with B2B selling on LinkedIn? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!

 
Tips to Prospects


So, you’re a B2B seller. You know that you should make LinkedIn the centerpiece of your social selling strategy but you aren’t sure how. It’s a different kind of network. If you’re used to engaging with prospects through cold email, Facebook, Twitter, or cold calling — LinkedIn can seem like a completely foreign concept until you begin to get a feel for it.

72% of buyers use social media to research before making a purchase. They’re trying to get to know your company, product, and your market. They want to ask questions and do do their due diligence before  making a buying decision. 81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong, professional brand. In short — it’s important that you have a game plan to follow as you go into these interactions.

Luckily, there are some tried and true steps that any social seller can take to ensure that they are not only identifying the right prospects on LinkedIn, but engaging with them in a way that will produce results in the long-term.

Take these tips for finding and engaging with prospects on LinkedIn into consideration as you design your strategy on the platform:

9 Ways to Find Quality Prospects Through LinkedIn


One of the biggest challenges that new social sellers face is understanding how to use all of the different LinkedIn features to their advantage in their search for relevant prospects to build relationships with. For B2B social sellers, LinkedIn often becomes a way of life after they begin to understand how much power the system offers.

But to be successful, you have to know how to find the right people. LinkedIn has a wide range of features that are designed to make prospect identification easier, but the sum of all of the parts can be confusing. What are the best ways to find quality prospects through LinkedIn? What specific steps should you take? We’ll cover key elements in the following tips.

#1) Make Use of the Search Function


Not only since it was acquired by Microsoft, but for the longest time, LinkedIn has been an enormous search engine for professional and related content. Its standard search function is very powerful for a free, out-of-the-box solution. You can use it to search for prospects. It allows you to use boolean searching features, just like you would in a Google Search. It provides a number of different filters that you can use to sift through their vast database of users. These filters include, but are not limited to:

  • Connection level
  • Connections of specific people
  • Locations (Country, city, region)
  • Current company
  • Past companies
  • Industries
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Job Title

Here’s what the advanced search filter screen looks like:

Use of the Search Function

The search function is your home base of sorts. It’s your quickest way to sift through LinkedIn’s  database of 590+ million members and find prospects. However, LinkedIn does limit the number of profile-views and searches that you can make per month unless you subscribe to their Sales Navigator plan. If you want to use a super-powered version of the search, Sales Navigator is an excellent investment.

#2) Subscribe to Sales Navigator


Sales Navigator is the premier tool for finding prospects on LinkedIn. It provides a number of highly valuable features that allow you to more easily, quickly, and successfully identify the right targets within your market. These features include advanced lead and company search features, lead recommendations, and direct CRM integration.

Beyond that, Sales Navigator gives you functionality that helps you sift through their database, using profile data points that are not available with the standard search. Just take a look at the filter sidebar that shows up when you search on the LinkedIn Sales Navigator platform:

Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator is a must-have tool for social sellers on LinkedIn. We’ve covered it many times throughout our LinkedIn-focused content, for example HERE, but the usefulness subscription can’t be overstated.

#3) Look Through the “People Also Viewed” Sidebar


One often overlooked way to identify new prospects is through the “People Also Viewed” sidebar on a person’s profile. Don’t you wish that you could find people that are similar to your best customers? This feature makes it easy.

The types of profiles that show up in this area are typically from the same organization, hold a similar position in a different company, or are connected in some other way (alumni of the same school, work in the same area, etc.).

It looks like this:

People Also Viewe

Source: LinkedIn Talent Solutions


This area provides a simple and straightforward way to find related profiles. It’s a great way to turn one great prospect into several great prospects.

#4) Reach Out to Prospects in New Jobs


A new position is often a trigger event for sales professionals. When a prospect takes a new role, either within their current company or at a new company, both the prospect and the company themselves are more open to shaking things up. They may be looking for new solutions. Their needs may have changed or expanded overnight with the hiring. Or maybe they need to prove themselves in the new role and showcase their leadership by taking action and drive change.

Whatever the motivation, LinkedIn automatically lets you know when a connection enters a new job. Click on the “Notifications” tab and scan through the daily updates. You’ll find the system lets you know when someone changes jobs, is celebrating a birthday, or has posted new content for their network to consume.

#5) Scroll Through Skill Endorsements


People tend to attract other like-minded people. This is especially true for social media, where everyone gets to choose who they interact with. The people that are endorsing the skills and expertise of your prospect may themselves be great prospects if you dig in far enough.

Go into the “Skills & Endorsements” section of your prospects’ profile and begin looking through the people that have endorsed them. This area looks like this:

Skills & Endorsements

Not only are they more likely to be the type of person that would be a good fit for your product or service, but they also have shown that they are active on LinkedIn besides simply having a profile.

#6) Use Alumni Search


LinkedIn’s standard search feature isn’t the only tool at your disposal. The Alumni Search feature is absolutely useful in its own right. It will let you search through the alumni of a given institution, find profiles, and provide you with other interesting data about the school and its current and former students.

Alumni Search

#7) See Who Engages with Your Prospects’ Content


Scroll through your prospect’s updates (or if you see them on your own activity feed or through LinkedIn notifications) and keep an eye out for who your prospects are engaging with on the platform. Many of the people that interact with them may be good potential fits for your product.

Their interactions with your prospect can also give you a jumping off point for the engagement. You have a mutual connection and you can use that connection as a basis for starting a conversation with them.

#8) Seek Out Those Who Engage With Your Content

In the same way that the people who engage with your prospects can be worthwhile to keep an eye on, look to engage with people that comment, like, or otherwise engage with the content that you share as well. Use their engagement as a basis for striking up conversations.

Free LinkedIn accounts are only able to see a limited number of the users that have viewed their profile. With a Premium account (subscription to Sales Navigator works) you can have a complete view of everyone that views your profile or engages with your content.

#9) Use Google Boolean Search on LinkedIn


You don’t have to stick with LinkedIn’s internal search. Google is also an excellent tool that can help you to find profiles and identify prospects on the platform. By using in-depth boolean search features and applying them to searches on the LinkedIn website, you may find prospects that would not have shown up on your ‘regular’ searches on LinkedIn’s platform.

A search string like this, for example, would provide you with Founders in the greater Seattle Area, in the marketing & advertising industry:

site:linkedin.com/in + “Founder” + “Greater Seattle Area” + “Marketing & Advertising”

Google’s index will only pick up publicly listed accounts but may help you to identify prospects you otherwise would have missed.

Hopefully, this overview has given you some ideas on how to find prospects and engage with them.
If you have any additional comments on how to find targets or if you have questions, leave your thoughts in the comments below. Check back later this week when we post our article on “5 Tips for engaging with prospects through LinkedIn”

 
Increasing Your Audience

For B2B social sellers, a healthy LinkedIn presence is the “golden goose.” It’s the most direct and effective tool that you have for generating interest in your products or services and building relationships for mutual benefit.

80% of all social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn. As a B2B social seller, the most important task you have on your calendar every single day is to build relationships with the people that make buying decisions within your target organizations. That’s where the power of LinkedIn truly lies. 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research their buying decisions. 50% rely on LinkedIn as a part of that process.

LinkedIn provides you with direct access to decision-makers at organizations that need, want, and are actively searching for the exact solution that you provide. That’s why the platform performs 277% better than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to generating visitor-to-lead conversions.


Social Network

Building an audience on LinkedIn allows you to get on your buyers’  radar and find opportunities for genuine engagement with them. A presence on LinkedIn is something that you can rely on for years to come, as your career grows and you move to new positions.

But — building an audience on LinkedIn is easier said than done. People understand the power that the platform holds. There is a lot of competition there these days. But that doesn’t mean that standing out in a good way on this amazing platform can’t be done.

Building an audience on LinkedIn requires that you to be willing to put in the time and effort to build your followership organically. You are unlikely to generate the type of relationships that lead to sales in a few short days, so don’t get discouraged. Success on LinkedIn comes from daily engagement and smart strategies that allow you to take on a less-is-more approach. And keep in mind that you have to follow this approach for 10-12 weeks before you have fully built your runway.

Here are some tips that will help social sellers to grow their LinkedIn audience:

Tip #1) Optimize Your Profile


Optimizing your profile should be the first step that any social sellers take before starting to build their presence on the platform. Your LinkedIn profile doubles as a virtual resume. 42% of users update their profiles regularly.  It tells your prospects about your experience and expertise while helping them to better understand how you came to be where you are today. It’s important that you are sending the right message to prospects and ensuring that your profile is optimized to be found through LinkedIn’s search features.

We recently published an article that covers the steps that you can take to optimize your headline. Here is a short teaser of the different steps that were included in the article:

  • Add a value proposition in your headline.
  • Use a professional headshot.
  • Create a succinct but effective summary.
  • Flesh out your experience section.
  • Exchange endorsements and testimonials.
  • Join and participate in active LinkedIn groups.

These are just a few of the many tips that were shared in the article. It’s a good first step on your way toward your larger goal of building an audience.

Tip #2) Choose a Headline That Clarifies Your Value


Your headline shows up throughout the LinkedIn platform. It is, other than maybe your headshot picture, the most visible part of your entire profile. It’s located directly below your name on your profile page and also shows up anytime that you leave a comment on someone else’s status. For this reason, it’s critical that you get the headline right.

In our LinkedIn profile optimization article, we gave some very specific recommendations for choosing a headline that displays your value proposition and makes it clear to your prospects. You want them to have a very clear idea of what they will get from working with you.

  • It should be specific.
  • It should be easy to understand.
  • It should elicit a reaction.
  • It should convey your value.
  • It should convey a problem that you solve.

Follow the above steps as you plan your headline. You want it to be short and easily digestible without sacrificing a majority of the tips above. For someone at SocialSellinator, our headline might read something like:

We Help B2B Companies Leverage Social Selling to Grow Sales

Simple. Effective. Clear. The length of your headline depends on your offering and personal preferences.

Tip #3) Publish Engaging Content


Do you want people to follow your account and engage with what you share through the platform? Yes, of course you do. That’s what having an audience is all about. Well — you can follow all of the tips and tricks that you want but if you aren’t providing valuable content to your audience you’re going to have a hard time developing those connections.

You must create content to be successful in social selling. You have to put your expertise on display and show your prospects how your solution will help them solve a very specific problem. As a result, you should be publishing high-quality content that covers that problem or tangentially related subjects on a regular basis.

Now, keep in mind that “content” can refer to all types of content. Off-site articles, posts published through the LinkedIn platform, videos, infographics, surveys, social media updates — the medium that you deliver it through it less important than the information that you are delivering. Just focus on delivering it as effectively as you possibly can.

Tip #4) Comment on Content That People Share


People (your prospects) like validation. They like to know that the content that they have shared with others was enjoyed and found useful. On most social media platforms, the clearest sign that a person’s audience has found something that they shared interesting is actual engagement in the comments section.

Think about how you react when someone comments positively on something that you’ve shared. You probably remember that person, right? Or at least you would if they commented consistently on the things that you posted. You might go to their profile, check out their website, and read other content that they have shared — all steps that we want prospects to take when we comment on their articles. See what this means for you…?

Tip #5) Maintain a Steady Posting Cadence


Slow and steady wins the race. You don’t have to be out there posting new content five times a day. In fact, if you update your profiles too much, some of the content that you share will get overlooked and not make the impact that you were hoping for.

A study from Social Report states that those that are looking to build an audience on LinkedIn should post one post per day. This is backed up by a report from LinkedIn, which showed that posting 20 times per month (or about once per workday) will enable to reach about 60% of your unique audience.



Maintain a Steady Posting Cadence

Yes, posting more often does mean that you will be able to eventually reach a larger portion of your audience. However, you want to make sure that when you do reach them that they are being exposed to high-quality content. Less is more and quality needs to be the focus.

Tip #6) Share Content From Others (And Let Them Know!)


If you are going to be sharing one piece of new content per day, you are going to have to share content from other brands. While it would be great to only share content that you (or your brand/company) produced, it’s most likely not realistic for you to create a new piece of content for this purpose every day.

A healthy LinkedIn content sharing strategy mixes in resources from several different sources. Remember, your ultimate goal is to share content that is valuable to your audience. You want to be a source of information but that doesn’t mean that everything that you share has to come from you. There are a lot of people creating high-level content that your audience would find interesting. Don’t keep that content from them because you feel you need to stay 100% on-brand. Doing so might mean you miss out on some great opportunities.

Sharing content from other brands also serves as a way to drum up conversations with people from that brand. It’s a great networking tool to share content that others have produced. But the key here is to tag authors and brands in any social media posts where you share their content! That way, not only the original author gets notified, but also everyone who follows them on LinkedIn. As a result, you massively amplify the visibility of your post and you increase the chance of engagement with the authors. Because after...if someone quotes your article, wouldn’t you at least give that post a ‘thumbs up’ or even comment on it? Exactly!

Tip #7) Connect with New People Daily


Want to grow your audience on LinkedIn? Want to have more people that see and engage with the content that you share? The quickest path to growing your audience is to use the platform's main mechanism for audience growth — the ability to ‘connect’ with other people.

Every single day, you should be connecting with a number of new people. Later, after they’ve added you, you can drum up conversations with them. But, you can only message people that have connected with you on LinkedIn, so it is important that you continually add people that fit your prospect profile to keep a consistent flow of new conversations happening on LinkedIn.

Additionally — when someone adds you on LinkedIn, your posts will begin to show up on their feed. If they engage with the things that you share, your posts are prioritized and show up more often for them. This is another reason why it is so important to ensure that the content that you post is very valuable. After all, you may only get one chance to convince someone to engage with your content.

Important: You never want to add more than 100 people in a day and should, in fact, add fewer than that. LinkedIn has a very finely-tuned machine when it comes to detecting people who may try to game or exploit their system. LinkedIn itself doesn’t really tell you clearly how many connections you can make per day and what number will have you go directly to LinkedIn jail. We recommend to send no more than to 3–5% of your total LinkedIn connections per day. For example, if you have 1,500 total LinkedIn connections, send 75 connection requests per day.  

Tip #8) Visit a Healthy Number of Profiles Daily


Since you can (or should) only add ~100 new people per day on your account. But, you can visit up to 500 profiles per day, if you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator This is useful because, by default, LinkedIn profiles will tell people who has viewed their profile in their dashboard

Healthy Number of Profiles Daily

Showing up here will get you on people’s radar. You’ll start seeing your own views start to go up, as these people land on your profile. Not only that, but you’ll find a fair amount of the people that hit your profile adding you. Someone that reaches out to establish a connection with you is typically higher on your value scale that someone that you reach out to cold. An awesome tool to automate profile visits is Dux-Soup - a Chrome browser plugin.

Tip #9) Engage in Conversations with Influencers


Like any social network, the best way to grow your audience is to start getting mentioned by people with their own audiences. Identifying influencers that you would like to target and engage with on LinkedIn is critical for growing your own audience quickly.

Of course, you want to be really selective about how you engage with them. To follow them like a puppy, commenting on everything that they do would seem needy. Be selective in picking their posts that you engage with. When you do engage, do so thoughtfully. Bring real value to the table for their audience. Having real insight to share is what will separate you from the hordes of people engaging with them half-heartedly. For a great way to quickly identify influencers on specific topics, use Right Relevance

Tip #10) Personalize Connection Requests When Appropriate


The trends on LinkedIn have changed in recent years. There once was a time when it was inappropriate to friend-request anyone you didn’t know or have experience working with on the platform. However, today, it is allowed and encouraged to connect with a wide range of people within your industry.

When you do come across someone that you have a connection to — maybe you worked at the same place, or have a mutual colleague that bridges the gap between you — include that in a personalized note that you send them when you connect. This will help you to stick in their mind and give you a natural opening for starting a conversation as soon as you connect.

Tip #11) Share Images with Your Content


Including images with your social posts will significantly increase engagement. According to research by BlueStone 360, using visual content will increase views by up to 11x. Using an image will not only help your audience to notice your posts as they are scrolling down the page. It will give you an opportunity to visualize your content by choosing a relevant image. Your audience will have a better idea of what they can expect when they click-through to the post. Or maybe you pick an awesome visual that is so unexpected or tongue-in-cheek that it piques people’s curiosity and makes them want to click and read more.

Take this example from Melonie Dodaro, where she uses pictures of the people that were included in the content. That’s a whole lot of social proof!



Share Images with Your Content

Tip #12) Tag People in Content You Share


It seems like common sense, but so few people do it. Maybe they feel like it comes across as desperate or attention seeking, but there is no better way to establish a connection with someone than to tag them in your post. Maybe you reference them in a blog post or mentioned their brand in some way. Maybe they authored the content that you are sharing with your audience. Or maybe you just tag them to make them aware of something you’re sharing because you think it might be relevant or interesting for them. Either way — you have a surefire way to get on someone’s radar with very little time investment. Just make sure that anything that you are tagging them in is either a piece of content they had a hand in or is very valuable to them.

Bonus Tip: Extend Your Headline on Mobile


If you would like to extend your headline, we’ve got a nice little tip for you. The desktop version of the LinkedIn websites limits you to 120 characters for your headline. However (and we are unsure if this is an intended feature or simply a bug), if you edit your headline on your phone’s LinkedIn app, you are given approximately 200 characters for your headline. If you can find a smart way to pack more information that your customers find relevant into a longer headline, this is a cool way to stand out from the crowd. Just keep in mind that this may not not look great on all devices. For this trick and seven more, check out Andy Foote’s great post on “8 Stunningly Clever LinkedIn Hacks” via LinkedInsights.com.

Continuity is Key


The key to social selling on LinkedIn is persistence. There are so many facets to being a good social seller on the platform that you can excel in a few specific areas and still generate more business than you can realistically handle through LinkedIn. But if you aren’t posting new content, engaging with people, adding new connections and working to build relationships on a daily basis — you’ll have a hard time growing your LinkedIn audience.


 
Building an Effective Profile


For B2B social sellers one platform that is king — LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. It boasts more than 600 million users worldwide

More than 250 million of those are logging in each month, and of those monthly active users, 40% are accessing the platform on a daily basis. In some respects, LinkedIn is one of the most reliable ways to contact and develop warm conversations with B2B prospects. Probably right up there with email and in some cases even exceeding emails effectiveness

Selling effectively on LinkedIn requires a nuanced touch. Being able to convey the right experience, level of professionalism, and deliver this information in a way that is well-received requires experience and an understanding of your prospects. The more you practice the better you will get.

However, you can’t expect to jump right into the fray and start producing results on day one. There are some steps that you need to take to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and presenting yourself in a way that will reflect well on your business and your personal brand while instilling trust in the prospects that you come into contact with.

The first of those steps is to flesh out your LinkedIn profile. This is the first place that prospects will look after coming across your status updates, receiving a message, or finding a piece of your content that has been shared.

A LinkedIn profile doubles as a virtual resume. It tells your prospects everything that they need to know about you to gain a surface level understanding of your experience and expertise. With some additional thought and flare, you can ensure that your profile conveys the right message and helps you to start new conversations off on a good foot.

So what does a well-designed LinkedIn profile for social sellers look like? Well, it’s probably more complicated than you would think. There are a lot of different aspects to a great LinkedIn profile that social sellers should be leveraging to create trust and convey the right message.

If you’re in the process of optimizing your LinkedIn profile, consider these tips to help put yourself in a position to build relationships and close sales on the platform.

  1. Put Your Value Proposition in Your Headline


Proposition in Your Headline

Source: Jake Jorgovan

What value do your products or services bring to your clients? That is the number one thing that you want to convey to prospects that meet on LinkedIn. So, naturally, the place where we want to put our value proposition — in the place where it will be most visible to the people that we meet.

Your headline shows up all throughout the platform. It is the most visible text on your profile, located directly below your name. It is also shown whenever you engage anywhere on the platform. When you leave a comment on someone else’s status update, your headline appears directly below your name.

Commonly, people will list their organizational title here. That’s all well and good for people that aren’t trying to prospect and sell through the platform — but for social sellers the headline is prime real estate. It gives us our best opportunity to get the value that we are able to create in front of clients.

Your LinkedIn headline isn’t like any headline, but it should follow the standard best practices when it comes to writing headlines:

  • It should be specific.
  • It should be easy to understand.
  • It should elicit a reaction.
  • It should convey your value.
  • It should convey a problem that you solve.


You don’t have to be overly clever.

Writing a compelling headline isn’t all that difficult. In fact, you can browse around LinkedIn and probably find lots of people with compelling headlines that you can use as inspiration.

Here’s a common, but effective headline template for LinkedIn:

I Help [the businesses you serve] Do [what you do, what outcomes it achieves]

So an example might look like this:

I Help Business Coaches Implement Marketing Automation Strategies that Grow Their Sales

You want to make it crystal clear who you help, what you do, and why they should care.

2) Have a Professional Headshot Taken


Professional Headshot


Our goal is to convey professionalism. Nothing screams a lack of professionalism quite like using a selfie for your professional picture does. Don’t skimp on your LinkedIn profile picture. If you have a talented friend with a camera you might be able to get away with taking something yourself, but we would suggest that you shell out the cash to have a professional headshot taken. If you work for a company, they may be willing to pay for it.

Profiles with pictures receive a 40% InMail response rate on LinkedIn. Your picture is the first real contact that your prospects will have with you as a person. When they visit your profile, it’s likely to be the first place that they look.

Strive for professionalism without being stiff. You want your professional headshot to be serious but inviting. Make sure that you use a current photo and that the image itself is high-resolution so that your prospects won’t have any reservations about doing business with your company. And most of all: make sure your photo looks like yourself. If someone meets you at an event after you first connected on LinkedIn, you want them to recognize you and not ask: “how long ago was that picture taken?”

3) Include Contact Information


As a social seller, we have to be comfortable with engaging in conversations on all social platforms. But we can’t expect that all of our prospects will be just as comfortable as us. Maybe they’ve never used the LinkedIn messaging system before, or maybe they just don’t log in enough to feel comfortable engaging in important business conversations through the platform. Somewhere on your profile, you should include your email address, phone number, and any contact information that you are comfortable sharing.

While you can list your email address on your LinkedIn profile and give your connections access to it, you don’t want to rely on them being able to locate your email address through LinkedIn. List it somewhere visible in your summary area so your prospects can always choose to take their conversations off LinkedIn if they choose.

4) A Succinct but Effective Summary


Succinct but Effective Summary

Source: LBS

You want a summary that is short, succinct, and conveys your value well. Generally, we feel like you should shoot for about three to four paragraphs in your summary, tops. Make sure that throughout the summary you are including keywords that potential buyers might search for on LinkedIn or even Google if your profile is publicly listed.

Here is a short outline you can use to guide your summary:

  • In the first paragraph, restate your headline. Share what it is that you do. Who you help. How you help. And what kind of outcomes your customers can expect from working with you. Include a sentence that highlights the key benefits of your offering.
  • In the second paragraph get more specific. What projects have you worked on? What results did you create in those projects? What companies have you worked with? This is the section where you flesh out the social proof.
  • In the third paragraph, call your prospects to action. Your call to action should convey why and how a buyer will get in touch with you and provide some insight into what the next steps will be.


An effective summary is essential. It helps to build an initial familiarity and trust in conversations and set the stage for your interaction. Following the outline laid out here will help you to keep your LinkedIn summary short, engaging, and effective.

5) Link to Helpful Content in Your Summary


If it seems relevant, you should link to it. Your summary should always include a link to your website. You have to give the people that you engage with the ability to research and get to know you on their own time. However, other links like a link to a portfolio, product demo pages, recent blog posts, or links to journalistic coverage of your business. Link to anything that you think will be helpful, provide required information, or convey social proof.

6) Share Results


An effective LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just make what you do clear to your prospects, it should also give them concrete details about how what you do helps them. If you can find a way to include them in your summary, that would be a good place to provide some featured results and links if applicable. Any experience that you have with known brands is worth its weight in gold when listed on your profile and website.

7) Flesh Out Your Experience Section


The experience section on LinkedIn is essentially the closest thing to a resume on your profile. Still, you should keep your ideal buyer in mind as you lay out your experience. List all of the professional positions that you deem relevant and include a few sentences under each to summarize the work you did in that position. Try to list three to five major job duties under each role. Keep your focus on the clients that you worked with and goals that you helped them to achieve.

8) Add Degrees & Certifications


List any degrees, certifications, and courses that you have completed. This section will mean more to some prospects than others, but it is important that you convey yourself as driven and competent. This should include any relevant online courses or certifications that you have completed, particularly if they are relevant to the offer that you will eventually make.

9) Exchange Endorsements and Recommendations Whenever Possible


Exchange Endorsements and Recommendations

We don’t have to tell you — social proof goes a long way. Those that are successful on LinkedIn are usually able to convey a lot of social proof to their clients. People interact with them and comment on their updates. They have a lot of connections and no shortage of interest whenever they jump in a conversation. But, other than the summary, there is only one direct way to include social proof on your LinkedIn profile, and that is through the “Recommendations” section. Here, other users can sign-off on skills that you have listed on your profile and leave comments about their experience working with you.

While this feature is less prominent than it used to be among most users, it still provides you with a simple and effective way to list previous experience (particularly experience as a contractor or freelancer) that is still relevant to what you are now offering.

10) Continually Add Relevant Prospects


Sure, your connections might just be a number that is listed on your profile, but it is important to understand that the number functions as another form of social proof. When you know a lot of people and have a lot of relationships within your industry, it reflects positively on your business. You should continually identify and add new prospects to your profile. LinkedIn will start displaying “500+” after you reach that number, but continually adding people to your network ensures that your profile is seen.

11) Avoid Jargon on Your Profile


You want your profile to read cleanly, with all messages conveyed clearly. For this reason, you should avoid using industry jargon throughout your profile. Say what you need to to make it clear that you have an understanding of your customer’s industry, but should avoid being overly wordy or using acronyms that might be confusing to some readers. You can get to know your clients on an individual basis and better understand how they would like your engagement with them to go.

12) Join Groups

Most LinkedIn groups aren’t well moderated or active. It’s just a sad fact of the way that the Group feature functions. Most eventually devolve into endless self-promotion and link sharing. While there are some LinkedIn groups that are active, well-moderated, and could provide considerable access to your ideal clients — that is something that you will have to make a determination about when you create your broader social media strategy.

However, the groups that you join are listed on your profile. They convey your expertise, experience, and interest in certain subjects. LinkedIn also lets people know in various places when you belong to the same group, which could make more people prioritize your conversations. Even if you don’t participate there is no reason not to at least join some of the popular groups on the platform to help you flesh out your profile.

A Solid FoundationYour LinkedIn profile serves as your home base for any prospect that wants to learn more about you. It’s important that you follow some basic best practices that help you to not only attract your ideal clients, but convey social proof, demonstrate expertise, and show what kind of results you are capable of achieving.


 
Growth Channel For Ecommerce
Image by Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/shopping-business-money-pay-50987/


If I asked you what your number one growth channel for your ecommerce store was,
what would you say?

Email? Wrong.
Paid ads? Try again.
It’s social.

Time and again, social sales prove to be the most effective growth strategy for online
stores. Read on to discover why, and what you can do to get the most out of social
sales in 2019.


It generates leads and increases site traffic

When it comes to traffic and lead generation, social media is never going to beat SEO. But if your SEO strategy is faltering and you’re struggling to make gains against your competitors, social media is a worthwhile investment.

An effective social selling strategy increases your site traffic. By sharing useful or informative content on your social platforms (think blogs, infographics, videos, and so on), you encourage your followers to click-through to your website, generating more leads as a result.

This is easier said than done though. The key to a social strategy that fosters growth is
offering content that your followers actually want.

Takeaway tip: to increase click-throughs from your social channels and boost sales,
you need to give your followers a reason to click.

Identify your customers’ questions and pain points and create valuable content that
resolves these issues. Beyond this, create downloadable content such as ebooks or
lookbooks that your customers can take away and use. These lead magnets are a
goldmine are generating traffic and sales.


It’s (virtually) free and flexible

More than any other marketing channel, social media is virtually free. Whether you’re setting up a Facebook Page or launching an Instagram account, it doesn’t cost you a cent. Even getting verified — important for boosting brand trust — is absolutely free.
In fact, the only cost of a social strategy (aside from your automation tools or plugins) is your paid social ads. This will likely be your biggest expenditure for your social strategy — but it’s worth it.

Social ads are ideal for growing your ecommerce business. Placed prominently in your customers’ social feeds, right alongside the posts of their friends and family, they’re easily seen.

And most social platforms offer a sophisticated targeting function, so you can get your ads seen by the customers most likely to convert.

Takeaway tip: get the most out of your budget by adopting a cautious approach to
your social ad strategy. Split test a small selection of ads to find the most successful.
Facebook has a built-in A/B testing tool, but there are lots of third-party apps like
Connect.io or AdEspresso that make it easy to find the ad that works.

Once you’ve identified what works, slowly increase your budget and expand your
campaign. Don’t overstretch yourself though — your social ad campaign should grow
alongside your store.


It sells where your customers are active most

One of the main reasons why social selling is so beneficial for ecommerce growth is
because it works on busy, populous platforms. Social media is essentially one huge mall, full of customers that are ready and willing to spend their hard-earned dollar.

For evidence of social sales’ efficacy, it’s worth looking at established online stores for sale. These businesses are often advertised with performance data from previous years, as well as listing their social profiles so it's easy to pick apart their strategy.
If you look at any website for sale online, the ones that are most valuable are those with developed social selling channels. These businesses have a strong follower base which, when combined with social selling features such as Instagram’s Shoppable posts, creates a sales channel that drives profits considerably.

For instance, check out Bohemian Vibes Australia. It’s a profitable DIY store for sale valued at $75,000, and regularly takes in more than $32,000 on average each month. It’s got a strong product range, great branding, and a flourishing social presence.

The brand regularly shares a variety of content on their social profiles, from discounts and special offers to competitions and humorous videos. These all regularly receive hundreds of likes and comments, indicative of a strong customer community. Combined with plenty of shoppable posts, it’s a social presence that continually drives traffic and sales.

Takeaway tip: social selling brings the mountain to you. But rather than spreading
yourself thinly across several social platforms, instead stick to two or three popular
networks. Focus on generating sales on these platforms alone and create a solid
social strategy with longevity.


It creates a strong customer community

No matter how good your products are, if you haven’t got a strong customer relationship, then your business won’t get far. Build a customer community, and you build loyal customers that return to your store time and again.

Your social strategy is the hub of your customer community. Your tone of voice, the content you share, how you interact with your customers online, and more all go towards creating a powerful rapport with your followers.
As a result, your customers will continue to engage with your business, not just because they like your product, but because they enjoy your brand personality.

Takeaway tip: your social strategy goes both ways. Just as your customers reach out
to you, so too should you reach out to them.

Eschew the generic automated responses and reply to comments in a friendly,
genuine way. And create interactive content such as polls and contests that
strengthen your relationship. It requires time and effort, but it pays dividends in the
long run.

Social selling and ecommerce go hand-in-hand. Follow the tips above, and you’ll build a social sales channel that serves your online store well into the future.


Guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra from Micro Startupswww.microstartups.org, your online destination for everything startup. Micro Startups is dedicated to spreading the word about hard-working solopreneurs and SMEs making waves in the business world. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe @getmicrostarted.