In this ongoing series on social selling, we are covering topics designed to help you grow revenue through authentic connections, specifically using LinkedIn as your social platform.
In previous posts we’ve talked about the importance of serving, then understanding the concept of social selling, and how to grow your LinkedIn into a profit generating machine
Today, we’re going to focus on understanding the best business practices to follow when using LinkedIn to generate leads. You'll want to be sure to follow proper etiquette, otherwise you'll risk damaging your credibility, which could in turn drastically affect your social selling results.
LinkedIn Marketing Tips - Do These Things Ultimate Success
Here are the tactics you really want to hone in on to set yourself up for social selling success.
1. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Any time you send out a connection request on LinkedIn, you must personalize it. Not only will following this one tip significantly increase your success on LinkedIn, it will stand out since fewer than five percent of connection requests actually include a note.
2. Send a Welcome Message to All New Connections
You’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn. Now what? Send them a message, of course! You wouldn't go to a networking event, collect a bunch of business cards, then never follow up, would you? The same goes for your new LinkedIn connections. Remember, it's about building relationships, not filling the Rolodex.
All you need to do is simply send a short, friendly message after the connection request has been accepted. You'll want to thank them for the connection and show some interest in them by commenting on something in their profile or in their business. Whatever you do, DO NOT ask them for anything... not a "quick call", "visit this link" or anything at all that can come across as self serving, otherwise any possibility of building a relationship will be nipped in the bud at this crucial stage.
3. Skip Sending Spammy Irrelevant Messages
Spam is basically anything that the receiver doesn’t find value in and/or is completely irrelevant to the person you're messaging. Hosting an in-person event and messaging every connection an invite to join? What if they live 2000 miles away? That type of content is completely spammy and can be marked as such (which will blacklist you on LinkedIn!)
All messages sent to your valuable LinkedIn connections should be positioned for their benefit, not yours, if you want to stand a chance at building a relationship with them.
4. Create a System for Timely Responses
You've made a connection, sent a personal non-spammy message and now what? Your new connection may reply! Do not let that reply sit in your LinkedIn inbox for an undetermined amount of time, otherwise all those efforts will fall flat. When people are responding, they're open to some form of conversation, so getting back to them in a timely manner is critical for keeping those doors open.
5. Pass The WIIFM Filter
Here's a tip we'll share over and over again, no one cares about your business or what you sell, they care about what you can do for them. That's why your profile needs to pass the WIIFM filter.
Set up your profile so it answers the "what's in it for me" question by speaking directly to your target market and identifying your solution to their specific problem.
6. Show Your Social Proof
It's ok to ask for Recommendations, Skills & Endorsements from your colleagues and their feedback will help future prospects see you can deliver the results they're looking for.
Social proof dramatically increases your credibility and gives you the ability to establish yourself as an authority. Prospects like that!
7. Nurture Relationships
As we've discussed throughout this entire series so far, social selling is about relationship building - just like in real life, except it's virtual. Nurturing those relationships is essential, and easy to do!
Here are a few ways you can nurture your LinkedIn relationships.
- Turn on notifications and when LinkedIn notifies you of a trigger event (such as a new job or when your connection is mentioned in the news), simply take a moment to comment on it.
- When you come across an article or resource that would be relevant to one of your connections, reach out to them personally with a note and share it with them.
- When someone is commenting on your content, reply back to them. If someone shares your content, comment on it and thank them for sharing it.
It only takes a few minutes a day to touch lives and nurture these business relationships.
8. Post Valuable Content
When you share content - whether it's your own or content you've curated - that is valuable, you'll stay top of mind with your prospects and clients. Set up a Google Alert with keywords related to your industry and you'll have an endless supply of information to share.
You'll also want to share your own content as well, of course. You can share long-form content directly within LinkedIn or link back to content you have on your website. Your goal must always be to provide value to your target audience.
9. Become a Business Matchmaker
One super-secret (not so secret) recipe for LinkedIn success is by introducing connections to each other, when it makes sense. Not only will your connections want to "return the favor" it's also an excellent opportunity for you to continue to nurture those relationships you've been building. Win-win-win!
10. Promote Positivity and Professionalism
Remember, LinkedIn is not like Facebook or Twitter, this is a professional network. This is not the place to criticize others, no matter how much you may disagree. The last thing you'll want to do is lose credibility with your connections. Keep your posts positive and professional and avoid engaging in any conversations that may turn negative.
11. Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups can be a gold-mine of new, hyper-relevant connections. To find the best groups to join, go where your ideal client are. To find people through the advanced search on LinkedIn, your network consists of your 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-degree connections as well as members of groups you are a part of. These are excellent places to engage where your future clients are.