In one of our previous posts, we mentioned the term social selling. It covers all the engagement and promotion techniques you can use to attract potential customers on social media and online media in general. Unlike traditional selling, social selling prioritizes creating a conversation and building genuine interest, over just selling a product. Even though people have come to think of social selling as a purely B2C thing, it has become quite a big deal in B2B circles, as well. This development is not a surprise to anyone who knows that personalization is the name of the game in 2019, and will remain that way in 2020, and beyond.
So, how do you utilize the power of social selling and what does LinkedIn have to do with all that? With the right strategy, understanding of your audience and the message you want to inject in your posts, of course.
Is social selling the same as social media marketing?
A common mistake many people make is that they often confuse social selling with B2B social media marketing (SMM). While these two directions are certainly covered by digital marketing and can work in sync, they have completely different objectives.
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Both social media marketing and social media selling are important for your progress. So don’t think you can do one without the other when it comes to building solid B2B relationships through various online channels.
Why LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social selling?
What is the main principle of B2B? There are lots of them. However, there is an unspoken rule: Don’t bother your prospects outside their working hours.
Don’t intrude into their private bubble or try to find pressure points through the information that is not relevant to their expertise. This is why you only send your messages to their business emails and why you get penalized for using tricky or provocative subject lines. The rule is the same for your social media. While there is a potential for Facebook or even Instagram to assist you in upholding your brand visibility or share your content, those platforms were primarily designed for individuals and their experiences, not B2B networking.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn has over 590,000,000 users that are interested in the professional side of the communications. There are titles, experts, and companies that match your Ideal Customer Profile—and if they have a LinkedIn account it means that they want to talk shop.
Using LinkedIn is the easiest way to start B2B conversations with potential customers and partners. Therefore, if you already have a platform that makes connecting and networking free of unnecessary friction, why reinvent the bicycle?
What can you do on LinkedIn?
In general, your LinkedIn outreach isn’t much different from your email outreach:
- You research your potential recipients with LinkedIn search and LinkedIn sales navigator.
- You segment job titles that catch your interest by priority groups according to your Ideal Customer Profile.
- You study the kind of content they’re interested in, the groups they participate in, the events they attended.
- You craft relevant content that speaks their language and attracts their attention to your company.
As you can see, everything depends on your ability to observe, take in the most important details, and make sure that your content reflects your understanding. We should also mention that LinkedIn can be used for amplifying your B2B email outreach via InMails to prospects you have previously engaged with. However, you should do it carefully and not go overboard with constant messaging. There is a reason why you can send a limited amount of free InMails to users outside your LinkedIn connections.
Speaking of boosting B2B relationships on LinkedIn, there are several techniques that you should know about.
NB! Before you explore any of the tips listed below, take care of this first, basic step.
If you have a profile on LinkedIn, make sure it’s properly optimized. If you use all the available features and fill your profile with detailed and informative descriptions or credentials, you will be amazed at how much it will transform your audience’s vision of you your brand.
- First of all, this is your opportunity to enrich your profile with high-ranking keywords and links. Therefore, you will be able to improve your visibility in Google and bring more organic traffic to your website.
- Second, the more information you add, the more trust you build. Your prospects aren’t fans of poorly optimized profiles with outdated activity information, no visuals, and 1-2 broken links.
1. Maximize existing connections
If you are on LinkedIn and maintain your profile, you have probably gathered some connections around you. You gained trust from LinkedIn users—and this is what you should be doing. Engage your connections with useful comments and fresh, relevant content. If your connections work in the same industry as you do, motivate them to join your groups and email lists to receive new content. Encourage them to participate in surveys and discussions.
It’s a good way to grow visibility and nurture engagement without investing in LinkedIn ads. As you expand your content arsenal and interact with the people in your network, your followers will start involving their followers, providing you with new active users interested in your relevant content and growing your email lists.
Of course, before you start engaging your connections, you should prepare a content strategy to pinpoint the best day and hour for posting, so you won’t be stopped by a sudden block or result in making hit-and-miss posts.
2. Use storytelling
We spoke against intruding into the private space of your prospects but personalizing your style and the way you present your company is an entirely different thing. In a space that overflows with information and large volumes of text, it’s not enough to just put the information in front of your target audience and hope they would read it till the end.
Instead of providing a dry and generic description of your services, try to express it through your professional experiences. You are the one who specializes in it, you know your work. No one can explain your product and brand better than you. To get started, you can use the storytelling basics known to every copywriter.
- What? Talk about your service or product and what it does. Try a small exercise by describing the purpose and the key values of your product in one sentence. That’s what all screenwriters learn to do before they start pitching your idea—if you cannot outline the essence of your story in just one sentence, how do you expect your audience to understand the plot?
- Why? Explain the reason your product exists, the issue it is supposed to solve. Why does this issue happen? Why it should be fixed?
- Who? Indicate the people who are affected by the issues your company can solve and the people who can benefit from using your product and service.
- Where? Show the industries where your product can be applied and the scenarios it helps to prevent.
- When? How quickly does your product drive results? How long-lasting they are?
- How? Elaborate on the way your product or service works. Provide all the necessary details to make sure that your readers don’t get confused and get a clear picture.
Another way to inject storytelling in the way you present content is to turn it into a mini-case study. Make yourself the protagonist who met the challenge and managed to tackle it with the help of your service. Explain why you succeeded.
Also, don’t forget about the creative visuals. Not all businesses can afford to post cat videos or memes but trust us, infographics, animated video instructions, and video success stories make a big impact.
3. Join LinkedIn groups
You don’t have to literally prospect new connections one by one. There is no doubt that many titles that are relevant to your ICP or the prospects you have previously engaged via email can be found in one place. The number of groups of LinkedIn has reached 1,000,000 and counting, so there is no reason for you not to use it to your advantage.
- Check the groups your prospects take part in. If you can bring something of value, become a member and contribute to the conversations and experience exchanges regularly. Maintain your activity, but not at the cost of the value of your comments. Don’t focus on promoting your services. Answer the member’s questions if you know the answers, consult them on their industry-relevant issues, and be a useful expert.
- Create a group of your own. It works for businesses that operate in a niche industry and, therefore, any insights from a real expert are worth their weight in gold. This way, you can reach out to the professionals that are relevant to your industry and invite them to join your group in providing their expertise and accumulating valuable knowledge. It would also let you secure a source of fresh information that covers everything related to your industry and generate more visibility for your company.
Whenever you engage in debates or are challenged by other users, pick your battles carefully. Be respectful to others and don’t stray away from the main subject. Your prospects would appreciate your ability to concentrate on the core issues instead of wasting your energy on small things.
4. Find and engage decision-makers
If you dig the right way and with the right tools, you glean tons of valuable, exclusive data about your prospect, including that data that helps you outline your decision-makers. Basically, the main objective of your activity on LinkedIn is to find the decision-makers you can both sell to and collaborate with.
They should be the supporting pillars of your LinkedIn network, sharing your content, engaging users and boosting your visibility. Of course, it means that you must do the same for them.
Give your connection to the spotlight they deserve by commenting on their LinkedIn posts, reposting them, and complimenting them on their latest achievements. To further solidify your B2B relationship with your decision-makers, you can make collaborations (LinkedIn presentations, articles, etc.), and then share them with your target audiences.
5. Explore your humanity
Never forget about the people behind your brand. Your company is filled with amazing teams and knowledgeable experts. They deserve their recognition. Your prospects appreciate companies that have human values.
Think about the strongest qualities of your employees from any department and what they contribute. It doesn’t mean that your employees would have to sit down and make a post themselves. You can ask them a set of questions via interview and then make a LinkedIn post that features the employee and their expert opinion. Your willingness to acknowledge the importance of your teams in your success won’t go unnoticed. When you show the humans that manage the vital process of your business, your prospects will be more comfortable with choosing you as their vendor.
To start turning your experts into opinion leaders, you must know your employees. Take the time to gather them around and discuss their possible participation in your LinkedIn campaigns and learn what they want to talk about. It’s quite likely that your teams would appreciate the opportunity to share their professional opinions on the subject they have been fascinated with for a long time.
If it’s possible, you can also make a particularly charismatic and outgoing employee the face of your brand on LinkedIn. This employee will be in charge of interacting with users, answering your follower’s questions, publishing new content, and maintaining activity.
6. Never stop looking for an opportunity
Even if you take your time with launching a full-scale content campaign for LinkedIn, the platform still provides you with important information on the latest industry trends that your A-Tier prospects may be interested in.
Keep an eye on your high-value prospect’s activity on LinkedIn to learn what kind of concerns they’re preoccupied with, explore the industry innovations shared by the industry aces, and see how other B2B marketers handle their content strategies. It all helps you when you’re ready to start building your influence on LinkedIn and nurturing B2B connections.
The best thing about LinkedIn is that it’s constantly growing and changing. New features get added and new opportunities reveal themselves — and nothing feels better than being the first to adopt an innovation.
Did you find this material helpful? Have suggestions? Questions? Send them over to us! We love a good discussion.