To be an awesome sales professional, you need to be a strong social marketer, too. Today, social selling is a combination of sales and marketing, not rampantly asking strangers to connect with you on LinkedIn and “pitch slapping” them (that’s how you lose both sales and connections). Instead, focus on getting in front of the right audience, providing insights into what they care about, and making them want to reach out to you — because you’ve proven you’re the expert.
Here are six tips, backed by my personal experiences, to social selling on LinkedIn, including the tools, tone, and patience required to reach actionable engagement.
1) If you have Sales Navigator, start your outreach with the Social Selling Index (SSI)
First, LinkedIn measures your social selling efforts, breaking everything down into four sections with details on your current score and how to improve it. The four sections are:
- Establish your professional brand: This is all about your profile. The more geared towards your ideal customer profile (ICP) it is, the more people will stay on your page. Remember, it’s not a resume. Tell your story and speak directly to the audience you want to do business with.
- Find the right people: The more you use Sales Navigator’s search options and features, the higher this score will go.
- Engage with insights: Comment and engage with other people’s posts. One way to do this is to stay in your lane and focus on your own expertise. However, an underused strategy is to ask questions on what you don’t know. For example, if I’m in sales, but my target audience is IT, I can join a few IT groups and ask questions on posts with consistently high engagement. When someone follows up with a response you can connect from there.
- Build relationships: Connect with the people you want to work/do business with, but take into account that you have to actually engage with them, too. Don’t add for the sake of it — that’s just padding the stat sheet.
- Bonus pro tip: Combine “find the right people” and “build relationships” by connecting with people you find in searches. Obviously, they’re the ones you want to work with. Why not build your network, so when you do post and comment, you’re in front of the right audience already?
2) Polls get the most outreach, bar none.
It’s my secret weapon to increase eyeballs on both my posts and clicks back to my profile. Engagement will leave a lot to be desired, but this is based on how you tailor your message (i.e. hook, interesting story, etc.).
3) When you post makes an impact and early engagement makes the biggest difference.
On LinkedIn, you post and your network engages with your content (likes, comments, shares). The more people in your network that engage, the more likely LinkedIn will beef up your ability to be seen. It picks it up as “high-quality content.” Once that happens, you’ll see an uptick in your views. Depending on how high-quality the content actually is, continued engagement will lead to more views. This spring up lasts for about 48 hours, then dramatically drops off.
4) Remember social selling is a marathon, not a sprint
Don’t expect to go viral immediately. You have to post and comment consistently in order to be noticed. Don’t expect to start seeing a return as inbound requests for at least six months.
5) Follow the experts and do your homework
What’s helped me fast track some of this progress, (though I’m far from being #1 or even #1000 in the game) is following the actual experts on LinkedIn. Andy Foote is, by far, one of the best at it. I also really like Brian Maucere. These guys post great content and you can learn a lot about social selling.
6) Be careful with links
LinkedIn, ideally, wants to keep people on their platform. Putting links directly into your post will push down your ability to be seen, because you’re taking people off the platform. Utilize their features if you can avoid posting the link (SmartLinks, writing articles in LinkedIn, just posting about the link).
Bonus pro tip: There is a work-around to this. If you place your link in the comments section shortly after posting, not only will your post not be pushed down, you’ll also get a +1, because technically you’ve gotten engagement in the comments section early. This actually can boost your ability to be seen.
William Gordon is an Account Executive at Winmo. Based in Augusta, Georgia, he began his sales career as a Business Development Representative for a mobile application development startup and quickly rose through the ranks to Senior Account Executive and BDR Manager. With Winmo, Will is sharpening his sales chops and aiming to grow into a well-rounded sales professional. Will has been with Winmo since May 2021.