Digital selling is fast becoming the best way to sell in today’s market. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches anymore, they want a more personalized approach and this is exactly what digital selling does. It makes it easier for sales and marketing to identify and nurture leads through platforms like social media.
Facebook and Twitter are definitely useful from a digital selling point of view, but one of the most beneficial social media platforms for salespeople today is LinkedIn. An often under-utilized platform, LinkedIn is a more professional social network than Facebook or Twitter, and is therefore more useful in generating leads and finding prospects.
Here are some tips on how best to use LinkedIn to get the most out of your digital selling efforts:
1. Get the best out of your profile
The first and most obvious step is to have a well-executed profile that shows you at your best. You want to illustrate your thought leadership in your field and make it as easy as possible for people to connect and engage with you.
- Have a professional profile photo that shows you as friendly and approachable. This is one of the first things that potential connections will see, so make sure you look relaxed and welcoming; someone your potential customer would want to buy from. Having a good background photo is recommended as well, as it makes your profile stand out more.
- Personalize your URL so that it has your name rather than a jumble of numbers and letter. This will make it easier for people to find your profile in a search, as well as making sure you look more professional and adept.
- Make your headline stand out by using keywords related to your business, as well as words that demonstrate your skills and expertise. You’re more likely to come up in searches and it’s easier for potential connections to see what you can offer them from the beginning.
- Your summary should also include keywords to help optimize your search opportunities. This is also where you add a more in-depth look at your skills and passions, so you can convey yourself as a thought leader and specialist in your field. It’s also a good idea to add you contact details here as well, as the Contact section of your profile is only viewable by people you are connected with.
- LinkedIn lets you add a variety of media to your profile, which is useful for showing your work and establishing yourself as an authority in your field. You can add documents, links and images that are relevant to you and your business.
2. Connect with other users
The reason you’re using LinkedIn is to grow your network and get more leads, so connecting with people is a pivotal part of the process. You want the best possible chances of generating leads and making sales, so connecting to the right people is important.
- Start by adding people you already know, like current and past colleagues. You want to be able to utilize 2nd and 3rd connections, as people are more likely to connect with someone that has been recommended by someone they already know.
- Make sure you avail of the Advanced Search functions, as this is the best way to find connections and leads. This section lets you search in a number of different fields including a person’s job title, past and current companies, location and industry. Because the search can be quite granular you can focus on people or companies that are specific to the kinds of leads you want. You can also save searches and get alerts when people fit that search criteria.
- If you’re serious about using LinkedIn for lead generation (and you should be) then it’s worth updating to Sales Navigator. It’s basically made for digital selling. It has an option for building lead lists so you can keep track of who you think might be a potential lead. You can also receive updates on leads that you have saved, so you get an alert any time they share something, or their company has an update. This gives you plenty of reasons to contact someone and a way to start a conversation.
- When you do find someone you want to connect with, make sure that you personalize your connection invite as there’s nothing more off-putting than getting a generic invitation. Increase your chances of getting a connection by mentioning how you know the person and why you want to connect with them.
3. Engage with your connections
Now that you’ve got your connections and built your network, you need to make sure you’re nurturing and engaging with them. Digital selling is all about building relationships with potential and current customers, and LinkedIn makes it easy to do so.
- Join Groups related to your industry to engage with like-minded people. There are hundreds of LinkedIn groups so you’re bound to find some that are relevant to you. These groups are places that people often post queries and problems they are having, so they’re the perfect place for you to establish yourself as a leader in your field by giving advice and solutions. This also gives you a good opportunity to see what kinds of problems your potential customers are facing so you know how to pitch when the time comes. Just make sure you’re not spamming. Groups are not for sales pitches, they’re for participating in conversations and sharing valuable information.
- Keep an eye on your homepage so you can keep up to date on your connections and what they’re doing. Like and comment on people’s updates, and share any content you think your other connections could benefit from.
- LinkedIn Pulse is a useful platform for sharing your own content. It’s a good forum to publish long-form content that will be of value to your customer, and since your overall goal is to promote yourself as a thought leader, this is the perfect way to do it. Engaging with and sharing other people’s posts will make them more likely to do the same for yours, thereby getting your content to a larger audience and possibly generating more leads.
After cultivating your LinkedIn prospects, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s working and what’s not through your Social Selling Index, a score out of 100 that lets you see what aspects you need to work on. It looks at how well you’re establishing your professional brand, how efficiently you’re using the search functions to find prospects, how well you’re engaging with people through sharing content, and how strong your network is through your connections. It’s worth keeping an eye on so you know what details you should be focusing on.
LinkedIn is an important tool in your digital selling belt and it’s important to know how to make use of it properly. Invest some time into you LinkedIn efforts and you won’t have any regrets.