LinkedIn’s membership numbers continue to rise, boasting a growth of 33 million members between the final quarter of 2016 and April of this year. It has quickly grown to be an essential tool for digital selling.
LinkedIn is often considered the ‘professional’ social network. This wouldn’t be entirely incorrect. While it is similar to Facebook in the sense that people create personal profiles equipped with a profile picture of themselves, it boasts a greater sense of professionality.
A LinkedIn profile page is designed like a digital curriculum vitae. While a Facebook profile has a small section for you to display your current and previous occupations, LinkedIn dedicates an entire portion of your profile to outline your work experience to date.
Perfecting your profile
Using LinkedIn as a digital selling tool is often done using a professional profile. There is no way in hiding that you are a salesperson when you are practically using a digital curriculum vitae to communicate with potential buyers.
Buyers find it hard to truly trust sales representatives. They understand that your main goal is to reach a sales quota and you may be willing to say anything to achieve that goal. Share with them how you helped other customers achieve what they wanted.
Your LinkedIn tagline is a great way to do this. Aja Frost at HubSpot suggests a great formula to creating an eye-catching tagline:
“[Title], helping [prospects] do X.”
The LinkedIn summary section of your profile is a great way to giving the prospect an idea of who you are: a passionate individual with unique value.
Inject your summary with a sense of your personality. Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network where you are looking to engage with prospects. It is also a unique opportunity to give them a sense of who you are and who they may be getting into bed with.
Nobody likes to read a boring outline of every duty you have fulfilled in every role you have been employed. Use your LinkedIn role descriptions as an opportunity to display your accomplishments. Show them the positive impact that you have had in your previous positions, and that one day they too could appear among your achievements.
The profile picture
Now we move onto the oh so important profile picture. Prospects will only glance at the picture and use it to put a face to your name. It is a great personalization tool. Yet, it is probably the part of a social network profile that many of us spend the most time on, I know I am guilty.
Your LinkedIn profile picture should not represent the same ‘you’ as your Facebook profile picture. On Facebook, anything goes. On LinkedIn, you want to portray yourself as a serious business professional.
Your profile picture should have a clear focus on your face. If you have a look at other LinkedIn profile pictures you will see that the majority of people take their photos in their business attire. This isn’t necessarily a bad trend to follow. Take a profile photo for your LinkedIn profile in particular. I’m sure you have plenty of great selfies on your other social networks but, trust me, it’s worth doing.
Video content is becoming a key area of focus for B2B companies and their marketing strategy. Over 80% of businesses feature video content on their brand website. Facebook and Twitter have embraced the ability to share videos for some time now, driving engagement among their users.
Earlier this year they launched a limited version of their user-generated LinkedIn video. In August of this year, the social network introduced the ability to allow its users to upload video content direct from their mobile phones. Users can record directly in their LinkedIn iOS or Android app, or upload a video recorded at an earlier date.
A feature of LinkedIn video that is of great interest to businesses is it provides you with audience insights. It gives you access to how many views your video content has received, and the number of likes, comments, and shares. Along with these common metrics provided on many video sharing platforms, LinkedIn uniquely provides you with audience insights. These audience insights tell you the companies of which your viewers belong, along with their professional titles and their location.
LinkedIn’s search engine has helpful tools to aid in your search for prospects. Prospects can be searched for using different components such as keywords, their current company, their location, and their industry.
When you come across prospects that fit your target audience parameters, these can open you up to even more prospects. On their LinkedIn profile, there is a sidebar titled “People Also Viewed.” This can give you a list of more names that you may not have come across during your search but may have come up during somebody else’s search. Sharing is caring, right?
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn’s Director of Global Product Marketing, Diana Kucer, describes the LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a tool that “allows sales professionals to tap into the power of LinkedIn efficiently. It improves social selling in support of powerful daily habits.”
The Sales Navigator takes notice of your current connections on the LinkedIn network and allows you choose which of these connections are current opportunities. It then uses the contacts that you have selected and suggests other organizations with similar profiles.
It also allows you to define your location, ensuring it focuses on your preferred area. It is a valuable tool to help aid in finding the decision-makers and interacting with them based on their LinkedIn activity. It highlights their LinkedIn activity for you, making it easier to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on their content.