10 Hard-earned Social Selling Tips
Social selling is using social channels to build strong relationships with prospective and current customers. I have been on LinkedIn since 2004 and have used social media to raise my profile through blogs and other social media activities for almost two decades. Social selling has been instrumental to the success of healthlaunchpad.
Social selling can be incredibly effective, but it’s very hard to do well. I am still trying to master it. Here are ten things I have learned that will put you on the road to becoming a social-selling Jedi.
1. Get a Social Selling Coach
The first thing I did when I started healthlaunchpad, was to engage a social selling coach. While I was an experienced LinkedIn user, I wasn’t sure how to use it for social selling. I took a basic course via Udemy, but it wasn’t much help. I came across Adam Franklin, or more to the point, Adam Franklin got to me through his social selling technique. I engaged him as a coach to teach me how to use LinkedIn and other channels to sell and market as a solopreneur. This was transformational. It got me moving, and I have used many techniques he taught me for 3+ years. As we have grown, we have scaled his techniques. Experts like Adam Franklin, Tim Hughes, who wrote the excellent Social Selling book, and Anita Windisman, a former LinkedIn customer success turned Social Selling coach, are worth their weight in gold.
2. Be Persistent and Patient
Social Selling is a bit like SEO. It takes a long time to pay off, but if you stick at it, I can guarantee the results will blow you away. When we speak with prospects, we ask how they found us. One of the most frequent comments: “I have been following you on LinkedIn for a while, and now was the right time for me to reach out.” They may have come across us through a webinar, our podcast, or through reading a blog that they came across via our SEO strategy, but LinkedIn is the primary channel to build authority. And it positions our firm as a possible choice when a marketer is looking for advice.
3. It’s All About Trust
According to Salesforce’s State of Sales 5th Edition, 87% of B2B Buyers say they want their salespeople to act as trusted advisors. And the gap between companies who enable this and those who don’t is striking. 90% of high-performing companies empower their salespeople to be trusted advisors ~50% more than low-performing organizations. And social selling is the best way to build trust with people you don’t have a relationship with. The educational content we share via LinkedIn, our podcasts, and webinars position us as trusted sources. I am careful not to undermine that trust with sleazy techniques like automation tools on LinkedIn.
4. It’s More Than LinkedIn
LinkedIn and Sales Navigator are resources from heaven for B2B sales and marketing people, but there is more to Social Selling than LinkedIn. Your website and blog are foundational, as these should be your primary repositories for your content. We have a deliberate SEO strategy that has grown our traffic 8X in three years, and inbound visits to educational blogs drive 70% of that. In addition, we have a podcast and a Youtube channel that provide additional ways to engage prospects. We have not been big Twitter users, but it’s an important channel for extending your reach, especially to influencers.
5. Your LinkedIn Profile is Critical
The most important thing that my LinkedIn coach showed me was how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile. It should immediately signal, who you are, who you serve, how you can help them, and why they should trust you. Most people’s LinkedIn profile says who they are, what their title is, and who they work for. Your profile is why people will connect with you or reject your connection request. This resource from Adam Franklin is flippin’ gold. If you only do one thing this month, do what Adam F recommends.
6. Build Your Network Every Day
After 15 years on LinkedIn, I had ~3,000 connections. Three years later, I now have close to 9,000 connections. And more importantly, these additional 6,000 connections are primarily in our target market. This mainly happened through consistently sending out twenty invitations daily to a list of sales and marketing executives in healthtech. This is the most you can do. By building this many connections and followers, I know that when I post something to LinkedIn, there is a good chance it will be viewed by many of the prospects I am trying to reach, free of charge.
7. Post Often as Frequency Matters
On LinkedIn, I post twice a day. I know this seems excessive, but if you have gone to the trouble of connecting with thousands of prospects, you are missing out by not sharing something with them that will build trust. And building trust takes time. And most people won’t see most of your posts, so you have to post frequently to reach your audience at least once per month.
In addition, we publish a new longish blog post on our website and via the LinkedIn newsletter once per week. And we try to create two podcasts and videos per month. To be honest, we should be doing even more.
8. Keep it Native to LinkedIn
LinkedIn wants people to stay on LinkedIn, so sharing links to articles outside of LinkedIn is likely to get you downranked. That means that fewer people see your post. Don’t just post a link to company news or an article you saw on another website; write something original, share an image or a video that you upload, tag another user as a shout-out and use hashtags to increase searchability on LinkedIn. Yeah, I know that’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot easier than cold calling.
9. Mix it Up
LinkedIn has so many different features and ways to share content. I especially love document sharing, which I use to create carousel-like slideshows. These are great ways to tell a story. Whenever we do a webinar, we also create an Event on LinkedIn. This doubles event registration. If you aren’t using LinkedIn newsletters, you are missing out. I have not tried LinnkedIn Live, but some social selling gurus I follow have been using it successfully.
10. Track Your Progress
As the old cliche goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This applies to social selling. The first thing to do is check out your Social Selling Index. I track several KPIs monthly, including connections, followers, engagements, newsletter subscribers, podcast listeners, Youtube views, and several site traffic KPIs. Is this vanity? Maybe. But by tracking these, I can tell if I am making progress in building the audience I am social selling to. I also drill down on which content types and tactics work best.
To be honest, the one thing I don’t do that much is prospecting via LinkedIn. I used to run a prospecting sequence, but it felt unauthentic, and I was concerned that I was turning people off. I am prospected hundreds of times monthly via LinkedIn and rarely respond. It’s a real shame that many firms have abused the medium in the last couple of years. It’s ruining it for everyone.
By the way, we offer a social selling program. Please let me know if you would like to learn more.
If you are interested and when you are ready, we can help you on your with your marketing. Here are some ways to get started:
- Check out more posts like this in the Healthtech Marketing Learning Center. It is chock-full of articles, use cases, how-to’s, and ideas to get you started on your ABM journey.
- Follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn. I publish videos and articles on ABM and health-tech marketing.
- Work with me directly. Let’s book a growth session, and we can explore ways you can improve your marketing using the latest techniques in account-based marketing.