In my previous article “How Will Social Selling Change your Business in 2014?” I explained why it’s important to embrace this practice for fast-tracking business growth. This article is the second in the series and focuses on how SELLLING should be done on social networks which includes LinkedIn.
While many business owners are beginning to learn the science of Social Selling, sales and marketing practitioners have mixed feelings about its success, complaining they don’t see an immediate outcome and therefore often give up.
After practicing Social Selling for over four years I have come to realise that successful social selling requires that you follow a strategic process. The outcome is not immediately evident. Results take time to achieve. Further, there has to be a system to measure the performance of your social selling activities otherwise the benefits will not be evident.
In my usual way, here’s what I mean by Social Selling using the word S.E.L.L.I.N.G. as an acronym. Is this is the right way? Well it works for me! Now, I let you decide after reading the rest of the article!
Key Benefits of Your Content
Depending on whether you’re a business owner or a career professional you need to share the benefits of your ‘niche’ contents with your network in ways that will give you the most advantage.
If you’re a business owner you can write short posts, create infographics or videos and link these back to your Company blog. This way you get more traffic to your blog. Also when your posts are shared by others in your network, the viral effect can result in an exponential increase in traffic flow to your website.
On the other hand as a career professional you can give your own interpretation of content in your Company blog and post it to your network. In doing so you not only provide added value to your target audience but present yourself as an expert by showcasing your skillset.
Make sure you really come to the party by engaging purposefully with your network. What I mean here is that you need to keep an eye out for questions, concerns and insights on subjects being discussed on a timeline, your groups and Companies you follow.
One of the fastest ways of establishing rapport is to provide solutions to those seeking answers to questions in groups. Although one individual may have the courage to ask a question, other group members may also be facing a similar situation. The solutions you provide by answering the questions will help you become an influencer in the group. The more you participate in this way the more likely at some stage a member will ask you to provide a tailored solution. Therein lies the power of Social Selling.
List of Influencers
Make a list of the influencers in your field, check for relevant LinkedIn groups and Company pages. Connect with as many influencers as you can in your field. There is a wealth of information available in groups, posts and LinkedIn pages which because of its specificity is not easily available through a Google search.
By sharing posts of industry leaders and adding your spin to their content, you will not only get onto their radar but also quickly expand your network as others who find value in the content you provide will want to connect with you.
Share Relevant & Topical Information
Trending topics have a high search frequency and present you with one of the easiest ways of leveraging social platforms. Look for opportunities to tie your product or service to a topic that’s in the news is seasonally relevant and work your content around it.
As an example, in Australia we are getting close to the end of financial year and it’s the ideal time for tax agents to provide valuable content in the form of checklists, tips and other valuable information that will draw viewers to the tax agent who has taken the time and effort to freely share the content. Likewise, every business can do the same within their own product/service offers! Can you think about yours now?
Gather Your Social Network Signals
Whether you’re a job seeker, employer or business owner LinkedIn members constantly send out social signals you should take notice of. In doing so use your judgment to determine who is offering valuable insights you can benefit from and whether it is worth your time viewing their posts.
On the other hand ask questions in relevant groups and see who provides the best responses. Often you will find some members post a one or two line quick answer while others will provide a far more detailed response which will benefit your intelligence gathering activities. For more on this, please review my previous article on ‘LIKES’.
Expand with Purpose
Just like in the offline world, your primary purpose should be to expand your network in the target marketing. You need to be a good social citizen. The FOCUS should be on gaining TRUST and establishing a rapport with your network. Only then will others refer you to their peers and share your content.
Don’t be in a hurry to “sell” straight off the bat. Be patient, once you use this approach the sales will automatically follow.
The winning attitude
I’ve explained this before, but many LinkedIn users continue to make the fundamental mistake of participating solely for personal gain. Yes, it’s great to get your posts, videos and infographics out into the ether. However do you take the time to appreciate what others have contributed?
You may have heard people telling you that the giver’s hand is above the receiver’s, so be appreciative of any information you came across that was particularly useful. It doesn’t take much to thank someone who provided you with valuable information that would otherwise take hours to search.
So there you have it. There’s more to Social SELLING than you thought isn’t there. To summarise, begin with your strategy, engage purposefully with your network, learn from industry experts, leverage LinkedIn to your advantage, gather intelligence judiciously, expand your network and win over the hearts of your connections by showing them gratitude. Yes, it does take some work but the rewards will be worth it.