This is the second in a three-part series about social selling on LinkedIn. The first article focused on how ISVs can use LinkedIn more effectively for social selling and how to set your team up for success. Part two discusses engagement best practices and how to maintain and grow your social program, converting more connections into sales. Part three (coming in April) will be all about the data: measuring what matters, how to interpret the data and then how to act on it.

Be a LinkedIn standout: Grow, engage, and measure your digital relationships

If you followed our advice from part one, you’ve already established your thought leadership social team, determined which posting positions you’ll play and given your LinkedIn profiles a high polish. You’ve likely started doing some thought leadership posts as well, geared toward your target list.

If you still aren’t sure what your target list cares about, ask them. As Jay Steven Levin of WinThinking says: “Practice curiosity. Contribute relevant content. Determine who you’d like a response from; explore their background, experience and points of view. Reach out and simply ask what relevance, if any, they’ve found in a post. Ask what matters most to them. Ask what issues would be valuable to explore. Think of your audience as your customers. Serve them. Invite richer conversations.”

Now it’s time to talk growth and engagement strategy.

Keep your posts authentically you

Social selling on LinkedIn is about people because, ultimately, people still buy from people. You want to use the social platform to grow your audience by engaging them with authentic content and making connections with people on your target list. You also want to show your audience that you know your stuff and understand their world.

  • For B2B buyers, the most important aspects of vendor selection are a rep’s knowledge of the buyer’s business (80%) and industry (78%)1

As you create posts, always keep in mind that LinkedIn isn’t about two companies getting to know each other; it’s about two people who represent two companies getting to know each other and building a relationship. So, your online presence needs to reflect who you are offline—that’s being authentic.

Ask yourself, how can I show up in a unique way? One of my favourite questions when interviewing a person entering our digital executive program is, “What are you known for? What’s that unique thing you do or say or your interest that makes you unique?”

And then we maximize that in their digital communications. Do you tell “dad jokes”? Are you cupcake obsessed? Do you compete in Ironman distance triathlons? Wear funky socks? Play bagpipes? Is your work-from-home setup off the beaten path? Check out this post from Lee Howard of NetApp for an example of what authentic content on LinkedIn looks like.

While each person has a role to play on your social team, they also need to remain true to themselves. Your program should bring out the personality of each person and play it up. Because people are going to connect with you about people stuff, not product stuff.

When you walk into a room, even a business conference, you don’t lead with “Hi, I’m the leader in cloud storage.” You introduce yourself, make small talk, find common ground—your latest binge watch, pets, kids, books, food, sports, the benefits of desk treadmills. You make initial connections on those shared interests first and then build on that.

Maintaining and building social selling success

Know that growing a meaningful presence, increasing engagement, and nurturing your audience takes time and commitment. It’s about building relationships and trust with your audience by consistently showing up with relevant material and being an authentic presence in their digital space.

  • Sales reps who responded quickly to social media inquiries saw a 9.5% increase in annual revenue2

In any relationship, that trust building takes time. Be patient, stay the course, invest time and be quick to respond when people (especially those from your target list) comment or engage with your posts. Return every comment, at minimum with a reaction (such as Like, Love, Celebrate). This demonstrates that you “show up” and are available; it also helps with LinkedIn’s algorithms (but we’ll talk about the data in the next blog). It also encourages your connections to continue the conversation with you and engage with your future content.

If new people are engaging with your posts, be sure to send them a connection request.

Take your digital relationships to the next level

Lisa Rangel of Chameleon Resumes LLC says, “Develop relationships with your followers beyond the likes and comments. Email them and chat with them offline. When people see you take an interest in them beyond their like or comment, they feel personally attached to you. They will then share your content with others, and you will naturally broaden your reach.”

The other thing that’s essential about growing a social selling program is that you must have a solid, somewhat engaged network to begin with. LinkedIn is a powerful social selling platform, especially if you know how to use it to its fullest.

  • 75% of sales reps report not receiving any social media training3

We don’t offer a course (yet), but if you want to learn more about how to drive engagement on LinkedIn and create a social selling program that gets results, grab a virtual coffee with one of our social selling experts.