There is one clear social network that stands out for social selling—LinkedIn. When crafting your LinkedIn strategy, it is important to remember these three important steps.
In a recent article we discussed how growing your social networks is a smart way for diverse suppliers to connect with the businesses you hope to work with. I had a lot of great feedback on that advice, but one resounding question kept popping up: HOW do I best do this?
First of all, I recommend you stop thinking of social networks as just a networking tool, but also a tool designed to help sell. Sell your company, your products, your business differentiators to an enormous audience, previously never imaginable. From my experience working with diverse suppliers across the country, there is one clear social network that stands out for social selling—LinkedIn. When crafting your LinkedIn strategy, it is important to remember there are three important steps: create, engage and nurture.
When you are creating a LinkedIn page there are two types – a personal page and a company page. Use your personal page to present the best, most professional version of yourself. Describe your position in the company and what your specific experience is. Offer insight into how you will be able to connect and work with other businesses through previous success stories and even referrals. And most importantly when creating your profile, make it easy for people to contact you. Always include the best ways to reach you and your most up-to-date phone number and email.
For you company’s LinkedIn page, you also want it to be extremely accessible and easy to find. Once other businesses are looking at your page, the information needs to be clear: identify exactly what your business does, what types of companies you usually do work for, what your differentiators are and, of course, all of your company’s pertinent contact information. Identify what type of diverse business you are and what certifications you hold. This will help set you apart and attract potential new business partners looking for just the product or service you offer.
Using your LinkedIn profile to engage is the most critical step to social selling. You need to draw in and entice your prospective clients, showing them that you are the right type of business for them. The best way to engage with others is by regularly being active on LinkedIn - share the work that you are doing, post interesting articles with your commentary about them, discuss industry trends. This allows for businesses to stay up-to-date on the work you do as well as how you think and approach problems/issues.
But there’s more places to post than just on your own page. Join the groups offered by LinkedIn, whether it deals with your industry or your type of company, like The Veteran Business Network or the Women Small Business Owners Network. This is a great way to find potential customers you may have never thought of before while also receiving advice from people in similar situations. And finally, engage in conversations in these groups – show the other members what you have to contribute through knowledgeable, relevant information. This will help you create a name for yourself.
Once you’ve created and engaged through your LinkedIn profile, you must build and nurture the relationships you have so that they can turn into business relationships down the road. Do this by consistently connecting with new members, searching for important people that would make for good connections and checking the message boards of the groups you are in to stay involved. Continue to share and post so that you are the first person on your prospects’ mind when they are ready to do new business.
Follow these three steps with LinkedIn and see how social selling can help you and your business enhance your visibility with prospective clients.