Those are pretty outstanding numbers, considering that the worldwide population is currently pegged at 7.3 billion. This means that a whopping 42% of people all over the world are internet users, 67% of whom maintain two or more social media accounts.
LinkedIn Profiles for Social Selling: Must-Have
In terms of marketing and sales, the power of social media becomes even more obvious. An reveals that up to 33 % of consumers discover new brands, products and services on social networks, 72 % of marketers use social media to create and develop loyal fans and 92 % of all marketers indicate that investing in social media results in more exposure for their businesses.
Put this way, it becomes clear why terms like “social media”, “digital engagement” and “online presence” have become buzzwords during company strategy planning sessions and yearly assessments.
As the number of people who use the internet and social media continue to grow, more and more executives are seeing the value of using social media as a tool for advertising, sales prospecting, lead generation and customer engagement and retention.
However, not all social networking sites are created equal. It would be a mistake for sales executives to try jumping on to all social media trends without considering their own business strategies and end goals. Ultimately, your choice of social media platform should be based on your company’s ideal buyer personas, customer acquisition costs, marketing strategies and revenue targets—metrics that are unique to each sales organization.
Just another social networking site?
LinkedIn functions pretty much like any other social networking platform in the sense that it allows members to create personal profiles and invite others to become “connections”.
These connections typically mirror real-life professional relationships but may also expand to include others who may be working within the same industry or field, as long as they share common friends of up to the 3rd degree.
Despite its similarities with other existing social networking sites, LinkedIn has a a key defining factor—it’s focused on promoting a company or individual’s professional image. The LinkedIn profile is structured like a traditional resume, where members can put their educational backgrounds, work experiences and specializations, and boost their credibility through recommendations from their connections.
In a nutshell, LinkedIn becomes a platform where users can find jobs, people and business opportunities—making it an ideal space for marketers and sellers, who are trying to prospect, generate new leads or break into new markets.
LinkedIn is especially useful if you’re engaged in inbound sales, where the success of your business heavily relies on your ability to attract and engage potential customers. And as many inbound sales agents are aware, lead generation is often the hardest part of the process—and this is where LinkedIn stands out as an ideal tool.
LinkedIn allows you to make and maintain professional contact with people within the same industry who may need your services and allows you to post enticing content (via LinkedIn Pulse) that specifically targets your ideal buyer persona.
But just having a LinkedIn profile for social selling is not enough. Many newbie inbound sellers often make the mistake of setting up their profiles without careful planning.
Soon enough, these sellers get frustrated that no matter how many connections and references they get, and how many carefully crafted posts they share with their carefully selected groups, things just doesn’t seem to be working out the way they hoped it would. They haven’t generated new leads, and their posts are seemingly swallowed up in a sea of similar content.
What’s the problem, then? Is LinkedIn’s capacity to rev-up lead generation and increase sales nothing more than hype?
No, it isn’t. If you look online, you’ll see that there are And if you’re experiencing problems, the very first thing to do would be to look at your own backyard, or more specifically, your LinkedIn profile.
Image is everything
It probably goes without saying that in terms of sales and marketing, image and branding are very important. As Richard from the cult movie Tommy Boy put it, “That’s what selling is all about. In a way, these people are buying you, not just brake pads.”
So how do you give your old LinkedIn profile a much-needed makeover?
1. Before you even sign up to LinkedIn, you have to think of ways to make your profile buyer-centric. Simply put, you have to analyse your target audience—find out who they are and what interests them the most, what are their most common problems, how do they communicate? These are very basic questions that you probably already know the answer to—the point is to make your profile answer these questions. In the end, your profile shouldn’t be about you, it should be about the customer and how you can help them.
For example, instead of presenting yourself in your headline as “A trusted provider of SaaS solutions since 2005”, you might want to reformulate it as “10 years of helping startups boost revenue by providing effective SaaS solutions”. This way, the spotlight is on the customer and how you can help them attain their goals. Pro-tip: If you’re having trouble thinking of creative ways to present yourself, look back at your company’s mission and vision statements!
2. reasoning behind this is simple, potential clients are less likely to forge a connection with you if they don’t immediately see anything that could be of value to them. And because your profile headlines and summaries are at the top, you need to be able to make a striking statement that will encourage your leads to find out more.
The profiles of LinkedIn’s own sales consultant and Twilio Account Manager both have good examples of what effective headlines and summaries should look like. Pro-tip: Keep it short, sweet, yet persuasive.
3. No wacky selfies. This should go without saying, but unless you’re a company that specifically targets millennials who might appreciate the value of a good angle or Instagram filter, try to keep your profile picture as professional as possible. Remember that clients engage with sellers that they trust, and having a professional profile picture can help convey an air of credibility to you and your business.
4. Make your profile more interesting by adding multimedia elements such as videos or soundbites. For example, you may want to add a video of a presentation you did for a customer, or a sound bite or excerpt of an audiobook that you produced. Diversity in the types of content you display on your profile can actually increase your views by as much as 14%.
5. Keep in mind that no matter how badly you want to attract more leads via LinkedIn, you should not treat your profile as a billboard, nor should you indiscriminately promote your business on group and community posts. Instead, show your sincerity but producing content that is both engaging and useful to your target audience. Use LinkedIn Pulse to self-publish content that will not only promote your brand but will offer valuable insights to your readers.
There are a lot more tweaks that you can do to make your LinkedIn experience a productive (and profitable) one and having a top-notch profile is the first step you need to take.
The profile is the very first thing that potential leads and clients see. It’s crucial that reps present their best foot forward and optimize LinkedIn profiles for social selling to show what they have to offer—and convince potential leads that they can provide the best solutions.
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