How do I sell on LinkedIn?

For the last couple of years now I’ve been selling on LinkedIn. I’ve been using LinkedIn to build up an audience of leads that I know use the services I provide, to nurture them over time using daily posts as a sales pitch and then convert when the time is right. Want to know more? Here’s how…..

We Don’t Properly Understand Social Media Yet

This is the problem for most people I speak to. They use social media because they think they should but they don’t think about how. I liken using LinkedIn to going to your best ever networking event where:

  • Everyone in the room is a lead
  • You have invited them there
  • You can choose the tone of the event.

Network with an AIM

When you use LinkedIn like this you’ll realise that your ability to network online is like networking in real life. The majority of your work isn’t about converting, it’s about relationship building. It’s about:

  • Focussing on the people you want to speak to
  • Engaging them in conversation that gets them to like you
  • Demonstrate to them that other people like you
  • Over time drop into the conversation that you are a subject matter expert
  • Listen out for their buying signals

Focus on The People You Want to Speak to

That’s right, get in the right conversations. So many people waste time on LinkedIn with conversations that have zero relevance, or build networks without considering who they want in the network. Tip – do an audit of your existing client base and then look to connect with similar people. If your existing customers are happy then chances are new similar contacts would be too.

Engage Them in Conversation That Encourages Likeability and Trust

The biggest mistake people make when posting on LinkedIn is thinking it’s all about Me! It’s not, it’s about them, your customers. Listen to what they speak about, share their insights with your audience, comment on their updates, show them that you are listening to what they are saying and care about what they are trying to achieve.

Demonstrate that Others Like You

We call this social proof. It comes in the form of recommendations, endorsements and all sorts of other conversations. Am I likely to buy from someone with 20 connections who never talks on LinkedIn with a partially filled profile or will I buy from an All-Star User with 30 recommendations and 99+ endorsement scores?

Be the Subject Matter Expert

It’s not true that all you should do is share industry insights. That’s robotic. You’d never go networking and just talk shop! However, you do want to be seen as knowing what you’re talking about. If there are big changes in your sector that will impact your audience let them know. Go one better and write a blog with your own opinion.

Listen Out for Buying Signals

A true social seller is always looking for those buying signals. It might be that people have been visiting your profiles. It might be from the news that is being shared from a company page. It might be that someone is moving role. Whatever it is the chances are a change in circumstances of some sort is presenting an opportunity. Are you ready? Will you be the first to take advantage?

Think of these rules like ingredients of a cake. In isolation, they won’t make much of a cake but when you start to use them all together you’ll start to see how LinkedIn can work to generate leads and make money.

If you want to know more then come and join me for my next Hidden Secrets of LinkedIn Masterclass on the 12th of July at the Borough in Lancaster. You can book your tickets here today.

Who Should I Connect with on LinkedIn?

This question is one that I frequently get asked when training, especially from those people that are still quite new to LinkedIn and social networking.

My answer is always the same. You’ve got to accept connections that you are comfortable with, otherwise you’ll stop before you start.

I accept most connection requests that look like they come from real people, I’ll check profiles and activity if i’m unsure. Do they post regularly and contribute to conversation? I also look for a degree of relevance such as industry similarity or shared connections.

What I don’t do is accept connections that only benefit me. LinkedIn is a two way street and sometimes my knowledge can benefit others too.

If you don’t want strangers in your network don’t accept. Likewise if you have concerns about competitors then don’t. Just be aware that if someonw wants to find out who you do business with they don’t necessarily need LinkedIn for that. If you have NDAs in place with clients and receive connection requests that you are uncomfortable with then raise the question offline. Also remember security implications when you accept connections, some dodgy people may want to steal information from your profile.

Remember though that if you are using LinkedIn to generate new leads and business develop your network and audience is vital. A larger network potentially means more access to 2nd Degree connections, more chance of referral and higher visibility. Over time you’ll find a way of connecting that you are comfortable with. Whilst I believe depth of engagement is the most important aspect of social media activity a large audience is also beneficial.

The Best Social Media Tip I Never Gave

A few weeks ago I was part of a panel discussing ROI on social media. After a lively conversation the final question was fairly straight forward, “What is the one tip you have for social media use in business?”

I’m afraid to say that although I gave a good answer it wasn’t my best (these things happen when you are on the spot). That said, I’ve since taken some time to think about what my answer would be. Here goes:

We all know that change is on the horizon. The problem is for most businesses they are waiting for the change to happen to them rather than driving the change through.

We cannot control the fact that most consumers use social media and digital as a fundamental part of their decision-making process when making purchase decisions. Online research, looking for social proof, getting referrals and much more are all part of that digital journey.

Whether you like it or not your business is a digital business. Does your operation reflect that? Can people find out what you do from your online footprint? If the answer is no then remember, Now is the time to start. Drive the change and make sure your business is fit for a digital world.

That my friends is my top tip.

A (few) Days out at The Borough

Over the last few weeks we’ve been really fortunate to have been working with the Borough Group of pubs to deliver social media training. For those of you that know the Borough you’ll know it’s one of the best loved pubs in the North of England. Alongside the Borough the group also includes The Lodge at Slyne, The Britannia in Lancaster and The Borough Brewery.

The Brief

As with many organisations Company Director Hannah Horner had taken full responsibility for social media delivery across all locations. This in itself can be incredibly time consuming. The challenge here was to empower other members of staff to take control for the respective venues, freeing Hannah to return to more strategic work on the business.

The Challenge

Empowering is a really keyword. In my experience, and generally, when people feel they are allowed to use social media to speak on behalf of the companies they work for there are immediate benefits. The first part of the challenge is creating an environment where people feel comfortable and safe posting on social media without fear of recrimination. There are also challenges around time and coming up with fresh content ideas. Finally it’s about maintaining consistency.

The Delivery

Our social media training and strategy sessions are action packed. From the very start the key is to create a situation where the staff feel like they are actually taking ownership of the social media. That means we facilitate and they create. We prompted conversations around good and bad social media, boundaries, tone of voice and buyer profiles. We looked in depth at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hootsuite and some other useful social media apps. By spreading the training over a number of sessions staff also were given the opportunity to practice what they’ve learnt in between sessions and then feedback was collected amongst the group.

Outcome

According to the team the training was not only insightful but also empowering. Staff feel confident they can post on behalf of the organisation and understand why they are doing so. Ultimately there activity will benefit brand awareness, reputation and lead generation so getting it right is vital.

* The video features Ben delivering a session on iPhone photography. You’ll notice the irony of this with the quality of the hyperlapse video coming from my Android phone.

 

 

Mega Social 3.0

Today marks the start of the next stage in the evolution of Mega Social (complete with a brand new website built with my own fair hands).

Over the last two years, from a standing start, the business has grown from being me being an outsourced social media manager to being a full on manager, strategist, speaker, trainer; pretty much bits of everything.

Time to Rethink!

You’ve probably heard many stories of self-employed people suffering from burn-out. The strategy above is pretty much a decent guide as to how that burn-out happens. Along with all the doing above there’s also things like managing your own marketing, finding new business every day, sorting out the accountancy stuff and then finding time for a family. In January this year I was pretty much forced to reconsider everything.

Although I was benefitting from a number of high profile speaking engagements I realised that I was running around and getting paid for all sorts of different projects but losing focus. Alongside my colleagues Ben Freeman and Howard Dodgson we decided something had to change.

We have taken the decision to stop doing social media management in future. We have a small and established core group of customers for whom we provide ongoing content and will continue these great relationships but the business will now focus on training and strategy.

Through this journey we’ve listened to our customers who’ve said that we are at our best in front of large groups delivering training that makes sense. This training is no longer just me neither; Ben has a growing reputation as an excellent facilitator and expert digital marketer.

Building Capacity Elsewhere

The changes meant we can really concentrate not only on what we do and making the best of that, but also what we love. They say never get in a mechanics’ car, well, that’s where I had got to.

The way my marketing had evolved was a little like the mechanics car. In order to scale where I need to be better with digital assets. Plus, I love to blog. And for those of you that had seen the interview videos on Facebook Live I needed to do more of these. Over the coming months writing and videoing will be making a welcome return to the Mega Social locker.

Employability and Unlocking Knowledge at Lancaster University

For the last four years I’ve had a very close relationship with Lancaster University having previously worked in the careers department. Indeed, social networking online is something I personally see as an employability key skill, such is its importance to work. When I was asked to come back and get involved with the team once again I jumped at the chance. I’m overseeing the Unite Plus project from the University right now and working alongside the careers team with some of their employability challenges.

So there it is. Mega Social is evolving and heading in the right direction. Thanks to everyone for the support so far and I hope you’ll enjoy tuning in to stage 3.

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