Let me ask you a question - why are you on LinkedIn?
Chances are, if you’re in sales, it’s got something to do with looking for prospects. If I was a betting woman, I’d say you probably scroll through your LinkedIn every day, perhaps over your morning coffee like me, looking at what your target accounts are up to. You hit like every so often, probably send connection requests knowing it’s a line-call as to whether they accept, and if they do, the communication goes dry pretty quickly when you hit their DM’s with your pitch.
This was me.
I knew LinkedIn was the place to be - with 810 million members (source: hubspot ) and a dedicated business focus, one could argue if you’re not on LinkedIn you don’t exist - at least in a professional sense, that is.
LinkedIn is nearly 20 years old and started life as a recruitment and employment-focussed social network. As we all now know, the focus has moved away from this in recent times and has instead morphed into a social media platform with a generalised business-vibe.
Put another way, what started life as an online-business directory/ virtual business card & CV compendium, has now evolved into an online virtual network and community for basically every profession and industry vertical in the world.
I can see why you want to get in on that. So can others - according to hubspot, over 75% of B2B marketers also rated LinkedIn as the best social network for organic reach.
Despite that, there are some key things that you need to do to ensure your time on LinkedIn is valuable, interesting and above all, generates you leads.
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Not keeping you LinkedIn profile sales-orientated
As I mentioned above, LinkedIn was once upon a time, virtual business card/CV exchange. Our profiles, therefore, were set up in exactly that way. People used their profile page to explain what they did and who they were, not why they are on LinkedIn.
All that has changed.
Remember, LinkedIn is a social platform now. We don’t need to know your complete work history and that first aid course you did two weeks ago. We do want to know what you’re into, how we can help each other, and if we’ve got any mutual connections or interests.
Keep this in mind when you set up your profile.
Use your by-line, about me section and experience to demonstrate why you’re here (hint: the answer isn’t to build pipeline), who you want to connect with and how you can contribute to that persons network or community. Not sure where to start? Fiverr has loads of freelancers happy to help with this for a small fee (including me!), you can check out some of my favourites at the bottom👇, or, spend some time checking out the profiles of other successful LinkedIn sellers and see how they structure their profiles.
Not Regularly Posting Content
Loads of us in sales - and I mean LOADS of us - are what I’d call LinkedIn lurkers. We don’t actively post content, with the exception of a work anniversary or similar, or to re-share or blast some comms from our corporate LinkedIn page. If this is you, you’re probably caught in this infinite loop of getting really poor engagement if you do post, so therefore not bothering to post very often, meaning that when you do post, you get poor engagement, and so on.
You need to break that cycle.
Remember, people use LinkedIn today to further their knowledge and grow their network of useful people - so post content that reaffirms this. Whatever your industry vertical, post thought-provoking content that elevates your status to your prospects as a thought leader, and encourage conversation.
The average LinkedIn post gets somewhere around 1,500 views. Even just posting twice a week reminds 3,000 connections that you’re someone worth connecting with and learning from. There are loads of nuances around when and how to post to maximise the potential reach of your content - which i’ve gone into a bit more detail here. Irrespective of those things, try blocking out 30mins two or three mornings a week in your work calendar to post - and I almost guarantee you’ll see those engagement stats start to climb steadily. LinkedIn’s algorithm also prioritises pushing your posts out to your newest connections’ feeds, which leads me nicely to my next point... 👇
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Not Actively Growing Your Connection Base
How many connections do you have now? If it’s less than 500, get that number moving. You ideally want your profile to display that seemingly symbolic “500+ connections” note - which gives prospective connections an indication that you’re here often, and you’re here to socialise.
Make an effort to grow your connection base. When you’re on LinkedIn twice a week to post, also make an effort to add connections in your industry or vertical. There are some general do’s and don’ts in this, which I go into more here - but basically, LinkedIn will comfortably let you add around 100 extra connections per week without imposing a restriction on your account.
Here’s your opportunity to also think about the long-game and identify contacts in those strategic accounts you want to go after in a couple of quarter’s time. Using Sales Navigator or even the general LinkedIn search can help you get closer to who these key connections might be. Connect with them early - and if you want to send a personalised note when you connect then go ahead - but do not, I repeat - DO NOT pitch to them. LinkedIn today is the equivalent of one giant virtual networking event - keep this etiquette in mind as you reach out to prospects.
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