I often have people tell me at speaking events, “Melonie I just haven’t got any business from LinkedIn.” Do you struggle with trying to figure out how to actually build relationships or get results on LinkedIn?
One of the keys to a successful LinkedIn or social selling campaign is content marketing.
The beauty about content marketing and social selling is that it will always help you build a relationship, as long as it has context and relevance to the person you’re trying to reach.
The problem with most peoples’ strategy is that do not invest the time to learn how to communicate via LinkedIn (or social media) in a way that speaks to their target audience. Instead, many push a selfish agenda that turns off prospects faster than a power outage in a busy nightclub.
Content is more than just an article that you send to someone you want to sell something to, it’s offers you so many advantages that can’t be acquired otherwise.
Here are just a few of the benefits of integrating content marketing with your social selling and LinkedIn efforts:
- Provides Value. It’s a lot easier to get your foot in the door with a new connection when you can offer them value with no expectation of reciprocation. This is key.
- Builds Credibility. It speaks volumes for your credibility with a new connection when you reach out selflessly with something that helps them in their business. If you are sharing content that solves a problem or informs your prospect, they will be very grateful to have connected with you.
- Positions You As An Authority. If you can successfully provide someone with something that is useful in their business, it positions you as an authority for the next time they need help in that area.
- Provides A Reason For Dialogue. It’s so much easier to start a conversation when you have something to say that interests the other person. Great content can be the cornerstone to a dialogue that puts you on the fast track to making a sale with a great prospect.
- Educated Prospect = Informed Buyer. Content isn’t just great for building credibility, you can also educate prospects so they are more informed when they are ready to buy. I know so many entrepreneurs that struggle with objections and it always comes down to a lack of understanding and education with the prospect. That’s not their fault, it’s your fault. Content marketing helps to educate your prospect. If you’re not doing it, your competitors will.
Today’s Buyers Are Research Heavy
Did you know that a survey in 2012 found that 77% of B2B buyers did not speak with a salesperson until after they had performed independent research? Buyers are doing their own research before ever contacting a company or sales person. When you share content that’s relevant to your target market, it positions you to become a part of their research process.
Social Selling: 5 Ways To Share Content on LinkedIn
1. Status Update
I recommend sharing content that appeals to your target market daily through your LinkedIn status update. This keeps you top of mind with your connections and can help you get seen by your 2nd and 3rd level connections as your 1st level connections begin to engage with your posts.
Once your 1st level connections start to like and comment on your status updates, your 2nd and 3rd level connections will start to see your content and have the opportunity to engage with it as well. This is when something as simple as a status update can become a magnet for engagement if your content is good.
PRO TIP: When you see 2nd and 3rd level connections engage with your content (likes, comments or shares), recognize that those people are becoming evangelists and you have an open door to reach out and connect with them on Linkedin, based on this social “event”.
Reach out and say something along the lines of, “Hey NAME, I noticed that you liked/commented/shared the article I posted on X-TOPIC. Thought it would be great to connect here on LinkedIn and share ideas. I share a lot of content on X-TOPIC, feel free to consider me a resource.”
2. Share Content Via A Private Message
This is the area where most people let common sense fly out the window. You should not be sharing anything that is self-promotional when initially building a relationship. If you don’t have rapport yet, you won’t have a sale. That’s what content marketing and social selling is all about. You are using content to help them along their buyer’s journey, not pitch and close the sale all in one step. “Slow down the sale to speed it up.”
Social selling requires you to be methodical, yet genuine. This means you have to be in it for the long haul or else your competitors will win right after you’ve given up.
Sharing a piece of content that is a perfect match for that an individual is the ideal way to start a dialogue and begin building a meaningful relationship. Don’t screw it up by making it all about you.
3. Sharing Content In LinkedIn Groups
This allows you to get seen by a much larger audience and gives you a huge opportunity for engagement with new prospects. Before you can truly leverage LinkedIn groups, you must spend the time to select the right groups and then create content that is interesting specifically to those groups.
When actively start discussions and engage in conversations you could be promoted to “Top Contributor” status inside that group and are subject to a MASSIVE amount of exposure. I wrote an entire piece about how to become a Top Contributor in any LinkedIn group, check it out here.
PRO TIP: Beware of how you share content in LinkedIn groups as many group owners do not allow links or self-promotional material. Always share links as a reference to a discussion that you are starting. If you share links by themselves and tell people to check out the article, that’s not going to be a popular discussion in the group, nor is it likely to get approved by the moderators.
Find the common ground where you can be of service to the group’s larger goal while accomplishing your own personal goals of getting more exposure within this targeted audience.
4. LinkedIn Publisher
The addition of LinkedIn Publisher now gives you your own publishing platform that is similar to a blog. LinkedIn publisher posts can get substantially more views then your own blog/website. I share some of my best and most relevant posts on LinkedIn Publisher as well as on my own blog to increase the views and interaction of my content.
5. LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are only available for LinkedIn Company Pages but can be a great way to get highly targeted traffic to your content. Be forewarned though, they can be expensive, however I can personally attest to their effectiveness after they shattered my per-minute website traffic record – and daily ad budget – in a mere two minutes. If you have quality content and a budget to support it, I would certainly recommend integrating LinkedIn Sponsored Updates into your content marketing and social selling strategy.
Where Does Your Content Get The Most Leverage?
I’d love to hear about where you are finding the most success leveraging content in your social selling and content marketing strategy. Let us know in the comments below.