Traditional lead generation is working less and less. On the other hand, social selling with LinkedIn is on the rise.
What is social selling on LinkedIn?
The goal of social selling is to sell with the use of social medias. When it comes to LinkedIn, social selling can take different forms such as:
- posting content on LinkedIn (1)
- liking and commenting LinkedIn posts (2)
- sending direct messages (DMs) or LinkedIn Inmails to prospects (3)
Benefits of social selling on LinkedIn for your business?
For B2B sales, LinkedIn is the place to be, period. The fastest growing agencies and startups we see these days are using LinkedIn. Stats don't lie on this topic:
- Social sellers are 51% more likely to achieve sales quotas (Source).
- 41% of B2B buyers view 3-5 pieces of content online before interacting with a salesperson (Source)
- LinkedIn Generates 80% of B2B Leads On Social Media (Source)
So basically if you're not leveraging LinkedIn to grow your business, your missing out!
1. The strategy to follow for social selling with LinkedIn
If you want to drive more business from LinkedIn, you need to have a crystal clear social selling strategy. If you're not serious about it, you might get a few inbound messages here and there but it will lead you nowhere in the long run.
You need to work on 4 pillars to nail your social selling strategy: your LinkedIn profile (1), your target audience (2), your engagement with LinkedIn users (3) and your LinkedIn posts (4)
1°) Work on your LinkedIn Profile
Think of your LinkedIn profile like a second landing page. You need to optimize it for profile views and clicks that lead to your business offer.
I'm sure there's certain faces you always remember when you scroll your LinkedIn feed right? They have flashy pictures, memorable bios and more. It didn't happen by chance? Let's see how you can do it too!
First, you need to get a quality picture, it's mandatory. You profile picture needs to look professional quality wise.
Secondly, try to match your profile picture with your banner.
Finally, here's a list of French B2B LinkedIn influencers, you can notice that they all have one thing in common: flashy images.
Note: this is my personal engagement list in Breakcold
Name & Headline
Social selling on LinkedIn is deeply connected to personal branding. You need to be creative even with your name. Use an emoji that people will automatically associated you with.
This emoji will be an extension of your brand. You can then use it in your comments, posts and so on.
Your headline is basically your sales pitch. Explain in 1 sentence what value you provide with your business.
A good storytelling is the recipe for a great bio. You need to hook people to your LinkedIn profile, to make them check out your offer. For that, you want to make them feel close to you.
Call to action
There are basically 2 ways to make call to actions with your LinkedIn profile. First, by adding a website URL in your bio and second by adding pinned features.
Finally, your profile needs some social proof, you can use the pinned features to display a successful post of yours for example.
2°) Find relevant people in your niche
To be successful at social selling with LinkedIn, you need to build relationships with people in your industry.
If you sell a product or a service, surround yourself with potential distributors of your solution (1) and potential customers (2).
LinkedIn B2B influencers (top voices)
LinkedIn influencers are useful for social selling because they will amplify your reach if they engage with your content. But they can also become distributors for your product or service. So building strong relationships with them is key.
This is my playbook to find B2B influencers:
1/ Find them in directories
There are plenty of LinkedIn influencers out there. The most famous ones are the Top Voices by LinkedIn. But others are more specialized.
For example this website Favikon has ranked all the top 100 micro-B2B influencers in France.
2/ Find them in your feed
Once you have few LinkedIn connections, you will quickly notice the posts that blow up in your niche.
3/ Look at their activities
Once you've found some B2B influencers, go to the activity section and look after other big accounts they engage with. LinkedIn influencers tend to engage a lot between each others, so once you've found one you can easily find the others.
3/ Add them in 1st degree connections
Every time you've found a B2B influencers in your niche, add them to your network. They'll tend to accept you all the time because they want to keep growing connections that are in their industry instead of random LinkedIn automated request invites.
4/ Repeat step 1 to 3
Nothing to add more here.
This is my playbook to find prospects:
1/ Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator (Option 1)
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the bread and butter of LinkedIn, making them a staggering 1.2 billion dollars a year. It's basically a gigantic B2B database.
You can use Sales Nav to find prospects.
Social selling tip with LinkedIn Sales Navigator: always look for people who have posted on LinkedIn in the last 30 days. You want to look after people who are active online. Otherwise what's the point of social selling right?
2/ Use LinkedIn regular search (Option 2)
If LinkedIn Sales Navigator is too expensive for your social selling strategy, you can still use the regular search bar of LinkedIn. They will limit you at some point though to make you pay for the premium plan.
There are actually plenty of other ways to find prospects but we've already covered this topic here.
3°) Engage with your audience and prospects
The most important thing about social selling with LinkedIn is engagement. Why?
- the more you engage with people, the more they see your posts (1)
- the more they see your posts, the more they might become potential customers (2)
So how to build an engagement list?
Build an engagement list
1/ Get LinkedIn profiles information
The only thing you need to start a LinkedIn engagement list is the LinkedIn profile URL of your prospects.
I use Breakcold to easily import prospects into my engagement list.
2/ Organize profiles into lists
Once I know which LinkedIn profiles I want to engage with, I put them into different lists.
- 1 list about B2B influencers
- 1 list about cold prospects
- 1 list about partnerships
3/ Segment your lists with tags
To nail my social selling on LinkedIn, I also add tags to my profiles so I can be even more productive when it's time to engage with them.
- I have 1 list of prospects
- I will put tags to know where they are in their sales journey
4/ (Alternative) Add profiles into favorites in Google Chrome
You can also use Google Chrome to create a LinkedIn engament list. It's a more painful process as you will have to open a lots of tabs to engage with people but this is how it works:
- go to a LinkedIn profile
- go to activity
- go to post
- add to favorite the Link
Engage with your lists to stay top of mind
Engaging with people to build B2B relationships is key in social selling with LinkedIn, here's how you do it.
1/ Create engagement time slots
If you're serious about social selling, you need to make it part of your sales routine. That's why I created engagement time slots in my calendar.
From my experience, 1 hour per day is good enough. Not all your prospects and not all B2B influencers post every single day.
Therefore imagine you have like 10 B2B influencers on a regular basis and let's say 100 prospects. 80% of your time will be taken by B2B influencers and only 20% will come from your prospects because they tend to post way less daily.
2/ Like & comment posts
Note: this how I interact with my prospects using Breakcold
Once you've created your engagement time slots, go in deep work mode and engage as fast as possible with your lists.
It's painful to open hundreds tabs a day so I use Breakcold to accelerate the Social Selling process. It saves me around 10 hours a week.
I quickly switch lists and use tags to engage prospects on where they are in their sales pipeline
3/ Send DMs when it's relevant
Note: company news populate when you're about to contact a lead
When you engage with your lists, send Direct Messages (DMs) when you encounter posts related to your business. Those are great moments to connect naturally with prospects and potential partnerships.
Note: you can send a DM on Twitter & LinkedIn or an Email from the same place
4°) Post on LinkedIn consistently
To me, talent doesn't exist, it's all about consistency. The most successful people on LinkedIn have been the most consistent ones.
The most famous example is Justin Welsh, here's a post that shows his resilience:
How often should you post?
You should post at least 1 time a day. You can avoid weekends if you want but the goal should be to have be active 7 days a week.
LinkedIn posts tips
If I had to keep only 3 key tips for LinkedIn posts, it would be to:
- work on the hook,
- work on the hook, and...
- work on the hook :D
The hook makes about 95% of your post success. The common playbook on this topic is the following:
- bad hook + bad body = post will fail
- good hook + bad body = good results achievable
- good hook + good body = post might go viral or bring valuable leads
Conclusion: make many iterations of the first sentence of your LinkedIn posts if you expect good results from social selling on LinkedIn.
5°) Reaching out to prospects
There are multiple ways to reach out to people when doing social selling with LinkedIn.
Reaching out to B2B influencers
LinkedIn B2B influencers are busy people, if you want to do business with them, you need be patient and play it smart.
1/ Interact with their posts first
Try to like and comment their posts multiples times before reach out. That way, they will automatically remember you even if your message is poorly written or sales pushy a bit.
2/ Send a hyper-personalized DM
If you followed step 1, you actually don't need to hyper-personalize your DM but just in case do it to maximise your reply rate close to 100%.
Use recent content they posted or old ones along with company news to craft a compelling DM.
3/ Follow-up manually
If people don't reply to you, it's most of the times because they're busy, especially B2B influencers. You need to follow-up.
Even billionaire Ryan Breslow needs to follow up 15 times another CEO before creating a business opportunity.
Reaching out to prospects
It's easier to do social selling with regular prospects because they receive less messages than top influencers. However you need to follow some best practices.
1/ Don't interact with them for 1 or 2 weeks
Note: A message I received straight away after accepting the invite, not my favorites ones but can work though.
Once a prospect accepted you on LinkedIn, do not send them a DM straight away. It's a rookie mistake.
People are now getting smashes by automated DMs on LinkedIn and agressive sales people. If you send a DM straight away after they accepted you, they'll consider that you're a spammy social seller.
2/ Let them expose to your posts for 1 or 2 weeks
Instead, expose prospects to your posts for 1 to 2 weeks. Why? Because even if they don't interact with it, your LinkedIn posts will have some impressions on them.
For some reasons, the brain of your prospects will remember it when you will outreach them. You'll be familiar to them already without them consciously knowing it.
3/ Engage with their posts before outreach
If you want to maximize chances of getting a reply and booking a call straight from your first message, engage with their posts a few moments before sending your cold email or message.
2. Things to avoid for Social Selling with LinkedIn
Social selling with LinkedIn is all about building B2B relationships. Some automation tools can heavily damage your growth.
LinkedIn automation tools
LinkedIn automation tools allow you to automate:
- linkedIn invite requests
- profile views
- linkedIn messages
Automating these actions can get you banned temporarily or permanently from LinkedIn.
They call also reduce your Social Selling Index score. Use these tools wisely.
LinkedIn pods are ways for people to artificially boost the engagement on their LinkedIn posts. It was a great way a few years ago to have a monumental reach on the platform.
However, LinkedIn is now able to detect accounts using this kind of techniques and your account might also get banned because of it. Be careful.
2. Quick social selling tips for LinkedIn
Tip 1: never sell, start conversations
The problem with most sales reps in any kind of businesses, including founders is that they absolutely want to sell straight away their product or service.
The thing is, people buy from people and not from robot who are doing copy pasted messages.
Don't be sales pushy, ask questions and keep it short.
Tip 2: engage with your LinkedIn feed before posting on LinkedIn
It's so natural yet very few people are doing it. Engaging with future LinkedIn connections before sending them an invite will jump your acceptance rate close to 100%.
When I talk about engaging with LinkedIn profiles, I mean proper likes and comments under their posts and not some automated profile views.
Yes it's manual, but the ROI will be much higher!
3. Quick social selling examples on LinkedIn
It's always hard to know to send the right LinkedIn messages when you're not used to it, so here's a few examples :)
Example 1: creating a lead magnet via a LinkedIn post
This is the playbook:
- prepare a valuable resource to your audience, e.g. ebook or excel file (1)
- engage with your LinkedIn feed a lot before posting (2)
- craft a catchy LinkedIn post with hook that ideally includes numbers (3)
- at the end of your post, ask for a specific comment to get your resource (4)
Example 2: sending DMs after engaging with prospects
Just saw your post about Social Selling. I don't see often posts about this topic backed by data, congrats! :)
We should talk about this someday!"