Success with social selling: 8 must-haves for your LinkedIn & XING profile
Social selling is increasingly developing into a selling point for company offers. The times of private use are over – now it’s time for personal business. Even now, almost 60% of those surveyed in the bvik survey see social selling as an important sales strategy. In this article, you will learn how company employees increase sales with their own social media profile.
from Jana Walz
Communication Manager / Tech & Digitalization
The fact that social selling is continuing to gain in importance for sales is shown by the current survey of the Bundesverband Industrie Kommunikation e.V. (bvik) (Click here for the current survey: Scroll to Trend TOP 4). In this survey, social selling ranks fourth among the biggest B2B communication trends. This is because over 60 percent of those surveyed from industry and the service sector believe that social selling is becoming increasingly important. The LinkedIn Selling Index shows that this importance is already significant today. In this index, almost 90 percent of all B2B buyers surveyed by LinkedIn state that they have an advantageous impression from the outset from a salesperson introduced to them via their professional network. Therefore, the new motto, especially for sales staff, is: Being present in the professional networks Xing and LinkedIn and having an open ear for the questions of the members or the potential target group.
Infobox: What is Social Selling?
Social Selling is the proactive use of social media channels such as LinkedIn, Xing, but also Facebook for sales. The focus here is particularly on lead generation or, more generally, on customer acquisition and retention. It is not surprising that social media are considered a new tactic. Two thirds of all customers use the social network as a source of information for their purchase decisions. As LinkedIn explains, this methodology offers a great opportunity for companies to get in touch with their potential customers. Here, indirect sales and pre-sales actions are possible, which have the primary goal of strategically building customer relationships.
In order to be seen and noticed by new customers in the social network, there are a few necessities and some tips that will make you stand out from other members. The basis for the perfect appearance: A well thought-out Customer Journey that addresses potential customers, starts at the right point in the decision-making process and accompanies or influences the rest of the way.
Before you directly upgrade your account, you should briefly check the technical conditions. In order for you to use social selling correctly, the interaction with the customer relationship management system (CRM) is important. It should be recognizable which leads were generated from the business network, so that you can track the success of the online presence.
Must-haves for your profile
The key questions for social selling are: How do I present myself correctly? How do I distinguish myself from others? And how do I make first contact with decision makers on LinkedIn or Xing? Let’s start at the beginning: Impersonally formulated direct messages, which are predesigned for premium members, for example, have absolutely no positive effect. As already mentioned at the beginning, this is about the personal component – including self-written messages. The same applies to networking requests without reason. If the potential contact rejects the request, there is initially no second chance to get in contact with this person.
But there are other proven ways to score points with potential new contacts. Evernine works actively & very successfully with the Social Selling approach and has developed special trainings and workshops on how to optimize your profile. Hannes Beierlein, CCO and Founder of the Evernine Group leads these and has already trained several sales teams of our customers. In this article we have summarized an extract of our workshops in 8 tips and underlined them with examples from Hannes Beierlein’s LinkedIn profile. Here are 8 success factors that continuously prove themselves in sales on LinkedIn and Co:
1. Complete and goal-oriented social media profile:
Potential customers are looking for tangible solutions to their problem. You can teaser them with your profile description and headline on LinkedIn or Xing, similar to a digital elevator pitch of a distributor. Try to use both elements to convey the added value for visitors and potential customers.
2. Professional profile photo:
Be careful in your choice of photo. The same applies to profile photos in the business network: There is no second chance for a first impression. Selfies, party photos or holiday snapshots are no-gos. Use a current picture that is also taken by a professional photographer. This investment pays off.
3. Deliver good content regularly:
Post articles regularly that underline the added value of your company and are interesting for your target group. You do not have to write articles all the time. You can also simply search for current news in reputable magazines and publish them via a URL link. It is also possible to share the content with other users. This will also benefit the dialogue again. Just make sure that you give the shared article your own mark by giving it your own evaluation, for example.
4. Hashtags and links for the right target group:
Contributions are all well and good, but they must also reach someone. The amount of contacts you have currently isn’t that high? No problem. Use targeted hashtags for your contributions or link to the source of the article. This increases the reach enormously, as your content is now also displayed to all contacts from the source as well as to those interested in the hashtag.
5. Activity is rewarded:
In social media, an algorithm determines how visible you are to other people. It rewards you for regularly licking, sharing or commenting on other posts and extends your reach. So take some time every day to check the updates of others and become active yourself.
6. Join groups
The potential target group is roaming the network, but you don’t know where? Have a look in groups. More and more users with the same problem join together in groups. Here you can offer a solution through likes, comments and tips and draw attention to yourself. In addition, the algorithm rewards you for being active: Win-win situation.
7. References from satisfied customers:
Not only when buying a product does the customer take a look at the reviews – comments or confirmations of successful cooperation are also essential for social media profiles. Ask your customers for a rating – best right after a successful project. Tip: Provide your contact with a written proposal in advance. This saves the other party work and increases the chance that the recommendation will quickly be visible on your profile.
8. Learning from experience
Review your recent efforts regularly. What have you posted? Which contribution was well received? And what was the most pleasant way to get into conversation with new contacts?
Learn from your experiences and optimize your social selling performance on a daily basis. The positive side-effect is that the effort for you will be less and less. Don’t be disappointed if an order/purchase does not result directly from the social media presence. Be patient, because the decision and purchase cycle in companies can often take quite a long time. But through social selling you are now known as an expert to your target group and this will pay off sooner or later.
Finally, a little tip: Use LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index to find out how successful you are at social selling with your profile. Here you can get helpful hints to further develop and optimize your social appearance. Click here for your personal figures.
If you would like to receive even more tips or have specific questions, register for our workshop on Social Selling. Simply write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image source: iStock / MissTuni