18 Steps to Social Selling Success on LinkedIn

Do you dream of generating consistent, predictable new leads and clients?

Social Selling is leveraging the power of social platforms in order to find and connect with leads, build relationships and ultimately generate sales. For B2B businesses, marketers or other professionals, the most effective platform to reach prospects is LinkedIn.

By following the steps in this article, you will achieve better results (read: dollar!) than any the other digital tactic (save perhaps for advertising with a huge budget).

To get the most out of this strategy, please complete steps 1-4 to lay the foundations, before moving onto more in-depth tactics.

1. Ensure your LinkedIn Profile is Complete and Professional

Before you dive headfirst into implementing the following steps, it is vital that you ensure that your LinkedIn profile (your personal brand on the platform!) is in tip-top shape. Without laying this foundation, each prospect that views your profile might be put off at the first hurdle.

A complete profile is a pre-requisite for using LinkedIn as a platform for generating business. A fully complete profile will earn you an All-Star rating so this is the gold standard to aim for.

2. Professional Profile Picture

An image is worth a thousand words – what is your LinkedIn profile picture saying about you?

Ensure that your profile picture strikes the right chord is vital for making the right impression with your prospects.

Top tips:

  • Make sure you’re smiling
  • Look directly at the camera
  • Ensure your background is clear and uncluttered
  • Dress appropriately
  • Ensure there is no one else in the picture

It pays to invest in a professional headshot to help you stand out.

3. Switch the Focus of your Profile

You need to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is directed towards the type of prospect you’re hoping to attract. It should demonstrate to your potential clients that you understand their industry, motivation and particular problems they face – and present yourself as the person with the solution.

If you’re able to display that you’re speaking the same language, this will really help you build meaningful relationships.

Your profile shouldn’t be a bio about you – your prospects aren’t interested in that! They’re interested in whether your solution can solve their problems.

4. Request Recommendations

Displaying recommendations on your LinkedIn profile is really powerful as your potential clients are able to see social proof of your expertise. As these recommendations are linked to real people on LinkedIn (whose profiles they can go and check themselves), these have value above testimonials which could have been written by anyone.

These days, people rely on reviews and other people’s experience to inform their buying decisions. That’s why it’s important to ensure you have good quality recommendations displayed on your profile.

The best way to generate recommendations is to take action as soon as you receive praise from a current client. Thank them and ask whether they’d be comfortable submitting that feedback as a LinkedIn recommendation.

It’s also worthwhile approaching a selection of your past and current clients who you enjoyed working with to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Recommendations will help build your authority and trust.

5. Ask for an Introduction

If there’s a particular prospect you’d like to reach, you can ask your network for referrals and warm introductions. People are far more likely to engage with you if you’ve been referred by someone they already know and trust so use this strategy to leverage the networks of your 1st degree connections.

6.  Bring Your Offline Connections Online

When building your network on LinkedIn, don’t forget to connect with existing clients, current and former colleagues, family, friends and other professionals that you know outside of LinkedIn.

Each time you attend a conference, networking event or client meeting remember to send a LinkedIn connection request. As the interaction is fresh, they are more likely to accept.

Within your invitation, it’s important to jog their memory about how you met as this will remind them and encourage them to accept.

7. Create Targeted Content which Delivers Value

Creating original content on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to establish your credibility on the platform.

Your content should address the pain points of your potential clients: what issues are currently front of mind for them within their industry?

Not everyone is going to be ready to buy from you when you first make contact, so it’s important to meet them wherever they are in their buying journey.

Create posts which deliver real value to your target demographic – what information will make them the hero in their next meeting? You can also use content to show a glimpse of your personality

We use the Who, What, When, Where, Why, Share, Sell format to structure our content strategy – learn more here [LINK].

8. Post on your Newsfeed Daily to Stay Top of Mind

When you update your status on LinkedIn, this will be shared out with your 1st degree connections. This will help maintain your presence within the minds of your potential prospects and (if you’re posting relevant content) increase your credibility.

For best results, try to post once per day.

9. Republish your LinkedIn Articles

Regularly posting articles on LinkedIn Publisher is an effective method to build your influence and create conversation and engagement with both your potential prospects and your larger network.

Your articles are evergreen on your profile. These articles will be displayed in the Activity box section of your profile so when a prospect visits your LinkedIn profile, they will be able to access the article. It’s important that you use this prime real estate to get to the core of what it is you have to offer.

When one of your connections interacts with your articles, it is then displayed to their connections (your 2nd degree connections), if those 2nd degree connections engage, it will also be shared with their connections (your 3rd degree connections). So it can help you reach relevant people outside your current network.

Another reason to write LinkedIn articles is that they’re indexed by Google and show up in organic search results so have potential to drive even more traffic to your profile.

If you already write a blog, you can re-post any relevant articles over on LinkedIn too. Remember, before you republish a new blog post from your website onto LinkedIn, allow Google a few days to index the post on your website first.

10. Share Content from Other Thought-Leaders in your Niche

Sharing content from other leaders in your target niche that would have value to your demographic is a key strategy for social selling on LinkedIn.

The aim is to curate content and add your own personal perspective on the issue which will open the door for interesting engagement with your connections.

It is also beneficial from a time perspective as it means that not every post has to be based on original content and you can piggy-back on something else which is already trending in order to generate relevant, timely content.

Sharing content will also put you on the radar of the original influencer who posted the content (particularly if you tag them in the post). This will strengthen your relationship moving forwards and if they decide to comment or engage with your post, then their followers (who might be your ideal prospects!) will be exposed to your profile and ideas too.

11. Get on the Radar of Influencers

Follow and Engage with influencers and thought leaders in your field to expand your own influence within that field.

It also might be possible to create collaborations with others who provide complimentary products or services – the idea is to find people whose audience could benefit from what you have to offer.

One way of doing this could be to interview an influencer on a topic relevant to your niche to introduce them to your community. Both yourself and the influencer could share that interview in a blog, podcast, video or webinar helping you reach each other’s audiences (whilst also generating some relevant content for you to share). It’s important to select someone who compliments your service rather than a direct competitor.

12. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

Important: people can find you on LinkedIn only if you’re their 1st–, 2nd–, or 3rd–level connections OR if you belong to the same group.

On LinkedIn, you’re able to become a member of up to 100 groups. Other LinkedIn users are only able to find and connect with you if you are part of their network (1st, 2nd, 3rd degree connections) OR if you’re a member of the same group. Therefore, by joining relevant groups, you can significantly increase your reach by joining groups that your ideal prospects are part of.

It’s important not to just join LinkedIn groups within your industry, as you’ll just end up networking with your competitors. Instead, join the groups your target prospects belong to.

13. Target your Ideal Clients Using Advanced Search

You can use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search function in order to create lists of your ideal prospects to engage with. If you’re a LinkedIn Sales Navigator subscriber then you’ll have access to even more filters to help you further refine your targeting.

It is also possible to use Boolean search (a simple code for narrowing searches) in order to include or exclude relevant keywords within your search.

14. Engage with your Notifications

LinkedIn notifications are a great springboard for conversations on the platform. Make sure you’re reviewing your notifications daily to look for opportunities to engage.

Your notifications include updates about birthdays, new positions, job changes, people who have engaged with your content and articles your connections have posted.

This can provide the perfect icebreaker for starting to message one of your ideal prospects.

15. Who’s Viewed my Profile?

If someone has viewed your profile, it is a perfect opportunity to reach out and make a connection. Send your connection requests in a timely manner and, for higher acceptance rates, make sure it’s personalized.

16. Send Follow Up Messages

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a LinkedIn user is connecting with a prospect, only to ignore them. After a prospect has accepted your connection request, make sure you follow up with a personalized message to strike up a conversation.

This message should be the first in a sequence in order to keep the momentum going and add value so that they perceive you as an expert within your field.

These messages should demonstrate your expertise in your niche without directly selling (until the point where you’re ready to ask for a meeting).

17. Messaging – It’s Not About You

Another core mistake many people make when messaging on LinkedIn is telling their potential prospects about who THEY are and what THEY do. Your prospect isn’t interested – they’re only interested in the challenges you can help them solve.

Keep your messaging professional and non-salesy for the best chance to strike the right chord. Sharing relevant content (articles, case studies, infographics, videos etc.) will let your prospects know that you understand their interests and want to help them to overcome them which will build your credibility.

18. Set up a Meeting

Social selling is (confusingly!) not about sales – it’s about building leads by developing relationships on social platforms. However, once you’ve generated engagement and rapport with a prospect on the LinkedIn platform, it’s time to book a meeting (either online or face-to-face) where you’re able to demonstrate the value of your solutions for the client’s specific needs.

In our experience, people usually pitch a meeting either far too early or not at all. It’s important to make sure you’ve developed a relationship before you try to book a meeting but it’s also vital that at some point down the line you actually get to the point and ask someone if it’s worth getting on a call to discuss if there’s a good fit between their needs and your offering.

By following these steps, you will be able to cement your personal branding on the LinkedIn platform, create lists of targeted leads to connect with, build credibility and trust, build conversations and rapport and convert those leads to clients!