Last Updated: 2nd December 2022.
Learn how to start B2B social selling today using the world’s leading social network for professionals, LinkedIn. Follow these 4 steps to embed social media into your B2B sales strategy and supply better leads to your sales pipeline.
Our own studies have shown that B2B salespeople lag behind B2C in incorporating social media as part of their sales strategy. That comes as no surprise, considering that the need to appeal to a mass audience has always been most important for B2C companies.
The two worlds of B2B and B2C used to be easily separated: a business leader or department manager didn’t shop around for a printer for work in the same places they scoped out their last home printer purchase.
They probably ‘had a guy’ or asked around their work community for recommendations to replace the office machine, while they bought their home ink-jet from Amazon based on some 5-star reviews.
Nowadays however, the world lives on social media. In work and outside of it, we’re under the same community. That’s why as a B2B salesperson, you need to start working like a B2C brand on social media, but still employ your old school tactics to close the deal.
The best place for B2B social selling is, without a doubt, LinkedIn.
Today we’re covering the essentials of B2B social sales on LinkedIn. Learn how to build the foundations for future social selling success in just four steps.
Step 1: Build Your Personal Brand
Yes, you are a brand. First impressions can count for a lot! According to Entrepreneur, “it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand.”
Two-tenths of a second!
With that in mind, you need to ensure that your LinkedIn profile truly represents the best version of you, as a salesperson, and as a human being. This is called personal branding.
We’ve written a detailed guide to optimizing your LinkedIn profile, but here are three quick wins to help you rock your profile and create a great first impression.
Go to LinkedIn now and visit somebody’s profile.
What are the 3 key bits of information that you see first? These will be your quick wins, if done correctly.
Don’t overlook your LinkedIn headline by just entering your job title. It’s really important! LinkedIn features your headline at the top of your profile, and remember you have less than a second to grab someone’s attention.
A good LinkedIn headline is made of several parts: your job, who you help, and how you do it. For example, my LinkedIn headline is currently ‘Leading experience in helping to amplify brands through Employee Advocacy’.
It’s amazing how many profile pictures you still see that are blurry, too dark, or taken in a bar in Ibiza. That’s not to say your profile picture has to be boring, but it should represent who you are ‘professionally’.
Make sure your profile picture is public, people will be more likely to click on your profile!
Use Canva to make your profile picture stand out more. Try their ‘remove background’ feature, then add a bright color, pattern, or gradient behind your image!
Don’t forget about your summary! If somebody is genuinely interested in what you’re about, they’ll be tempted to click to ‘see more’. That’s what you’re aiming for.
Elaborate on your headline, outline your career goals, and share your professional passions. Use storytelling to increase engagement. This will help you build a professional personal brand, showing show that you are human but also that you are focused on what you do.
Step 2: Create a list of people you want to connect with
In the beginning, this task isn’t so much about creating a list that you’re actually going to use. It’s more to create a list of the sort of people you want to connect with.
This is an important step before you start sending connection requests.
Use LinkedIn’s search filter options to specify the exact criteria you are looking for in a buyer persona. You may already have a list of companies in mind that you need to target, if so then use that.
However, your initial search might need to be broader, for example a type of business or industry in your local area. You should also think about the benefits of connecting with people other than the head of a department or the CEO, at least initially. Yes, these people are probably the decision makers, but in business it usually takes more than one person to get buy-in and push something through.
Once you’ve connected with the top leads based on your criteria, monitor the success of their journey with you. Save your search criteria for next time. If you have access to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, this process can be even more refined.
Step 3: Deep Dive into Your Connections
This step will help you decide what sort of content you need to be creating and sharing to boost your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Do some deeper investigation into your LinkedIn connections to find clues as to how you can offer them value.
Do they post often about a particular subject or ask specific questions? What sorts of articles do they already share from third parties?
This step isn’t just about throwing them a like or a comment to make them feel good.
This is about building a true understanding of your connections. You want to know them better than they know themselves!
Once you have your findings, use it to create a positive impact on your company’s content.
Don’t forget, you should also look for emotional cues too in their language. Mirroring is one of the oldest conversation hacks in the book and it works just as well online!
Step 4: Stay Active to Establish Your Brand
This last step is where everything comes together. Over time, you’ll start to make those big wins with social selling on LinkedIn.
Sales nowadays is more about building relationships and providing value outside of the transactional arena, which is why social selling is so powerful.
Use your LinkedIn profile at least twice a day to establish yourself as an expert, not just in your products or services, but in your role as a whole.
Talk about your industry with passion, share articles from your company blog, join groups, and take part in conversations.
Now you’re ready to get out there and start B2B social selling on LinkedIn. You might even end up becoming a B2B Influencer!
Ten years ago, people would probably have scoffed at you for putting so much effort into your online presence, but this is what is happening right now.
Can you afford to be behind the curve?
Your peers and competitors are doing it and they’re winning:
Find out how active your employees currently are on social for free with our employee advocacy health check.
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