75% of B2B buyers use social media to make decisions according to IDC research.
Sellers who use social selling are 51% more likely to exceed quota1, and 89.9% of top sellers view LinkedIn as essential2.
It's still the case, however, that many sellers are just getting started with LinkedIn. Mostly it seems they don't know what to do. Here are 15 ideas for spending 15 minutes a day selling with LinkedIn. I challenge you to do this for at least 15 days in the next month.
After the 15 days you'll have a good sense of whether LinkedIn should be a part of your selling routine.
Before we get to the ideas, make sure your profile is complete, professional, and geared towards your buyers and clients. If the last time you used LinkedIn was to help you land a job, it's probably not communicating what you want.
Here are a few tips for your profile:
- Picture: Use a high quality professional photo
- Headline: Tailor it to your audience
- Profile: Communicate messages that depict you as you want to be perceived; maximize your credibility with appropriate videos and content; and avoid grammar, punctuation, and spacing mistakes
- Updates: Share content regularly that your followers will find interesting, avoiding messages that are heavily commercial or self-serving
- Recommendations: Recommend others and ask for recommendations from close contacts
- Endorsements: Endorse others and ask others to endorse you
Now, here are 15 ideas for 15 days of selling on LinkedIn.
Every day: Scan your news stream for a few minutes. "Like" others' updates and make comments as you see fit. Scan Pulse for a few minutes and do the same, making notes of articles worth sharing.
Day 1: Add connections. Click "Connections" on the top navigation and follow the prompts. LinkedIn can help you search for your connections and make suggestions for you. Think about your top targets and contacts; search for them specifically and add them. Be sure to customize the message you send when asking to connect.
Go ahead and connect with me to let me know you are committing to spending 15 minutes a day for 15 days over the next month.
Day 2: Customize Pulse. Pulse is your customized news flow. It'll give you regular fodder and ideas for posts. In the top navigation, highlight "Interests" and "Pulse." Go to "Discover" and spend some time going through the "Recommended for you," "Influencers," "Channels," and "Publishers" as you scroll down the page.
Day 3: Search for important prospects, influencers, and referral sources. Find "Advanced" search on the top of the main page. Search for particular people you want to connect with or people at companies you'd want to connect with. For cold connections, it's a good idea to follow someone before you connect with them. To do so, join a group they have joined and once you are accepted into the group, you can follow them.
Day 4: Join groups. Join up to 50 groups in the areas where you will find buyers, clients, influencers, and competitors. Follow members in the group that you want to see any news updates on. You can follow up to 5,000 people. You can also send messages to anyone who is a member of the same group you are in, so be sure to join the groups that your target audience has joined.
Day 5: Send messages. Go 1 by 1 through your connections and say hello, catch up, check in, or set meetings with people that would be worthwhile. Scan your connections and the connections of your connections for people that would be worthwhile to do this with, and then reach out.
Day 6: Find alumni and connect. Click "Connections" and "Find Alumni" on the top navigation. LinkedIn will help you search for people with whom you share work, school, location, and other connections. Be sure to personalize the message when you ask to connect.
Day 7: Follow companies. Search for and follow companies that are important to you—customers, prospects, competitors, partners, and vendors.
Day 8: Send messages. Yes, this one again. You're here to sell. Make connections.
Day 9: Identify 15 relationship targets. Highlight at least 15 people that you are not connected to, and don't currently know, that you want to be connected to. They might be buyers, referral sources, or other stakeholders at existing clients. First, just create this list of targets.
Day 10: Connect with targets. Review each relationship target's profile for similarities or reasons to connect. Reasons could be work interests, past work experiences, mutual connections, or so on. If any of your mutual connections are strong relationships of yours, send them a note and ask if they'll introduce you.
Day 11: Study profiles. Find profiles that are interesting. See how people describe themselves, and what they post about themselves. Take notes about what you like and don't like. Then review your own profile and make updates.
Day 12: Look at who's viewed your profile. Scan who is viewing your profile. If you aren't connected, reach out and make a connection. If you are connected, reach out and strike up a conversation. Follow important people.
Day 13: Scan groups. On day 4, you joined groups, now it's time take a careful look at them. Scan questions and answers to see if you want to engage at all (start by chiming in and responding to others' questions, not leading discussions). Scan people in groups to see who you might want to follow.
Day 14: Send messages. One more time! Keep on connecting with people. Selling on LinkedIn doesn't happen without, you know, selling.
Day 15: Track results. Take a few minutes to summarize results. How many connections did you make? How many new relationships did you create? Did you create or move any business initiatives forward in any way? Evaluate the results you've had spending just 15 minutes a day and then calibrate your time and efforts up or down. Do more of what's working and do less of what's not.
Send your results to me on LinkedIn (after all we connected on Day 1) and I will continue to share more tips with you.
Getting started with LinkedIn does not have to be a big project or overly time consuming. If you approach it with just 15 minutes a day you'll be tapping into this powerful social selling tool and building important business relationships in no time.
1 LinkedIn Social Selling Index Survey, Feb 2014.
2 Top Social Sellers: Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code: Konrath, Albee – 3084 sellers.