Social selling became a buzzword around 2014 in the sales industry, and it’s already becoming outdated and ineffective for teams that use LinkedIn as just another inbox.
91% of executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant content, but the content they’re looking for isn’t in their inbox, it’s delivered straight to their feed. Today, executives trust the expertise of the people they’ve decided to follow more than a random Inmail.
2020 is the era of pivoting your Linkedin strategy from social selling to building a digital presence by publishing valuable content that reaches the right audience. We’ve broken that down into seven actionable tips that you can start implementing on LinkedIn right now.
- Show Value in Your Profile
- Post 90/10 Content
- Have an Intentional Audience Development Strategy
- Actively Engage with People (Don’t Post and Ghost)
- Keep It Fresh
- Post What LinkedIn Ranks
- Cater to the Algorithm
#1: Show Value in Your Profile
LinkedIn was initially an employment-oriented platform. LinkedIn profiles were meant to showcase your experience and expertise to recruiters and hiring managers.
For many people, this is still the case, but not for Sales.
Buyers don’t care about how good of a seller you are or how you were able to generate X amount of revenue in your first year on the job. They want to know what you can do for them besides sell them something.
This means reframing your expertise into value. Your headline and bio are perfect above-the-fold places to do this.
What not to do: Jane Doe | Head of Sales at AB Consulting
What to do: Jane Doe | Helping Companies Reach the Modern Buyer
The same principle goes for your bio. Tell a story about what you do and why you do it.
Getting results is great to share, but don’t make it all about your achievements. Focus on the benefits you bring to your clients and customers.
Keep your bio short at about 1–2 paragraphs, and use bullets to add details that are easily scannable.
#2: Post 90/10 Content
The tactics you need to build a digital presence through LinkedIn are similar to the tactics used in content marketing. You need to balance promoting your company’s product or services and building a relationship with your audience by providing engaging and valuable content that isn’t promotional.
Content marketing follows an 90/10 rule: 90% valuable content and only 10% promotional content. It’s the same with a LinkedIn strategy.
But if you want to amplify your digital presence, I’d put even more weight on the valuable content side.
If you’re posting about real problems that your audience faces and providing real answers that help them, buyers will organically gravitate towards you for solutions without you including a CTA or other promotional copy.
#3: Have an Intentional Audience Development Strategy
Why does excellent content fail to engage? Because it fails to reach the right audience.
An intentional audience development strategy sounds more complicated than it is. All it really means is that you intentionally expand your network to include potential clients and customers.
If your network is mostly old coworkers, college buds, and family, then audience development is going to be crucial to your success.
To be strategic on LinkedIn, every week, connect with 50–100 new people who:
- Have the right titles
- Work at the right companies
- Are in the right industry for your product or services
Advanced filters in LinkedIn Sales Navigator help you create a list of the right audience quickly and easily. With the right list, you’ll only spend about 20 minutes a week connecting with people, and your content will finally be in front of the right people.
#4: Actively Engage With People (Don’t Post and Ghost)
LinkedIn, and social media in general, isn’t the place to simply broadcast a message and hope people take some sort of action. That’s no strategy at all.
If someone comments on your post, that’s great! Now reply back.
Engage and comment on other sales professionals’ or buyers’ posts, and start to create some back and forth conversations.
LinkedIn is a social network. So, network.
#5: Keep It Fresh
The biggest challenge sales professionals face when trying to build a digital presence is figuring out what to post every day and how to keep their content fresh.
There are two ways to diversify your content:
- Message type
- Content type
When it comes to messaging or coming up with post topics, don’t overthink it. You have all the material you need from just doing what you do every day.
Talk about advice you give clients, industry trends, or mistakes you’ve made. Share a top 10 list, something that inspires you, or a common misconception you see.
As far as when and how often to post, start by posting once a week for the first month. Then, try twice a week the next month. Some people post every day, but that isn’t required.
For a strong digital presence, post as much as you can without the quality of your content suffering. That number will be different for everyone.
Only 1% of LinkedIn users share any content. By making these small changes, you’re already going to be ahead of the game.
Now let’s look at what type of content you should create.
#6: Post What LinkedIn Ranks
Aside from your message and engagement, LinkedIn also looks at what type of content you’re posting.
On other social media platforms, multimedia posts, tons of hashtags, and brevity are the tactics that generally work best. However, LinkedIn flips a lot of these best practices around.
Here are a few best practices specifically for LinkedIn to keep in mind when posting different types of content:
LinkedIn wants you to stay ON LinkedIn. They’ll penalize your content if you include a link that takes people off the platform. If you’re going to share a link, put it in the comments.
On the other hand, LinkedIn loves it when you share links to your own content, such as LinkedIn articles, Slide Share, LinkedIn Live Videos, etc.
If you post a photo, make sure it supports your copy, or it won’t actually give your post an advantage
Minimize video. LinkedIn is probably one of the only platforms where video doesn’t get a gold star. Text-only posts get better results because LinkedIn users actually tend to read texts post more often than watching a full video.
#7: Cater to the Algorithm
In Sales and Marketing, we mostly hear about Google and Facebook’s algorithm. However, LinkedIn has its own algorithm for deciding what content gets shown and prioritized in the feed.
It categorizes content as either spam, low quality, or high quality based on dozens of factors — some of which I covered in Tip #4 and #6.
As far as not being considered spam, it’s pretty simple.
- Use good grammar.
- Don’t use multiple links.
- Don’t tag more than 5 people.
- Don’t use more than 3 hashtags.
- Don’t post more than every 3 hours.
- Don’t use clickbait hashtags like “follow,” “comment,” or “like.”
Getting past the low-quality filter to be considered high-quality can be a bit trickier. Like Google or Facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t share their algorithm, so if you’re just getting started, you’ll have to do a bit of A/B testing.
Create several different kinds of posts and content, and see what interests your audience and what does best.
Some LinkedIn power users will tell you not to pander to the algorithm and, instead, just do what feels right to you and your brand.
Here’s my thought on that: After you’ve built up your audience and have a ton of engaged followers, you can post (almost) whatever you want.
However, telling someone not to worry about LinkedIn’s algorithm is the same as saying don’t worry about Google’s. It’s not good advice if you’re starting out.
It’s Time to Take Over LinkedIn
That’s it! It’s time to start building a strong digital presence on LinkedIn.
You now know everything you need to know to begin pivoting away from social selling that gets you ignored to a LinkedIn strategy based on high-quality content that works.
So, get started today, and start taking over LinkedIn.