LinkedIn is a key channel in tech B2B marketing and sales: 94% of B2B marketers use the platform to distribute content. Also, LinkedIn is responsible for more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs. Since your audience is probably on LinkedIn, you’re probably exploring social selling in some form or the other.
Social selling is, like many other B2B marketing buzzwords, an all-encompassing term. It refers to any form of prospecting and relationship building via social channels. Given the cancellation or postponement of many trade shows and events that formed the key forum for sales people to forge those relationships, social selling is seeing exponential adoption. LinkedIn’s data says that 78% of businesses that use social selling outsell businesses that don’t use social media.
However, for social selling to work it needs to have the right foundation in place. A connection request, followed by a request for meeting and several follow-ups from an otherwise inactive account simply does not yield results. The strategy works only if it is paired with a credible and trustworthy presence on LinkedIn. And sadly, not all members of a sales team are naturals when it comes to posting on social media. In fact, it is not uncommon to find people who are completely dormant.
Here are some steps you can take as a tech B2B content marketer to support your team’s social selling efforts:
1. Create an authoritative presence
There are many individuals who have LinkedIn accounts with large numbers of connections that do not post often enough to create any real impact. If members of your sales team belong to this category, the first thing to do is to ensure their accounts are active. Consistently sharing value-adding content that followers engage with encourages the LinkedIn algorithm to rank you highly, and increases your authority in your audience’s eyes. As a bonus, it encourages followers to click through and create organic traffic to your website.
Maintaining information so that it is accurate and up-to-date is also vital. Your profile is your LinkedIn shopfront and incorrect contact information or team members are a missed opportunity and may even put off prospects.
An easy way to ensure an active social presence is by creating and sharing company resources. Company banners, photos, and other resources can easily be shared and added to individual or business accounts to promote the business, events, new resources or industry experts. Layering this on top of active social media posting ensures that a profile looks active and dynamic.
2. Don’t simply curate media articles or commentary in the press. Make sure to supply original content too!
It is common to find LinkedIn accounts that are simply a newsfeed of industry content. Reacting to, commenting on and resharing news posts are great small steps to increase activity, but will not provide the traffic you want for your company. Sharing a few news articles helps keep you relevant and your followers engaged in current events, but even in these cases, it is helpful to layer on your own perspective and expertise on posts or provide insight that cannot be added from anywhere else. Remember that social media audiences within the B2B sector will know where to find articles and information online and look there instead if they don’t think your content will help.
Your company’s LinkedIn feed and that of the team must be comprised of at least 60-70% original content, either from your website or custom created for LinkedIn. This ensures the majority of your content shared has a unique perspective with company insight and added value that others cannot provide.
Here are three ways to improve engagement:
- Create video or animated content as it generates higher likes and interactions
- Tag employees in corporate posts to drive engagement and reach
- Use questions to encourage comments and discussion
3. How about a social media ambassador program?
When employees post content about the company and reshare resources, it reaches a much wider audience. A social media ambassadors programme simply formalises this process: it uses the networks and connections of employees to amplify company content.
A social media ambassadors program can take many shapes and forms. The goal is to create posts that ambassadors can easily reshare. For example, a plan using company employees to promote company content through an automated scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Pardot where employees offer their voice, or channel to promote content that the company is pushing, posting once or twice a week.
Another form is the use of starter content, where employees take the base copy and add their own personal insight and value to the post. Advocado is a great tool for this purpose where employees can go in, edit and share their unique perspective.
For more details on launching a social media ambassador program for your organisation, check out this blog that we wrote earlier.
4. Implement campaigns to target prospects
To run a successful targeted LinkedIn campaign, there is just one mantra: Do. Your. Research. List key target customers and research who the major decision-makers and influencers are and how to reach them. Find out the key pain points and current issues within the industry. This information will enable you to create tailored content and reach the right personas with content that converts. Collaborating with an industry expert would be beneficial, as many people follow and respect the ideas and content from these individuals, and it would boost viewership and interactions. Reach out to them and give them a reason to promote your brand; be it new and exciting innovations, industry insight or helpful tools and tips.
We cannot stress goals and campaign planning enough in this context. Have a plan set out with what you want to do and accomplish with a final outcome in mind and work towards it.
Things to consider are:
- What’s the purpose of this campaign?
- Who is the target audience?
- How can we engage them?
- What content do we want to make and why?
- How will we distribute the content?
5. Showcase company leadership
The CEO or CTO are the best ambassadors for your brand. If they are responsive to the idea of a social media presence they can yield very strong results for your social brand. Great role models in this regard would include Richard Branson and Satya Nadella, whole LinkedIn profiles are strong and engage thousands of people.
While not all CEOs can be expected to be as social media-friendly as Branson and Nadella, creating a consistent social media presence aligned with the personality of your CEO is one of the most effective ways to build a social profile for your brand.
By combining all the elements mentioned above, you can help project your company into the eyes of more industry experts and reach a wider audience. If you’d like some advice on how to start social selling in an online environment, or are looking for a content agency to do this for you contact us at [email protected]