How Good Are You At Social Selling On LinkedIn?

I’ve never been one for ‘metrics’.  Numbers don’t excite me much, to be honest!  But, I know they are important as a means of analysing how you are progressing.

One platform that has been pretty rubbish for insights when it comes to your personal profile, is LinkedIn.  But, slowly they are adding in opportunities for you to see how you are performing on the platform.

One such metric is the Social Selling Index.  This gives you a score out of 100 for social selling on LinkedIn, and also compares you against your industry and your network.

Your score is made up of 4 factors:

  • Establish your professional brand
  • Find the right people
  • Engage with insights
  • Build relationships

These in themselves give you an idea of what you should be doing on LinkedIn to help you generate business.  It will give you a score out of 25 for each, so you can see which areas you need to improve on.

To view your own SSI and give you a starting point from which to improve, click here!

What Should We and Shouldn’t We Be Posting on LinkedIn?

It feels like LinkedIn has had a bit of a revival recently.  The new layout seems to be working well.  The app has improved.  And, it seems that people are committing to putting content out via their personal LinkedIn profiles.  I’m really enjoying being part of it!

But, I have seen a lot of posts recently on LinkedIn that have questioned what should go on LinkedIn and what should be saved for Facebook.  I’ve also seen people be lambasted for posting something on LinkedIn, reminding them that it is a professional network and what they have been posted would have been better placed elsewhere.

The fact is, there are no rules when it comes to social media.  I’m often asked to talk about the ‘etiquette’ of social media and the do’s and don’ts.  The reality is, they don’t exist.  Only in the eyes of the beholder!!!  The important thing is to stick with what is right for you.  I don’t swear on social media.  It just doesn’t fit with me and my personality.  But it doesn’t mean that not swearing is a rule.  In fact, on some platforms, businesses are having huge success because they do swear and are using the same language as their target audience.

Yes, LinkedIn is a more business-focused platform.  It’s a place to network with other business people.  But go to a live networking event, and only around 50% of the conversations will centre around business.  You may chat to someone about your dreadful journey getting there due to an RTA.  Or talk about how the weather is unseasonably hot for November.  Or about how your daughter kept you up all night (did you see my post about this on LinkedIn the other day?!).  Networking doesn’t have to mean 100% business conversation.  But if you don’t want to share personal details, that’s fine too.  It comes down to choice after all.

There is a somewhat infamous article on LinkedIn (you can find it here.  Be warned, if you don’t like bad language you may not want to read it!) that divided the opinions of its audience.  The article has, at the time of writing, received nearly 10k likes and 1700 comments.  If the author of the post was to just talk about how having a shed in the garden could be the answer to your home working problems, it definitely would never have received this kind of response.  Does that mean you should follow suit?  No, unless that fits with you and your brand, and your audience too.

We can choose to be bland, and the same as everyone else, to fit in, to make sure we’re not breaking any unwritten rules.  But if we do this, we won’t stand out.  Instead, we should embrace our personalities.   You don’t leave your personality at the door when you enter a networking event, so why leave it on the login page of LinkedIn.  Take it in there with you.  It could well help you stand out.

All that said, what would my advice be for what you ‘could’ rather than ‘should’ post on LinkedIn?

1. SHARE KNOWLEDGE

People like to learn new things.  So, share knowledge.  This could be links to your own blog posts, links to articles or short tips.

2. WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?

It can be hard to understand what businesses do.  Give people an insight in to what goes on in your business by sharing a snippet of your day.

3. OPINION PIECES

I think LinkedIn is a really great place for discussion.  And the more comments your post receives, the more people that will see it.  So, open up discussion around a topic by sharing your opinion.

4. ASK QUESTIONS

Yes, I shared a semi-personal post the other day about my daughter keeping me awake.  But the point of the post is whether we should soldier on when hit with exhaustion as business owners, or should we accept defeat and rest when needed.  It was turned in to a question.  Asking questions raises discussion as well, so think of the questions you could be asking.

5. VIDEO

You can load video directly to LinkedIn rather than having to share a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video.  I’ve been using this a lot lately, sharing around 3 short videos a week, and they’ve had a brilliant impact!  They don’t have to be Steven Spielberg masterpieces.  Just you talking to camera, recorded on your smartphone, is enough.  This allows people to get to know you, plus you can share some of the knowledge you have!

6. LEAD CAPTURES

Direct people to a webpage where they can enter their name and email address to receive a document or video.  These are great for building your email list.

7. OFFERS

None of the above focus on selling.  But now and again, we need to remind people they can buy from us!  Focus 80% of your posts on selling nothing, and then 20% on promoting your products or services.

These are just a few ideas.  Of course, what you post is completely up to you!!  There are no rules after all!!

I’m running a LIVE online LinkedIn course – Win Business With LinkedIn – on Tuesday 12th December.  To find out more, and book your place, just CLICK HERE!

How I Get Most Of My Business Through LinkedIn

Around 70% of my business is generated via LinkedIn.  That’s a pretty hefty proportion!!  But it’s why I dedicate most of my social media time to this platform.  It works so well for me!  I thought I’d share a few of the things that allow me to generate so much business through LinkedIn.

How I Get Most Of My Business Through LinkedIn

  1. Connecting with anyone

Well, not quite anyone!  I always veto them first by having a quick look at their profile.  But I will near enough accept 9/10 of the invitations I receive to connect on LinkedIn.  It opens my network much wider, and I am able to appear in more search results, as my 2nd connection network is so large.

 

2. Posting regular updates

Of course, it’s not all just about connecting.  You need to be visible to your connections too!  I post status updates regularly on LinkedIn, at least 3 times a week.  These keep me in the awareness of my connections, as well as helping them out with useful articles, blog posts and tips.

 

3. Sending messages

I use the message facility a lot on LinkedIn.  I run a search through my 1st connections for those who I think will be interested in my message, and I then send it through to them.  For my workshops, I always have at least one person there who has booked on as they’ve received a LinkedIn message from me.

 

 

4. Searching for my target market

I regularly run searches on LinkedIn for my target market and connect with them.  I expand my network regularly with the right people.

 

5. I don’t waste my time in groups

Groups are becoming less and less popular on LinkedIn.  I no longer participate in any of the groups I am a member of, as I know it’s not the best use of my time.  I would rather focus that time on building my network, posting updates and sending relevant messages.

 

This is obviously a very quick overview and there is much more to it that this.  But I can’t give all my LinkedIn secrets away in one post!  If you want to know more, why not book on my LinkedIn Success LIVE online course!  You can find all the details by clicking here.

The New LinkedIn – Not As Bad As I Expected

I’ve read quite a few posts now about the new LinkedIn layout, features and design.  The majority of them have been pretty negative.  As with most things new in social media, it is currently being rolled out, which means you may or may not yet have the new design.

Until this week, I was in the ‘don’t yet have it’ camp.  Which has been frustrating in situations where I’ve been delivering LinkedIn training.  Yet I’ve clung on happily to the old design, scared of the new design ruining my LinkedIn haven.  LinkedIn still remains the platform that generates the most business for me.  It’s one that, while not as exciting as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, well, not as exciting as pretty much any other platform, I enjoy delivering training on.  There are simple steps to take on LinkedIn that can lead to a whole lot of business.  So, I was concerned when the articles I read about the new design told me that some of these steps had been taken away.  I waited anxiously for the day I logged in to my new LinkedIn life.

This week, it happened.  I almost shed a tear.  But then I started to explore it, and I really don’t think it’s that bad!  I’m not going to go in to every feature.  There are plenty of posts out there about it, just have a Google.  Or watch this video from LinkedIn themselves.  I thought I’d share with you what I’m going to miss from my beloved old LinkedIn.  And end on a high, with what I like!

Linkedin

What I’m Going To Miss

  1. Advanced Search

I absolutely love(d) advanced search on LinkedIn.  It’s helped me to grow my network, which has lead to lots of business.  But, it is no more.  You can still run searches though.  And then filter it, to people, by connection type, location, and a few other filters.  Not as in depth as advanced search.  But I can still run a search for “marketing director” and filter by 2nd connection and location Manchester, so that will do me fine!

2. Tagging Connections

I’m annoyed that this is gone, but I understand why.  LinkedIn is a business.  They need to push people to pay for a membership rather than reaping the rewards of free membership.  It is easy enough to use LinkedIn as a simple CRM with the tagging feature.  You now need to pay for a sales focused membership in order to tag people.  Shame.  But it was nice while it lasted.

3. No Company Feed

Unless I’m missing a trick, I can’t see how to view updates purely from companies.  You will see updates from the companies you follow in the home feed.  But there is no company feed now.  I’ve Googled this, as I’m sure it must be somewhere.  But I can’t find it.  If anyone can, please let me know!

Now on to the positive.

THINGS I LIKE

  1. The Layout

LinkedIn now feels so much more of a social media platform with the new layout.  It is less clunky with too many options, hidden under different tabs.  I find it far more streamlined and easier to use now.

2. Focus On The Home Feed

And I’ve found myself scrolling through the home feed far more this week than I have ever done on LinkedIn.  There’s so much more focus on content, which is great!  I think, for those who embrace content sharing, this is going to be a really valuable way of being seen more by your LinkedIn connections.  Of course, you’ve always been able to share updates on LinkedIn.  But they are much more visible now.

3. Simpler Messaging

Messaging always felt a bit clunky on LinkedIn.  Now it feels more like a Facebook style messaging system.  Easier to use, simpler, straight to the point!

4. Notifications

The notifications are much more prominent.  I often missed notifications that didn’t get through to my email inbox.  Now it’s much clearer when there’s something I need to action, respond to, or pay attention to.

Overall, I think I’m swaying more towards like!  I can see myself using LinkedIn a bit more and definitely engaging more with my network.  And it isn’t going away.  So it’s definitely better to be embracing it than hating it!

If you’re stuck with how to use LinkedIn to generate new business, I have a workshop for that!  LinkedIn success will guide you through how to find, connect with, get in front of, wow and generally build a great network, and how to convert them in to customers.  All the details and dates can be found by clicking here.

Should You Connect With People You Don’t Know On LinkedIn?

I think there are two camps when it comes to connecting with people on LinkedIn.  There are those who believe you should only connect with people you ‘know’ in some way, and those who take the approach of connecting with near enough ‘anyone’.

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both!  So, let’s explore the two options:

Connecting on LinkedIn

  1. Connect with only those you ‘know’

This would mean only accepting connecting requests from people you know, have met or spoken to, or have been introduced to.

As such, your network will be reduced and have fewer people in it than a more open approach, allowing it to be easier to manage.  It also means that you can build meaningful relationships, rather than taking a broad brush approach.  Nurturing relationships with those you ‘know’ in some way, may result in more referrals from that network, as you become well known to them.

The downside is that you could be excluding those who wish to get to know you in order to use your services in the future.  Many of the ‘connect’ options on LinkedIn send an automatic connection request without allowing for a personalised message to be added.  You could be limiting the opportunity of those wishing to get in touch to use your services, as a result.  The smaller your network is, the fewer second connections you are likely to have.  As search results are displayed in relation to connection to that individual (amongst other variables), you may limit how often you will be appearing in search results.  And you are closing the opportunity to find your target market and send them personalised connection requests and build more relationships with new people (to send personalised connection requests, the easiest way is to go to the profile of the person you wish to connect with, and click ‘connect’ on there.  This won’t be possible if they are not in your network (another downside of limiting your network)).

2. Connecting with anyone

The alternate camp is to connect with ‘near enough’ everyone.  This would mean accepting the majority of connecting requests that you receive, as well as sending out connection requests to people you do not know.

The advantage of this approach is that you could be connecting with someone who wishes to use your services, and has sent you a connection request for this reason.  It also means you will be expanding your network.  For each new connection you accept, all of their connections will become second connections.  Having more connections, and more second connections, should improve your visibility in search results, which may help you be discovered by potential customers and clients.  By expanding your network to those you don’t yet know, you are becoming known to new people, and have the opportunity to then build on that relationship.

The disadvantage of this approach is that your network could expand so far that it is difficult to build relationships with all those within your network.  As such, they are ‘just connections’ rather than people who can help introduce you to new opportunities.  It is more difficult to look through and comment on status updates, as there will be more of them.  And you may open yourself up to spam messages by accepting the wrong people.

WHERE DO I STAND?

I tend to go with option two, but a calculated option two!  I always make sure I have a quick look at the profile of those I am accepting, to determine if they are likely to spam me.  For me, taking option two means the worst that can happen is that they want to sell to me, and will start spamming me with messages, in which case I can remove them from my connections.  They best case scenario (which has rang true many times for me), is that they want to connect so they can get in touch about using my services.  I would have missed out on lots of business had I not accepted connection requests from those I don’t know.

Also, I am found in search far more due to my large network, which opens me up to more people who are interested in my services.

I agree that it is harder to nurture my network on LinkedIn as it is large (currently 3534 at time of writing).  But I use LinkedIn’s tagging options to organise these connections, allowing me to nurture relationships easily with different groups of connections.  That does mean that I hardly interact at all with some of my connections, and interact much more with others.

But for me, the advantages of being more open to connecting far outweigh the negatives.  Though I do think it is personal choice and there is not a ‘right option’ that fits everyone!

So, where do you stand?  Are you open to connecting or not?  Oh, and don’t forget to connect with me!

connecting on linkedin

 

The Only Marketing Steps You Need This Year!

We all know that Marketing is something every business strives for.

To achieve the best Marketing for your business this year, follow these easy steps to Marketing heaven!

The use of Marketing has established itself as one of the most dominant ways to increase customer population in today’s market.

Here are the steps you need to incorporate into your marketing campaigns this year; how many are you already using?

Document your strategy
If you want to be more effective at content marketing, document your marketing strategy!

Having a verbal strategy is a great first step. However, as the research shows, it pays to take the time to write it down: 60% of those who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of marketing effectiveness, compared with 32% of those who have a verbal strategy.”

Time to invest in visual content

For Marketing content to be truly “creative” and successful it’s important that it’s visually arresting, not just pleasing.  Every day consumers are handed with well-designed marketing offerings, with good colour schemes, professional imagery, and nice fonts. All the pieces truley break through to the consumer as well as introducing something unexpected.

Stick with The Big Three
The Big Three of social media are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Quality content posted on these three is paying bigger dividends than ever before. Everything else on the social network is basically chump change. But, keep an eye on the up-and-coming venues like Vine and Snapchat. These upstarts are becoming more and more valuable as their audience becomes more dependent on mobile devices like smartphones.

Focus on using Information that is Informative and useful
Customers don’t want to be force fed advertising copy anymore. They are looking for information that is both informative and useful. You, as a marketer, need to find ways to locate and curate information that your clients both want and need.

Always remember, your marketing is only as good as your content — so invest in your content!

 

 

Your Social Media Story

This weeks Vlog is all about you and your social media story.  The power of your story is what sets us apart from our competitors.

Social Media is a perfect way to express your story with your customers with more than just words!

The dos and don’ts of using social media for your business

I came across this article a few days ago during my morning browse on the internet! If you use social media to promote your business these tips are going to be lifesaving for you and your business! A relatable situation is what we all need when changing something within our business. I hope you find these tips useful, putting them into practice is going to be easier than you think!

Social media is one of the best ways to engage with your target audience and increase your brand visibility.
One of the main reasons companies adore using social media for their business is because it’s extremely cost effective! Which business wouldn’t want to increase their brand following by using a range of affordable platforms?
DO: React to any posts
It is important to remember that social media is interactive and reactive, to gain a bigger brand following you must interact with current and potential customers. Each reaction from a customer could lead to a site visit, an enquiry and eventfully a connection.
DON’T: Ignore any interactions
You should never ignore any interactions from customers or potential customers, or even worse respond to a customer and ignore another! If a customer has directly connected you on social media they will be awaiting your response, if they see you have responded to someone else and not them, well you’ll have one very unhappy customer which may lead to one less customer.
Responding to every customer’s interactivity will promote the brands customer service and put trust in outside customers who may be viewing the conversation via their time line.

DO: Post at the right times
Scheduling is key to making your posts reach more people, you can easily find out what time customers are viewing your pages via analytics and then schedule your posts to fit in with the customers.
DON’T: Post too much
Each platform will have its own trends in terms of peak times to post, find out these times and stick to them! Don’t over post, this disengages customers and may lead to negative feedback.

DO: Think about what your audience wants to see
Your audience may not want to see what you want to see. You have to alter your posts to suit their needs! It’s all about building relationships online with your customers, this strengthens the foundation to your business relationship which eventually leads to more sales. Find out what your target audience wants to see and post it!
DON’T: Mix your personal and professional accounts
The worse thing that can happen is you posting a picture of irrelevant content to your feed. This could negatively impact the reputation of your business. Your customers won’t want to see how cute your new puppy is and they certainly won’t want to read about how much you love him.
DO: Keep thinking of ways to build your audience
One of the easiest ways to connect with a wider audience is to find out what they like and create a promotional factor which will engage them into your business. Create a customer incentive which gets the customer to “like” or “follow” your business who otherwise may not have engaged with you.
DON’T: Forget to post
The main purpose of having a range of social media platforms is to post and engage with your customers. If you’re not posting you’re not engaging! This will lead to less followers and a negative opinion towards your business. Always delete social media pages until you have time to update them daily.
DO: Maintain a loyal audience
To keep a loyal audience, all businesses need to do is keep giving the customers what they want to see! Nobody ever complained about getting what they wanted! Remember to analyse competitor’s social media, if what they’re doing is working…Do it too!

 

 

It’s Not All About Social Media!

Social media is a fantastic form of marketing, there’s no doubt about that! Just this week I’ve had a client sign up who I connected with on Twitter and a meeting with a potential client who found me on LinkedIn.

But, what a lot of people forget is that marketing is all about reinforcing a message. Social media can indeed win you business. But, you need to be supporting it with a great marketing strategy to ensure your potential customers and clients are hearing about you in several different forms. Remember, it takes several exposures (not indecent ones!) before a customer takes the plunge and buys from you.

So don’t just focus on social media. Use it to connect with people you meet at networking events and those on your database. If you create a great connection on Twitter, follow it up with a phone call. Creating a great following through social media? Think about where else those people are. Do they listen to the radio? Read local papers? Attend trade events?

Those that are achieving the greatest success through social media are doing so as they are using it as part of their marketing campaign and not the be-all-and-end-all.

LinkingIn with Twitter

LinkedIn and Twitter are two very different social media tools. While LinkedIn is a much more professional platform, Twitter is more sociable and better for engagement.

Yet, many people link the two together, with their tweets coming through to their LinkedIn account and connections seeing half of their Twitter conversations.

In my opinion (or in Twitter talk, IMO!) I don’t think the two should be integrated this way. But, there are other ways the two can work together.

Click here to read ‘How To Use LinkedIn With Twitter’ from the Social Media Examiner.