However, for sales professionals and brand figureheads, it’s also wise to optimise your LinkedIn profile for social selling. Why? Because a profile optimised for social selling does more than create a good impression. It helps people along their buying journey.
So if you’re at all involved in sales, or use social selling tactics, consider these optimisation tips next time you’re on LinkedIn.
How To Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile For Social Selling
Make the most of your headline
Underneath your name on your profile page, your LinkedIn displays headline text. Typically, this details basic professional details such as your job title and company. But as your headline is visible alongside your name across LinkedIn, why not use it to provide extra information? Your header text is a prime opportunity to add additional insight; such as your industry, or brand specialisms.
Use the right photograph
Don’t be shy - social selling is all about building trust. People want to see who they are connecting with, so keep profile pictures friendly but professional. A head and shoulders shot is best.
Consider your background header image
Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn offers the option to add a header image to your profile. Having a header image adds an extra layer of visual interest to your profile, so choose a header that reflects your role and business. Don’t just have a picture you like - use the space to align yourself with your brand, detail contact information, or reiterate your positioning statement. Good header images can help to promote brand awareness, so consider changing your header periodically to retain interest.
Make your contact information clear
If you’re social selling, make it easy for people to contact you! Ensure your profile includes all the contact options you use, from your business number, to your work email and social handles. Being active in LinkedIn comments and groups will also encourage people to interact - the more you speak to your network, the more they’ll respond.
Create a personalised vanity URL
When you first set up your LinkedIn profile, your page URL will appear as a jumble of letters and numbers. However, like many social platforms, LinkedIn allows you to create a personalised profile URL, making it easy to appear consistent and share your page. Customised URLs look professional, inspire trust and are recognisable. Digital Operative give some good tips on how to create your own vanity URL.
Create a clear, well-optimised summary section
Your summary is one of the most important sections of your profile, as it’s where you can outline the buyer challenges you can solve, and build trust. Typically a summary will list a brief ‘about me’ summary, but for best social selling results, remember to also consider the buyer - include insight that will be the first step to answering their questions. Where possible, reference that you’re there to answer questions, encouraging conversation.
Highlight your recommendations
Recommendations are a great way to inspire confidence and trust from your potential buyers and connections. You likely already have a few recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, however if you’re social selling, consider moving your recommendations section towards the top of your profile to make the most of this trust-building potential.
Regularly publish LinkedIn Pulse posts
Great content is a driving force, helping to move buyers through their purchasing journey. So it makes sense that influential social sellers are masters of content distribution. If you’re new to content distribution, LinkedIn pulse is a great place to start, as not only can you publish relevant content to your profile, but each time you post your whole network will be notified. This is a good way to gain instant exposure with your network - and also LinkedIn’s wider audience. Remember to keep content buyer-challenge-focused - you must deliver value to gain interest.
Add other content and media to your profile
In addition to Pulse posts, LinkedIn allows you to add a range of content to your profile to attract interest and build trust. From videos to photographs, infographics and more, add any relevant, helpful media you have to boost your credibility.
Detail your experience /awards /qualifications
Again, trust-building is a huge part of effective social selling, and proof of prior success will help you achieve just that. From industry awards to case examples, to professional successes, list any experiences you have that are relevant to the audience you are trying to connect with. For example, if you just completed a successful project, why not list it as a mini case study? Demonstrate how you resolved a client’s issues, and showcase your skills.
Social Selling Outside Of Your Profile
Away from profile optimisation, there are multiple best practice actions that can enhance social selling activity, such as:
Connecting with the right prospects. While it’s nice to see your connections grow, are you sure they are all relevant to your niche? It’s good housekeeping to regularly review connections and assess their value. If contacts don’t fit your ideal persona, and your message wouldn’t resonate with them, do you need to have them as a connection?
Personalise your connection requests. Social selling is about relevancy - not only should you be connecting with a relevant audience, but you should also incorporate personalised context and value in each connection request. This means that rather than use the standard automated message, you might reference a prior meeting with that person, or state the value they would gain should they connect with you.
Joining and participating in groups. The more you put into LinkedIn, the more you’ll get back. So join, and be active in relevant groups to boost your thought leadership profile and reputation. Social selling is all about sharing knowledge and building relationships. Take part in groups that are relevant to your business and buyers to quickly build trust, and grow your network.
Working on your influencer status. LinkedIn has identified around 500 ‘official influencers’, most of whom are famous leaders, celebrities, and speakers in their own right. But this doesn’t mean you can’t work to become one of them, or use influencers to enhance your status - as Stephanie Sammons explores.
Social selling is forefront inbound sales strategy, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is ready to support your activity. A well-optimised, social selling focussed profile will convey your professional and knowledgeable self, attract valuable new connections, and be a key asset in your inbound sales toolkit.