The most important social media channel. And, the fastest way to distribute content to connected contacts.
With over 300 million users in a network that is largely business based, LinkedIn represents the most important B2B social media channel. If you have a direct sales force you're probably actively using it today. But are you collaborating with your customer facing staff to leverage maximum benefits?
Since virtually everyone is already on LinkedIn, all a rep needs to do is connect. What else is required?
Do all your sales reps have a LinkedIn profile? A friend of mine runs a successful small business targeting mid size distribution companies. Although his customers utilize LinkedIn, he’s no where to be found. So, although it may seem obvious that your salespeople use LinkedIn, don’t conclude that everyone leverages the channel.
Plus, are customer facing employees, in addition to your sales staff, on LinkedIn? Accounts receivable, credit, IT support, even sourcing and distribution employees interact with customers. A LinkedIn profile creates customer service benefits, helping your staff feel more personal to customers. Furthermore, it’s another avenue you can leverage to expand your network.
Encourage customer facing employees to connect with their business contacts. Even for active users it’s likely they can increase their connections. In turn, your reach is multiplied.
Don't Assume Sales Reps Have A Profile That Details Their Experience
Are you using LinkedIn as a prospecting tool in addition to content distribution? If so, it’s important to stand out for potential customers. Generic information doesn't play. Complete the profiles, including pictures. Here are three examples of excellent summaries. Perhaps these are too far out of the box for your staff however, unique stands out, boring blends in.
In addition, build a summary that explains your company’s products, services and value proposition. Make sure your sales team includes this information as part of their profile. If a prospect searches for product information there’s a greater possibility they’ll end up finding your company. Plus, you maintain brand consistency and ensure your products and services are represented appropriately.
Do you have a company page? If not, build it. Include an overview of your capabilities. This makes it easy for your sales team to reference your company profile and content when attempting to connect with a prospective customer.
Next, develop and distribute content. Posting valuable content on LinkedIn and amplifying it through your customer facing team, provides organizations a great way to educate and build understanding with your audience.
Don't Assume That Your Team Knows What To Do Next
You've built profiles and added content but that doesn't mean your sales team will utilize these resources.
Most sales reps are more concerned about making the sale and less concerned about executing the up front details that make the sale easier. Whether it is through a webinar or face to face meetings, show your reps how to leverage the power of LinkedIn. Do the same for other employees so everyone is working together.
Don't Assume Your Team Will Actually Follow Instructions
Audit their profiles to ensure they represent your company appropriately.
Once you've completed these steps you've created a powerful collaboration tool that will help you:
- Distribute content to customers and prospects that are more likely to interact with you
- Improve brand awareness making it more likely that potential customers, that value your capabilities, will find you
- Improve your standing in the marketplace vs. the competition
- Create a contact asset you can leveraged through thoughtful opt in marketing programs
- Increase the amount of leads you receive
Get the most out of your LinkedIn efforts. Don't assume it will happen without you!
Would you like to discuss LinkedIn or social media strategy? Connect with John on LinkedIn or visit the InterEdge Marketing website.