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11 ways to use social selling on LinkedIn to drive more B2B sales

by Riya Uppal
last updated on May 18, 2022 2:06:59 PM

If you are like the tens of thousands of salespeople in B2B sales filling their sales pipeline online, you know that social media can be a powerful tool to bring in growth. But it is not a magic bean that can sprout growth overnight and provide you with leads.

To generate leads and drive B2B sales, a solid and consistent brand awareness and engagement strategy supercharged by cold outreach is what is needed – and we are positive LinkedIn is the place for it.

Why should you do social selling on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn provides you with advantages to network, ask for referrals, get employee advocacy using the company page, and much more. Not just that, social selling using this unique platform also allows you to directly approach prospects for B2B sales and publish content that drives traffic straight to your website. 

When it comes to driving B2B sales using social media platforms, LinkedIn tops the list. As per a study, it has been proven 277% more effective for lead generation as compared to any other platform with the right social selling strategy.

In this blog post, I will discuss 11 such ways of boosting your reach and driving B2B sales using social selling on LinkedIn. At the end of the blog, you will also find a bonus tip to pump up your social selling efforts.

1. Optimise your profile for social selling

If your goal is generating leads for B2B sales, you must spruce up every element of your social media profile ie. profile picture, bio section, skills, endorsements and posts to spotlight the services you offer. At the same time, your profile must provide a place to persuade your prospects to take action such as to contact you, sign up for newsletters, shop and more.

Below are some best practices to apply when optimising your profile for social selling:

Craft a compelling headline

What convinces you to open an email? The subject line. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile. The headline is what your prospects see before even opening your profile and this is what compels them to click or not.

Instead of just writing your title, use this space to answer two questions. Who do you help and how do you do it?

This is a mini proposition in the form of ‘Helping [x] achieve [y]’ 

[x]: who – target audience, potential prospects

[y]: how you helped – state the results

You can also look at your company mission statement to get inspired.

For example: we help companies automate 80% of B2B sales and lead generation processes with our GDPR adherent software.

Upload high-quality photos for your brand

High-quality brand photos including the profile picture and background image is the best way to play up your brand. It is the first impression of your brand so make sure that your photos reflect your company values all through. It is now also possible to upload an introduction video to your user profile. This is an impressive way to tell your story to your prospects as soon as they visit your profile.

Include low commit CTAs to nurture profile visitors

A clear, easy to follow call-to-action (CTA) on your profile is essential for visitors to take action on. It is especially important if it is their first time seeing you, a CTA to “buy now” will not convert if the lead has not been sufficiently nurtured. Some excellent early-stage CTAs that require low commitment from profile visitors are: “Sign up” (for a free trial/webinar), “Subscribe” (for updates), “Get Started” (for a discovery call), “Learn more” (for driving traffic to your website), “Join us” (to increase your network).

Keep your messaging consistent with your brand

Consistency fosters connection and makes your brand memorable. When communicating as the brand offline or via your website, social media profiles, or other online touchpoints, it is important to keep a consistent tone and personality. If your brand is fun and friendly, it should have a similar flavour on every channel. Your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it should not sound like it is coming from a different brand altogether.

2. Engage with the right decision makers and actively drive B2B sales

LinkedIn is a lead generation goldmine with over 750 million users. This vast user base includes a large number of decision makers you could find and engage with to ultimately generate B2B sales.

If you are in sales, you know what role prospecting plays in the sales process. It is just as important in social selling which is about nurturing the right relationships. This kickstarts the entire social selling process and makes cold outreach (which comes later) relatively easy and more effective. The math is simple: the more prospects you generate, the more chances to close a sale you have, as every prospect equals an opportunity.

All you need are these three key steps for LinkedIn sales prospecting:

Step 1: Revisit your buyer personas to find out exactly who you want to reach.

Flesh out as many details of your ideal prospect as possible. The more focused this is, the easier it will be to reach out to them. At this point, it is instrumental to also think in the “problem-solution way”, i.e. identify what pain points your ideal customers may have and how does your product solve them?

Step 2: Use LinkedIn filters or LinkedIn Sales Navigator to look for them.

This allows you to conduct hyper-targeted searches including job title, seniority level, industry, and more that are related to your ideal customer persona. You can even save up to three LinkedIn people searches and LinkedIn will email you weekly with new prospects who meet your search criteria.

Step 3: Follow them to learn more about them and build a connection.

Now that you have found your ideal prospects, hit that follow button and learn more about what they do. Become familiar with their LinkedIn company page and website. Learn about what they offer on their LinkedIn company page and how they are positioning themselves. You can also look at what you may already have in common. For example, use the “2nd Degree” search function to find those with whom you share a connection, or take a look at their LinkedIn groups and find one in which you are both members. 

Once you have identified your prospects, learnt more about them, and engaged with their content, you may send them a personalised message using that connection. As there is some familiarity at this point, they may be likely to respond positively to any prospecting messages you send to them.

3. Improve social selling success by maximising your profile’s visibility through posts and interactions

Posting regular updates will help you get noticed by your network. The posts your first-degree connections engage with will become visible in the news feeds of their connections (your second-degree connections) and so forth. Your second-degree connections will not only see your content, but they will also be able to view others’ positive interactions with you, which increases your social selling success through the social proof of your authority on the topic.

An excellent way to increase your visibility on LinkedIn is to consistently post status updates and LinkedIn Publisher articles with popular hashtags. You can include two or three relevant hashtags (e.g. #Outboundsales or #Coldoutreach) in your posts to help people outside your network find your updates when they search that topic. Be sure to use popular hashtags as people are not likely to use obscure hashtags to search for common topics.

While posting can get you some visibility, it is equally important to also interact with posts of other people who have a large audience to get noticed. LinkedIn shows a notification every time there is a trending post with the hashtags you follow. Take advantage of this feature and share valuable insights on these topics to showcase your own expertise on the topic.

4. Funnel followers from your social selling efforts to your landing pages and generate B2B sales leads

From your social selling methods, sometimes a short form LinkedIn post with a CTA like ‘Click here to learn more’ at the end of it is all it takes to drive them to your website. Other times, it may be via your LinkedIn profile or through other forms of content you post.

As soon as the prospect reaches your landing page, it is extremely important to hold their attention with an offer that is in line with the content they clicked on for. A meaningful offer nurtures them to the next stage of the buying process. In other words, the offer is what converts interest into a possible lead.

The offer falls in two distinct buckets: 

Top of the funnel offer (TOTF)

This offer is content focused to entice your website visitors and initiate their buying journey. At this point, you can also use gated content to promote exclusivity and encourage interest in your product or service. Examples include ebooks and white papers that address broad problems and give industry insights. 

Middle of the funnel offer (MOTF)

This offer is product centric for buyers who already have a fair idea about the problem they are looking to solve. MOTF usually comes after the content focused TOTF offers. Examples include free consultations, product demonstrations, free product trials and other content or services closely related to the product or services being sold.

The more you fine-tune your funnelling strategy, the more leads you will drive to your website from your social selling efforts. You must understand that social media is only a part of your lead generation machine which can help create interest for your brand. Once an interest has been created, driving it to your website is what leads conversion into B2B sales.

5. Use LinkedIn Marketing solutions to turn followers into B2B sales

This is one of the more direct ways to drive B2B sales on the platform.

Here is a brief overview of what marketing on LinkedIn looks like and the different content types and ads you should know about.

Sponsored content

Sponsored content allows you to boost your LinkedIn posts and get them in front of an audience you would not have reached otherwise. 

On LinkedIn, there are three different types of sponsored content to boost B2B sales:

  • Image – To drive traffic to your website with powerful visuals. 
  • Carousel – To tell a story with an engaging and interactive ad experience.
  • Video – To build brand awareness with in-feed videos.

Sponsored messaging (InMail and conversation ads)

With sponsored messaging, your pitches can straightaway land in your prospect’s inbox. You can use them to drive brand awareness, generate engagement, or directly generate leads.

There are two types of sponsored messaging on LinkedIn to promote B2B sales: 

  • Message ads – To display a targeted message with a single call-to-action button.
  • Conversation ads –To set up multiple call-to-action buttons that link to your landing pages, open a Lead Gen Form, or drive engagement with more information in the next message.

Lead Gen Forms

This is an extension of advertising on LinkedIn to increase mobile conversion rates by placing CTAs on your ads, making it easier for users to take action. The great thing about this feature is that it allows for a seamless experience for users to express their interest without them even having to leave the website.

There are three benefits of using Lead Gen Forms:

  • Get high quality leads at scale – Lead Gen Forms come pre-filled with accurate LinkedIn profile data, letting members send you their professional info with just a couple of clicks.
  • Analyse the ROI of your campaigns –  Track your campaigns’ cost per lead, lead form fill rate, and the number of leads you are getting from specific professional audience segments.
  • Easy access to lead data – Download your leads from Campaign Manager or integrate with your preferred marketing automation or CRM tool.

6. Encourage employee advocacy to boost social selling

At its core, employee advocacy is the promotion of an organisation by its staff members. Launching an employee advocacy program and encouraging employee content sharing can do wonders in boosting your page. 

Here is an example of just how much that helps in extending your reach as per a study. When an employee shares six pieces of content on LinkedIn, the employer sees big gains: six job views, three company page views, one company page follower, six profile views, and two new connections.

Below are some steps of implementing an employee advocacy program to put employees in the driving seat of social selling:

Create a positive and engaged workplace culture

A key part of launching an employee advocacy program is making your employees excited about the brand and building an overall workplace culture. Instead of just tooting your own horn, connect your brand to a purpose or try to meet a higher social purpose with environmental responsibility programs. Give your employees something to be proud of and keep them engaged with regular team meetings.

Set goals and KPIs for employee advocacy

It is important to set goals of what you want to achieve with employee advocacy.

Think about what your expectations are and what KPIs you want to look at to measure the success of your program. Your goals could be boosting your content marketing strategy through employees, increasing traffic to your website, generating leads or contributing to the overall promotion of your company page.

Establish social media guidelines for employees

Not all of your employees may be familiar with personal branding tactics and others may be unsure of how to frame a post for company-related content. It helps to put in place a few social media guidelines, template outlines and a charter of your brand values for content sharing.

Create a content library to make posts shareable for employees

To make it easy for employees to spread the word about your brand, give employees all the tools and resources they need. Develop a robust content library of pre-approved resources (vetted by your marketing and communications department) your employees can share with just a couple of clicks or taps. Regularly update this portal and notify employees about it through your internal communications.

Reward employee advocacy

People crave recognition. Taking the time to recognise your brand advocates and appreciating them can go a long way in encouraging them to continue the good work.  You could showcase a leaderboard in your team meetings and show metrics on who is getting the most impressions or engagement to make it more fun. If certain employees are going above and beyond and garnering a lot of engagement, show your appreciation with a gift card, a bonus or other gifts.

7. Build a connection with your audience using LinkedIn polls to drive B2B sales

LinkedIn polls are a great way to engage your audience and gain insight into your audience’s top goals. Due to the interactive format, polls also have higher impressions than any other posts. One way to extend reach even further is to post poll topics that are trending and likely to spark up a conversation in the comments section. 

When using polls for social selling and B2B sales, not only can you easily tap into the pain points of your prospects, but also get to use the results to continue the conversation in the prospect’s inbox. Try to base your poll question around a specific pain point like “what is your most challenging part of outbound sales?” With answer options: “Finding contacts”, “Doing cold outreach”, “Creating strong messaging”, “Other (comment below)”. Then, you can follow up with the prospects who answered using a connection request (also saves LinkedIn messaging credits). Something as simple as “Hey, I noticed you voted on a poll of mine that you find doing cold outreach most challenging in outbound sales. If you are interested in learning how you can automate the repetitive parts of the outbound sales process so you can focus more time on qualified leads, feel free to check out our website or book a call with us to learn more.” should inspire a positive response.

Since you are only offering value to them on an issue that is relevant to them, they would be likely to accept the connection request. In the above example, you drive them to your website and create an interest in your product which may result in a B2B sales lead. If not, you might be able to spark up a conversation around their concerns and gain insight on how to build your solution around it.

8. Join LinkedIn groups to build a follower base and widen your social selling reach

A big advantage of LinkedIn lies within its groups. By sharing your expertise, participating in conversations, and being a reliable source of information within the group, you have the opportunity to build valuable relationships to potentially drive B2B sales.

Here is how to use LinkedIn groups to widen your social selling reach:

Join groups or create your own

To find a group, search for a topic of your expertise within your industry. For instance, if your ideal customer is a small business owner, then search for groups related to small businesses. If you sell customer service software, search and join groups that are dedicated to customer service managers. You may also create a standard group and promote it on your LinkedIn bio to increase visibility.

Drive meaningful interactions 

Before you begin promoting your group or inviting members to join, post content to your group. This content should be carefully selected, whether curated or self-created, and of interest and value to your members. To ensure new and existing members always find fresh content of value to them, plan to share new content consistently.

Start by creating three or four posts. Here are a few ideas for posts: how you solved a key challenge for your target market; discuss new trends or current issues your industry is facing; share unpopular opinions or ways to achieve results.

Listen and monitor group discussions

By keeping tabs on the group buzz you can begin following specific members and build relationships with them. This is also a great way to stay informed about hot topics and to monitor competitors. You may also increase your interactions by liking or commenting on posts from key contributors or decision makers. Every time you do that, your profile photo will be added to the discussion tab on the group’s front page, as well as the group newsfeed.

9. Use voice or video messages in your social selling tactics to stand out in your prospect’s inbox

You managed to add connections on your LinkedIn profile and now need to approach them with a quick elevator pitch. A LinkedIn voice or video note can help improve your social selling results. It is often hard to get your prospects’ attention because their inboxes are already full with salespeople trying to sell to them. Social selling with voice or video notes can be a surefire technique to surprise and delight your prospects and take the conversation forward.

Below are some best practices for using voice or video notes for your elevator pitch:

Keep it concise

A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name. It should be interesting, memorable and succinct.

Know your goals

This can be anything from familiarising your prospect with the brand, telling them about a new product you came out with, or just asking them for guest authorship to increase brand visibility, to name a few. Your pitch must clearly state your objective.

Personalise your pitch

If you are making the effort of doing a video or voice pitch, you should definitely personalise your pitch for the prospect. This would greatly increase the chances of receiving a reply from them.

Example: “I saw your post on ‘cold calling a dying art’ because of the low output it gives. I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to our company and our endeavour to automate cold outreach for increased efficiency in B2B sales”.

Show them why you matter

Your elevator pitch also needs to communicate your unique selling proposition (USP). Identify what makes you, your brand, or your idea, unique. You will want to communicate your USP after you have talked about what you do.

For example: to highlight what makes hubsell unique, we say, “we use a novel approach wherein contacts are on-demand generated with data accuracy above 95% and provide up to 25 variables per contact researched using GDPR adherent methods. The level at which you can customise your outreach in hubsell is unmatched in the industry.“

Finish with a question

After you communicate your USP, you need to engage your audience. To do this, prepare open-ended questions to get the conversation going. Make sure that you frame the question in a way that you can later present your product as the answer.

Example: You might ask “how does your organisation currently conduct B2B sales and cold outreach?”.

10. Work with influencers in your social selling endeavours to gain trust and speed up B2B sales

Social selling using influencers can help you gain your target audience’s trust. One shoutout or podcast interview from them can potentially take off your business like you never imagined. However, that is if you choose your influencers carefully.

To do this, create a B2B Influencer Dossier. This is a document that discusses the strengths, weaknesses, history, and passions of all candidate influencers. For each person, you should note the following:

  • Active social channels
  • Engagement ratios (likes, comments or followers)
  • Topics covered
  • Hashtags used
  • Geography
  • Best-performing relevant posts/content
  • History of influencer work/relationships in the industry
  • Any red flags or warning signs
  • Non-social influence platforms like books, speaking, podcasts
  • Media coverage

The results of these pointers will help you find out how relevant this person is for your customers and whether or not to work with them to fire up your social selling efforts and boost B2B sales.

11. Combine social selling with cold outreach to supercharge your B2B sales pipeline

Cold outreach using cold emails and cold calls can supercharge your social selling efforts by enabling you to connect with your prospects and proactively move the leads through the sales funnel. A proactive cold outreach approach can help speed up B2B sales as instead of waiting for inbound leads, you take charge and initiate these B2B sales. If not, that interaction will help you understand where you lack and how to make up for it. 

The great thing about combining cold outreach and social selling is the ‘cold’ part of it gets eliminated to an extent. Start with your first-degree contacts. They know you and can also help foster a connection with colder leads. Then move on to your second-degree connections. While they are a cold lead, your mutual connection is a great starting point for building it on. Once you have exhausted your second-degree connections, move on to the third-degree. LinkedIn allows you to send a personalised copy to all these prospects with InMail.

Bonus tip: Go over your social media metrics to get better at social selling

LinkedIn is the best place to carve space for your brand and drive lead generation and the way to do it is through consistent engagement and social selling strategies.

But how do you know you are on the right track? Through metrics. While tracking every action can seem complex and time-consuming, monitoring metrics can help reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your plan. 

LinkedIn has a full suite of different dashboard analytics solutions, such as Analytics dashboard, Activity dashboard, LinkedIn post analytics, Company page analytics, Visitor analytics and more to help do this.

Below are the five key metrics that you need to monitor.

Metric 1: Social selling measurement

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) is a good place to start. It tracks your social selling efforts on the platform and gives you a score based on four key pillars i.e. Your personal Brand, Engagement with social selling insights, Network and Relationships with decision makers. 

Metric 2: Inbound connections and network growth

In the words of Daniel Disney, “Your network is your net worth” and rightly so. With social selling, your aim should be to increase your network using a mix of the above described tactics. The better you are at applying the tactics, the more you will be able to expand your network and the greater the leads generated will be.

Metric 3: Content engagement rate

Once you have developed the right content habits, you can take it one step further and measure engagement with likes, comments and shares. Better engagement directly translates to better social selling results with more brand awareness and interest in your product.

Metric 4: Prospect referrals

Organic referrals can be direct proof of your social selling tactics working well. Tracking the number of referrals you get can help you get an idea of how successful your product or service is. In the same way, not having enough referrals means you have some work to do in terms of your product or online presence.

Metric 5: Lead activity

Not all social selling tactics will directly translate into B2B sales, but you can measure whether or not you are in the right direction by analysing lead activity. This includes measuring Click-Through Rates (CTR), number of conversations started, conversion rates and impressions.

Conclusion for social selling on LinkedIn

Through social selling, your aim must be to catapult brand awareness and engagement in order to drive B2B leads. While the impact of LinkedIn on B2B sales and lead generation is hard to deny, it is not a silver bullet. It is just one piece of an organised strategy that needs to be integrated with other channels to build a closer relationship with your prospects and maximise lead generation. Apart from applying all the above 11 methods, it is recommended to use a combination of email and cold calling to reach your prospects to maximise your potential to generate sales opportunities. Lastly, do analyse your social media metrics to uncover your strong areas as well as key areas of improvement to get better results with social selling and thus drive more B2B sales.

New readers

For those that are unfamiliar with hubsell, we provide an end-to-end B2B prospecting solution with on-demand generated B2B data and multi-channel personalised outreach automation software to generate sales qualified leads.

Book your discovery call today to see how you can scale your opportunity generation.