Before you jump to conclusions and think this article should be for sales, hear me out. I put ‘C-Suite’ in the title for a reason. I’m not targeting sales teams and I’m not trying to sell you on anything. I'm just trying to help you sell better and more efficiently as the leader of your company.
We all use Linkedin and so do sales reps but, that’s precisely the problem. It's a platform that's becoming less of a place to be social and more of a place to sell. But, it shouldn’t be that way. People (including myself) should not NOT accept new connections because they’re fearful of a sales pitch or don’t see the value in it. That’s super passive behavior and in order to grow, you need to keep an open mind.
Linkedin shouldn’t be thought of as a place to only get new business nor should it be abused by marketing with content filler. It can be equally beneficial for sales, marketing and your entire organization as a whole if you just know how to sell a little more socially.
Here's a few ways to start:
1: Make a Connection with People First, then Add them on Social Media.
One of the biggest problems I see specifically in the cannabis industry, is that Linkedin has become “connection city”. While it may seem like one of the only ways to put yourself out there and get more exposure for your company, the reality is - everyone knows there’s an ulterior motive behind every connection and most of the time, it’s for sales purposes. You have to provide some kind of value to the person on the receiving end or else you’re going to have a lower acceptance rate. Period.
2. Stop Pitching and Aim to Help.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s totally fine to say who you are what you do and why you want to connect but, if it sounds pitchy then, chances are the person you’re trying to connect with isn’t going to accept it. Take this sentence for example “Hi so and so, I noticed you’re in the manufacturing side of cannabis and came across a new piece of legislation that changes the way concentrates are being tested. I thought I’d send over a link just in case it might be of interest to you.” A sentence like this indicates, I know who they are, what they do and am already aware of a problem they didn’t even know they had or are going to have in the future. It show’s I did my research and am genuinely reaching out to help, not sell.
3: Don’t Self-promote your Product or Service.
Besides lacking social media skills, this just shows everyone you’re hard up, a cold soul and only care about 1 thing - MONEY. There are so many other creative ways to connect and engage with your audience but, the “look at me, buy my product now” mantra has got to go. There is no value in that even if you discount the price.
4: Don’t Issue a Press Release Just to Make News.
I get it, you’re excited about a new product or feature and you feel the need to announce it to the world. But, if you’re just doing it for more exposure or to manipulate stocks, it’s going to get old really quickly and no one is going to give two sh*ts. Press releases are supposed to be news-worthy, not an avenue to highlight your EVERY business move. Partnering with another company - ok, securing a round - sure, announcing a new hire, personal-achievement award, speaking engagement or event sponsorship - meh, it'd be better off in an email blast. Remember, what you may think is news is not news to your audience no matter how excited you are about it. If it’s not relevant to THEM and THEIR problems, it’s a waste of time and money.
5: Understand how Social Media Algorithms Work.
If you’re automating posts without commenting, sharing and engaging in conversation then it’s a waste of time. Algorithms take into account user activity, engagement, frequency of posts and the type of content within posts. If you want to have the most success with social selling, you need to put an equal amount of effort into everything I just mentioned which brings me to my next point.
6: Posting Links to Cannabis-related Articles is NOT a Strategy…
For 1) external links are devalued on social media and 2) We already have a clusterfuck of information swirling around from multiple media outlets and national news sites, your audience doesn’t need filler. I’m specifically talking about the posts that read “this is interesting” or “this company just partnered with that company”. If you’re just using Linkedin to repeat industry information, you need to go back to the drawing board and understand who your audience really is.
7: Post Contextual Content.
This is why it’s crucial to create the right content for the right demographic. Unless, you’ve clearly define your buyer personas and understand their pain points, you might as well be posting fluff that resonates with no one and results in little to no ROI. Contextual content is about understanding your audiences problems, addressing and speaking to just that. Look at this post for example, I’m speaking directly to business owners, CEO’s and high-level executives - not sales reps, marketers or just anyone. It doesn’t mean I don’t create content for them because I do - but, how I speak to them, the topics I cover, where I promote it and to who will vary based on their individual needs.
8: Get Jiggy with it!
Post a variety of content like memes, gifs, infographics, blog posts, white papers, videos, templates, guides, tutorials, demo’s, pictures, live feeds and SO much more. There are a gazillion ways to create unique original content. It doesn’t all have to be written, politically correct, opinionated or sophisticated. It can be anything as long as it’s relevant to your audience, specifically your buyer personas.
9: Be personable.
If you’re a CEO, show how you care about your team, what you’re doing to give back to the community, and how you’re making a difference in the world or why you’re better than your competitors. Highlight employees, tag them in posts, give them some credit for helping you build your empire because without them, you know it wouldn’t be possible. Don’t just say it, show it.
Also, use your personality and just be YOU. Don’t try to be all macho, structured and corporate like your title. If you try to appeal to everyone by being by being “professional” you’re going to appeal to no one. Have a voice and let the light shine down. How do you think John Legere grew T-mobile to where it is today? He didn’t hold back who he was or remain “reserved” like most executives. He hit a breaking point, learned to let go and became the culture of the company. Embrace that sh*t!
10: Consistency is KEY!
Not only does what you post matter but, when you post it and how often you post as well. You should be hitting the channels in the morning, afternoon and at night, not just when you feel like it or when you find something interesting. You can’t expect to make a few posts and just have leads pouring in. It takes time, effort and dedication. Sure, we’re all limited on time, but, this is where automation can really help. Take a Sunday to plan out all your posts for the week, and hop on at least an hour or two a day to engage. It’s not that hard.
11: Think of Social Media as a Tool to Generate More Leads.
If you’re not trying to drive traffic back to your website, increase visitor to lead conversions, and actually close more deals, then again, it's pointless. Remember, your website is what every one of your potential clients is going to look at before they make their decision to buy. And, if all you have is a simple list of services, an about us page and a contact form, then we need to talk. Everyone who visits your website is there for a reason. Maybe they just heard of your company, maybe they’re comparing solutions, maybe they’re ready to buy now or maybe they will be in 3 months. Either way, how will you know? If you don’t have multiple conversion paths setup to capture and convert leads at every stage of the buyers journey, then you’re not able to re-market or nurture them towards making a purchase and are loosing a LOT of business.
At the end of the day, there’s a way to be social and there’s a way to sell. If you know how to combine the two in an inboundy way, it’ll be that much more effective for your entire business.