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3 easy ways to get started with social selling

If you hang out on LinkedIn, you have certainly heard of social selling. But what is it really about? And how to get started?

Find out in this post.

What is social selling?

According to Hootsuite, social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.

It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.

For this post, we will focus on how to use LinkedIn.

How to get started with social selling?

We’ve all been there. Someone is adding your on LinkedIn and 10 seconds later, you receive a templated message, asking to book 15 minutes in your calendar.

Here’s how it often looks:

I know, it’s gross

Now you have a better idea of what not to do, but how do you get started?

It’s actually simple, you need to follow a structured, 3-steps framework.

1. Content Creation

Creating content is at the core of social selling. Traditionally, it’s the job of marketing, but you cannot expect to be successful without sharing content.

And it’s actually a lot simpler than you think.

First, you have to pick your voice and make sure it fits with your target audience, or Ideal Customer Profile. For example, I chose to be direct and authentic, because it is how I am and a lot of decision-makers tend to appreciate these traits.

Once you’ve picked your voice, the best thing to do is to identify problems your prospects are trying to solve.

For example, if you’re selling an expense management software to consulting companies, a common problem your prospects are facing would be to get VAT invoices from airlines like Easyjet or Ryanair.

As soon as you understand the problems your prospects are trying to solve, you can either create or curate content, in the form of posts, checklists or any other format.

In our expense management software example, producing a 5-steps checklist post to show how to request an Easyjet or Ryanair invoice is a great content idea.

2. Network Building

As you start creating or curating content, an important step is to proactively build your network. 

You can create the best content in the world. If your network is composed of your colleagues and your friends, you won’t get far.

What I always recommend is to build an Ideal Customer Profile Matrix before connecting with strangers. It will help you build lists of potential customers, based on their job title and any other segmentation factor.

Once done, you can run a search with the corresponding criteria and invite people who fit with your ICP to connect.

This is what I call a soft connect. A semi-personalized invitation, that provides enough information to your prospect, without sounding too threatening or salesy.

3. Strategic Outreach

With your content creation ongoing and your network slowly growing, you are in a good position to start outreaching your prospects strategically.

And I insist on strategically.

The goal is not to put your prospects in an 18 touchpoint automated sequence. The goal here is to approach a prospect with relevance and creativity.

To do so, I recommend using a trigger. A trigger is an indication that a prospect may have a problem you can solve.

Take our expense management software. A startup hiring 30+ sales reps is a strong indication that expense management may become a burden for the organization.

And this kind of information is available publicly, through job boards.

With that in mind, you could approach a prospect, who is connected to you and send a LinkedIn voicemail.

Yes, you can send voicemails on LinkedIn. Just go on the mobile app, enter the message section, look for the person you want to contact and hit the microphone icon to record a 60 seconds message.

Wrapping things up

If you follow this framework, you’ll be able to provide value and start generating attention and traffic to your LinkedIn profile. Start by creating or curating content that reflects your personality, build your network proactively and outreach prospects strategically, using triggers,

When you do that, you are both relevant and different. And this is why social selling is so powerful.

It positions you as a resource for your prospects, not another pushy sales rep.

Before you go...

Getting started with social selling on LinkedIn can be overwhelming and challenging. If you can’t wrap your head around a clear strategy, you can book a free consultation.

And, whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you crush your sales targets:

1. Grab a free copy of my Ultimate LinkedIn Outreach Sequence

Find out how to get a 55% answer rate and 15% booking rate, using Thibaut’s proven strategies. Grab it below.

2. Learn how to build your Sales Development Success Plan

If you keep failing at prospecting, I’ve built a free online training to build your success plan. You can signup here.

3. Work with me privately

If you’d like to work directly with me to take over the leaderboard, just book a call here. Tell me a little about what you’re selling and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details!

About the Author

My name is Thibaut Souyris. I’m the CEO & Founder of SalesLabs. I train and coach B2B sales teams to start more conversations.

I am the Co-host of The B2B Sales Podcast and I’m regularly invited to speak at events with Hubspot, Pipedrive or Techstars.

You can read and hear my opinion and ideas on various podcasts and blogs, including Sales Hacker, G2 and Demodesk.

I have helped 100+ SDRs and BDRs build cold outreach sequences and I work with companies like Comtravo, Homelike or Styla.

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