Time to read: 3 minutes. Sharing valuable content on LinkedIn—wondering where the sales leads are? Don’t feel bad. Most sellers are in the same position. A majority are sharing-and-sharing-and-sharing only to earn likes and shares. Yes, a good content marketing strategy includes sharing videos, white papers, articles and other helpful tidbits. However, constantly feeding … staying in front of customers is not an effective content marketing / social selling strategy.
Generating leads takes more. Enticing clients you’re nurturing to contact you takes more than showing up with knowledge they already have. This is a mediocre marketing strategy—not an effective LinkedIn social selling strategy.
Here’s why most sellers fail to spark leads when sharing content—and what to do instead when nurturing leads on LinkedIn.
Sharing knowledge in a LinkedIn post or update is passive. In most cases, it cannot compare to having lunch with—or speaking on the phone with—your customer or prospect. It is relatively impersonal—one-to-many. There’s nothing personal about it to your buyer.
I’m not saying sharing articles, wisdom, videos or other content cannot help you. It can. However, “staying on the customers’ online radar screen” does not work.
Consider everything interpersonal communications genius Dale Carnegie taught us about becoming known, liked and trusted. There is one practice that ALWAYS wins:
Proving you actually care about the other person. Demonstrating interest. Not saying you have interest, proving it.
You cannot fake empathy. Thus, you cannot prove you care by sharing content over-and-over.
Proving you care about a customer takes … well … proof. You cannot communicate sincere interest or empathy without proving you give a darn. Sharing content doesn’t offer such proof.
The world is awash with with online articles and videos that aren’t worth a nickel. The last thing your customer needs is another article to read. Don’t you think? Seriously. I’m talking about content that:
Consider your own experience. When is the last time you discovered new knowledge about selling? Likewise, how much of what you’re sharing with prospects is the same—information they already know?
Our buyers are smart. But we must be smarter. We must show them that we know more about their problem or challenge than they do.
Instead, offer something new to them—information that challenges current thinking. Knowledge they can act on—not just “like.” That means you’ve got to be provocative.
Today’s most successful content marketers and digital sellers take risks. They go out on a limb. They’re provocative. They “tell truths” other sellers are afraid to discuss. They warn potential customers.
Think about it, right now. What can you share with prospects that, in the past, you would not share? Are there taboo issues customers will eventually become aware of? Are there dirty little secrets about what you sell or unscrupulous sellers you compete with?
Your customers will find this information online. Why not tell them yourself?
Instead of telling customers what to do or giving tips in ways that don’t rock the boat, be bold. Prove you are trustworthy by blowing a whistle.
Warn clients. Steer them clear of dangers they may not know about—or suspect may exist. This “warning content” is the kind of advice that provokes customers, naturally. It gets them thinking, “hey—I’d love to get more of this kind of insightful stuff.”
It helps your content become action-oriented.
Let’s assume the information you share is new and thought-provoking. But is it actionable? Is it urgent enough to make the prospect think, “where can I get more insights like this?” or “what exactly does he/she mean by that?”
Make sure your words spark their curiosity. Make sure your answers, tips or short-cuts spark more questions in the minds of prospects.
Ask yourself, does my content spark an urge in the customer—leading them to take action? Are your words making the buyer want to consume more content?
After reading will they have an uncontrollable urge to talk to you?
If not you’re like 95% of sales reps using a failing LinkedIn content marketing strategy. You’re re-broadcasting whatever knowledge comes your way regardless of it’s ability to serve you and your buyer.
You’re practicing a failing (yet popular) technique: Staying in front of your customer. Hoping they remember you when the time is right.
The most persuasive online content comes from people who are closest to customers and who speak plainly. They say it with conviction… they really “own” it.
No marketing talk, just plain common sense, practical language. I’m talking about blogs and videos that spark customers’ curiosity—provoke requests for demos, conversation or more content.
Effective lead nurturing on LinkedIn is all about posting and sharing in ways that are remarkable, bold, “you.”
Most marketers are not close enough to buyers to speak to prospects in real, concrete, no-nonsense terms. Sales reps are in a better position to create (or re-shape) content to attract prospects and compel them to act. To “own” their words.
The most successful reps I’m working with DO work with their marketing teams. However, they strip out the fluff—adverbs and adjectives. This helps them avoid sounding like their competitors online—like a marketing brochure. Instead, they give practical advice from someone who cares.
One of my sales rep students wrote a very effective email to prospects saying, “Whether you discover the details about this new regulation from your current vendor or from me it’s important to know—and act on.”
Make sure you “own” your words and the knowledge you share.
Want to earn face-time with more new business prospects? Effective lead nurturing on LinkedIn takes more than staying in front of them. You must prove you’re worth talking to. Fast.
Being helpful to leads you’re nurturing (and enticing them to contact you) takes more than showing up with knowledge they already have. This is a mediocre marketing strategy—not an effective LinkedIn social selling strategy.
When you share videos, white papers, articles and other helpful tidbits push yourself. Reach beyond likes and shares. Make sure what you say is new. Be critical, bold, provocative. Share knowledge that is useful and, most of all, actionable.
After all, new prospects have no incentive to talk with us—no experience that tells them it’s worth it. Investing time in what we share or post is a risk to them! That’s why it’s critical to give leads you are nurturing a reason to want to talk to you … to attract them to the idea of talking with you.
Remember, being known, liked and trusted is the outcome of a successful strategy—not the strategy itself! To suggest you use social media to be known, liked and trusted is disingenuous social media “guru” blather.
Share content with an eye toward its usefulness and ability to provoke response from leads. Good luck!
Photo credit: Adam Newulm
Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe. Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.