Social selling is part activity and part reputation. If you're writing insightful comments on your prospects' blogs, responding to their tweets, and liking their shared content, you've got the activity bit down pat. But if your LinkedIn profile is three jobs behind and features a picture of you from prom, you can't really call yourself a social seller.

If you'd like to start a social selling initiative in earnest, you should begin by revamping your LinkedIn profile. Just as you're finding prospects on LinkedIn and learning more about them, they're looking at your profile to judge if they'd like to do business with you. Don't ruin great messaging and positive interactions with an outdated, sparse, or mistake-riddled LinkedIn profile.

So what should your LinkedIn profile look like? I put together an infographic that breaks down the ideal social selling LinkedIn profile, section by section. More of a visual learner? Skip straight to the infographic here.

In social selling, you want your LinkedIn profile to be about your buyer's achievements and how you enabled them, instead of about you and your achievements. Here's how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for prospects.

Download 37 Tips for Social Selling on LinkedIn

1. Add a value proposition to your headline.

Don't just write your title. Answer two questions: Who do you help and how do you help them? Craft your headline to be a mini value proposition packed with verbs and active language.

For example: I've helped 200+ B2B companies save over $2 million through outsourcing solutions.

2. Use a professional profile photo.

Profiles with pictures elicit a 40% InMail response rate. Strive for professional without being stiff. Choose a current, high-resolution photo that makes your buyer feel confident in trusting you with their business.

3. Include your contact information.

List your email address, phone number, Twitter handle, and blog or company website to make it easy for prospects to get in touch.

4. Add keywords to your summary.

Shoot for a summary of around three paragraphs with three or fewer sentences each. As you're writing, make sure to include keywords your buyers might search for. Here's how to break down your summary:

  • First paragraph: Reiterate your purpose from your headline
  • Second paragraph: Get more specific about your work, the projects you've taken on, results you've driven, and companies you've worked with. Elaborate on how you've achieved the mission statement set out in your header.
  • Third paragraph: Include a clear call-to-action that communicates why and how a buyer should get in touch with you.

For example:

I'm passionate about helping business leaders adopt strategic outsourcing to make their business and workforces healthier and more productive.

Through a customized company productivity assessment, I identify areas of opportunity where outsourcing could dramatically impact results. For example, I helped implement an outsourcing program at [Company name] that resulted in a 25% cost reduction and a 30% increase in productivity.

I'm dedicated to partnering with leaders to discover if and how outsourcing can benefit their businesses. Contact me anytime at emma@outsourcingsolutions.com, or call me at 555-123-4567.

5. Display visual content in your summary.

Display two to four pieces of visual content in your LinkedIn summary. Post eye-catching pieces that will be helpful to your buyer.

For example: You might add a blog post announcing your company's win of an industry award for "Most Satisfied Customers" and a case study from a big-name client.

6. Provide detail in your experience section.

This section most closely resembles a resume, but you should still keep your buyer in mind as you're filling it out. List your professional positions and titles and include a few sentences to summarize your role at each job.

It's also important to bullet three to five major job duties under each role's paragraph. Mention your quota attainment but keep the spotlight on the results you helped clients achieve along with the methods and tactics you used.

For example:

Sales Representative
Outsourcing Solutions
July 2013 - Present

I work with B2B executives to implement innovative outsourcing programs that drive results. While I've worked with companies of all sizes and verticals, my focus is on the manufacturing industry.

  • Help clients identify outsourcing opportunities
  • Work alongside the support team to ensure proper program implementation
  • Consistently achieve 100-150% of quota

7. List honors and awards you've received.

List any work-related awards you've won with a brief description.

For example: Rookie of the Year, 2018: I was named Outsourcing Solutions' rookie sales rep of the year for driving outstanding results for clients and my exceptional social selling presence.

8. Share articles and blog posts you've written.

Do you blog? Post any articles published on third-party sites in the publication section of your profile.

9. Add your degrees, online courses, and certifications.

Don't just write your formal degrees in the education section. Also, include relevant online courses or certifications you've completed.

1. Keep your profile up-to-date.

Don't forget to refresh your LinkedIn profile. If you recently received a promotion or gained a new skill or certification, make sure you update your profile with this new information.

2. Ask for a recommendation.

You can't write your own, but you can request them. Don't ask for a recommendation until you've worked with someone for at least six months.

And while a glowing review from your boss is great, one from a client is even better. Their testimony will drive up your credibility with other buyers and provide you with a valuable reference.

3. Customize your URL to www.linkedin.com/yourname.

Customize your URL to www.linkedin.com/yourname for easy searching, linking, and printing on business cards. If you have a common name, insert your middle initial or a number to set yourself apart.

4. Follow people in your industry.

Are you following leaders in your industry? Keep up with individuals who post thought-provoking content and follow topics that are relevant to you.

This will help you stay on top of industry trends, and it will give you talking points when you send your next InMail message to a prospect. Plus, the list of people, companies, and topics you follow can be added to the interest section of your profile.

5. Remove jargon from your profile.

Avoid using buzzwords or jargon in your profile. Not only do they tend to be overused, but they also make your profile more difficult to read.

Are you unsure if your profile is jargon-free? Take a look at these buzzword and jargon phrases salespeople should avoid.

LinkedIn for Business Development

1. Use LinkedIn for prospecting.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for prospecting. See who's commenting on your prospect's posts, and look at the people who have interacted with your posts. People who interact with your prospects and customers might be good fits for your product.

2. Join groups.

Show buyers you care about what they do by joining the groups you know they're in -- and engaging with those groups in regular, meaningful ways.

Look for groups related to your industry or area of expertise. Share content and interact with group members. It's a great way to build connections with new people.

3. Engage with others.

Did one of your connections post an interesting piece of content? Add a comment and start a discussion. This will strengthen your relationships and help you gain more visibility on LinkedIn. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely new connections will reach out to you.

4. Post on a regular basis.

Make sure you post regularly. This could be in the form of a status update or a LinkedIn article. Don't forget to share content (e.g., articles and videos) related to your industry. You can even include a call-to-action to attract people to a content download, eBook, or white paper from your company.

5. Send customized invitations to new connections.

Build your network with an eye to quantity and quality. Send customized invitations to anyone you've interacted with, either in person or online. It's alright to request someone you've never met, but make sure to personalize the invitation with a reason you'd like to connect that's relevant to them.

For example: "Hello, Paul. I also work in the outsourcing industry and have admired your work in the Denver area. I'd love to connect here. Thanks, Emma"

Click image to enlarge:

LinkedIn_profile_template

Perfecting your LinkedIn profile is crucial in the sales profession -- especially if you're a social seller. Invest time in yours and see if you're able to source more leads with your new-and-improved profile. To learn more about reaching prospects via social media, check out this guide to social selling next.

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Originally published Dec 14, 2018 5:51:00 PM, updated June 27 2019

Topics:

Social Selling on LinkedIn