How to Optimize Your Social Sales Profile and Strategy

Optimize your social sales profile to develop and maintain powerful, beneficial relationships.

January 21, 2016


Social selling superstars create 45% more opportunities. Are you poised to become one? It takes presence and discipline—but it’s not as difficult as you might think. You don’t have to game the system, because the system is set up to help you become a better social seller. Let’s walk through what it takes to build a successful social sales profile.

Your Social Sales Profile: The Basics

Even if you have a good social sales profile, keeping it optimized on LinkedIn is an iterative process. You can kick-start or update your profile by doing the bare minimum: name, title, current role. But to take full advantage of its potential as an effective sales tool, hold your profile up to the below checklist:

  • Professional Headshot: Not sure what qualifies? Check out leaders in your space. Are they smiling in close-range headshots? Casual, or in suits? You’re 11 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a picture. Make sure it’s sharp—and please, avoid vacation photos or group shots!
  • Headline: More than just your job title, these 120 characters explain the value you offer, and to whom. Make sure a stranger can read yours and understand not only where you work and what position you hold, but what you’re an expert in. For example:
    • Mysterious Headline: Manager at Sun Industries
    • Descriptive Headline: Manager, Sun Industries | Natural Food Specialist | Product Developer
  • Summary: You get up to 2,000 characters—but don’t feel like you need to use them all. We recommend making your summary succinct but powerful. State your personal mission using rich and relevant keywords. Reiterate how you can help buyers. Spell out your contact details—for those who would prefer to chat via email. Identify the types of people you are looking to connect with. This is your story! Make it count.
  • Visual Content: Put two to five pieces of relevant visual content in your summary to catch your reader’s eye. We recommend this even if what you sell is complex, technical, abstract, or all three.
  • Current Experience: As a social seller, you’ve got to prove you can relate to your target audience. Relate your experience nugget to how you help your potential buyer. This is where you might want to mention a few case studies on how your services or products have impacted past clients. Keep things brief and simple—and include a sense of fun, if appropriate. People are drawn to those that enjoy their jobs.
  • Groups: Search for groups having conversations that matter to you. Then join them—and hop in. We’ll talk a lot more about this technique in posts to come.
  • Public Profile URL: Share and list your profile in a much more attractive way by customizing your profile’s URL. Click into the Edit Profile page and mouse over your existing profile URL, which is listed below your photo in a gray strip. Click the gear symbol that will take you to a new page. In the top right hand corner of the new page, you’ll see “Your public profile URL.” If you have a common name you may need to get a bit creative, but it will still be far superior to the scramble of numbers and letters in your default URL.

Primer: How to Use your Profile

Now that you’ve optimized your social sales profile, start making connections. Personalize your requests to connect—particularly if you’re engaging with someone brand new. If you can, rather than go in “cold,” as it were, find a 2nd or 3rd degree connection and request an introduction first (this engagement strategy has a five times higher success rate).

Don’t just connect with your target list of potential prospects or leads; connect with industry experts and existing clients, too. Follow your targets’ company and (counterintuitively) its competitors. Social selling tools are research tools. Focus on the individual, his challenges and motivations, but also on his industry and context!

Remember to balance quantity with connection quality: in other words, don’t connect with the whole world and ignore your connections. Connect with a number that allows you to cultivate: offer helpful links, note updates, plant seeds. Only then can you truly reap the harvest.