Trending This Week: For Social Selling, Interest Trumps Interactions

December 22, 2017

What is the goal when using LinkedIn for social selling?

Piling up likes and comments? Getting your posts re-shared to reach larger audiences? Adding new connections and expanding your network?

Sure, these are often helpful steps along the way (and mainstays of social media in general) but they do not represent a destination.

With social selling, the goals are the same as with any sales activity: grow business, attain customers, and drive revenue.

Social selling devotee Mark McInnes had a great post on LinkedIn Pulse earlier this month tackling a critical disconnect he often sees: too many sales pros on the platform are focusing on interactions rather than interest. And this might be the very reason they aren’t finding much success.

Why Interactions Don’t Equate to Interest

Let’s say you wrote up and shared a relatable anecdote on LinkedIn. It resonated with your network, scoring a bunch of likes, comments, and shares. That’s a good feeling, right? In fact, as McInnes notes in his piece, seeing our content get this kind of interaction actually triggers dopamine release in the brain, so the outcome makes us happy and the behavior is reinforced.

But while it might have generated positive vibes and bolstered your personal brand, it’s not necessarily conducive to sales results, and thus, cannot really be classified as social selling.

When assessing the impact of your efforts with this strategy, metrics such as likes, comments, and even impressions are not always informative. One thousand people seeing your post is pretty meaningless if zero of them are likely to have interest in your product or solution. As McInnes states, “it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality.”

So how can you alter your approach in order to move from a mindset of driving interactions to driving real interest?

Moving From Interactions to Interest with Social Selling

This transition is all about becoming more directed and purposeful. Recognize your desired outcome and then let it guide your actions.

This is especially important when it comes to building your network. As McInnes astutely points out, connecting with anybody and everybody is a bad strategy. Many sales pros on LinkedIn seem to have the misperception that it’s helpful to compile as many connections as possible, but in fact, this can really hamper the value of your network. Your feed will be inundated with irrelevant content and the insights you share will fall on deaf ears.

Be strategic, and establish connections when it makes sense.

Similarly, when posting on LinkedIn, don’t aim for widespread popularity or viral appeal. Include keywords and scenarios that will resonate specifically with the type of member likely to have an acute interest in what you’re selling. One interaction with a legitimate prospect is infinitely more valuable than 100 likes or 50 comments from people who merely found your post amusing and quickly moved on.

Popularity is not a prerequisite for social selling success.

Coming to grips with this reality will help a lot of salespeople still trying to find their way in this environment get over the hump.

For more advice on sharpening your social selling game, especially on LinkedIn, make sure you subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.