In its simplest explanation, Social Selling enables businesses, sales and marketing professionals to use social platforms and tools to constantly communicate, engage and connect with customers throughout their buying journey. It also allows you to build relevance, rapport and relationships with the target market.
WHY LINKEDIN GROUPS?
Having an advantage to speak with a large targeted audience is a huge plus when creating a sales plan. Each LinkedIn group has its own population and an industry focus. Combining strategy and tactics while leveraging LinkedIn groups as a sales tool gives you a very good chance to create strong community voice and recognition.
I always looked at LinkedIn groups as an online networking opportunity. It is very similar to any of us going to a networking event that was found online or heard of from a peer or a partner.
Here is a comparison for you:
Let’s say you want to go to the IT networking event in the New York area. You have to go online to do a search, come up with a list of relevant events, select the most appropriate, attend it, network with 20 attendees, go home and follow up with the people that you think are the best prospects for your business.
With LinkedIn groups the process is very similar, but there are many more benefits. You have a higher advantage as you can network with every single member of the group; you can be very strategic and selective with the group type, members, demographics, and engagements you want to create.
This way you decrease the amount of networking events you need to attend but still create meaningful interactions with the same type of customers. However, the idea is not to eliminate a real life networking, rather to increase online target audience coverage and prospecting.
Now, let’s see how to start with LinkedIn groups.
4 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS USING LINKEDIN GROUPS
1. GROUP DISCUSSIONS
Starting a group discussion is the best way to get in front of the customers. It is a sure method to share your value with a group and get noticed by the people you want to attract.
There are two ways to start a discussion:
- Ask a question or make a statement
- Share an article, industry statistics or any other type of content that can create an engagement.
Your goal is to create as many engagements as possible, doing this will help you drive conversations with your prospects.
Here is a quick strategy for you:
- Identify a LinkedIn group you want to use for your prospecting
- Using the “Members” section find and analyze the buyer persona you want to engage
- Align your industry knowledge with the topics of your prospects’ interest
- Create content to attract group members to your discussion
- Share it in the group and directly with the people you want to develop a relationship
2. BUILDING UP YOUR GROUP INFLUENCE
Becoming a group influencer and building your reputation have lots of benefits. You have a higher exposure versus other group members while your message has a better acceptance rates.
When you have a certain influence in the group you can look towards developing relationships with the group owners. If you’ll do enough due diligence by interacting with group members and being visible to the group owners you have a very good chance of becoming an administrator. Thus increasing your reach and expert influence.
Tip: if you aim at becoming a group administrator, verify with the group owner that there is a chance. You don’t want to spend energy and time on something that will not bring the desired return. Send a note explaining your wish and state what is it that you are doing to establish yourself as a candidate to manage the community.
3. MINING GROUPS FOR OPPORTUNITIES
LinkedIn groups are perfect for finding targeted conversations. Members are asking questions, looking for vendors, giving their own opinions and reviewing solutions they currently use.
I highly recommend using the “Search” section for finding discussions that you want. You can simply use targeted keywords to bring up different conversations. Select most appropriate posts and start commenting on them. In addition, you can reply to people who’ve already made their contribution to a discussion. This way you grow user interaction and build connections with your prospects.
4. CONNECTING WITH MEMBERS
This is your main purpose for all the interactions and engagements you make with the social selling approach – it is to truly connect and build online relationships that convert to sales opportunities.
Using LinkedIn groups to connect with group members is very easy. Once you’ve made your contribution to the group, it is much easier for users to recognize you. You’ve replied to their questions, you’ve made yourself available to their needs and you’ve provided value to their busy lives. It is now just a matter of sending a personalized LinkedIn group invitation to connect.
After the connection request was accepted, continue to provide value and genuine help. This insures you stay updated with their life and brings you closer to uncovering business opportunities.
LinkedIn groups are a very powerful way to engage large amount of users in the same target market. When used strategically it can flourish multiple business opportunities and strategic alliances. Unfortunately, many professionals lose out on this approach when interacting on LinkedIn.