Why Sharing Content on LinkedIn Doesn't Work
Are you diligently sharing valuable content on LinkedIn — videos, whitepapers, articles and other helpful tidbits — wondering where the sales leads are? Don't feel bad. A majority of sellers are sharing-and-sharing-and-sharing only to earn likes and shares.
Because sharing content on LinkedIn to create sales is, for most of us, a fairy tale.
Staying in front of customers is important. However, it is not an effective social selling strategy.
Why Sharing Content Doesn't Work
The act of sharing knowledge via 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 it cannot help you. Not I! 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. You cannot fake empathy. And you certainly cannot create empathy 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
Your Content Isn't New
The world is awash 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:
- offers little if any new information
- agrees with current thinking
- is not actionable beyond a “like” or share
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 know more about their problem or challenge than they do. That means we must offer something new to them — information that challenges current thinking.
Knowledge they can act on —not just “like.” And that means we've got to be provocative.
Your Content Isn't Provocative
Today's most successful B-to-B marketers take risks. They go out on a limb. Sales reps who win more customers also take risks. They're provocative. They “tell truths” other sellers are afraid to discuss.
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? Be bold. Prove yourself to be trustworthy by blowing a whistle.
Warn clients. Steer them clear of dangers they may not know about — or suspect may exist. This is the kind of content 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.
Your Content Isn't Actionable
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?”
Do your words spark curiosity? Do your answers, tips or short-cuts spark more questions in the minds of prospects?
Does your content spark an urge in the customer — leading them to take action? Are your words making your buyer want to consume more content? Talk to you?
If not you're like 95 percent of sales reps using LinkedIn and social media. 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.
You Don't ‘Own’ Your Words
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.
Most marketers are not close enough to buyers to speak to them 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.
The most successful reps work with marketing teams to strip out the fluff — adverbs and adjectives that sound like a marketing brochure rather than 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.
Prove You're Worth It
Want to earn face-time with more prospects? It takes more than staying in front of them on social media. You must prove you're worth talking to. Fast.
Being helpful to buyers takes more than showing up with knowledge they already have. This is a mediocre marketing strategy — not an effective social selling strategy.
When you share videos, whitepapers, 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 customers a reason to want to talk to us ... to attract them to the idea of talking with us.
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.
Share content with an eye toward its usefulness and ability to provoke response. Good luck!