updated January 2022
One of the biggest mistakes that salespeople make when sharing content on social media – especially LinkedIn – is that they only talk about their company or what they are selling.
At first blush this makes sense, but translate it to an offline experience:
What do you think of salespeople who only talk about their company and give you a sales pitch every time you see them? At best you try to avoid them, and at worst you are actively annoyed by them.
Should you share information about what you are selling on LinkedIn? Sure, but sparingly. Mix it up with other content.
Topics that Engage Your Professional Audience
You want to share information that helps you engage with your prospective customers as people. Then, when you have positioned yourself as a trusted source of information, you can provide insights about the challenges that your company solves. That’s how you can become a Sales Sherpa™.
To make this easier, I share the idea of Engagement Themes when I talk about sharing content on LinkedIn. Most of us aren’t marketers that can spend hours a day on LinkedIn, so it helps to have a system that focuses how we show up.
These Engagement Themes are the main topics that you will post, comment, and engage with on LinkedIn. There are so many conversations, you can’t expect to be in all of them. But when you focus you create two very important effects:
- You become known as someone who is interested/informed about those topics. It makes it easier for others to know what you are working on and can help them with.
- It saves you time and attention. If you know what you do want to engage with, it’s easier to not engage with conversations that aren’t relevant.
At most you want to have 5 Engagement Themes. A good breakdown can be:
- Professional Topic #1: talk about a main solution or focus area of your work
- Professional Topic #2: talk about a main solution or focus area of your work
- Industry/Field Topic: a trend or hot area that’s relevant to your professional peers, like digital transformation, management, and so forth
- General Work Topic: an theme beyond your specific job, such as work/life balance, diversity, remote work
- Profersonal Topic: an area of your personal life that you are comfortable sharing in the professional sphere (hobby, non-profit, family, etc.)
Start with 3 Engagement Themes
Five themes might seem like a lot. If you are just diving in, or if you really want to get focused and effective, starting with three themes can be good. Here’s how to break that down.
You can pick these three themes, and then post on each of these once a week. That’s 3 posts a week, 12 posts a month, 144 posts a year. You’ll be good to go with only a minimal time outlay.
1. A Specific Topic in Your Industry Relevant to Your Customers
Branch out beyond your company to your industry at large. The goal is to plant a flag in the minds of your prospects and customers as the expert in this area.
Pick a topic within your industry that is a hot button for the people you work with. Focus your sharing around that subject as much as possible.
The more specific you are, the easier it is for people to remember. It’s much easier for your audience to extrapolate from specific to general than the other way around. In other words, they’re more likely to think you are a logistics expert if you consistently and regularly talk about the effects of driverless vehicles on trucking than if you post about topics from all over the logistics world.
Other examples of specific topics:
- If you are in SaaS software sales: data security, AI and its impact, or integration challenges.
- If you sell office technology: the Internet of Things, cloud storage, or remote working.
- When you sell financial services: the impact of outside legislation, the effect of taxes, robo-investors.
- For marketing sales professionals: customer privacy (GDPR), lead generation, or SEO algorithms.
2. A Professional Topic Outside Your Industry
Don’t be boring and repetitive. When you only post about your company, what you’re selling, or your industry, you come across as a one-trick pony. You aren’t a one-dimensional person, but it’s hard to share that on your profile and activity feed. It can be powerful to share content about a topic that is relevant to the world of work, but isn’t directly related to what you sell. This has two beneficial effects.
First, it shows that you have some depth as an individual. As the selling situations that salespeople find themselves in become more and more complex, it’s important to demonstrate that you are more than a blank cipher. Demonstrating expertise in one area leads buyers to believe that you have expertise in others.
Secondly, you will find prospects and customers that have an interest in the same area. You can create a bridge between the two of you, using that topic as something to talk about. And since it is still work-related, it’s more relevant in a professional context than bonding over a favorite sports team.
There are a host of topics that you could post about. The key is to choose something that resonates with you. A few examples include:
- The changing theories of work/life balance.
- What business applications of AI (including in the sales process) will make an impact.
- How behavioral economics and productivity hacks can help in the office.
- The best ways to encourage STEM education in under-represented communities.
- Where Amazon is going to put their second headquarters.
3. The People in Your Business Life
At its core, sales is a person-to-person endeavor. The more that you can humanize yourself, the more effective you can be. One of the fastest ways that you can humanize yourself is through photographs of you and the people that you interact with in the offline world.
Photos are a powerful way to share visual information on LinkedIn. Huge portions of our brain are designed to process and decipher images. That’s why it’s easier to remember someone’s face than remember their name. There’s the added benefit that the LinkedIn newsfeed algorithm favors visual content so it will spread faster.
You don’t need to turn your LinkedIn feed into a Facebook or Instagram feed, but a consistent stream of photos is an important part of establishing your brand. You can share:
- Visits to an existing customer. Snap a photo together in their office. Or even take a picture of yourself in front of the office (with the logo in the background).
- When you attend a conference, trade show, or other industry event, be sure to take photos of you with other participants.
- Your internal meetings, everything from trainings to awards banquets. Grab group photos of your team and share with your network.