More About This Episode
Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
There’s a way to reach out to potential customers on LinkedIn, and there’s a way not to. Venveo’s Ashley Stevenson and Zach Williams talk about the platform and strategies for outreach so that you can make authentic connections and build your building materials business.
Building a Business on LinkedIn
Ashley Stevenson is our go-to expert on all things social media at Venveo. She supports our internal team and our clients while keeping up with all of the exciting industry trends and conversations happening online. Zach brought Ashley back on the podcast this week to pick her brain more about LinkedIn before our upcoming Social Media Beginner Bootcamp (which you can sign up for now).
“LinkedIn is an area where you can see good results. And we see good results for our clients, but you've got to have the right strategy,” says Zach.
Like any other social media platform or online application, LinkedIn comes with a learning curve, so coming up with an effective strategy can be a challenge. “There are many different tools, but you can also use them wrong,” says Ashley.
So what kind of tool is LinkedIn? Ashley explains that initially it was created and used with a specific purpose. “Everyone was really gravitating to the platform because they were trying to build their own professional resume. They were trying to build themselves up from a professional perspective,” says Ashley. Today, LinkedIn has grown and offers a publishing platform, groups and business pages to help sales and marketing professionals everywhere grow their audience and brand.
But if you want to reach out to potential clients, partners or team members, Ashley explains that it’s important to remember why everyone is on the platform — to build their professional career. “Number one, instead of coming to someone and sending them a message, saying, ‘Hey, I sell this, and I want to sell it to you,’ the proposition really needs to be how that tool or how that thing you sell can help them be better at what they do,” she explains.
Before you jump in and start sending messages, Ashley suggests having a few things in place first.
How to Create a Successful LinkedIn Outreach Strategy
LinkedIn can play a powerful role in your professional career or your company’s brand, but like everything with marketing, a strategy is key — and so is getting your profile up-to-date.
“If you just start messaging people and your profile is ghosted and non-existent, void of all information and details about you, the likelihood of you actually securing a sale is pretty low,” says Ashley. “Getting your profile in the best shape possible and building up those recommendations and having content of your own, is definitely going to be crucial.”
Ashley talked through a few ways to build out your LinkedIn profile so that visitors get a clearer idea of who you are and what you’re about. (If you sign up for our upcoming Social Media Beginner Bootcamp, we’ll walk through this process together!)
Include Relevant Work History: “Have some work history that is relevant. A lot of people, when they start working for a company, if they're in sales, they will create a LinkedIn account, and they'll make it specifically for sales, and they won't put any of their past history on there,” says Ashley.
Tell An Authentic Story: “Your activities on LinkedIn need to fit what your skillset and what your market is for. So keeping things in your profile picture, like nightlife, behind you,” says Ashley. “So just setting expectations, making those clear, making sure that you have more than one work experience, besides the one company that you're working with at that time.”
Dive Into Groups: LinkedIn Groups offer a great way for sales and marketing professionals in the building materials industry to connect and grow their business. “Making connections in groups, following groups that make sense — those are always really great too because you might find someone who's in the shared group with you, and then they see that you have something in common,” says Ashley.
Once your profile is more fleshed out, you can start thinking about outreach, but Ashley suggests an intentional approach to messaging others. “As an example, you want to reach out to architects in New York, it could be something like waterproofing or it could be you are looking for some type of specific flooring,” says Ashley. “If there is an architect in this area who has a concern or an issue here, let's come up with, "Hi, my name is... I work with a lot of... I think it'd be great for us to..." And then move on from there. And then I think you keep it short and sweet.”
Ashley emphasizes having a goal or call-to-action in mind to help solidify your strategy and make a stronger connection. “If you have any blogs, I think about the end in mind and what can I give to someone that I can put in their hand, that takes them past the actual LinkedIn experience,” Ashley says. Maybe you have a training or webinar, or can send someone samples, but keeping the conversation moving forward and off of LinkedIn adds to the experience.
“You're more likely to see actual results when you have a specific desired goal, which is the event, the registration, the sale, the solution you provided and pulling all of those in together,” she says.
Tips For Doing It Right
It’s important to remember that LinkedIn isn’t just about your work experience, but also about the conversations you’re having. Dharmesh Shah, the founder and CTO of HubSpot, is a great example of how to do LinkedIn right.
“He shares a lot of information about culture, about the team, about the community, but also about platforms in general, how the landscape is changing. He also engages a lot within his own content when people ask questions and he responds back really well,” says Ashley.
“I think it really is just having a conversation and creating a space where other individuals who have like-minded goals and ideas can come together, and they can consume your content, but then they can interact and meet other individuals who also share the same feelings, the same feedback,” says Ashley. “So, it almost reminds me of a networking event within one post.”
LinkedIn gives everyone the opportunity to create these networking opportunities, whether you share articles from your blog, comment in Groups or create content on LinkedIn own’s publishing platform.
“So, it is not just the messaging. It is also the building of that thought leadership opportunity, where you are creating posts, that individuals can participate in and that you also actively participate in the platform,” says Ashley.
Want Even More Insight?
If your profile is set up but you’re not sure where to jump into conversations, Ashley suggests that you just “start posting.”
“Share your own opinion,” she says. “I know sometimes people get scared about putting a target on their back and are like, ‘Well, what if someone doesn't agree with me?’ But what if they do?”
LinkedIn is one of the longest-standing social media platforms for sales and marketing professionals, and it’s often the most overlooked. But LinkedIn offers a huge opportunity to building materials companies if you know how to wield this powerful tool appropriately.
And you can learn all about how to leverage this tool (and others) in our upcoming Social Media Beginner Bootcamp. Check out venveo.com/social to sign up!