The 3rd blog in NetApp's social selling series for our partners. Learn effective LinkedIn selling.

In this third blog post in our series on social selling, I want to talk about the question that vexes people most about using LinkedIn or any other social environment you are using for business—what to post or share. It’s a decision that generates existential angst for some people: Will anyone read it? Does anyone even care? If you remember what we covered earlier in this series, the whole process is easier to master than you may think.

 

In the first blog post, we talked about how social selling is about developing meaningful relationships with potential customers using social media. In the second post, we talked about your minimum viable profile, and how to show up on LinkedIn as someone who other people would want to do business with. Both of those concepts matter when you’re considering what to share on LinkedIn. 

 

To achieve your social selling goals, you want to share content that means something to you AND that has relevance to the people you want to connect with. Finding that balance is where some people get angsty. To unpack the nuances, I turned again to Rebecca Mayville, Director of Social Programs at Mercer MacKay Digital Storytelling. 

 

Focus on what’s relevant to your partners and customers

 

Mayville says the most common misconception about sharing content is that people think they need to focus on promoting what they offer. In fact, that’s more likely to make people tune out because people don’t go to LinkedIn looking for sales pitches.

 

 “Instead, I encourage people to think about the famous Maya Angelou quote: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,’” Mayville says. “You want to share things that will make people remember you as someone who understands them.”

 

In the same way we should tailor our LinkedIn profiles, we need to tailor what we share for the people whose attention we want to attract. As a channel manager or field sales rep, you know what challenges your customers face because you talk to them every day. You understand market dynamics because you read the industry news. Why not be the person to share these insights with your network? 

 

Become recognized as someone who understands

 

Being recognized as someone who shares relevant and interesting things is at the heart of how social selling works. “When you share posts and articles on topics that matter to them, people are more likely to engage,” explains Mayville. “It might be a ‘like,’ or it could be a comment that sparks a conversation—it all means someone is more likely to think of you when they have a problem that you can solve.”

 

What does that look like when you sit down at the keyboard to compose something? “When you come across an interesting article, save the link,” Mayville suggests. “When you post it, tell people why you found it valuable or why you think it’s worth their time to read. That shows people you’re thinking about things from their point of view.”

 

Likewise, if you have a thoughtful observation, take a minute to write it down. It doesn’t need to be the next great literary novel—it just needs to offer potential value to the person reading it and reflect your personality. 

 

Don’t overthink it, but don’t overdo it

 

You also don’t need to overdo it, or you run the risk of generating what I call “social spam.” In practice, you don’t need to share every single thing that crosses your desk. Your opportunity on LinkedIn is to share things that make sense coming from you because they’re connected to your expertise or interests.

 

More than any other piece of advice, there’s one additional element that I think is critical. This whole endeavour is meant to be social. Just like other social settings, nothing is perfect, so just get out there and do something—experiment and learn. If you apply the same social graces online as you would face-to-face, you have nothing to lose. 

 

For more resources, check out the page dedicated to all of our social selling resources on the Partner Hub.

 

Chris Lamborn

Chris Lamborn joined NetApp in November 2015 & is currently Head of WW Partner GTM and Programs. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s Global Channel go-to-market strategy and the supporting programs and investments. NetApp’s Channel Partner eco-system forms the foundation of the business, supporting and contributing over 75% of the company’s revenue.

Chris is a respected leader with extensive experience working with global partners and proven success in partnering to deliver incremental revenue and profitability. His detailed understanding of the multiple Partner business practices and experience of working with operations, marketing, finance across the world ensures predictable, relevant and profitable business partnerships.

Prior to NetApp, Chris held distribution leadership positions at Brocade, Avaya and Nortel and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kingston University in the UK and he moved to permanently to California in 2016.

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