A Scrappy Guide to Mastering LinkedIn for Sales Professionals

By: James Korte, BlueStar

Only 1% of LinkedIn users actively share content each month. That small group netted over 9 billion (!) impressions of their posts in 2019.

30 million users log in every day, and the network boasts over 830 million users globally.

An enormous opportunity exists to gain attention for yourself and your company by joining that 1% and sharing regularly to your LinkedIn feed—both personally, and via company profiles.

What NOT To Do

  • Don’t immediately invade the Direct Messages
  • Don’t post exclusively about things related to your company
  • Don’t expect an immediate or directly measurable result – and don’t quit

Designing a Content Strategy
The advice here is sophisticated in its simplicity. A content strategy is about finding the intersection of your expertise or access to information and what your audience truly cares about.

This is the hardest part. The good news is, I’m not asking you to etch your strategy into stone. If, after building a relevant audience and posting regularly for a couple of quarters you aren’t seeing glimpses of positive qualitative feedback? You can adjust your content strategy on the fly until you find a sweet spot.

The Nuts and Bolts
A content strategy may have a number of content pillars or themes contained within it. It should also have a variety of content types that will result from executing on these pillars.

What you create doesn’t need to be complex or take weeks to produce—but often, a combination of long-form (podcasts, reports, or articles like this one) and short-form or “snackable” content (such as infographics, short video clips, memes, stylized quotes, audio clips, and text posts) is a recipe for success.

People consume content differently based on their personality, their job role, their age, and several other factors, so giving them a variety of content types is a good idea. You may find over time that as a whole, your audience seems to favor 1 or 2 of your content lengths or formats—don’t be scared to double down on what is working.

Be Deliberate About Building an Audience
This is the most tactical and easy to achieve advice in this article. If you follow these steps, you will build a group of connections who look like your ideal customers. Whether you turn those connections into an audience will be determined by the quality of your execution and your consistency.

Step 1
Create a list of companies that could be your customers based on their industry, geography, size, or whatever criteria make sense for your business. This will likely be a manual process unless you have access to a tool like ZoomInfo or Dun & Bradstreet. There isn’t a right size for this list.

Step 2
Every day, set aside some amount of time to search for these companies on LinkedIn. Go to their Company Page, and then go to their People tab.

When choosing who to connect with, it’s worth analyzing how active they are on the network. After all, if someone isn’t somewhat active on LinkedIn, they aren’t going to have much value as part of your audience.

To get an idea about this, click on a person’s name to visit their profile, and scroll down to the Activity section. Here, you see if they are posting to their account (which as we’ve mentioned, only 1% of users are doing regularly). The better place for a true idea of how active an individual is on LinkedIn is in the Show All Activity area (see below) where you can see comments, shares, and other “non-sharing” activities. Where possible, add people to your network who are regularly contributing to conversations.

Step 3
Search using keywords to find the people who fit your customer profile most closely. Example: operations, vice president, information technology (or whatever is relevant to your product or service).
Add a handful of people from each company—again, there is no right number here, but I would suggest sending requests to at least five people per company. This is how, over time, you’ll build an audience of relevant people that you’ll create content for.

Pro Tip:
If you want to optimize the acceptance rate of your connection requests, add a note along with your request. Assure these potential new connections that you’re not planning to send them a sales pitch, and let them know what they can expect from your feed if they accept your request.

What To Do to Accelerate Success

  • Laser focus on what matters to your audience
  • Publish regularly & be patient
  • Be observant of trends
  • Tell the full story in the feed—don’t ask for a click
  • Follow & engage with influential industry personalities
  • Include a few hashtags
  • Optimize your profile