THE INC. LIFE

Want To Raise And Enhance Your Social Presence? LinkedIn Suggests Authenticity

It’s not an overnight process, but one that requires research, social skills, and regular interaction

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BY Tricia V. Morente - 05 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

There’s no doubting the fact that today is the era of the empowered consumer. Always on the go and with access to multiple channels of information, today’s consumers get what they want, when they want it, and where they want it.

They’re very proactive consumers, too, with most actively using social media to research and review products and solutions before making purchasing decisions.

For companies looking to be relevant in the mind of these consumers, the importance of maintaining a strong presence in the social space has never been more pronounced. According to Melissa Murray Bailey, LinkedIn sales solutions senior director for Asia Pacific, “while it’s too soon to write off traditional media channels, social channels have created the opportunity for brands and sales teams to pick up conversations they’ve left off during their initial marketing outreach. Your ability to sustain this online engagement can help make you a credible touchpoint for specific needs and eventually lead to a business deal.”

With the rise of social and shifting control and power from seller to buyer, Bailey points out that businesses need to go beyond liking posts and posting random updates about their products or services. “They need to add value and build authentic relationships online in order to provide customer value,” she says.

Bailey shares three ways to do this:

1. Do your research

Staying relevant entails, first and foremost, an intimate understanding of your target audience. “Establish your ideal customer profile—this will let your team build a strategy for targeting, understanding, and engaging the consumer. Once you understand their pain points enough, you’ll be able to offer solutions that are valuable,” says Bailey.

She relates that, at LinkedIn, “data empowers us to better understand and analyze our customers and their touchpoints. The data composition of an ideal profile, for example, can be used to identify new prospects. Similarly, it makes content creation much easier, allowing social teams to design custom content that reach these prospects specifically.”

2. Practice patience

Doing business online is not quite different from offline operations, especially in as far as good etiquette and good relations are concerned. “Warm interactions are critical in building a community on social media. But only if they come across as genuine,” points out Bailey.

When it comes to establishing trusted relationships on social, it is important to be patient in developing relationships with individual users, says Bailey, adding that early interactions should be professional. “Avoid overly personal references. Once a rapport has been developed, then conversation can flow more naturally.”

3. Always add value

Interactions on social media are valuable in part because they can be less formal, which in turn helps build warm relationships. However, says Bailey, “it is also important to keep the conversation focused on how businesses can add value and solve problems for your prospects. Failing to do that can result in losing the prospect’s interest.”

According to Bailey, brands should set both short- and long-term objectives for their social strategy. “In the short-term, brands might aim to grow their follower base, increase online traffic or prompt an immediate call to action among followers. This can be addressed by sharing information from customer testimonials to highlight relatable pain points, which also allows you to position your product as a solution to a common gripe,” she advises.

As for more long-term goals, Bailey suggests businesses include an objective like “building a strong community of believers who can, in turn, even become brand ambassadors or advocates in the longer run.”