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Social selling: how to use LinkedIn as a personal brand

To strengthen our brand and that of our clients, we continue to educate ourselves. Our latest training focused on social selling, given by Mic Adams. Social selling is a lead generation strategy that focuses on building relationships with potential customers through social media.

In this article, we

  • answer the question: what is social selling?;
  • talk about the fundamentals of social selling on LinkedIn;
  • tell you how to apply changes to your LinkedIn profile;
  • and give extra tips to boost your social selling.

What is social selling?

“Social selling is the process of using social media to network, prospect, research, engage, collaborate, teach and close all with the purpose of attaining quota and increasing revenue.”

– Mic Adams

First of all, it’s important to note that social selling is not the same as social media marketing or advertising. Nor does it replace other ways of lead generation.

The rise of social media has made a big change in the landscape of sales. Cold calling doesn’t work like it used to. Customers have the internet at their fingertips, they became smarter and can now research different options before making a choice.

It’s all about building relationships. We need to connect with our customers on a more personal level. They want to know us, what we stand for, and see if we truly are experts in our fields. They need to be sure that we will solve their problem better than our competitors.

The fundamentals of social selling on LinkedIn

You can use the idea of social selling on all social media platforms, but LinkedIn is the platform for B2B sales. That also means there is a lot of competition, so you need to stand out.

Think of LinkedIn as Google

Just like Google, LinkedIn is a search engine but with a focus on personal profiles and businesses. This means keywords are important. Find keywords that belong to your business and use them well. Using the right keywords will make it easier for other people to find you or your business on LinkedIn.

Complete your profile

It might sound like a trivial question but is your profile complete? People see a LinkedIn profile as a quick business card. Don’t forget to fill in the ‘about me’ section. This is where you can sell yourself / your business and give your page a more personal touch. Besides, LinkedIn prefers profiles that are complete and have a lot of detail, allowing you to rank higher in the search results.

Share what you know

You are an expert in your field, right? Create content that proves your expertise. Show people that you know what you are talking about. Share some interesting insights. That way you create credibility for your brand and you can connect with your potential customers.

By being actively involved, whether it is through creating content, sharing your opinion on certain topics or participating in relevant groups, you can start building connections with like-minded people and potential customers.

Build relationships

Honesty & transparency are key! The best way to start building trust with your prospects is by sharing your perspective. We can all sense a dishonest offer, post or comment. Be open and honest on how you can help someone, and in which departments you cannot: make your brand more human.

You don’t have to try to build relationships with the head of a company. Connect with the other members of the staff. According to a study by LinkedIn, 73% of B2B buyers prefer referrals by someone they know. When the intro was made through someone in their professional network, that percentage increases to 87%.

Make the right connections

After building a relationship with someone, you can continue to develop your connection. Don’t feel afraid to ask for an introduction in the company they are a part of. You have engaged in conversations, shared ideas, participated in groups and became acquainted with their contacts. You showed your valuable insight and expertise. The staff member or connection knows your value by now, this is the perfect opportunity to ask if they could introduce you to your potential client. This is the perfect way to gain trust from your potential customer, since you are referred to them by someone they know.

Let’s update your profile

Let’s dedicate some time to updating your LinkedIn profile. As mentioned above, it will make your LinkedIn profile rank higher in the search results. Here are a few necessary elements of your profile that should be accurate and up-to-date.

Choose a professional profile picture

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. Therefore your profile picture should not be your latest holiday photo or a photo with your best friend. Even though LinkedIn has become more personal over the years, it’s still a B2B platform and a professional profile picture is preferred. Your profile picture is the first thing your prospect will see when you send them a connection invitation. And as you know, first impressions are everything.

Some quick tips to choose the right picture:

  • Make sure that your picture is recent and looks like you.
  • Wear a smart casual outfit. Something you would wear to an in-person meeting.
  • Choose a photo with just you in the picture, leave your pet, best friend or mother out of it.
  • Make a headshot, don’t choose a photo where your whole body is visible and your face hardly recognisable.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget to smile!

Make your headline SEO-proof

The description at the top of your page is another great way to make an impactful and lasting first impression. And added bonus: this line is also very useful for LinkedIn SEO.
On Luc’s profile we choose to focus on keywords related to his company and role within Dazzle. Have a look at Luc’s profile:

You could use the headline field to describe yourself, or you could simply list your role, and what you do. This way you give the potential client an overview of what you can offer. And it helps potential customers find you on LinkedIn. Don’t have inspiration? Simply browse your LinkedIn feed and you find tons of good examples.

Make your ‘about me’ stand out

The about page, also known as your summary on LinkedIn, is your personal elevator pitch. We all know how important it is to catch your potential clients’ attention from the get go.

In your ‘about me’ section you get the opportunity to tell your own story. Grab this chance to pitch you as a person, not your company. Focus on the experience and skills you’ve earned and show your values, maybe through a personal anecdote. Mix and match between the borders of personal and professional. Mention why you are passionate about what you do. Don’t forget to talk about how those skills make a difference to the people you work with.

Tip: always add your contact information in this section. This way you make it easy for people to reach out to you in case they are interested in connecting with you or make use of the services you are selling.


  • simply list your skills or the job titles you’ve had;
  • make it too personal, know your limits. No one is interested in the names of your dogs;
  • make it too long, people only have a limited attention span.

Here is an example of what we did with Luc’s profile.

We started with a more personal touch by talking about Luc’s years of experience in the field. This statement gives him authority in the field and is a great eyecatcher. We show off his leadership skills by mentioning his 3 successful ventures. By mentioning what these can provide for you, we show the expertise he has and how potential customers can benefit from these services/products.

Keep your experience and skills up to date

Need a quick win on LinkedIn? Try to identify your most relevant professional experience and skills. Add extra context and information to your summary. This way you can build more authority and credibility towards your potential client.

Showing the companies you’ve worked for and the skills you possess can help your B2B prospects realise like they are in great hands when they choose to buy from you.

Also don’t forget that here too, SEO keywords could be a game changer. So focus on the words that your ideal clients want to hear and note them with your professional experience and skills.

We added more information about Luc’s role in Dazzle. This way potential clients know what to expect from him and the company.

Measure your success

There is a tool to measure your social selling success. LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) is considered one of the most important measurement tools in your social selling toolbox. By updating your profile accordingly, your SSI rate will score higher.

This tool helps encourage engagement and allows you to establish social selling goals to work towards. Some studies have even shown that sales professionals with high SSI scores can realise 45% more sales opportunities than their counterparts who do not participate in social selling activities.

If we have a look at Luc’s SSI score, he scores extremely high compared to his peers in the industry. You can check your own social selling index on LinkedIn.

Extra tips to boost your social selling

Just like any other social media platform, LinkedIn has some quick wins that can boost your social selling. Below, we share three tips.

Tip #1: Keep the algorithm in mind

Just like every social media platform, LinkedIn has an algorithm that decides what shows up on your feed. While LinkedIn does not reveal how its algorithm works, through the years some insights have surfaced.

You must watch out for:

  • Spammy content: Poorly written content or an excessive use of outbound links is seen as spam. So are hashtags such as #like #follow
  • Low-quality content: Make sure your content is relevant and has value. If not, LinkedIn will not serve it to its audience.

What should you do to favour the algorithm?

  • Consistency: Posting on your feed in a consistent manner is important. Setting up a posting schedule is a great way of controlling your content.
  • Valuable content: The better your content, the more engagement (likes, comments, shares,…) and the more LinkedIn’s algorithm will push your content to people.
  • Hashtags: Hashtags are important to almost every algorithm on social media, although the rules may differ. For LinkedIn, your posts should not contain more than 3 to 7 hashtags. If you use more, this might indicate spam.

Tip #2: Use your banner space

If you can, don’t leave the banners space blank, this is a missed opportunity. You could use the banner to make a statement, add your contact details or simply use it for brand recognition. Although it’s not clickable, you should include text to a simple URL – for example, your website address.

Extra tip: if you use text, always set text across the top of your banner or on the right-hand side.

Tip #3: Engage your employees

It’s all about social proof. Encourage your employees to share your content. They are the perfect spokespersons. Nothing is more convincing than an employee who loves to work for their company.

Ready to boost your social selling?

So there you have it. To quickly recap: social selling is a system that helps you create a personal brand in order to appeal to your prospects, establish your authority and expand your LinkedIn network. It definitely does not replace other methods of lead generation, but it’s an interesting technique to build relationships with potential customers.

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