On January 25th, Ema Roloff of Naviant joined AMA Madison’s Craft Marketing chapter to share how to win over your audience by creating a social media strategy built on trust and authority.
In her presentation, Ema broke down the strategy that has driven her success in building an engaged audience on LinkedIn and why marketers should try it for themselves.
Why Social Selling?
In early 2020, Ema created “Digital Transformation Talks,” a YouTube series shared on LinkedIn. Each video features an interview with an industry expert covering various hot industry topics. The series was born out of the need to adapt her sales strategy with the changing times amid the pandemic. Video was far from a common selling tool in her industry. Still, Ema felt it could be an authentic way to translate her education-based selling approach from afar while making genuine connections along the way.
Ema explained that while the fundamentals of why people buy haven’t changed much over time, their approach to the buying process has evolved dramatically:
- 70% of buyers will fully define requirements for a prospective purchase before interacting with a sales person. (Sirius Decisions)
- 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make decisions. (IDC)
- 74% of buyers say they purchased from a seller that turned their vision into a clear path of execution (“Social Selling Mastery” by Jamie Shanks).
Social media gives us a cheap, relatively easy way to get our message out to our audience. It also allows us to craft our brand strategically. Ema emphasized that you need to let people know who you are and what you do as early in their buying process as possible. Sharing consistent, valuable content gives you authority in your industry so people trust you and your brand.
Make Your Brand Human
Giving your brand a face is critical because people like people, and people buy from people. The more you can bring a human experience forward that can be synonymous with your brand, the more effective you’re going to be.
Finally, Ema provided a callback to the book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Varnegie, which despite being published over 75 years ago, remains a best seller with a message that still resonates today. She then broke down six of the book’s key principles and explained how to apply them to our social strategy for lasting results.
The 6 Principles: Remixed to Today’s Social Landscape
1. Show Genuine Interest in Others
The best way to pursue this on LinkedIn is to interact with the content others are sharing. It doesn’t have to be complicated, Ema says. She suggests:
- Comment on others’ posts
- Read their newsletters
- Share their articles
- Reply to other commenters
In these efforts, Ema recommends adding your takeaways to spark conversations with others, and to tag the people whose content you’re interacting with.This simple measure shows others that you’re interested in them and can help you build genuine relationships over time. Plus, this participation can help you discover your social voice.
Plan for Consistency
In these early pursuits, Ema explained that it’s important to form a consistent posting schedule. Early on, she implemented a weekly scheduled “podcast Monday” post. The process was simple: Each Sunday as she folded laundry, she would listen to an industry-related podcast and note her thoughts. The next morning at 10 AM, she created a post sharing her key takeaways and tagged the podcast and its relevant figures. This strategy allowed her to connect with numerous people with networks of their own, and some even agreed to participate in her video series.
To make your profile a welcoming place, Ema suggests:
- Adding a professional, friendly profile photo
- Including a cover photo that encapsulates your mission
- Using creator mode to optimize your profile and add a cover video for an extra personal touch
3. Say My Name
Everyone loves the sound of their own name. Ema recommends tagging people’s names whenever you respond to them or want to engage with them. Even if someone simply comments a few emojis on one of your posts, take that as an opportunity to thank them for interacting and commenting. By responding to each person, you’re letting them know that you recognize and appreciate their support. As an added bonus, tagging people in posts gives you exposure to their networks.
Eventually, as you consistently interact with your growing network, people will appreciate you and your content and begin reciprocating your efforts.
4. Be a Good Listener
Truly listening to people and allowing them to talk about themselves is critical. Ema emphasized the importance of encouraging people to share their viewpoints. Anything you can do to get people engaged with your content will pay off.
Through engaging with others through her video series, Ema has enjoyed many benefits, like it has allowed her to:
- Broaden her perspective and knowledge on her industry
- Hone in on her message and mission
- Expand her reach and network
- Build genuine, supportive relationships around the world
Ema suggests using LinkedIn polls to increase engagement and gather your audience’s thoughts. Polls focusing on topics from your industry can give you insights on what your following is most interested in. But you can also create off-topic polls for fun to engage with your audience on a more personal level.
5. Speak to Others’ Interest
As you’re experimenting with different types of content and exploring different subject niches, you’ll begin to hone in on what you enjoy the most and which best fit your brand. With time, you’ll also see what resonates best with your audience.
For Ema, this learning process even led her to trying out TikTok. It felt goofy at first, but she realized that this fun, friendly way of sharing her message was authentic to her. By showing her humor and personality, she was able to connect with her audience on a more personal level and gain their trust.
6. Make Them Feel Important
To build connections and strengthen existing ones, start compelling conversations with them. Let them know you’re thinking of them and see them as valuable. Ema suggests bringing them into relevant conversations in ways that feel natural. To find that natural balance, select people who have a stake in the topic at hand and engage them by tagging them with a question. You can tag multiple relevant people, too, which can allow you to be a “connector” between members of your audience. In Ema’s words, you can “connect friends with friends.”
Ema’s Bonus Tips for LinkedIn Success
Expect Fluctuating Results
Not every post is going to have an outstanding performance. Engagement will vary, and you can play around with content format strategy, the timing of your posts, your subject focus, and other tactics to see what works best for you. Know that every time you engage on LinkedIn, you’re working towards your goals.
Every Person Counts
You probably have an idea of who your target demographic is. But just because a viewer or commenter isn’t your ideal lead doesn’t diminish their value. Engagement is engagement. Plus, you never know which person you don’t see as a golden lead will show someone who’s actually your target a piece of your content.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Perfection
You don’t need the fanciest, most professional resources and setup to begin creating video content. Ema shared that her earliest videos were filmed on the floor of her daughter’s minimally lit closet using a webcam. Her setup evolved with time, but those early videos were the sparks that lit the flame. Some of these early videos still rank high in Google alongside the videos of big name companies with full marketing teams and huge reputations.
See You Online for February’s Craft Marketing
Craft Marketing invites you to its next event at 5:30 PM on February 22nd, 2022, where Greg Mischio of Winbound will offer a more dynamic, inclusive approach to marketing planning in his presentation “Revamping the Marketing Plan: Leaner, Meaner and More Effective.”
Kara Martin, Content Writer at Naviant, specializes in written B2B content, from case studies to blogs. She transforms complex technical information into compelling, data-driven content.