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Want to gain trust and build authentic relationships with your prospects? I have two words for you: Social selling.

According to LinkedIn research, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media.

Social selling is the art of using social networks in front of the right prospects to build relationships and ultimately close more deals.

Today, let’s talk about how laying out the foundation with social selling sets you up for success. Plus, actionable ways you can start implementing social selling into your routine right now.

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How You Can Establish Trust With Prospects Through Social Selling

You want to build trust with your prospects by laying out the foundation on your social media.

It’s a simple way to earn trust with your contacts before even meeting them.

Sprinkle social proof throughout your profile

Social proof is incredibly valuable. LinkedIn provides a powerful platform where your former colleagues and clients have the opportunity to endorse and leave reviews about you.

The numbers don’t lie. LinkedIn members with 5 or more skills listed get 17x more profile reviews.

By listing your skills, your connections have the possibility to endorse you. Then, your network will see your talent and skills through the lens of other connections.

Through recommendations, you can get reviews from people you’ve worked with. This is a good way to validate your experience and establish trust.

Show your expertise in your industry

There are plenty of ways to show your expertise. For instance, you could:

  • Publish thought leadership pieces and link them to your profile
  • Post articles about your industry
  • Share product updates, company updates/news

Stay top of mind with your prospects

Sales cycles can be long, especially in the enterprise space.

It’s important to stay top of mind and yet not be a pest. Ways to stay top of mind include:

  • Providing value
  • Liking or sharing a status update of your prospects
  • Providing an offer or a discount

4 Actionable Ways to Start Social Selling Right Now

Here are our favorite actionable ways to start social selling.

1. Establish your personal brand

When it comes to social selling, creating a personal brand is key.

Here are some tips for establishing your personal brand:

  • Update your headshot: Did you know that having a photo makes you seven times more likely to be found on LinkedIn?
  • Optimize your headline: Your headline is an opportunity to drive your profile visitors to action. Try filling in the blank: “[Action]ing to/for [outcome]”
  • Write an excellent LinkedIn summary: Take control of your narrative and show your experience. We put together our favorite examples to steal from here.
  • Provide relevant content: Include videos, blog posts, and presentations so a prospect can find out more about you and your company.

For more tips on making sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete and optimize, check out our guide: The Complete Guide to the Best LinkedIn Profile.

2. Do your research before reaching out to someone

There is nothing worse than getting an email that signals a clear lack of understanding of the who you are trying to reach.

Personalized emails receive nearly 50% higher open rates and nearly 22% higher reply rates.

The good news: We put together a guide that explains how to write effective LinkedIn InMail messages. You can also steal one of our four cold email templates that you can plug right in: How to write reply-worthy LinkedIn InMail.

3. Make connections that actually matter

Would you rather know 1,000 strangers or have 50 good, supportive friends?

Friends, obviously.

When making connections, don’t go the “spray and pray” route. It simply doesn’t work when you’re trying to build an authentic relationship.

It also won’t help you find the specific people you’re looking for.

To find the right connection at a specific company you can go to LinkedIn and search for that company and the position in quotes (“Yesware” “Customer Success Manager”).

Then, send a personalized connection request stating your intentions through the connection.

4. Keep tabs on your customers For future referrals

Your relationship with a prospect doesn’t end when they turn into a customer.

A smart practice is to nurture the relationship onward.

You can do this by:

  • Providing further value to your customer
  • Sharing status updates
  • Providing offers and discounts

Additional Resources:

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