While we’re on the topic of optimising…
How’s your LinkedIn personal and company pages looking?
Chances are, it’s not getting that much love. If it is, are you struggling with how to take it to the next level, while making sure you’re growing but not alienating potential customers?
How do you even build a genuine relationship anyway on LinkedIn? All you seem to see are sales pitches in DMs after some nondescript messages and ads from various brands.
Well that’s why we’re having Michelle J Raymond join us this week on the podcast!
One of the cornerstones of any B2B marketing strategy, yet there’s a few things all of us are guilty of neglecting on LinkedIn.
Tune in for this week’s episode as Michelle runs us through some helpful guiding mindsets as well as practical details on how to go about building brands your employees are proud of, and relationships that are genuine and help deliver bottom line impact.
Watch The Episode
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Ep 85 – Michelle J Raymond – Podcast[00:00:00]
George: welcome back to the B2B Playbook, listeners and viewers. [00:01:00] This week’s episode is with Michelle J. Raymond. She’s a globally recognized LinkedIn company, page expert, as well as in social selling. She helps founders with personal branding. She’s written two books on LinkedIn branding and hosts two podcasts.
But above all that, Michelle is an all round great human being and a genuine person. She’s a truly helpful expert and we believe that makes the cornerstone of any great business out there.
Kev: And as we dug into the details of LinkedIn pages and social selling on this episode, she shared with us a few key themes. Too many great points to cover, but we’ll just share the key themes here. First, nurture your relationships. That’s the biggest stumbling block in all this activity.
George: Kev, I also loved her quality over quantity mindset. That’s really how you should approach your LinkedIn activities. And Kev, she also said that it’s gonna take time, right? And we’ve experienced this personally. Give [00:02:00] yourself six to 12 months to start seeing some results because that’s how long it’s gonna take to actually build those relationships.
When you’re starting from the.
Kev: Yeah, that’s right. It’s just like any relationship that you’re trying to build, whether it’s a friendship, if you think about it day one, you’re probably not gonna be BFFs with the person that you’re talking to. , but look, over six, 12 months you can develop a much better relationship at a point where you trust each other and you are sharing a lot of helpful information and potentially recommendations going both ways that you trust. And I guess that leads into the final point, which is. She said that it’s not the algorithm that makes you successful on LinkedIn. It’s you, it’s your processes. It’s the relationships that you’re building and it’s your nurturing, again, that you’re putting in to build those relationships. So make sure the next time when you’re thinking about how hard it is on LinkedIn to get started or to grow, it’s about you.
You are in control of you and your processes and those [00:03:00] relationships that you’re building, and take some heart from that. All right, listeners, we hope you enjoyed this conversation with Michelle.
George: welcome back to the B2B Playbook. Listeners, as you know, we rarely have guests on our show. Instead, we select a few true experts who align with our view that B2B marketing is more about people, not platforms. Now, today our special guest is Michelle Raymond. Michelle is a globally recognized LinkedIn company, page expert, but that’s not all.
She’s also an expert in social selling. And helping founders with personal branding. She’s the author of not one, but two books on LinkedIn branding and the host of two podcasts, so you can be sure she’s an absolute weapon when it comes to all things LinkedIn. Wow. Michelle, you must be so busy. Thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show.
Michelle: When I just listened back to that, George, I was like, wow, I do all of that. But the one thing you left off was, I’m [00:04:00] actually, this is the only podcast that I listen to, so thank you for having me on the show. I’ve been on record several times to say that.
So thank you for having me.
George: Oh, we’re so happy to have you here. And hearing you say that makes us feel so special and so honored. Considering everything that you have to do, you manage to squeeze Kevin and I in there. We can’t thank you enough. Now, Michelle, I’m so excited to have you on here because I think that many marketers either haven’t quite grasped what social selling is and what it can do for their business.
So today I’d love to demystify social selling and really how it helps with b2b. . So Michelle, can we kick off with please, what is social selling and why is LinkedIn such a great place to do?
What is Social Selling? Why is LinkedIn Great For It?
Michelle: Look George, one of the things that I want people to understand is that social selling’s for brands just as much as it is for people. So quite often when we hear the word social selling, all we think of is build your personal brand and go out there and that’s where social selling [00:05:00] happens. Now, social selling is actually, for me, my definition is finding the right people.
Connecting with them, nurturing those relationships, staying top of mind so that when that buying opportunity arises on their side, then they reach out because you are the only person that they can think of, or you are the only brand that they can recall. And so for me, that’s where it covers that full spectrum.
So it’s not just posting content, it’s so much bigger than that. And it’s all about relationships, which you and I are absolutely adamant is a huge part of marketing. Why LinkedIn? For me, I work with B2B companies and it is the number one B2B platform. I go fishing weather Fisher. It’s to use your words, where the dream clients are, the decision makers, and for me it just keeps growing.
It keeps getting bigger, and it’s just an
amazing platform to be a part of.
George: Okay. I think that sets up the rest of this conversation wonderfully, Michelle, that is awesome. That’s such a great like high level view and I really want to dig into the details of [00:06:00] what social selling really looks like for brands. I wanna do that a little bit later because we also said that you’re a company pages expert and I just wanna understand with LinkedIn company, How does that fit in to that, the whole social selling sphere?
Building A Brand That Employees Are Proud Of
Michelle: Look for any listeners that are out there, you’re probably sitting there thinking, why would you bother with a LinkedIn company page? We know the reaches down the toilet. I’m not here to try and convince you otherwise. , but I want you to think about what it’s like for your company and your employees to have a brand that they’re proud of, to have a brand that actually opens doors for them.
In my experience when I was out as a B2B salesperson, it didn’t matter how good I was, the relationships I’d built if the brand behind me let everything down. So what we wanna do is create a place using the company page to bring everybody together. And I talk about a 360 degree community around your company page.
So not just your ideal customers. We wanna bring employees, maybe regulatory bodies, [00:07:00] competitors, complimentary services, and I want you to build an industry leading. So that, again, when those opportunities come up, the only company or brand that people can think of is
George: and listeners, this is why I really wanted to have Michelle on here, because I think she’s such a realist when it comes to this stuff. You’re gonna come across so many other vendors out there who are gonna promise you that if you. Go with their service that they’re gonna get you hundreds of likes on your LinkedIn post, on your personal brand, on your company page.
But that’s not the reality. That’s not really what helps sells your product either. And so I really love your realistic approach, Michelle it’s so refreshing. So can you perhaps tell us when it comes to LinkedIn pages and social. so our listeners have a, a good reason to go away and apply this to their own business.
What can it do for businesses?
What can LinkedIn Pages & Social Media Do For Businesses?
Michelle: Yeah, look it again. It is gonna. Amplify the voice of your employees. So we wanna build amazing personal brands on LinkedIn. We want an [00:08:00] amazing employee, an employer brand, and bring those together and use one to lift each other so you really get that synergy happening and that gives you better results than either of them working alone.
Now, for those of you who are thinking if we don’t get good reach, what’s the point, Michelle? I’ll give you a story of why the point is of building a company brand and how I got into it originally. So imagine George, when I first started out on LinkedIn around eight years ago, I started a new job and I built a, an amazing community around the beauty industry.
So I used to sell all the ingredients that you can’t pronounce on the back of shampoo bottles and things like that. And so I did that and I had about 5,000 followers at that time. But super niche, like absolutely super niche all around my personal brands. You know what happened? I changed jobs and the company that I worked for got left with nothing.
And in a world where we’ve seen so much turmoil and turnover and employees resigning and changing, and that’s never gonna stop having a [00:09:00] company brand and through your company page is like your insurance policy for that staff turnover. So on one hand, you’ve still got a brand out in the marketplace. On the other hand, you can use it to attract top talent.
So you’ve, it’s got this vicious cycle going on so that you’ve never got a gap. And that’s what happened when I left those companies, all of a sudden they were like, oh, it’s dead silent now because Michelle’s gone. And I don’t want that to happen for any
business out there.
George: So that really takes it and elevates it from, the personal brand to actually building a company brand for your business, which I think is something that needs to be spoken about a little bit more because there’s a bit of a content creator, Evangel. List thing going on in our world, Michelle, or everyone’s talking about you should hire content creators, you should hire evangelists.
That’s all well and good, but that person could leave your business in a couple of years. And yeah, they might contribute revenue and pipeline in those two years, but all that goodwill can just go with them if they’re not investing in the brand at the same time.
Michelle: [00:10:00] Yeah, building a brand community for me is where it’s at, and for me, moving away from that. Total reliance on influencers, whether they’re micro influencers or paid influencers. For me it’s about time that we bring community together so that we are not just relying on any one thing, any one place, any one channel.
It’s bring everybody together. And so that’s what I’m excited about and I think that’s the future of where marketing’s going. That’s something I can jump on board for. There’s been a few things that happen on the LinkedIn platform. I’m with you. I get clients reach out to me all the time and they’re almost in tears going, we’re not getting new business growth.
And when I dig into it, it’s because they’ve been sold a whole bunch of promises of results that are never gonna happen. And when it doesn’t happen, they think they’ve done something wrong. And so that’s why I’m out on the platform trying to change the social selling perception, change the reality around company pages, and really make people get back to basics.
And I say that not to. [00:11:00] Oversimplify it, but relationship building is lots of basics. Done well
Relationship Building Is Lots Of Basics Done Well Over Time
George: Relationship building is lots of basics done well over time. That’s a great quote. I really like that. Is that a Michelle original
There’s A Habits Piece To Social Brand Building
Michelle: just came up with that one. So can you make sure that we mark this so I can come back to it? But you know, When I train clients, what I realized is the important part and I just. Rewrote my training program because what I was missing was the habits piece. And I realized that I’ve developed lots of habits over the last eight years of social selling on LinkedIn to nurture relationships.
Gonna keep coming back to nurture. And that doesn’t happen with a one and done. That is a showing up every day, week after week, year after year even. This doesn’t stop. This isn’t a, we do a campaign for six weeks. See what happens. Test the results. Sorry, my friends. If you’re in a b2b, you’re in a business environment, this thing’s going as long as
the business is going.
George: [00:12:00] Yeah. Look, sales cycles along. Some people don’t even try this stuff for as long as a sales cycle, which is just insane to think that they expect results from it. I don’t know who to, who’s to blame? Michelle, it’s certainly not you. I know you are out there doing the right thing. You gave examples of the kinds of businesses you worked with when it comes to social selling, but for our listeners, like what kind of business is social selling really suited for?
Like at what stage?
What Kind Of Businesses & Stage Of Business Is Social Selling Suited For?
Michelle: for me from the beginning to the end. I don’t think that there’s any industry that’s excluded. I don’t think that there’s any size company that’s excluded and there might be some solo printer or small businesses out there just going we’re not sure that we have the resources to keep up with the demands of building a company brand and a, along the sides of the company page.
And I totally get it. As a small business myself, I understand the challenges of wearing multiple. Spinning those plates day after day. And you’ve gotta look at where’s the best use of your time. So are we gonna put as much time into it as maybe other parts of LinkedIn? Absolutely not. [00:13:00] But does that mean you should ignore it?
Why Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore LinkedIn Pages?
Michelle: And I’m gonna tell you why you shouldn’t ignore it, because at any point, if someone Googles your business name, the LinkedIn company page is gonna show up on that first page of search results. Now people pay thousands of dollars every month for that to happen, and by piggybacking off linked. Status on Google and that they’re a trusted platform.
You straight away on page one. Now what happens is when I’m doing my research, because I wanna buy from your business, I go straight to your website, tick, of course, it’s all gonna say fabulous things, not gonna be anything different. Then we’re gonna go down to the company page and just check and see what’s going on.
And if it’s a ghost town, which it quite often, It creates an impression that your business is maybe not open anymore, that you’re not across tech, that you don’t care about stuff, that you don’t pay attention to details. People will make their own stories up for why that is. They don’t care that you’ve only got one person in marketing that’s struggling to do everything.
They just look and go, why is there no answers here
that I want to?[00:14:00]
George: Yeah. It’s a really key piece in that buying journey. It’s like the easiest piece of social proof that your competitors probably aren’t putting as much effort into as it absolutely deserves. And it is, as you said, like Google indexes, LinkedIn company pages, it shows right up there with any company search listeners.
You’ve gotta be prepared for that. It’s a really important touch. Michelle, do you remember when you first started getting into this social selling game, if there was like a real light bulb moment for you about the power of LinkedIn and social selling?
Michelle: absolutely. It’s clear as day. And remember, I come from B2B sales, so for me, my sales cycles that I’m used to are roughly two years sometimes longer in the industry that I came from. So I’ve dev. Looked a lot of patience, but the time when I really discovered the power of LinkedIn and social selling was we had an industry event.
So a trade show. So someone had paid an exorbitant amount of money to set up a booth. It was the whole of the industry got [00:15:00] together. And we would be, each of us, all of the salespeople standing at the booths with, the mints sitting out there hoping that someone will take one so you can catch them.
Kind of always feels like the shark trying to catch the prey as people look at the sign on your stand from about three meters away. And hope not to make eye contact just in case some salesperson comes after them. But that was always my experience. But after I started social selling, my experience was I had a lineup of people coming to find me and I would say to them, , how can I help you?
Illustration Of How Long The Social Selling Cycle Is
Michelle: Typical question. And they would say, I saw your post. Insert post from six months ago, 12 months ago. The times used to blow my mind and I’d say in my mind, I’d be thinking you didn’t comment, you didn’t like you didn’t do anything. But they were parking it in their memory bank. So that when they wanted to know more at the time, that’s right for them.
Not at the time. As a salesperson, I wanted them to buy because there’s nothing you can do to make someone else buy something. And so that for [00:16:00] me was the beginning of the power and it just created and opened up doors globally for me that otherwise would never have
George: That’s such an awesome example and such a cool light bulb moment to have, and I can see why you’ve gone all in on this. It makes so much sense to try and demystify social selling even further. You gave us a little taste of what it was about, you’ve been posting on LinkedIn, but that’s not all it is.
Can you share more about your own social selling?
Michelle’s Social Selling Strategy
Michelle: Yeah, George. Most of my social selling is not anywhere that you see. So lots of people see my posting. You probably see my commenting, or maybe I host live events and or attend other people’s events, but just that simple act of attending somebody else’s event and supporting them is a big deal that. Goes to being noticed by that person.
That strengthens my relationship with them. What other people don’t see is I actually do a lot of scrolling the home feed, and if I find a post, which I think would be really [00:17:00] great, so say somebody’s asking you about, does anyone know a great B2B podcast? I could easily tag you in and bring you into that conversation.
Say, do you know about the B2B playbook now? That then has you going, wow, Michelle thought of me. Michelle’s brought me into this convers. I didn’t have to do that. You are not paying me to say nice things about your podcast or you know your business, but I bring you in and then that creates an impression with you that I care about you.
That I’m thoughtful, that I’m authentic, cuz I genuinely mean those things. And I don’t just do it once. I do it multiple times. Every time I get the chance, I will help promote you. Now I send lots of dms and it could be People celebrating birthdays or anniversaries and I used to think that was a bit of a waste of time and maybe inauthentic, but it also is another way that you just say to someone, yes, I’m busy.
Yes, I have a lot on, but I’m thinking of you. And the more you stay top of mind, there’s a thousand other LinkedIn trainers out [00:18:00] there. I want to be the one that you think of when you have a need for training. And so that’s what I do a lot of in the background. And I’m often going, oh, somebody’s looking for a copywriter.
What Goes Around, Comes Around – On LinkedIn Too
Michelle: I know a copywriter flick and send the post to them. Be thoughtful, be considerate. Keep an eye out for other people, help them grow their business. What do you know? What goes around? Comes around is what my Nan taught me, and it
works pretty well on LinkedIn.
George: It’s certainly working well for you and I think it’ll work well for our listeners too. Michelle, back to that piece on the dms and in terms of supporting other business owners, you’ve certainly done that with us. We certainly think of you as the go-to expert for company pages. I think we’re absolutely right in saying that too.
You are the expert. When it comes to dms, are you doing that with people who would be your ideal customers as well as potential influencers that they might follow, or other businesses that might follow already?
How To Approach DMs On LinkedIn
Michelle: The one thing that I’ve learned in 20 years of B2B sales is that you do not [00:19:00] know where that next sale is coming from. On LinkedIn especially, you do not know who’s connected to who. So yes, I’m connected to you and I might see your content. I might know what you want, but we know that when we like and comment on other people’s posts, it’s showing in second degree connections and third degree connections we might get discovered.
So I nurture all kinds of relationships. I nurture those that support my content. Why? Because that’s what makes the algorithm go round. I need those people. I support other people that I just enjoy their own, their content for my own purposes. Just because you have to spend some time on the platform that you enjoy.
I support other people that are up and coming. Why? Because there are people that helped me two years ago, three years ago when I started my business, that helped me get through that initial period. So reaching back and helping other people come along, and so there’s all kinds of reasons that I do it, but I definitely just don’t narrow it down to ideal audience because if I look at it, most of my referrals [00:20:00] recently, and you are probably the same, the new business comes from places.
I didn’t even expect. It comes from a person that I didn’t even know existed, that read a piece of my content or heard a podcast that I was on or some other random connection, and they’re referring people to me. And so having that strong referral network in b2b, I cannot understate how important that is and how easy it is to build, and then all of a sudden you amplify.
Your reach. And that’s why I believe I’ve been so successful and that’s what other businesses can copy so that it, you don’t have all of that burden on your own shoulders. And for me, I sell while I’m asleep. It literally is that cuz I wake up and people have been referred to me while I’m sleeping and
you know who doesn’t wanna
sell in their sleep? Sleep.
George: Yeah, that is amazing. That’s unreal. When it comes to your network, you’ve obviously created quite a wide web there over time of people that you want to check in with and keep in touch with. I think we’re probably the same, like when I first [00:21:00] started off on LinkedIn and building my network.
The people who I actually thought would be great to connect with weren’t the ones at all that I’ve ended up keeping in touch with, keeping as friends. It’s just really evolved organically, but for our listeners is the replace for them to start, because there are so many different kinds of people that they can target.
Where should they just start, day one
Michelle: For me,
George: who to network?
Where To Start Building Your LinkedIn Network?
Michelle: Yeah. For me it’s always just find that one person, I think what happens is people feel under pressure to try and build a big community overnight. So I can send out my a hundred invites to connect and then I’m gonna nurture all of those relationships, and then I’m gonna build a community and off I go.
It’s just not how it works. I find that if you just find one person that you enjoy their content. The chances are with the way that content works, the way that branding works, they’re gonna be a magnet for other people that share those similar values, thoughts, styles that you’re gonna also be attracted to.
And so hang out with people and see [00:22:00] their audience, you can almost piggyback off them. So I’m definitely not someone that advocates for going comments on a big influencers post. So you’ll get seen and notice, and. . That for me is a waste of time. Go and find someone in your target audience or community and see who it is that’s driving those conversations and spend time there.
Try not to go too big and too hard in the beginning because it’ll be overwhelming. You’ll burn out and you won’t keep up with the nurture phase, and that’s where people are falling over.
The Biggest Spot Where People Are Falling Over: Nurture
Michelle: Everyone focuses on posting content. Everybody focuses on connections and. Bang, they drop off when it comes to the nurturing, and that’s where the money
George: The nurturing is that missing link, isn’t it? Between the connections, the posting and revenue. And look, so many wonderful things that happen that you can’t necessarily put a dollar figure on, but tends to come back in spades when you put that effort in. Michelle, I think that’s a really [00:23:00] great really great detail of social selling.
Thank you so much for demystifying. I’d love to hear more about strategy when it comes to LinkedIn company pages. I’ve seen you talk about your 3 21 content strategy for company pages. I actually think, Michelle, that was our very first interaction on LinkedIn was you gave me some advice when it comes to using this 3 21 strategy and it was awesome.
Could you please share that with our.
Michelle’s 321 Content Strategy For Company Pages
Michelle: Yeah, I’d love to George, and I’m pretty sure that was our interaction because most people, when they start with their company page, go. How the heck do I make this thing work? Is the microphone on? Is anyone out there? Because they can’t work out what kind of content they should put on a company page.
So my 3 21 strategy kind of simplifies things so that you’ve got a bit of a game plan around it. So if you add up three plus two plus one, that’s six posts. So for anyone that’s listening, grab a pen. Get ready to write this down because this is gonna make your life so much easier if you are a marketer creating [00:24:00] content.
So three posts out of six are what I call good to know posts. So think about as a brand, you’ve got access to a whole bunch of information that probably myself as an individual doesn’t have. So what are the trends going on in your industry? Maybe there’s some legal changes that have happened that impact your industry.
What do you forecast? Whereas the industry come from. Have there been any significant changes maybe that are impacting supply chains or something like that? And so the more that you can show that you know what’s going on in the industry, maybe there’s new technology that’s coming out, you can share that knowledge and really show that you’re across the whole industry.
And that’s how people get to really know that you know your stuff. And that’s really. Now let’s move to two posts. And those two posts are what I would call good to feel. Now, good to feel posts are the ones where we get to build brand affinity. So I wanna know that your brand kind of aligns with my values.
So what do I mean [00:25:00] by that? That could be, I wanna see your employees. First and foremost, if you wanna know the kind of content that performs best on a LinkedIn company page, show an employee’s face doing anything at all. Now, that can be the birthday cakes in the office. That can be employee milestones, that can be someone speaking at an event.
They could be on a podcast episode. It can be all kinds of different places, but really show the people behind the scenes. I also wanna know if you support things out in the community, if you’re a purpose-driven company and you’re doing work out in the community, share about that Now, not as a tick and flick marketing employee, but if you live those brand values, then share about that and share about it consistently.
Now, there’s probably some marketers that are listening in right now, George, that are. If I just show the faces of employees and that’s gonna perform best, why don’t I do that all at the time? Cuz then you end up all style and no substance, right? And so that’s why we have the good to know post. Why don’t we do more of those?
Because it gets a bit [00:26:00] boring, right? People don’t wanna be always bombarded with information. That leads one post, which is the good to buy post, and this is the post that I think most businesses miss on LinkedIn. And again, it has a revenue impact. And what is that good to buy post That is literally connect.
The problem that your ideal audience has with how you solve it in a way that when they read it, they look at it easily identify, oh my God, I’m having that problem. I can’t work out how to do LinkedIn. Oh, Michelle does LinkedIn training for b2b. There’s a perfect match. Now for you, George, it’s exactly the same thing.
When people are wondering, as small marketing teams, how can I have those playbooks? Then you guys are the easy and obvious answer. But if we don’t talk about it in a way, what’s the struggle that the marketer has? They don’t see themselves. When you say, I’ve got the world’s most amazing playbook, B2B playbook.
Come and check it out. They’re like, I don’t know if it’s for me. So don’t forget the good to buy post and when [00:27:00] you keep it in this ratio. So three posts. Good to know. Two posts good to feel and one post good to buy. The ratio. And having it mixed actually means you’re not bombarding people with sales messages too much, but you’re also not missing out on it.
And so yeah, that’s how you build no
lack and trust on a company page.
George: God, that’s such a great strategy. It keeps it so simple and it works really well. And I think I’ve told you, Michelle, the good to buy post was something that we were missing for ages. For some reason, Michelle, I felt guilty about putting it out there, but every time I did it, and I did it once a week, as you said, like we had applications, people were applying to the B2B incubator because I know it’s something that’s really helpful that our marketers who go through it get a ton out of.
So I shouldn’t feel guilty about doing it. It’s probably the reverse problem, to be honest, that a lot of companies have. I think a lot just have that good to buy process in there. And do they get again and again, but yeah, maybe a little.
Michelle: it’s almost criminal, George, that you hold that secret answer to yourself and not [00:28:00] share it with the people that are looking for answers because you’ve highlighted the issues that they’re having. You’ve shown that you’re a really great company to work with, and you align with their values, and then you keep the solution top secret.
George: That’s nuts. When it comes to the, is it good to feel the ones where you humanize the brand? How do you manage to get that buy-in from the other people so they actually participate in that? I, is there some, some way of getting the rest of the company to buy into this?
How To Get Buy-In For Good To Feel Posts?
Michelle: Yeah. It’s always that. What’s in it for me? That’s what everyone’s at work trying to work out. We turn up, yes, we get paid, but there’s other things that people wanna achieve. So you might actually find that one of your colleagues might want to have a dream about showing up on a podcast. Maybe they’ve always wanted to be a guest.
Why not highlight them on the company page and really show how good a speaker they are, and leverage your community that you’ve got on the company page. And it can be all kinds of things. It could be people that do things outside of work, maybe they’re fundraising in the community, and that’s an important cause.[00:29:00] It doesn’t have to be all about the business specifically, but you have to find out what’s important to them. And I can assure you, if you’ve got you’re a B2B marketer that’s putting content out on the company page that says how amazing your salesperson is, maybe they’ve just completed some training to make them even better at what they do.
Then what happens is when they walk into. Next customer or potential lead and start having the conversation. They’re already starting on top and not behind the eight ball, trying to prove that they work for a good company. So you’ve already opened the door and you’ve made it easy for them. And again, they’re gonna be measured by how much they sell.
You’ve made it easier, they’re gonna support you. So again,
what goes around comes around.
George: God, not to mention that dream customer at that meeting, they might already feel like they know. That salesperson because like they’ve seen that, John loves to go fishing on the weekend. So
George: or John, just complete Yeah exactly. So they feel like they already have a window into your company.
And I [00:30:00] think that’s just something that we all miss in Crave is that feeling of connecting with people. And I’m glad that you’re really advocating for that, Michelle and bringing it back. It’s making LinkedIn feel like a much more full. When it comes to measuring all these activities, Michelle the marketers listening, they’re always being pressed via their overlords on, what results are we getting from this? want to I don’t know if we should separate these, but maybe we can just start by separating ’em. You can tell me if they should be together, but how do you measure the success of your LinkedIn company page?
How to Measure Success For LinkedIn Company Pages?
Michelle: That’s a very, very good question, and I’m not sure that I have an answer for you. It’s probably not what you expected me to say, but there is just so many things on LinkedIn where there’s so many pieces that, of the puzzle that come together that I think singling out any one piece makes it difficult.
Now, for those that are measured by company pages and you know the results, typically we have to start looking at follower growth or maybe it’s engagement [00:31:00] rates or impressions. Now, that for me is the basics. Mostly what company pages get measured on, but how do you put a measure on a brand? How do you put a measure on opening those doors for salespeople?
How do you put a measure on highlighting a staff and you know that feeling of joy that comes from being recognized within a business? . I don’t have a solution of how I should measure that. I’m sure that there are people out there that do, but for me, I think when you start trying to pull pieces of LinkedIn apart, then you miss the opportunity that comes with the results of bringing it all together.
And when I wrote the LinkedIn branding, but we talk about the power of two and it’s. All about how do you look for different pieces to bring together to amplify? So no more of this. It’s company page standalone. It’s personal brand standalone. Cuz realistically I can have the best personal brand in the world.
And like I said, if I work for a rubbish company that goes out the window, you can’t. Separate the two in this particular environment. [00:32:00] So I’d love to give someone a dollar figure, cuz I understand that B2B marketers in your audience have to justify their existence to other people, whether we like it or not.
And I actually had a really interesting conversation with Mark Schaffer the other day, who’s written belonging to the brands, it’s all about building brand communities and not being able to measure the ROI of a brand community. Is probably gonna be the one thing that holds businesses back from building a really good community.
And so it’s gonna start to be some open-minded, some, which is easier said than done. Cuz at the end of the day, we have to report into someone most of the time. But ultimately we have to start looking for different measures. And whilst I don’t have the answer for those right. . I do know that having the wrong measures in place drives the wrong behavior.
And so this is the thing that we’ve gotta start to have a look at. Is it the inquiries that you’re getting? Is it, people are booking meetings with your team? They’re the kinds of things that I value myself. How many [00:33:00] times a week am I jumping on a call with a potential customer? That’s what I love.
How many times did someone send me a DM to say, I was in a LinkedIn audio room and I mentioned your name. They’re the kinds of things that are really important, but yeah, I don’t know. George, do you have an answer for how a marketer should measure
that? Because I certainly don’t
George: Yeah it’s really difficult. I think you touched on all the key things there. Follower growth, especially follow growth within like your ideal customers is obviously key, but you know, even outside that is fine because we’ve got that. Overarching LinkedIn strategy. We’re not just talking about things in the industry, but we’re opening up ourselves to a broader community.
Nothing wrong with that too. how do you measure book demos off the back of a company page? That’s really difficult to say. How do you measure those that you would’ve lost had you not got the basics of your LinkedIn? Right? That’s really difficult to. Yeah. I think when it comes to the company page on its own, yeah, I agree.
It’s a tough, it’s a tough one to measure, but I think your approach [00:34:00] is absolutely right. It’s a fundamental piece that you need to get into place and is part of your overall marketing machine, and it does play a key role in that buying journey. And I think following your 3, 2, 1 strategy is actually a great low touch way for a very busy marketer to still cover their.
Michelle: Yeah, I’d have to agree with you. I think it’s all about doing the basics consistently over time. We’re gonna keep coming back to that. It’s nurturing your community by giving them valuable content. And we’ve got different tools now on company pages where, for instance, your company page can interact and comment on posts.
Now we couldn’t do that before, so that all of a sudden gives companies an opportunity to really grow their brand out in the home feed. And that’s only recent. That’s not something that’s been around. LinkedIn’s been up to, I think it turns 20 soon depending when this podcast goes live, but essentially in 20 years, realistically, company pages [00:35:00] have only been getting some love in the last two and a half years, and we’ve seen so many features come through just in the time that I’ve been looking at it.
That other platforms like Mead or Instagram have had these features for years and years, and LinkedIn’s only now just starting to put some of these things in. And so it’s really crazy to think how can a platform that’s been around for 20 years only be new when it comes to company pages, but it really has been that.
And so we’ve got some tools that help you grow the page faster. We just still haven’t fixed that piece of the puzzle where we show up in the feed.
George: That’s really exciting. Because there’s probably so many marketers who are listening, thinking when it comes to social selling oh, you know, I just started this job three months ago I didn’t really know that much about this industry. No one knows me. Why should I go and reach out like with my own face to these random people?
But like instead, now they can use the company. They can message as the company page and they can build the company pages profile that way, and they, if they’re uncomfortable with it, they [00:36:00] don’t have to build their own personal brand along with it.
Start & Get Your Reps In With Company Pages Before Looking Beyond To Personal Brand
Michelle: and that’s where a lot of my clients have come from. They do not want their people out in front of the world. Now I can go on about the advantages of that till the cows come home, but if they don’t want that for their business for whatever reason, maybe they don’t want them distracted. Maybe they’re fearful of people getting poached.
There’s all kinds of. Things that go on. I’ve worked with some people that write amazing content for company pages. If I even ask them to post something on their personal profile, they have a meltdown. They’re not going to do it forever, and they’re brilliant writers and I go, What do you mean?
Like you already know how to do this. You create great company page content, but there’s something about having that cloak of being anonymous and that’s what they enjoy. And when you look at the stance, depending what ones you use, let’s say that 95% of people will never post on LinkedIn. I actually think that if you put them behind a company page, that number would drastically drop because again, it doesn’t have any [00:37:00] personal implications back on you.
Cuz you’ve gotta think for a lot of people, they’re worried about what will happen to my job? Will my boss see this? What will my colleagues think? What will my competitors think? There’s so many fears that come up when it comes to LinkedIn. So quite often the solution and a place that I start with a lot of people is start over on the company page, be anonymous practice.
Get confident and then we work our way through to other pieces of the.
George: Brilliant advice and so good that option is there now for people. I know when I was working for someone else, I definitely would’ve felt uncomfortable sharing information. My journey with the broader community. If I’d spoken to my boss, they were pretty open, nice people, it probably would’ve been fine, but there was definitely that, that mental barrier to begin with. Now, Michelle, we’ve spoken about measuring the success of LinkedIn company pages. What about for your social selling strategies? Is that the same? Do you measure it differently? How does that work?
Measuring Success For Social Selling Strategies
Michelle: Look, social selling for me is [00:38:00] all about what conversations are you having off the platform. For me, it is a process that you don’t want to keep people on LinkedIn forever. Our job is. To try and get them off that platform and having a conversation. So how many times are people booking calls with, whether it’s myself directly or whether it’s, if you’re a business owner through the brand and through to your sales team or whoever, has to manage that process.
But ultimately what conversations are having, you know, taking place and. It’s not always easy. There’s a lot of self-reporting that would go on with things like this. And again, it comes back to people need to justify their existence by measuring things. And I appreciate there’s probably some marketers going, oh yes, absolutely.
Finally, someone’s listening. I hear you. I see you. It. It’s just really tough for you guys because yeah, if we talk things like dark social, how do you trace things, it becomes really difficult. And so for me, convers. Lead to collaborations and community, and so that’s why I place so
much [00:39:00] importance on.
George: Beautiful. I think that’s such a great way to measure it. Particularly when we speak to marketers more about account based marketing. So many people used to think account based, or they still think account based marketing is just getting a list of accounts that you’d love to be your dream customer and then running a whole lot of ads to them.
but that’s not really how it should work, right? There’s an opportunity to develop one-to-one and one to few relationships with that list of maybe 20 or 30 accounts. And social selling is an amazing way to do that. And as you said, the goal is to get them off platform and have deeper conversations.
Social Selling’s Goal & Link To ABM
Michelle: Yeah, if we were to replicate this in a face-to-face situation, and if I cast my mind back when I was in B2B account management, here’s what happens. I show up at a site and there’s the receptionist and I have a chat to her, find out what’s going on in her world, cuz you never know what she’ll say, oh, such and such is on leave or, Yeah, we just celebrated this, or this is what’s happening around the business.
Or it could be someone in the warehouse [00:40:00] driving a forklift that says, oh my God, we’re short of this product. It’s, really a pain in the butt, can’t get transport. You get so much market intelligence, it can go all the way up to everybody that you cross paths with from the CEO all the way down, and everyone in between.
And when you talk about account based marketing for me on LinkedIn, the thing that I want people to come back to, you do not know who knows who in an industry you don’t know who had fun at last year’s Christmas party together. You don’t know who has lunch together. Maybe they go walking at lunchtime.
You do not know the relationships in a business. And it is not necessarily like for like, and in that job title to job title, that people that use, for instance, sales navigator, you’ve got 200 filters and they go after, let’s say CMO status. Now who does that CMO have lunch with? Maybe that person’s more active on LinkedIn than the cmo, and you don’t know when they have that conversation.
And again, this is why we’ve gotta go wide. We’ve gotta go deep, we’ve gotta. You know, Approach that client and that customer [00:41:00] with as many relationships as possible, valuing that every single one of them is important and not just a means to an end. Because people smell that a mile away. They smell your desperation and they smell your sneaky tactics.
Don’t think you’re getting away with it. Don’t think because you didn’t connect and pitch that people don’t know what you’re up to. I hate when people use LinkedIn and they don’t do it on. Connection message because they know, don’t connect and pitch. But the second message is, by the way, do you wanna buy my stuff?
Like stop relationships, take time.
So slow things down,
George: It’s absurd that people think that kind of thing will work on LinkedIn. Does that ever work in real life? Just take a moment to think about how you interact with other humans. Please. Just it’s a, there’s a other human on the other side of this LinkedIn profile. Treat them as such.
George: Please. I got a bit of a spicy question for you, Michelle. There’s people out there who are using things like engagement pods on [00:42:00] LinkedIn to boost their visibility. What do you think about that? What do you say to those?
Engagement Pods & Why To Avoid Them
Michelle: Oh, George, that’s the one thing that makes me very angry. So I’ll leave it at that. Why does it make me angry on the surface? Here’s what happens. Normally, someone comes onto LinkedIn and they’re reasonably new on the platform, and then someone will reach out to them and say, come and join my community.
So they don’t use the words engagement pod. There’s all kinds of creative terms for it these days. We all support each other. Tick sounds great. Be a part of a community, support each other, and you support my post. I’ll support your post. And in theory, I love the idea of working together and collaborating.
Here’s the problem. You’ve got people from random places, random industries. All kinds of randomness, that essentially what happens is by joining this pod. So an engagement pod is just where you either, you normally pay to be part of a group that will quickly engage with your posts, and quite often we see the great posts.
Thanks for sharing those kind of [00:43:00] comments. And they’re from, you can normally see, because the comments come from people of all kinds of random industries all over the world, and you can’t see the connections between them. Now what happens is this, Yes, you will go further and faster, but here’s the problem.
You’ve just gone further and faster in the wrong direction. Now you have to turn around and come back, and then you have to start in the right direction. So you’ve spent time supporting others. So quite often they’re in pods of, 50 to 80 people support 80 people to get one post with lots of comments on it.
Now that maths doesn’t add up, I would rather you be okay. With not getting big numbers and just focus on going in the right direction towards your goal, that will pay off building your brand will pay off that kind of short term tactics. If you don’t lose your account and end up in LinkedIn jail, you’ll certainly lose lots of opportunities to grow your business and that is something I [00:44:00] am never gonna be a
George: Oh here, here, Michelle. I’d love that. Like they’re gonna go fast and further, but it’s gonna be in the wrong direction, and they’re gonna have to start over and over again. It’s something that irks me to no end as well. I think you and I definitely aligned on that. You’re better off just having the tiniest bit of engagement from the right people than a ton of impressions from people who are never gonna really care about you.
Quality Over Quantity Mindset
George: So please keep that quality over quantity mindset.
Michelle: and I know what it feels like to start out. And you might think, Michelle, you’ve been on LinkedIn for eight years, I think I’ve got about 13,000 followers or something now, and there might be people that are listening going, you don’t know what it feels like we’re just starting out and you can’t remember.
Here’s how I can tell you, I absolutely do know what it feels like because I shared that. I started building my community originally around beauty and chemicals and that kind of space around the globe, and I had an amazing niche community. What happened was I quit my job and I set up my [00:45:00] business and I start talking about LinkedIn training and company pages and all things linked in.
Now here’s what happened. One day people were listening in and watching the channel of beauty and chemicals. The next day they turn up, I’m talking LinkedIn, and they’re like, am I in the right place? What happened to you? What’s Michelle talking about? I had to go from being the top of my game. Back to the beginning again, and that was only two and a half, three years ago now, and I went through six months minimum, where I thought, what have I done?
It’s Going To Take Time!
Michelle: Because those dopamine hits that I was used to getting before. I didn’t have an audience that knew me for LinkedIn and I had to build it. And that takes time. And most people give up beforehand. So if you just knew, give yourself six to 12 months, probably not the answer that other people will tell you, but I’m a realist.
And that’s how long it’s gonna take you to actually build those relationships when you are starting from the beginning. So anyone that tells you it’s gonna happen any faster yeah I don’t know [00:46:00] the right nice words that I can say in the podcast, so I’ll just leave it. Just don’t believe them.
George: Yeah please don’t believe them. Look, even now, Michelle, like I, myself, my own reach and engagement is down a bit, but you know what? Like I know that my content is still hitting the right people, and most of them don’t engage anyway, so I’m not too worried about it. I’m not out there optimizing for impressions and engagement from people that I really don’t care.
I think you’ve just gotta stay true to your exactly your framework that you’ve given us,
Michelle: if you wanna,
George: to serving those audiences.
Michelle: sorry George. I was gonna say, if you wanna beat the algorithm, I’ve got the secret tip. Just go and DM someone like that is in your power. Go and comment. Go and write a recommendation. Go and endorse someone. Go and send a post to someone else and tell them you’re thinking of them.
None of that relies on an algorithm. So anyone that’s saying it’s the algorithm’s fault that you’re not getting X, y, z results yeah. I’m taking that excuse off the table because there is. So much that we have in our control, [00:47:00] and when you put the power over to the algorithm for your success, you’re powerless.
It’s not the algorithm that makes you successful…it’s your nurturing
Michelle: So take that power back. It’s not the algorithm that makes you successful on LinkedIn, it’s you, your processes, your relationships, and your nurturing. We’re back to that word again.
George: I think that’s such a great place to leave it, Michelle. We started off this conversation saying that we just like to have a few guests on here who really believe that B2B is more about relationships and people and not platforms. Yes, you’re a LinkedIn company pages expert. Yes. You know how to get the most out of it, but I think you’re a real relationships expert, so thank you so much for coming on to talk about it and bringing us back to basics when it comes.
Michelle: It is my absolute pleasure.
Thanks for having me.
George: Michelle, you’ve been so generous with your time. We’ve all learned so much about social selling. I think all our listeners have too. Is there anything that you’d like to add to the conversation or anything you’d like to direct our audience’s attention to?
Michelle: Nurture nurture, nurture. The [00:48:00] more people within your business, within your team, especially if you’re in a small team, the more people that you can get out there doing that process. And that’s a proactive approach, right? So nurturing requires proactivity. Which is a little bit different for. Most people are sitting back hoping that the results of their posts generate things, take back control, put it the future, back into your own hands, and nurture, nurture, nurture.
George: Beautiful. Thank you, Michelle. Listeners, follow Michelle’s journey. Michelle, Jay, Raymond. Would you like people to find you on LinkedIn? Is that where you wanna direct them?
Michelle: Absolutely. And tell me that you listen to this podcast so I can let George know that we’ve connected post this cuz I would love to, hear from your audience. They obviously love B2B just as much as you and I do. And I can’t wait to add them to my community because what you guys have been doing, like I said, always a big listener.
It’s the only podcast that I listen to because I love the framework that you guys have. So thank you for having me apart [00:49:00] to share how I go about LinkedIn and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned is that we’ve all gotta find our way and your frameworks are just brilliant.
So thank you for having me on.
George: Oh, that’s so, so lovely. Thank you Michelle. Thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for your time.
Michelle: Not a problem. Cheers.
Kev: it’s not surprising to us, but it’s a great reminder when we see how many of our conversations with successful people in B2B marketing and complimentary spaces really center back on very common themes, and it’s all coming back to being helpful,
George: It is all about being helpful, isn’t it, Kev? God, I’m glad that we nailed that one early on. uh, Michelle certainly knows her ins and outs on LinkedIn and listeners. There are just so many great points from this conversation. If we went through them all, we’d be just repeating the whole conversation .
So make sure to review it in your own time, but here’s just a few of the top quotes. Now, the first Kev that really struck me was that social [00:50:00] selling and relationship building is a lot of basics done well over time. So as we say, Kev, be thoughtful, be considerate.
Kev: and the next one very much in line with that is what goes around comes around when it comes to LinkedIn. Just like a lot of other aspects of life. You have to be thoughtful and considerate, as George just mentioned, when you go about growing your LinkedIn presence. And she also said to nurture all kinds of relationships.
You just don’t know who knows.
George: now, Kev, nurturing all kinds of relationships. That might sound like a lot, but then just start with Michelle’s advice of just begin building your LinkedIn network by finding just one person whose content that you enjoy.
Kev: Yeah, that certainly makes it a lot more manageable. And another thing that helps is a 3, 2, 1 content strategy. So three good to know posts. Two, good to feel posts, and one good to buy posts. And in that ratio on LinkedIn as you go about starting your content creation there. [00:51:00] If you’re not sure what they are, we won’t repeat it here, go back into the episode and figure out, because she’ll explain it a lot better than we can.
But just keep that 3, 2, 1 content strategy in mind.
George: And Kev Michelle’s point that it’s gonna take time is so true. We’ve experienced it ourselves and listeners, it’s gonna take six to 12 months because that’s how long it actually takes to build those relationships. When you’re starting from the beginning and when you focus on relationships and not the algorithm, that’s what really sets you up for success.
So it’s your processes, your relationships, and your nurturing and Kev, we’re back to that word again. Relat.
Kev: That’s it. Be helpful. Be nurturing, and you’ll hopefully get there on LinkedIn sooner than you think. But maybe not as quick as some others might lead you to believe. All right, listeners, go and find Michelle Jay Raymond on LinkedIn and shoot her a DM mentioning us. She’ll love to hear from you.
George: Beautiful. Thank you, Kevin, and as always listeners, we’re absolutely stoked that more and more of you [00:52:00] joining each Monday by listening to the podcast or watching us on YouTube. And if we can ask one thing, it would be to please pass the show into someone who might enjoy it and get value from it, or leave us a comment on our YouTube channel.
We’re out there, we’re watching. We’ll absolutely respond. It’s a huge help to us. It’s a great help to our future listeners and viewers, and we really, really appreciate it. Thank you, Kev. A huge thanks to Michelle. Take care listeners. See you next week.
Kev: Thanks everyone. See you all next week.