Blog

by Bob Woods
on May 2, 2016

Influence and Gain Success in Social Selling Without Writing (Much)

As a speaker, author, writer, trainer and coach in the Social Selling arena, it’s pretty easy to get people interested in a system of processes and strategies that leverage social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to build their businesses.

When I speak in public or even in a one-on-one conversation, I mention all of the ways Social Selling works to help fill the funnel, take prospects through to the close, and gain referrals from one’s network and current client list. Interest levels climb even more.

At some point, I tell them about LinkedIn’s Publishing platform. Let’s just say eyes begin to glaze over. I then mention that it’s pretty similar to blogging, but it has a defined purpose: to position yourself as the “go-to gal/guy” in your industry of profession by sharing tips, insights, and thoughtful commentary. I also tell them that publishing on LinkedIn is a part of a fully well-rounded Social Selling strategy.

I’ve completely lost them at “similar to blogging.”

unPublishers: Busy Businesspeople

Writing can be very hard for a lot of people. For some, it’s not the difficulty that puts them off; it’s the time required. I definitely get both points. I’ve been writing professionally since college, and it can still be hard for me. There’s no doubt it can be time-consuming, too. Trying to convince people who don’t write for a living—and who have high-pressure jobs to boot—that publishing on LinkedIn can help significantly increase their businesses is a challenge.

Thus, the “unPublisher” was born.

Simply put, an unPublisher is a businessperson (salesperson, marketer, Social Seller, etc.) who actively shares published articles from other sources on various social platforms, including and especially LinkedIn. I’m emphasizing “actively,” as it’s key to this strategy.

It’s All About the Share

When people usually share content from other publications, they only publish the URL of the original article. There’s no comment, no notes, no… well… nothing else. And more often than not, the content itself leaves something to be desired. It looks something like this:

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This share just doesn’t “do” it, on a variety of levels.

unPublishers, on the other hand, enhance and even expand the content. Hopefully, the share is good enough to start a conversation with her or his followers, connections, and so on. The more people who are conversing about it, the better. I get very excited when people start talking amongst themselves in a share, too.

An unPublisher post has 3 requirements:

  1. The article or content in the post itself must be highly relevant to the unPublisher’s connections, followers, and audience.
  2. The unPublisher must contribute additional content that expands or enhances the original article, including:
    – Calling out or highlighting an important point in the article
    – Summarizing the unPublisher’s main takeaway(s) of the piece
    – Challenging a point, the overall conclusion, etc. in the article
  3. The unPublisher must acknowledge and engage with those who care enough to take the time to comment, even if it is just a “Good point, [NAME]!” note. I’ve even answered questions put to me by people making comments in my newsfeed posts.
    BONUS: LinkedIn has recently instituted a “Like” feature for comments in newsfeed items (about time!). I’d still urge you to reply to comments as much as you can, and fall back on “Like” only when you have to.

The second item is crucial in this process, as its where you lend your “voice” to the article or content that you’ve shared. You build your own (and your company’s) brand in this requirement. That’s why your content needs to be thoughtful and insightful.

By fulfilling all three of these requirements, you’ll be providing content that others will find genuinely valuable and will brand you and your company as the experts in your field. A side effect, hopefully, will be that your connections will share your content within their own networks, spreading your expertise even further.

Performing these three steps is easy to do on most social platforms, except for Twitter. Since Twitter has a 140-character limit (for now, hopefully), you may not be able to expand or enhance the original story. Just do the best you can.

Here’s an example of what I envision a proper unPublisher post looks like, and is what I based this strategy on when I created it:

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This, in my mind, fulfills all three requirements of an unPublisher post.

Easier than You Think

With the unPublisher strategy, you can draw from most any publication or blog for your content. (Just make sure that the content you share isn’t available to paid subscribers or anything where one needs to be logged into something to see it.)

Any of the major platforms that offer timeline-like functionality — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and others — make sharing especially easy. You can copy and paste in the web address of the article in question, and type in your comments or observations. Facebook and LinkedIn even publish a preview of what the article looks like, which helps draw attention to your unPublisher post.

It Still Takes Some Time

As you can see, committing to the unPublisher strategy will take a bit of time. But when you add value to your own shares, you’ll build mindshare, audience and that top-of-mind presence that Social Sellers want to have to be successful in their sales careers… and their wallets.

 

A similar version of this article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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