Sales Prospecting Tips & Methods | Jeff Molander
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How to unknowingly sabotage your LinkedIn content strategy

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Time to read: 3 minutes. Are you posting your blog articles in LinkedIn Groups? You may be doing more harm than good—subverting your own LinkedIn content strategy. All it takes is posting your latest blog in a LinkedIn Group. Poof. You’re labeled as a spammer by moderators, or (if you’re lucky) sent to LinkedIn purgatory—to the Promotions tab. Here’s how to avoid getting “SWAMMed” in LinkedIn Groups, unknowingly destroying your LinkedIn reputation.

What’s the danger?

Is posting blog updates a LinkedIn content strategy best practice? Or is it dangerous a waste of time?

It is not effective in my experience. Yet we see hundreds of people posting blogs to Groups every day. So many that blog articles are being categorized as spam. Or they’re automatically moved to “Promotions” in LinkedIn Groups.

Worse, authors of these posts earn negative reputation across all Groups. They get “SWAMMed.”

Being SWAMMed means your LinkedIn discussions won’t appear in Group—unless human eyes review them first. It stands for Site Wide Auto Moderation. In English that means, “most of what you post is crap, so it will ALL be moderated.”

Doesn’t sound that bad until you realize: The deluge of blog posts posing as discussion-starters has forced some Group owners to abandon LinkedIn’s moderation system—completely.

They’re overwhelmed with crap.

The result: blog posters are marked by LinkedIn’s moderation system as a content trouble-makers and banished to SWAM purgatory.

Does posting blogs to Groups work?

So does it work? Maybe it’s effective at getting attention, engagement and business leads. That might explain why we see so much of the practice. But if it does not work, what does? What does an effective, reliable LinkedIn content strategy look like. How can we learn and apply best practices to drive more leads?

Mark Zazeela of APC Postal Logistics says,

“I see so much stuff that is little more than copies of copies of copies. Ideas that are represented as new and are really nothing more than old ideas, rephrased and repackaged.”

Randy Ring of simple view Inc. says:

“Proper or not, my conclusion is: It appears many of the posts on LinkedIn are, in fact, posting to promote their business interests and generate leads, and almost always self-promoting.”

Some Groups “purists” have told me point blank: NO selling, no way. LinkedIn Groups are for discussions. Discussions are not sales pitches. Blog posts that lead to articles containing a call-to-action within it? Nope, that is a sales pitch too.

But is it? REALLY?

Many LinkedIn Group moderators say yes. They are banning all posting of blogs in Groups—deleting or banishing them to the ‘Promotions’ tab. You can guess how many people even know there is such a place in a Group!

Provoking discussion works better

But here’s the thing. I have tried over-and-over to share my knowledge, advice and tips on LinkedIn as “the experts” tell me to do. But it’s just not that easy.

Purely following the ‘givers get’ mantra rarely creates leads.  

Yes, leads will occasionally just ‘show up’ based on kind gestures and proper networking. I admit it. But kind gestures, good manners and having a process to lean on will generate more leads.

Growing your business is not as easy as throwing up a blog, publishing a lot of insightful and helpful knowledge and watching the leads roll in. Having built my business purely on content marketing (and studied the content marketing greats) I can conclude with certainty:

What works best at getting response on LinkedIn is “mixing in” a provocative element to your LinkedIn content strategy.

In my business, I teach a process that works remarkably well. It’s worth my time investment.

  1. Ask a question that your target market needs answered as a provocative discussion-starter.
  2. Give your unique take on the answer in short form. If possible, again, make it provocative.
  3. Ask for others to provide their answers, tips and solutions.
  4. Slowly reveal your own ‘better way’, short-cut etc. in ways that are specific, action-oriented yet in-complete (creating intense curiosity in your words)

The main idea is answering prospects most urgent questions in ways that lead to more questions (that you can answer) … that leads to a growing interest in an individual/business … that sometimes leads to a mutually productive relationship. Maybe even a sales transaction.

Why provocation works

The best way to nurture prospects into paying customers is to place the entire courtship process in their hands. This lets you arm them with what they need. That is powerful.

Because this way you’re not tricking customers or engaging in blatant self-promotion. Prospects are literally navigating themselves toward or away from what you sell.

Want a better LinkedIn content strategy? Try something that works. Here’s why it works. As part of a discussion …

  • I (a seller) answer questions you need answered (or show you how to achieve a goal you need to reach faster)
  • You (a buyer) engage more deeply with me based entirely on what I just DID for you (not something slick that I said)
  • You become filled with confidence as a result of what you just DID (via what I helped you DO)

Your Turn

Let’s say your advice, wisdom or tips are original and bring utility to customers. LinkedIn Groups are great places to leverage that content into mutual benefit. But please don’t post entire articles into Group discussions as “conversation starters.”

That’s not a good way to start your LinkedIn discussion. It’s a great way to get banned.

What has been your experience? Are any of your posts being denied? Are you being SWAMmed or being marked as a content trouble-maker? Does posting your blogs to LinkedIn Groups work to grow your business?

Photo credit: ktpupp

About the Author Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.

Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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