I’m always tempted to use my driver on every hole, or aim for the pin even when the ball is lodged near a water obstacle. Being strategic on a golf course is certainly difficult to do and life would certainly be easier if we had a “mulligan” available to us every shot. In social selling, there are few or no mulligans available.

The prospect is empowered to control the conversation. It is easier than ever for them to ignore a seller or simply mute them.

Typically, decision makers are not be in a purchasing cycle unless leads are served up by the marketing department. Social selling is a one-to-one nurturing activity where you’ll stand out if you are more strategic with building a true relationship.

Here are five ways you can elevate your social selling practice to be more strategic and relational as you communicate with prospects:

  • Be a curator: Publishing your (or your company’s) own content all the time is self-serving. I recommend that you share a wide variety of content with a healthy dose of personal interest. This is good for business. People like to do business with people they find interesting.
  • Engage more, decorate less. Engaging means replying, adding value, asking questions. Liking or retweeting content without comment is mere “decoration.” You should spend more time engaging than decorating as prospects will pay more attention to you this way.
  • Always be connecting: Social networks suggest which folks you should connect with, and there is a reason for this. The more connected you are, the bigger your social capital. On social networks, we are the sum of our number of connections and the quality of what we post.
  • Be personable: Emotions are underrated in the business world.  You may have heard critics of LinkedIn claim it feels a lot more like Facebook these days (personal posts, videos, etc.). This is good, ultimately, in many ways. People like to do business with people they like.
  • Work those VBRs (Valid Business Reasons): If you’re going to use LinkedIn In-Mail, you must carefully craft your messages to make sure they are aligned to your business reason. The last thing you want is to appear like it is a marketing message. Remember, people on social networks are a lot more sensitive to spammy behaviors.

About the author: Yann Ropars is the vice president of digital marketing at Miller Heiman Group. Follow him on Twitter @YannR.

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