LinkedIn’s Smart Links tool is one of those hidden social selling gems that those-in-the-know may not wish to shout about. It’s allows users to quickly share personalised content with buyers and gives insights into how they consume it.
Smart Links launched last year as an updated replacement to PointDrive that landed in 2017. Despite its capabilities, it’s still a relatively underutilised tool and only available to LinkedIn Sales Navigator users, meaning it can give savvy marketers an edge to support sales with social selling.
If you’re wondering whether Smart Links is worth your while and how to use it to help social sellers outperform their peers then read on.
How Does Smart Links Work?
Smart Links serves to stop all those random emails flying about with attachments. Instead, it replaces them with one link that attaches all your content in one place – whether that’s links, videos, presentations, PDFs or documents.
You can then quickly share one link to others via email, InMail and social media etc. In turn, your buyers can also easily share that same content with their peers.
LinkedIn will then monitor who has looked at your content using the viewers LinkedIn profile as a reference and measure how they engaged with your content – data such as which page they viewed, when and for how long. This means that social sellers can understand who within the organisation is involved in the buying decision and how engaged they are with your product or service.
Smart Links is therefore powerful stuff – delivering personalised content and deep buyer consumption insights.
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Isn't That A Bit Sneaky?
Well, yes and no. When someone receives a Smart Link they must agree to share engagement insights with the sender before using the Smart Link, so it's full disclosure.
In an age where our digital footprint is becoming less private, you may think that people are becoming a little more sceptical of engaging with these types of tools. In our experience, the take-up from buyers is generally positive, perhaps due to the personalised nature of the shared content .
When To Use Smart Links
Since its launch back in the days of PointDrive, social sellers have been trying to figure out how to get the best out of the tool and in all honesty, it's content hungry. Unless you feed it regularly with relevant content, it will soon expire - yet another reason why sales and marketing should align around the customer to create content.
Here are some best practices for how you can align and use LinkedIn Smart Links successfully for social selling.
Post Event Presentations
Have you been asked "Do we get a copy of the slides?". Well, now you can! Setup a Smart Link specifically for event content where you can send attendees (and non-attendees) access to presentation slides, video content, photos and more. It's a great way to extend the life of the event and a good excuse to reach out to prospects following the event via InMail.
Personalised Buyer Journey Presentations
Create a specific Smart Link to manage the documentation shared with a prospect. Add to it as the your buyer moves through the buyer journey including links to customised videos (using loom.com or similar), proposals, quotations, relevant case studies, research studies and thought leadership blogs that might be helpful to their decision-making process.
Build up your Smart Link as you build up the relationship. And remember, you'll be able to track what pages they view for longest and who else within that account is viewing your content.
General Company Presentations
Create a general company presentation that includes an overview about your business, demo videos, customer testimonials and product sheets. Use this when promoting events so that those prospects that are considering attending can learn more about your business in advance of the event.
Industry (& Technology) Specific Presentations
If your organisation is structured around specific industries, consider creating presentations around content relevant to those industries (and/or technologies).
Include a content mix of thought leadership blogs, video interviews with your subject matter experts, industry white papers, eBooks and other material that will reinforce to the buyer that your company clearly understands the market.
"Read What I'm Reading" Presentations
High performing social sellers will already be curating and sharing articles to their LinkedIn network frequently. Capturing these articles in a place of reference is a great way to say to prospective customers, "I work in this industry and regularly share relevant articles - check out what I've shared previously here". It keeps your network informed and makes your social seller a credible source of content.
Used constructively, Smart Links’s a great tool to support the entire buyer journey, whether early on at the awareness stage or further down the funnel at the consideration and decision stage.
Content supports every part of this journey and LinkedIn Smart Links provides a way to track the interactions with that content with known (and sometimes unknown) prospects.
What's your experience? Can you share any other applications of the tool?