Customer success stories should be in your content marketing mix if you want to set yourself apart from your competition. When you tell the stories that only you can tell, you give prospects a tag to remember you by. If you take the reader up and over the dramatic arc with your story, an empathetic response is stimulated that can lead to action. This isn’t going to happen, however, if you don’t get your stories in front of your prospects.
Any content distribution plan needs to be multi-channel. That means that it's not enough to have your success stories live on your website. If you sell B2B, LinkedIn is a social media channel that you shouldn't ignore. It's the platform where you can attract attention to your stories, and extend your reach when you engage in sharing strategies that get your whole team involved.
Build Your LinkedIn Network
The first step to success on LinkedIn is to build your network. This doesn’t mean that you connect with anyone and everyone. There are people on LinkedIn whose primary purpose in connecting is to sell to you but that can easily backfire on them. I have inadvertently accepted connection requests from a few of these people in the past.
Not too long ago, someone who shared a few mutual connections with me sent me a connection request which I accepted. I sent her a message asking if she wanted to have a “get acquainted” phone call and she shot back with six paragraphs selling herself. My response? Un-connect!
The way to build a quality network is to interact with people. Engage with other people’s content. Leaving a sentiment (like, celebrate, curious, etc.) is nice, but go out of your way to leave a thoughtful comment when you find posts that make you think, nod your head or give you a laugh.
Notice who else is engaging with posts (both yours and your connections’) and look for ways to make authentic connections that could be mutually beneficial. Other people will find you this way too.
Creating Your Posts
Use @Mention Tags
You can @mention people on both your company page and on your personal posts. Mention the person or people who were interviewed for the story as well as the name of the company that is featured. Mentioning people helps to get the attention of the folks in their network and if they like, comment or share, the activity will show up in their profile. When posting from personal profiles, don’t forget to tag your own company.
Include a Graphic
Even if a person doesn’t click through to read your story, or read your whole post, you have the opportunity to get credibility signals across with your graphic. Include the headshot of the person you interviewed with their name, title, and company along with a quote and your message, and be sure to include your own logo.
Use Different Types of Posts
Use a variety of types of posts to keep your feed fresh and to test what gets the best engagement with your network - text only, text plus a link, text with link in the comments, text and video, and so on. The posts on your company page are going to look different from the posts you share from your personal profile. More on that below.
Hashtags help people to learn what your post is about when they’re scanning. You can search by hashtag on LinkedIn and get notifications about hashtags that are trending. Hashtags can also be a lot of fun when you make up your own unique terms.
Be Aware of Your Voice
Your brand voice might not be the same as your personal voice. That’s not to say that your brand voice can’t be casual or approachable, but it’s probably not going to be as conversational as the style that you use for personal posts. Make sure that your brand voice is consistent.
Promote Stories on Your Company Page
If you don’t already have a company page, you should get one. I have one for my little business of one and I have some followers. You can invite your connections to follow your page, and other people will follow if they’re curious about your company or want to know what you’re up to.
Think of your company page as the place where people can get to know your brand. If a prospect or job candidate is researching your company, this is one of the places they’ll go to find out what you’re like. Your company page also shows up in search results. If it ranks higher than your own website for your brand name, you’ve got some work to do on the SEO for your website.
You don’t want to line up multiple posts about the same customer success story, but you can and should re-share. Just make sure that the posts aren’t too close together, and use a different graphic and different text for variety
Leverage Personal LinkedIn Profiles
In my work as a content marketer, I often write a series of posts that my clients can give to their sales team. These are longer posts that follow the “skip a line” format for each sentence. The content for these posts is taken straight out of the story with the language adjusted to sound more conversational.
The point of the post is to share the customer story, so you want to include a link. Some studies suggest that putting the link in the comments section will gain the best reach. I have done it both ways and the results have been about the same.
Your sales team probably share some of the same connections, so make sure that each post is unique. Everyone can help extend the reach of their coworkers' posts by commenting. Some studies have shown that posts that get more comments in the first hour after publication get better organic reach.
Publish Customer Success Stories as LinkedIn Articles
I’m not sure whether or not LinkedIn articles are going out of favor, but I do know that they’re not dead yet, so using the publishing platform is another way to reach people both inside and outside of your network. If your employees are already authoring posts on your blog, it makes sense for them to re-publish their article on LinkedIn.
In the case of customer success stories, it would make sense for your CEO, president or owner to publish the story as an article on his/her profile. What if they didn't write the article themselves?
Can your people publish articles that they didn’t write? LinkedIn’s guidelines are quite clear that your articles should be work to which you own the rights. That doesn’t mean that you can’t employ the skills of a ghostwriter or editor to help create a polished piece. In that situation, the thoughts or concepts in the writing clearly belong to the person posting the article.
When you re-publish content on LinkedIn that’s already published on your website, you do get into the issue of duplicate content. Publish on your website first. Wait at least two weeks before publishing on LinkedIn and put a notation at the bottom with a link that shows where it the story was first published. You can also give the story a different title and graphic to make it a little different from the original.
Share in Messages with Specific Connections
You can match up customer success stories with just about any part of your buyer’s journey (and with your job candidates’ journey for that matter), but they’re especially powerful in the decision stage. This is because what other people say about you is much more believable than what you say about yourself. So, if a prospect has decided that you have the solution they need, a customer success story can help them trust that you can do what you say you can do, and influence their decision to choose you.
Messaging in LinkedIn is not for spamming, so be selective and relevant. Your personal message should tie the story together with the reason you think the person would be interested in reading it.
It’s Not About You
Social media works best when you’re not just promoting yourself and your company. Your customer success stories aren’t really about you either. They’re about how you guided others to find solutions to their problems and they’re the type of content that people are happy to share.
Need Help Uncovering and Publishing Your Own Success Stories?
I help companies use storytelling as a competitive advantage. When you share the stories of your successes, you’re creating sales and marketing assets that can have a big impact on your prospects’ decision-making process.
Get in touch to get started telling the stories that only you can tell.