The evolution of social through the eyes of LinkedIn’s Koka Sexton


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koka picB2B FastTracks: Social Marketing Redefined Blog Series

Myspace kicked off in 2003, catapulting social media into the vocabulary of people around the world. Today social has evolved into much more than a casual platform to chat with friends, it has become a vehicle for people everywhere to connect with likeminded individuals, showcase personal beliefs, and get educated on world and local news.

Can you remember your first tweet? Or maybe the year you decided to sign up for a Facebook account? Most people wouldn’t remember unless they went back in time on their feed… except for Koka Sexton, Global Sr. Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn. Not only does he remember the year he become a LinkedIn member (off the top of his head), he can also tell you exactly what his first tweet was back in 2007, “Here is my first tweet”. A self-proclaimed social media enthusiast, Sexton has had a clear window into the fast progression of social marketing over the years.

LinkedIn, in 2005, was the first thing I signed up for,” said Sexton, “Then Twitter in 2007, but more for fun.”

A diamond in the rough
Originally, social media was not an idea most traditional companies were willing to invest in. Many struggled to see the value in using social to generate leads because for them it was quantity over quality and let’s face it numbers were the only thing that mattered at the end of the month. But for Sexton, he saw social as a golden opportunity to surface quality leads that would eventually become customers.

“I saw it [social] as an opportunity to become the voice of a brand. I was able to elevate the voice of my company opposed to broadcast messaging; I was able to start conversations about content.”

Working in sales at that point Sexton noticed the lack of content being pushed through Twitter and decided to capitalize on the free platform. His “ah-ha” moment was a point where he realized he was connecting to people on Twitter and LinkedIn, professionals who were online talking about important issues. He realized social media, as a sales person, could be an excellent tool to get insight from these people and decided to take advantage of social networking to build his pipeline.

“It made me feel like a stalker, but I knew I was getting insights into people by leveraging social media while others weren’t doing this yet.”

Secret ‘social selling’ weapon- Bridging the gap between sales and marketing

Sexton saw social media as a tool to engage and create conversation, with the intent of turning prospects into customers. He curated content and rolled it out, showing enough content to a specific social audience who would come to him wanting more information. He developed his own social selling strategy designed to train sales people on the value social media has in generating numbers. Since the days of his first tweet back in 2007, Sexton has transitioned into full time social marketing career working for social giant LinkedIn. Because of his background in sales, he continues to educate sales people on the value social can have on your numbers and gave us some inside “dos” on how to get the most from your LinkedIn professional profile:

Do remain current. Do you stay in constant communication with your network? If not, you should be communicating with them on a regular basis to make sure your profile doesn’t appear stale; remember LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. LinkedIn now offers a feature that allows you to mention people in your status updates, similar to Facebook’s system. Take advantage of features like this to maintain a fresh, LinkedIn profile.

Don’t gate highly educational information because ultimately as a company or individual you want to be found. Once LinkedIn users know you have the answers they will want more information. For example, infographics and case studies about what your company does should not be gated; give connections the opportunity to become a lead.

Do choose quality connections over quantity. Always think about value and how this particular connection could impact your professional network. Do your research, send a connection request mentioning how you know the contact or why you would like to be part of their network. You want connections that can boost your business (or vice versa) whether it’s through education, references, connections, or mentoring.

Do make it personal. Never send generic messages to impending connections, instead consider the message you write an opportunity to personally connect with them. Sexton uses the example of sending a message that says, We don’t know each other, but I would like to be connected with you so I can learn the updates from your network.

“Create authenticity when building your network,” says Sexton.

Do create your profile to reflect your brand and the brand of you customer. Your profile should be customer facing. The idea is if people hit your profile it provides value to why you’re there. Don’t use your profile to broadcast the information you typically put on a resume.

“The key thing is your profile,” says Sexton, “You don’t want a new buyer to hit your profile just to see how you’re crushing your sales.”

It’s important to understand how to use and manage social tools to ensure the success of your social marketing. You’ll hear more about LinkedIn’s B2B marketing and sales philosophy at Heinz Marketing’s B2B FastTracks event. Join us October 10 at the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle to learn more about the power of social tools from industry leaders like Koka Sexton who will be sharing social marketing secrets. There will be mixing and mingling with innovators, 20-minute Tracks packed with educational content focusing on social lead gen and optimizing ROI and of course plenty of opportunities to network with B2B marketing’s finest. Discover what’s possible for your organization. Request an invitation today!

Stay tuned for more blog posts from FastTrack speakers who will be presenting at the event!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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