Translated by Sinéad O'Sullivan
Social selling is a new approach to selling that allows salespeople to target potential customers and build a rapport through social connections.
Social selling allows your business to focus on prospects on social media and build a rapport through a network of potential leads. When done right, social selling can be a winning strategy for converting potential customers and achieving your sales goals.
Actively connecting with potential customers on social media can help you be the first brand a customer considers when they're ready to make a purchase and can replace old sales and relationship building techniques like cold calling.
What is social selling? Social selling is certainly not about bombarding strangers with unsolicited messages. This would be spam.
Social selling isn't just about adding new leads to your list, either. Instead, it's about making meaningful interactions and presenting your brand as a solution to a problem.
If your brand has a Facebook business page, LinkedIn page or Twitter profile or is active on any other platform then you have already mastered the basics of social selling.
Why your business should be interested in social selling
Social selling doubles your sales opportunities. Social selling helps your sales team build real relationships.
Social selling creates opportunities to connect with new prospects on social media, where they are already active and engaged in ongoing conversations. Using social listening tools allows your sales teams to go a step further and identify leads who are already talking about your business, your competitors, or your industry.
This means you can reach an audience that is already interested in what you offer and authentically connect with them, offering actionable insights when the time is right. Authenticity builds trust and this, in turn, leads to customer loyalty.
It is possible that your customers (and potential customers) are already engaged in the online purchase. Considering the sheer volume of people currently using social media, the potential for brands to make sales on social is huge.
If your main competitors are already selling on social, using social selling means staying competitive.
What are the best networks for social selling
Your choice should depend on your target audience and your approach to social selling.
Twitter and Instagram are great platforms for engaging with customers. They offer tools for answering customer questions and are casual virtual spaces where communication happens naturally. They are basically great for building relationships.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a more formal business platform, ideal for B2B companies looking to identify and reach business decision makers. Here, businesses can connect directly with potential clients to try and build a professional relationship.
It's important to use the social platform that your audience prefers, and the platform that your brand will be able to use consistently.
Social selling on Linkedin
- Build your credibility
If you have a good relationship with your contacts, ask them for confirmation or advice. These are posted on your profile and can help give you instant credibility with new leads.
As a brand, make sure your profile highlights relevant skills to a potential client, highlighting how you've helped previous clients achieve their goals.
You should also only share information and content from credible sources and be sure to maintain a professional tone of voice in all of your LinkedIn activity.
- Expand your LinkedIn network
Use LinkedIn's search feature to expand your network by looking for mutual connections with your existing contacts.
You can also join LinkedIn Groups relevant to your industry to network with colleagues and potential clients.
- Use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Sales Navigator, LinkedIn's professional social selling tool, can help you target prospects with personalized communications and better understand your performance with in-depth analytics.
Social Selling on Facebook
- Engage with other businesses
It is easy to reach through likes, comments, and shares. But take it a step further: If you create thoughtful and valuable content, it is likely to be shared, increasing the reach of your brand.
Your Facebook page could be exposed to a whole new audience as other businesses share and like your content.
- Interact with followers
Always respond to comments from your followers and mentions of your brand. Also, when putting your posts together, include questions to start conversations with your Facebook audience — they don't need to be directly related to your product or service to be effective.
This strategy allows you to directly engage with followers, build a rapport, and helps you grow your image as an industry expert.
Social selling best practices
Whatever platform you use to reach your audience, make sure you adopt social selling best practices. Here are four to keep in mind:
- Establish your brand by providing value
When interacting with potential customers through social networks, it's important not to get too commercial. And if your brand is new to a social media platform, don't dive into social selling right away.
Before moving on to sales pitches, establish your position as an expert in your industry.
One way to build your brand on social media is by sharing interesting, valuable, and shareable content. For example, if you're a B2B business using LinkedIn, this could mean sharing content written by others that aligns with your brand.
Or you can write and share interesting content that others will find helpful in establishing your brand as an industry thought leader.
- Listen strategically and build relationships with the right people
An effective social selling strategy requires great attention. From the outset it is important to monitor what people are saying about you, your company, your industry, and your competitors.
Be aware of pain points and requests – both offer opportunities to deliver solutions.
You should also leverage your existing network whenever possible. Before contacting any of the leads you identify, check their follower lists to see if you have any mutual connections. If you have, ask your shared contact for an introduction.
- Keep it real
Take some time to personalize your social sales messages. For example, you can refer to something you shared or reacted to, highlight a shared interest, or something else you have in common. Either way, be yourself. Make a connection by starting a real and genuine conversation.
- Be consistent
If your efforts to build a relationship don't yield immediate results, don't give up. Some contacts may not be ready to purchase yet but keep in touch. Follow up continuously with new contacts.
Reconnect with contacts you previously connected with. Maintain meaningful relationships. Be ready to offer advice or help, even if they aren't directly promoting your product.
Do you want to implement a social selling strategy but don't know where to start? We at Ekeria, a digital marketing agency, are social media experts and will be happy to support you in developing your social plan and help you grow your business. Contact us for a free consultation!