We all know that social media is a powerful tool for marketing and sales. But what about social selling?
Social selling uses social media to connect with prospects, generate leads, and close deals.
Defining social selling
Social selling is developing relationships as part of the sales process. In today’s digital world, developing and executing a social media strategy is used to find, connect with, understand, and influence buyers.
It’s important to understand that social selling is not about using social networks to “sell” in the traditional sense — it’s not about posting links to your product or website or bombarding your connections with marketing messages.
Instead, social selling is about building relationships — providing value, being helpful and connecting with people who may need your products or services. As a result, social selling can effectively reach new buyers and close more deals when done correctly.
The benefits of social selling
It’s a powerful way to reach new buyers, grow your networks and build relationships that can turn into sales.
The benefits of social selling include:
- Expanding your reach: Social media allows you to connect with more people in more places than ever. You can reach new buyers who may not be aware of your product or service, and you can nurture relationships with existing customers.
- Building better relationships: When you sell, you build genuine relationships with potential customers. This can lead to deeper connections and more trust, eventually leading to sales.
- Generating leads: By engaging with potential customers on social media, you can generate leads you can follow up with offline.
- Improving customer service: Social media provides a great platform for providing excellent customer service. By responding quickly to questions and concerns, you can create happy customers who are more likely to buy from you in the future.
The best platforms
We can use almost any social media platform for social selling, but some are better than others. The best social selling platforms are the ones where your target customers are already spending time.
Whichever platform you choose, the key is to be active and engaged. Don’t just post links to your product or blog – start conversations, ask questions and get involved in discussions. The more you relate with customers, the more likely you convert them into actual sales.
Social selling and social media marketing
Social selling has the goal of eventually closing a sale.
Social media marketing uses social media to promote and sell products or services. It can also develop relationships with potential customers, but the goal is to bring value to active users and generate sales.
How to get started
Here are a few tips to help you get started with social selling:
1. Define your goals. What will you achieve through social selling? More sales? Greater brand awareness? A wider reach? Clarity on your goals will help you create a more effective strategy.
2. Research your audience. Who are your potential buyers? What are their pains and needs? What kind of content do they consume and share? The more you know about your audience, the better you’ll be able to connect with them.
3. Find the right platform. Not all social networks are created equal. For example, LinkedIn is more towards professionals and allows you to connect easily with decision-makers in your target market. Conversely, platforms like Twitter or Snapchat might be less effective because they have a wider range of users and aren’t as focused on B2B relations.
4. Create valuable content. To win at social selling, you must create content that provides value to your audience. This could be anything from posts and infographics to relevant industry news and insights. The key is creating something that will help solve your buyer’s problems or make their lives easier – not just constantly promoting your products or services (no one likes a sales pitch!).
5. Engage with your audience. Once you’ve created valuable content, it’s time to engage with potential buyers and influencers on social media. This means liking, sharing, commenting on, and retweeting their content and providing helpful answers when they ask questions or post about problems they’re facing in your industry. You’ll build rapport by being genuinely interested in helping them, which can eventually lead to sales.
Creating a strategy
Fundamental, but often overlooked – create a social selling strategy. To do this, you’ll want to start by setting some objectives and goals. Then you can build a plan.
Your social media presence should display a mix of content and activities that will help you achieve your objectives. For example, to increase brand awareness, create informative blog posts and share them on LinkedIn. If you want to generate leads, share helpful infographics on Twitter or run a LinkedIn ad campaign. And to close sales, connect with potential customers on LinkedIn and offer practical advice and resources.
Whatever objectives and goals you have for social selling:
- Tailor your strategy with relevant and helpful content for your target audience.
- Take part in activities that will help build relationships with potential customers.
- Use data and analytics to track your progress and optimize efforts.
A good marketing strategy will be linked to customer satisfaction. But how do you measure the ROI of social selling? Here are a few social media metrics you can use to track the success of your social selling efforts:
- Leads generated: Track the number of leads directly from your social selling activities.
- Opportunities: Track the number of sales opportunities created by your customer interactions.
- Deals closed: Track the conversion rate due to digital marketing. Note that customer retention is a critical lag indicator.
- Revenue generated: Track the revenue generated through your social media accounts efforts.
- Engagement Rates: Track the level of engagement you can achieve with your target audience through social selling. We can measure this in terms of likes, comments, shares, reviews, etc.
Best practices for social selling
When used correctly, social selling can be a powerful tool for B2B businesses. It allows you to connect with social media users and build relationships that could lead to sales.
Here are some best practices to consider:
- Identify your target audience: Knowing who you’re trying to reach with your social selling efforts is essential. Research your ideal customer and identify the best social media context for reaching them.
- Build a social media presence: Once you know where your target audience spends their time online, it’s time to attach to active users on those networks. Make sure your profile is up-to-date and complete, and start sharing valuable content that will help you build trust with potential customers.
- Engage with your network: Don’t just broadcast messages — take the time to engage with potential customers and build relationships. Respond to comments and questions, and try to add value.
- Monitor your results: Keep track of the effectiveness of your social media ideas and measure the results to determine what’s working and isn’t. Adjustments as needed so you can continue improving your outcomes.