Are you interested in incorporating social selling into your sales strategy. Good news: You've likely already started. Social selling is a form of marketing that your company does if it has a basic Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account (or any other social media platform).
Good social selling, the kind that generates consistent revenue, is an art. It requires planning, time, effort, follow-through, and planning.
This guide will help you social sell the right way. This is what we're going cover:
- Social selling basics (what you must know)
- Social selling is a must for your company
- How to find the right social networks for your company
- Four key principles for social selling success
- How to execute your social selling strategy with actionable steps
- Tools that will help you increase your ROI
Let's get started!
- Social selling has replaced cold calling and other outdated sales techniques like cold calls.
- B2B decision-makers and 78% of professionals believe that digital sales models, including social selling, are more effective or preferred by between 70-80% and 80% respectively.
- Social selling is about targeted, personal outreach and not high volume cold messaging.
- Companies should select the social media platforms that are most in line with their brand, content, audience, and goals.
- Social selling technology tools offer key insights that help sales reps scale up their efforts.
Social Selling 101 The Basics
Social selling refers to the use of social media networks to build and maintain relationships with customers and prospects. This is a lead generation technique that sales teams use to build relationships, increase sales and retention, and cultivate connections.
You might associate social selling with sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Social selling happens on all platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, the latest leader in the social media pack.
Social selling has replaced traditional sales methods that are becoming obsolete as technology advances and communication norms change. Cold calling and in-person demos have become obsolete. All of this can be done online, making it much easier and more engaging.
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The new social selling model requires a completely different approach to sales than those used in the past. We'll go into more detail in this article.
It is easy to confuse social selling with social media marketing or advertising. Although all three are focused on social platforms, they're quite distinct. Let's look at the differences between each of these terms to help you understand.
- Social selling, as we all know, is the use of social platforms to establish customer and prospect relationships.
- Social media marketing refers to the use of social media to promote a product or service.
- Social media advertising refers to placing paid ads on social media in order to increase brand visibility and reach.
Social selling is different from other strategies in that it focuses more on building relationships than broad promotion. Both social media advertising and social media marketing can be excellent lead-up strategies to social selling. However, they are different things.
Although many brands are proficient in both advertising and marketing, they miss out on great opportunities to generate leads and increase revenue by not following through with strong social selling.
Social selling is a great idea for your company.
Social buying is a way to engage customers
When consumers interact with each other on social media platforms, it is called “social buying”. This phenomenon has experienced rapid growth in the last few years and is now present in both B2B as well as B2C markets. Statista reports that social buying increased by 30% between 2019-2020 and is likely to continue on its upward trajectory in the future.
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According to consumers, they don't only make purchases through social media. A recent study by Sprout Social found that more than a third use social media to research brands. 78% of those who have had positive experiences with a brand on social media are more likely choose a brand over a rival.
These numbers are difficult to ignore. You can see that social selling is a losing strategy.
Digital networking has revolutionized networking
Digital interaction has become the norm due to the pandemic. Sales reps used to find prospects at conferences and trade shows. Today they need to find digital ways to connect with them. Social selling has become a necessity due to the shift in focus from trade shows and conferences to online relationships.
This is especially true because the digital sales model of today is unlikely to change. McKinsey's study of the impact of the pandemic on B2B sales showed that 70 to 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interaction and digital self service. They cite convenience, safety, and travel cost savings as the three main benefits.
75% of B2B professionals working in companies around the globe agree that this model is more effective at reaching customers and serving them.
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You're probably already being left behind if you are still waiting for the old model of sales to return after the pandemic.
Brands are using social selling strategies to increase their reach, whether they're established corporations or innovative startups. Guess what? They are beating the competition.
- Social selling is used by 70% of all sales professionals in different industries to generate leads.
- Social selling is a popular way for salespeople to outsell their competitors by 78%.
- Firms with formalized social-selling strategies are 40% more likely reach their revenue goals.
Social selling is not a trending strategy anymore. It's now a competitive imperative.
Which networks are best for you?
Let's now look at the basics of social sales and why it is so important. Many companies use multiple social media platforms. The right one to choose depends on your industry, customer base, and company.
For casual, punchy interactions, Instagram and Twitter are great platforms for short posts and conversation in the comments. LinkedIn is more suited to formal and “professional” content. Depending on how you use Facebook, it can do both.
You can think about how you interact with customers. But, don't forget that there are many options. You can find success on LinkedIn for both enterprise B2B and B2C brands on TikTok.
It all comes down to aligning your brand personality, sharing the content you love, and communicating with your audience in the best possible ways. Try different platforms, but stick to the ones that work best for you company.
Don't feel pressured to be on every platform. It's fine to have a presence across many platforms, but only one platform for social selling. It is better to do well on a few platforms than trying to reach every platform.
Create a professional brand
Your entire company is represented by the brand you create on social media. You can make social selling a success if you pay attention to details about your brand's online presence. Your platforms can be used to show that you are trustworthy and professional. Here are some easy ways you can do this:
- High-quality images that are consistent with your brand's image standards should be used
- Complete and accurate information about your company and “about” details
- Always be professional in all interactions
- Make sure you are aware of where content is coming from when you share it with other profiles
Find the right prospect
It's not about reaching as many people as possible. If you reach out to prospects who are not a good fit for your solution, your communications can come across as spammy, and sales reps will end up wasting lots of time.
Social selling techniques and tools (more details in the next section), can be used to identify the right prospects. You'll have more connections and more success in converting prospects to paying customers if you do.
Your brand is your social media presence. Your brand's tone, voice, communication style and content on social media must be consistent with it. It is important to have good communication between marketing and sales teams. Your marketing team can help you stay on brand and set the rules, while your sales team will use that information to create meaningful, authentic relationships with prospects.
Keep informed with data-driven insights
You can measure the success of your social media selling efforts using a variety of tools that are built into social media platforms. To keep your strategy metrics-driven, you can use other tools (which we'll discuss next). It is important to make data an integral part of your strategy. This will allow you to know what's working well and when you need adjustments.
These are the top social selling metrics that you should be monitoring:
- LinkedIn Social Selling Index Score (SSI) – If LinkedIn is your main platform, you should definitely use the SSI. It uses four elements to measure your social selling score: professional brand, engagement and insightful content as well as relationship building. You can also find ways to improve each area if you need.
- Content Engagement – What value can you add to your community through your content? Do you have the authority in your field? You can measure content engagement indicators like comments, likes, and shares to get a better understanding of what content is most popular and help you adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Click Through Rate (CTR). Ultimately, your content and social media outreach should drive prospects to action. Clicking through to the next step usually means clicking on your website, filling out an inquiry form or downloading something. Your CTR can be used to determine how effective your efforts have been in generating real interest.
- Conversations started – Social selling is a great way to show your customers that you value quality over quantity. Tracking the number of conversations initiated by sales reps can help hold them accountable and motivate them. As long as you target the right leads and maintain high standards of quality, more conversations will result in more conversions.
Create your profile and be visible
It takes time to establish a real presence on social media even after you have covered the basics of creating a professional brand image. This is a critical component of social selling success. Every prospect that you meet will likely review your profile to verify its credibility. Your presence can be built by sharing quality content and adding valuable commentary to industry conversations. You can also engage with others' comments.
These are some tips from Neil Patel, a marketing and sales expert for creating your personal brand and social presence.
Monitor industry and company conversations
Social media monitoring involves the continuous tracking of online conversations about your company, industry, or competitors. It is beneficial for several reasons.
It gives you an insight into the opinions of your customers and prospects about your brand. Social media is a place where people are open and honest. You can learn a lot from customers by paying attention to their posts, comments and reviews. This helps you to identify and fix problems sooner. It also keeps you informed about important conversations and events that affect your industry and competitors.
These insights will help you create a social selling strategy that is timely, relevant and directly addresses customers' needs.
Find your prospects
You will begin to recognize prospects as you increase your social media presence. You can search directly for them using search filters, hashtags, and brand mentions. To ensure that your outreach is targeted and personal, it's important to stay organized in finding and managing prospects. You can do this by using a CRM system or a Google Sheet.
Make your outreach
Social selling outreach isn't cold messaging, as you can see. Let's begin with the important things. Don't just pull up your prospect lists and send them the same direct message. Your outreach should be organic and authentic when it comes to social selling.
This means that you start with smaller interactions such as following a prospect’s profile, liking their content or commenting in the comments section. Once you feel you have established a relationship and are well-versed in their problems, you can start to reach out more directly. Your messages shouldn't be too sales-oriented. Show that you are honest, be open to new ideas, and make sure that the relationship is built.
Respond to all inquiries
Your following will grow and you'll continue to share valuable content. You'll start to get warm leads and prospects will inquire. You should set up specific times to check and manage these inquiries. Every inquiry should be answered promptly. You should respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.
It takes time to build a strong social media presence. Consistent effort is also required. It is important to plan ahead so that your posting activity doesn’t ebb or flow. You should keep it active and not experience long gaps when there isn’t any content being shared.
Engaging with other content is the same as starting conversations. Keep up the good work. Stick to your schedule and block out time in your workday for social selling.
Social selling tools
Social selling tools can help you stay organized, use data to your advantage, and scale your efforts. There are many great tools on the market. The right tool for you will depend upon the platforms and tactics you use to execute your strategy. Let's look at the top tools that sales reps use today.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator – One of the most popular B2B social-selling tools. It allows users to target and find the right prospects. It also provides job updates and alerts about prospects. Lead tracking is possible and it integrates well with other CRM systems.
- Hootsuite is a great tool for managing content on multiple platforms. You can also use social listening to track conversations about your industry and competitors.
- EveryoneSocial – This tool, similar to Hootsuite allows you to manage content across multiple platforms and use social listening. You can also use it to sell socially, with features such as sales-focused analytics or collaboration options for your sales team.
- ZoomInfo ReachOut- A plugin that integrates with LinkedIn and provides direct contact information such as email address, phone number, and other details to prospects that you connect with through the platform.
- HubSpot – A popular CRM tool that tracks leads across all channels. It can enhance social selling by providing funnel-focused insights, which tell you where a lead came from and where they are in the buyer journey.
Although none of these tools will do the job for you, your social selling efforts should be authentic and human-centered. These tools can help to enhance your strategy by providing data insights and advanced technology.
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Marketing Insider Group published The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling.
By: Erin McShea
Title: The Ultimate Guide to Effective Social Selling
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/5-principles-effective-social-selling/
Published Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2022 11:00:00 +0000