Social selling refers to the use of social media communities in your sales strategies. However, despite their similarities, social selling is not exactly like social media marketing.
Social media marketing is about delivering content to a particular community or segment, whereas social selling refers to the meaningful interaction between salespeople and individual prospects.
As a relatively new sales strategy, social selling involves leveraging technology and data for social lead generation. Once a lead is generated, the goal of social selling is to nurture that lead through one on one interactions and to drive the prospect towards a purchase decision.
Since the number of social users climbs every day, salespeople are finding it easier to create opportunities and reach their quotas through social selling. It’s a much more personal way to engage with sales prospects as opposed to the traditional cold call or email.
If you want to be successful with social selling, you need to share valuable information, respond to questions and engagement, and present solutions to your audience’s problems.
Social Selling 101
Social selling has the same goal as traditional selling – to drive purchase decisions – using a new approach. That said, there are core principles you need to understand and apply to help you make the most of this sales strategy:
- Identify Your Prospects
As people spend more time engaging on social media, it’s becoming the perfect platform to initiate a sales conversation using the information users provide on their social profiles.
To help you identify which people can become prospective customers, look for those who are searching for products or services that are similar to what you’re trying to sell. If you come across someone who has bought from a competitor but didn’t have a positive experience, that’s a great opportunity to come in and sweep them off their feet with your brilliant solution.
Don’t ignore the importance of researching your audience. The more you know, the better you’ll be at crafting effective social selling strategies in the future.
2. Pick the Right Platform and the Right Tools
Every social network is different. To understand which platform is the most suitable for your business, you need to know where your audience spends the most time and, most importantly, where content engagement is highest.
For example, if you’re a B2B organization, you’ll probably want to take advantage of LinkedIn, since it’s the most effective platform for B2B lead generation. Meanwhile, Facebook works well for B2C because it lets you create a Business Page, which you can use to connect with prospects without giving them the impression that you’re flooding their personal space with business offers.
When it comes to choosing the right tools, it all depends on what platform(s) you choose to focus on. It’s highly recommended that you get a monitoring tool like Hootsuite or Mention. It pays to know what your audience is talking about, so you can tap into any trending topics to maximize your chances of engagement.
3. Use the Right Amount of Automation
Social media is designed to facilitate social interaction, so don’t go overboard automating your social selling tools. You want your prospects to identify your brand as a real human being with a face and a name instead of a generic brand page. The key is to inject a little personality into your communications.
Employing automation for your marketing and customer service campaigns may be practical, but social selling needs to include more of a human touch.
4. Make Your Brand a Valuable Resource
One of the best ways to build trust and authority in the eyes of your target audience is to share content that educates, entertains, and inspires. The more you’re able to deliver value; the more loyal your audience will be when it comes to acting on your brand’s content.
Here are some pointers to help your brand provide real value on social:
- Share answers to commonly asked questions (pricing, discounts and promos, ordering process, delivery schedule, mode of shipping) even before your prospects ask about them
- Provide quick and easy how-to guides and video tutorials that are practical for your leads
- Create and share insightful posts. Include a brief overview to explain how those posts may be relevant to your audience
- Build conversations by becoming an active listener and acknowledging those that engage with your brand
The bottom line here is not to keep pushing your product or service to the point that it becomes annoying. Instead, you should take the time to establish yourself as an expert in the field by producing and sharing the types of content that your target audience loves to consume.
5. Keep Track of What Your Leads are Sharing
Social media was made for sharing, and people aren’t afraid to give their opinion. Your prospects and leads may be asking for recommendations or discussing their pain points on their social media accounts. You should always utilize these types of information to learn more about what they need and want.
From there, you can create opportunities for your company and present your product or service as a viable option to address the pain points of your prospective customers.
In a nutshell, social selling is about using social media channels and other relevant technologies to help you learn about who your audience is and how they behave.
By having a good understanding of what and who makes up your potential buyers, social selling lets you engage with your best prospects on a far more personal level than most other channels. When you’re able to personalize your approach, you’ll be maximizing your conversion rates and resource usage in no time!
For more insights on using customer data to optimize your sales process, check out our Complete Guide to Data-Driven Marketing today!