What is social selling?
Social selling is the art of using social media to uncover and engage with new prospects. Sales professionals can use social media to provide value to their prospects. This is done by sharing content, answering questions and responding to comments throughout the sales process.
If the fundamentals of ‘old school’ selling are made of cold calling, qualifying leads and sales demos. Then social sales are built on using social media to reach new prospects, educate them on how your business can help them grow or overcome a problem and nurture them with content.
The exponential growth of social media has been a huge factor in social selling being adopted as a means of B2B outreach.
Research completed by IDC found that:
- 91% of B2B buyers are involved with social media and are active on various platforms
- 84% of senior execs use social media to support buying decisions
- 75% of B2B buyers are heavily influenced by social media
How to use social selling to help you grow your business:
Ultimately, social selling is about building relationships. Not only that, building relationships in the right way and in the right places.
Step One: Choose the right network
It’s so easy to think you need to be on ALL social media platforms or get swept up in the next big thing. However, true social selling success comes from being active on the same platform as your ideal clients.
Start to identify the networks that match your client personas by demographics.
Although YouTube and Facebook have the majority of users across all age groups. However, research shows that a majority of decision-makers use LinkedIn and Twitter primarily.
So, you can derive from this if you sell products or services focused towards other businesses, chances are a majority of your potential clients are already on LinkedIn and that’s where your focus should be.
Step Two: Create your wish list of ideal clients and follow them
All salespeople dream of bringing on new mega-brand clients.
It doesn’t just have to be a dream though!
Almost all large corporations and small can be found on social media through company pages or employee accounts. By following and connecting with these companies you can keep up to date on company news, when they win an award reach out to congratulate them or when they ask for a product or service recommendation offer your help.
Create a wish list of 20-30 dream clients that are active on social media and start following them today. Like, share and engage with their content updates wherever possible and start building those relationships!
Step Three: Get instant notifications when potential prospects join LinkedIn
By utilising LinkedIn’s Saved Search feature, you can create a search based on your ideal client persona then LinkedIn will notify you each time someone joins that matches your profile.
Once you have created these search alerts you can choose the frequency and format or your notifications.
Step Four: Join and participate in LinkedIn Groups
With more than 660 million users LinkedIn is a platform full of opportunities from networking to referrals.
One of the biggest advantages lies within the groups but they are still one of the most under-utilised tools of LinkedIn.
Search for your topic of expertise and find relevant groups to join. Remember, these aren’t the places to be pushing your products, your aim should be to network and share knowledge and expertise with potential customers.
Step Five: Connect with your ideal clients
After starting to contribute in groups on LinkedIn, you will notice that more people will view your profile.
When this starts to happen, send them an invite to connect!
Always remember to personalise your connection request, even something simple like ‘Hi [Name], thanks for viewing my profile. Would you be open to connecting on LinkedIn?’ is a much better request than the default.
Personalising your request is a great way to start a conversation with a potential customer that has shown an interest in what you do.
Step Six: Contribute to conversations
Implement a social listening strategy and respond to what people are saying about your brand or industry.
Twitter is a great tool to use for this, search for a keyword then scroll the feed and start engaging by liking/retweeting or responding to questions they ask.
By contributing to conversations, you add value to your potential clients and get your name on their radar.
Step Seven: Provide value with content
More than 50% of B2B buyers look for information on products and services on social media.
Because of this, you have a great opportunity to create new content based on what your prospects are already searching for!
If a conversation you’re involved in asks for information on best practice, share one of your companies’ blog posts. If a LinkedIn group is discussing product recommendations, share a demo video or case study.
This is also a great opportunity to align your sales and marketing teams. Together they can create and share content based on questions, comments and industry topics being posted within their social networks.
These six steps to social selling will help you get started with finding and connecting with your prospects across social media, especially LinkedIn and Twitter where most decision makers can be found.
The best results of social selling come when you focus on adding value and building relationships with your prospects.
While it might be difficult at first, social selling is not a one-time activity and should be implemented alongside your other prospecting techniques.
What social selling techniques will you be trying? Let us know in the comments!
Published: 12th April 2021