Contrary to popular practice, social selling is more than spamming prospects with sales pitches they never requested.
Spamming people on social media is intrusive, annoying and fruitless, regardless of what you’re offering. You come off as another disturbance instead of a person of value that you are.
Buyers deal with an overwhelming number of “salesy” people in their DMs daily. And the fastest way to be ignored is to take this same approach as every other salesperson.
Two years ago, I could pass for a spam artist too. Now, I know better. And do better through social selling.
This article is the first in a collection designed to help you understand and integrate social selling into your sales and marketing strategy.
In this article, you’ll learn what social selling is, its benefits and how to sell on social media without being a weirdo.
Let’s get to it!
What is social selling?
Social selling is using social networks to interact and build rapport with prospects and help them easily move through the pipeline. It helps you research your potential buyers better and provide valuable insights to boost credibility.
78% of salespeople selling on socials perform better than their peers. If you’re not integrating social selling into your sales strategy, you’re losing revenue and lagging behind your competitors.
Think of social selling as an in-person networking event where you introduce yourself to strangers and create a good impression for your business. Social selling requires you to familiarize yourself with prospects before offering them your product or service.
The evolution of social selling
Traditional selling strategies like cold calling, direct mail, and buying contact lists are becoming less popular because of their reduced reach. More than half of the world’s population hangs out on social media, and your target customers already expect you there.
Without a doubt, the growth of social media platforms has affected not only marketing and advertising but also sales. Since social media impacts 71% of buying decisions, sales teams must adapt to key industry trends like social selling to remain relevant.
What are the benefits of social selling?
Social selling lets you access updated information about your target audience and find key decision-makers, especially in B2B sales. It takes time and conscious effort to crack, but it’s an approach with enormous perks that helps you build an effective sales strategy.
Here’s why you should adopt it:
It shortens sales processes
Closing a deal is usually a long process, especially for B2B sales. Social selling allows you to shorten your sales processes by offering your prospect some insights into your offering through your social media profiles. Before starting a conversation, you can establish your reputation with prospects.
Also, if you’ve taken ample time to build your social media presence and credibility, you can reduce the time required to explain your product or service to your target audience. This is because they can always find the necessary details about you online.
Social selling helps you create a strong impression in your prospect’s mind before offering anything.
“Your reputation arrives before you do. Nobody engages with anybody without first checking them online.” – Mark Hunter, Co-host of Sales Logic.
It enhances lead generation
Both B2B and B2C sales require that you capture leads who are genuinely interested in your products or services. When you talk about your brand, and share success stories and testimonials, it helps you to be properly positioned to gain trust.
Salespeople can function as mini-marketers who generate leads through content, conversations, and networking on social media platforms.
“Social selling is meeting your customers where they’re already doing due diligence: online.” – Jamie Shanks, CEO of Sales for Life.
It strengthens relationships with clients
Social selling makes it easier to research prospective clients and personalize your offer to suit their needs. You’ll identify their interests and perspectives and create engaging conversations to build rapport.
By liking, commenting, and engaging your prospect’s content on social media, you can boost your B2B sales process by building a close-level connection with them. This way, you can seal deals faster since you’ve developed a bond with the prospects.
To ease the relationship-building efforts, social selling allows you to incorporate social listening to determine the changes in customer behavior. With that, you can optimize your offering as consumer behaviors change.
Social selling is about showing empathy, building real relationships and being a resource. The sale will come when the time is right. – Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link
9 hacks on how to sell on social media
In the past months, I’ve worked with several expert social sellers from whom I gained insightful hacks on social selling. Here are a few that can help you improve your RevGen.
Humanize your profiles
People want to connect with honest humans, not salesy ones. Weirdly enough, salesy people don’t like to connect with people, and their social profiles appear too salesy.
When building your social profile, infuse 20% of your personal story to allow your prospects to relate to your personality.
Review your social media profiles objectively to know how your prospects perceive you. Talk about your brand and show up with the right resource that might interest and prove valuable to your prospects.
Mandy McEwen, Founder & CEO at Luminetics, says not looking like a salesperson is one of the ways sales reps can use social media.
Choose the right platform
Finding the right platform to reach your sales goals depends on the kind of business you’re running, your target audience and the strategy you’ve built.
No social media platform is dead, not even Facebook. If your ideal audience hangs there, you should also be selling there.
Once you clearly define your target audience, it will be easier to figure out which social media platform to find them.
Identify the decision-maker
Most times, the most popular person in a company is not the key decision-maker. Take your time to identify those within the team that can approve budgets to favour your product or service.
Jessica Gilmartin, CMO of Calendy, says she receives “50 LinkedIn connection requests from salespeople” weekly. Her take is that it’s better to research the actual decision maker within the company and convince them about the value of your product rather than sending random messages.
Post content and engage
Anybody can make a post, but not everyone can make one that adds value to their audience. Ensure your audience can gain something and solve problems from your posting.
Meredith Elliot, Keynote Speaker and Sales Strategist, recommends that people should never put something online that’s not of value. She says it wastes the listener’s time and damages your reputation.
Meredith recommends investing in your audience before you expect anything in return. That’s the way to their heart! Pay attention to what you post because people are watching you.
Research your prospects
Social media offers enormous details about your target audience, but only a few people use these details effectively. Instead of painting your company as the ultimate solution to your prospect’s problems, pay attention to their needs first.
Marcella Arthur, Fractional CMO with 35 years of sales and marketing experience, believes that salespeople should stop selling the company because nobody cares about what they do. Instead, she advises to focus their energy on the customers and solving their problems.
With this approach, you can gain more ground with your prospects and create personalized solutions that will suit their needs effectively.
The algorithm of many social networks favors users who post valuable content consistently. However, consistency is only beneficial if you’ve decided the following:
- How often do I show up?
- What subjects do I discuss?
- What tools do I need?
- Am I showing up in an appealing way?
- How does my target audience want me to show up?
Posting unhelpful content to your target audience defeats the purpose of consistency. You can solicit their help or gain content ideas for your posts if you have a marketing team.
Use social proof and testimonials
Showing how your company has helped other customers can significantly affect your social sales strategy. It helps your prospects reduce the perceived risk of using your product or service. This way, they can visualize how your offering impacts their business or life and make efforts towards adopting it.
Another way to amplify your voice is to leverage user-generated content to provide social proof of the effectiveness of your product.
Create a strategy for the content you post on social media and analyze the effectiveness of what you’re putting out so you can make adjustments. Use social media analytics to determine your content’s reach and impact on your target audience.
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook have built-in analytics that’ll help you track engagement. If you want more advanced functions, you can consider third-party tools like:
Know the right time to pitch
Timing is essential when pitching your product or service. If you pitch too soon, you can push the client away; if you drag too much, your client could have gotten an alternative. You need to be just on time.
Follow up on previous conversations you’ve had with a prospect, chip in an elevator pitch and take the communication off social media to finalize the deal. A call or an email will be more effective at this point.
Most people avoid sales because they assume it’s a manipulative and pushy strategy that disturbs prospects. However, that’s not true. Sales is largely a relationship business if done accurately.
With the right social selling hacks, you can build relationships, avoid being pushy and close deals in the long run.