Why Should You Care About Social Selling?
⏱ Reading Time: 8 minutes
With 3.6 billion people now active on social networks, these channels have become the nerve center of any well-planned sales strategy.
Companies wanting to be ahead of the curve use social selling to attract new customers and retain them.
By now, you have probably heard of this tactic, but do you know what it really means?
Social selling is not synonymous with social media marketing or advertising.
Unlike these practices, social selling is more about getting social and less about selling.
Want to learn more about it?
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is a process of researching prospective customers and connecting with them via social networks. The goal is to communicate with leads by liking, sharing, and commenting on their content.
By interacting with prospects regularly, you will build and nurture relationships with them. Above all, you will position yourself as an authoritative industry player and gain their trust.
Therefore, if you are looking to close sales faster, social selling is not for you. It is a strategic approach to selling that requires a lot of patience, planning, and analyzing. It does not guarantee success, either. Just because you have poured your heart into nurturing relationships with prospective customers does not mean they will choose to purchase from you.
Picture 1. Social media statistics
Why is Social Selling Vital to your Business?
Even though social selling does not ensure quick wins, it has become an essential sales strategy. Studies say that 71% of all sales professionals and 90% of top salespeople use social selling tools.
So, what are the advantages of social selling?
1. Building Relationships with Leads
Social selling helps you build meaningful relationships with your target audience.
By using social media monitoring tools, like Hootsuite or Mention, you can identify new leads that are already talking about your business, products, competitors, and industry. That gives you a chance to approach your prospective buyers more strategically, with useful tips when the time is right.
According to CSO Insights and Seismic, 31% of B2B professionals claim social selling helps them build stronger relationships with clients.
2. Boosting Industry Authority
Over the past few years, social media users have become more resourceful. They now use social networks as a search engine. That is where they find new brands, seek peer reviews, and voice their experiences with companies.
For your business, that is a perfect opportunity to boost credibility.
Picture 2. The importance of social media presence
For starters, by using the abovementioned social listening tools, you can stay on top of all relevant brand mentions and customer questions. That way, you can understand your customers’ problems, needs, and expectations and respond to them. Instead of aggressively promoting your products and services, offer help.
You can also create original content for social channels that is insightful, fresh, and intriguing. The goal is to inspire people to keep following you and engage with your posts.
When they see the value of your content, your target audience will perceive you as an authoritative industry player and be eager to purchase from you.
Research says that 78% of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers. Moreover, 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader.
3. Shortening the Sales Cycle
Given the benefits mentioned above, it is not surprising that social selling helps you stand out in the sea of competitors. Always remember that most of your competitors already use at least some of the social tools mentioned above.
By engaging your target audience with quality content and providing value, you will build deeper relationships with them. That allows you to generate more qualified leads and close sales faster. Above all, social selling is an opportunity to turn your one-time buyers into repeat customers and brand advocates.
According to the CSO Insights and Seismic study mentioned above, social selling helps salespeople:
- Reduce the amount of time researching accounts and contacts.
- Increase the number of leads.
- Shorten sales cycles.
- Improve the lead conversion rate.
Social Selling: Best Practices to Apply Right Now
Now that you know what social selling is and why it matters, it is time to learn how to get the most out of this sales tactic. Here are a few practical tips you can implement right now:
Join Relevant Online Communities
As we already emphasized, social selling is all about relationship building. And, one of the simplest ways to connect with your target audience is to join groups and communities where they are active. Make sure the groups are relevant to your brand and industry.
LinkedIn and Facebook groups can serve as your solid starting point. They are particularly significant in the B2B sector. Choose communities that are active and updated continuously. That way, you can stay informed of the problems and challenges your prospective customers are dealing with.
Sure, the goal is to contribute to your online communities organically. Instead of promoting your brand and products, contribute to discussions by offering valuable tips and insights. Salesy comments and posts will only annoy other group members and harm your brand image.
Use Social Listening Tools
Use social listening tools to set up notifications about when a prospective customer mentions keywords related to your brand, rivals, or industry. For instance, if a lead writes about a problem that you can address, an alert from a social listening tool will help you get involved in the conversation faster and provide relevant tips and solutions.
Read Social Listening
Know when to Proceed with the Sale
Determine when your relationship with a prospect is strong enough to continue the conversation off of social networks. When a potential customer is engaged, ask them to provide their email address or offer to hop on a call to continue the conversation.
Invest in LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium tool that can benefit your social selling strategy in multiple ways. It helps your sales agents find new leads based on their location, industry, company size, needs, etc. That way, you can find more relevant prospects and segment them effectively.
Picture 3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Measure Audience Engagement
To improve user engagement and provide your audiences with valuable content, track their behaviors online. The goal is to understand how your content resonates with them.
Precisely because of that, you should invest in a reliable social media reporting tool. It integrates with all relevant social media platforms and marketing tools, providing you with invaluable insights into your social selling efforts. With it, you can measure audience engagement across multiple platforms via a single marketing dashboard.
Improve Customer Care
More users use social media and messaging platforms to connect with businesses.
To strengthen your customer care efforts, invest in an omnichannel communication platform that centralizes your customer service. That way, you can talk to your customers regardless of the channel they use to connect with you.
Always provide actionable tips and solutions. Above all, do not ignore dissatisfied or angry customers. Help them resolve a problem effectively and turn them into brand advocates.
Build a Social Selling Plan for Each Platform You Use
When it comes to social selling, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that applies to all platforms. You need to tailor your social selling strategy to the requirements of each channel you use.
Picture 4. Usage of Facebook
On Twitter, it is crucial to set up Twitter lists so you can track posts from different audience groups.
For example, when creating a list of prospective buyers, make sure it is private. You do not want to share it with your competitors.
The list of your competitors should also be private. That way, you can stay on top of their posts without actually following them.
LinkedIn is the largest professional social network. It plays a vital role for businesses, especially those in the B2B sector. Namely, 50% of B2B customers rely on LinkedIn as a reliable resource when making buying decisions. Precisely because of that, it is one of the hottest social selling channels to use.
First, LinkedIn is perfect for building credibility among your contacts. Publish relevant and data-backed content, share professional experiences, and ask connections for opinions. Also, ask your clients for endorsements and recommendations to build credibility.
Second, get social in Groups. Like we explained above, LinkedIn Groups are a perfect place to start networking and building industry authority.
While Twitter and LinkedIn are intended for building professional relationships, Facebook is a bit more personal. Instead of creating a profile, create a Facebook Business Page so you can connect with other businesses in your niche, as well as potential clients.
Social Selling is all about Building Relationships
The sales process has always been about building relationships. Social selling takes this principle to a whole new level. It gives you a chance to build meaningful relationships and, in that way, improve sales and boost customer retention.
Lauren is a regular Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto – Kindness, always.
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