You’re mistaken for passing social selling as another corporate buzz phrase or jargon-frill with nothing of value to a marketer.
Those who know the phrase and the weight it carries understand it’s a stunningly effective way to sell your products and services online. Among those who’ve adopted social selling practices and seen exceptional results are big brands such as Walgreens, SAP, and Symantec.
Social selling is when salespeople use social media to generate leads. It can be defined as the art of reaching your prospects on their preferred social media platform, or where they hang out the most, using different methods to educate them, engage them, provide value, build trust, and ultimately, sell.
It focuses on developing meaningful connections with your prospects and getting on top of their minds so you can be among the first brands that they think of whenever they’re ready to make a purchase.
Why it Works
Social selling is effective because the internet changed the way that sellers interact with buyers. Buyers no longer want to be sold to. They’re more informed and would prefer to research on their own, rather than have a salesperson pitch to them the old-school way.
By the time a prospect contacts you, 70% of the work would have already been done. Social media offers you the opportunity to be a likable influencer rather than a seller. It offers you a chance to establish a strong connection with your target audience and provide value before you finally get to sell to them.
You don’t have the luxury of waiting when it comes to embracing social selling. Here are more of the three core reasons you should starting caring about social selling if you haven’t already.
It’s about Your Sales team Building Real Relationships with Buyers
Buyers aren’t big fans of cold calling. It’s not effective, with different reports indicating that 90% of top decision-makers never even bother responding to cold calls. However, with social selling, you have the opportunity to identify new leads through social listening so that you can start focusing on establishing a real connection with them.
Your Buyers are Actively Involved in Social Buying
Social selling isn’t just about looking for potential buyers through social selling and ingratiating yourself to them. It can be the other way round where buyers take it upon themselves to find the right vendor or seller of a product or service that they think are the best fit for them.
Your Top Competitors are actively Involved in Social Selling
Reports show that 71% of sales professionals are already taking advantage of social selling. So, chances are also high that your competitors may also be actively involved in social selling. Find a way to make your sales team use social tools. Equip them with all the necessary social tools, particularly when targeting the millennial and Gen Z demographics.
Social selling may sound like a relatively new concept, but it’s not. For many years, people have been developing a one-on-one relationship with prospects as part of their sales process.
The only thing that has changed is that people have turned to social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, Reddit, and so on as the platform for establishing these relationships.
So, what are the key benefits of investing in social selling:
Shortens the Sales Cycle
One common problem with traditional selling is that you can never be sure how long it’s going to take a client to make up their mind and take action. It’s, however, not the same with social selling. Most of the time, the buyer would have already done their pre-purchase research by the time they reach out to you, which further simplifies the sales process.
New Revenue Opportunities
Social selling focuses on listening to what your prospects and buyers have to say and adjusting or positioning yourself accordingly. It’s a great avenue to find out what solutions your prospects are looking for. It’s also a great opportunity to identify relevant customers and the needs they have.
A Good Way to Manage Your Online Reputation
Social selling requires that you keep your ears open at all times. This comes as a great opportunity to manage your online credibility and business image. Plus, numerous studies reveal the enormous impact online reviews have on buyers’ decisions. The same studies go on to reveal 65% of buyers admit that they have had their decision influenced by the content that vendors post online.
Build Better Customer Relationships
Imagine yourself as a buyer. Who will you be compelled to do business with – between a salesperson who cold calls out of the blue or an active advisor on social media who’s has all along been supplying you with valuable information and trying to engage you? What’s important to remember is that people prefer buying from people.
If the connection is right, buyers will make up their minds and go through with a purchase even if the entire idea wasn’t in their initial plan.
Breeds Returning Customers
New customers are great. But you know what’s better?
The ones that shop with you over and over again. They’re good for long-term growth. So, it’s good that you figure out how to turn them into your brand loyalists and advocates, and social selling is one way to go about it.
You need a strategy to succeed at social selling, and this is how you roll it out:
Identify Your Goals and Processes: The term strategy and goals flow together. Every time you sit down to strategize on anything (not just social selling), you need to come up with measurable KPIs and goals. Or how else would you know if your strategy is working?
Utilize Tools That Make Communication Easier: Social selling is about identifying the right audience and keeping them engaged until they’re able to make up their minds and go through with a purchase. At the core, it’s about communication.
Here’s a list of tools we recommend at a minimum:
- Sales Navigator: A premium tool from LinkedIn
- Calendar-syncing tool: that prospects can use to book an appointment with you without necessarily dropping you an email or bombarding your helpdesk with calls.
- Grammarly: You can’t be professional when your content is flooded with careless grammar mistakes.
Develop a Content Strategy: This is where you put your thinking gear on and think of a content strategy. You, however, have to go slow on pitching and focus more on informing, educating, and entertaining your audience.
Your focus should be to direct buyers to your solution instead of leading with the solution.
Create a Playbook: Your salespeople shouldn’t wing what they say. You have to prepare a simple, step-by-step plan that guides everything they say and how they say it. This playbook should outline their day to day engagement with prospects.
Track Your Goals and KPIs: Remember the KPIs you established earlier on. This is where you revisit them and review everything. Find out what activities produced results, and what didn’t. Play around with different activities, turning them on and off to weigh on the results they generate.
- 78% of salespeople that engage in social selling are reported to far outsell their peers that have yet to adopt this marketing strategy.
- 31% of B2B professionals admit social selling has helped them build deeper connections with their clients. It’s the reason they have even succeeded in maintaining a long business relationship with them.
- 10% of sales reps that engage in social selling say that they have at least closed five deals by doing nothing else other than being active on social media.
- 76% of buyers say they’re ready to convert should they come across a provider they connect with.
- 92% of B2B buyers say they’re willing to go in business with a sales professional that’s established thought leadership on social media.
- 53% of customer loyalty can easily be delivered via social media. All you have to do is focus on delivering unique insight to keep your social media followers engaged.
- 71% of sales professionals and 90% of the world’s leading salespeople are devoted users of social selling tools.
- 78% of millennials admit to using social selling tools.
- 63% of millennials consider social selling tools a critical segment of their business.
- 51% of social sellers are sure of achieving their sales quotas.
- Companies that are pretty consistent with social selling are 41% more likely to reach their revenue goals as opposed to companies that are still dithering with the idea.
- 39% of B2B sales professionals say social selling helped them reduce the amount of time that they use to research leads.
- 33% of consumers prefer to contact brands on social media rather than contacting them via a phone call.
Create a Facebook Page for Personal Branding: It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to use your actual name or business name on Facebook. You need a Facebook page to help you take advantage of Facebook’s advertisement platform and analytics.
Your Design Should Reflect Your Brand: Your visual content must reflect your brand. Starting with your timeline cover photo, to your logo, and the images you choose, you have to make sure that they’re all professionally done to reflect your values and everything you stand for as a brand.
Set Goals: Goals are how you know if you’re succeeding or headed in the right direction. It’s what you use to gauge your momentum and make necessary adjustments as you go. You can start by focusing on growing your reach and likes. While at it, work towards maintaining a 10% overall engagement.
Content Strategy: You need a plan. You can start by identifying your target audience and figure out what content is relevant or of any value to them.
Promotion Strategy: How do you plan to grow your fanbase? A small budget for Facebook advertisement ($100 to $200) can go a long way, as long as you use the Facebook ad platform right.
Engagement Strategy: Every sales process on Facebook begins with a conversation. Sharpen your social listening skills. Monitor everything, respond and focus on establishing sales relationships.
Conversion Strategy: Engaging your prospects and leads isn’t enough. You need a conversion strategy. Have a way that you can convert the fans you attract into customers.
Measure and Analyse: Measurement isn’t just about checking results. You have to tie everything together with the goals that you’ve set. Go through every single one of your activities and see which one among them generated the greatest impact. Remember to assess your time well and see if it amounted to anything of value.
Facebook Live Selling
Facebook launched its live streaming platform in April 2016. It’s one of the easiest platforms to figure out, but the hardest to master.
Live streams are a good way to go because they allow you to connect with your customers at a more intimate level. The challenge is to keep your followers glued to your live streams all the way through.
Live videos are great for generating leads, especially when combined with Facebook ads. They can also be integrated with messenger bots, which talk to your customers on your behalf as you concentrate on the live video.
Before You Start Streaming Your Videos
Before you go live, you must prepare. Here are a few tips to help you out with the preparation process:
Plan your Broadcast: Don’t just go live; go live with a plan. If you’re not a big fan of writing scripts, the least you could do is summarise your content into bullet points. The next thing you want to do is stand in front of the mirror and practice. Remember to do a few test runs before going live.
Promote Your Live Streams: Be sure to announce your live stream on every channel you’re on. Do this ahead of time, and when you get to it. Let your followers know that your live stream is on. You can have someone help you share it around on relevant groups.
Pick Your Location Carefully: You don’t want anybody distracting you in the middle of the live stream. You can start by testing your internet connection, and decide if you’re better off streaming from your home, studio, or office.
Invest in Better Production: Video quality matters a lot when going live. You should be aiming for at least 720p at 30 frames per second. Also, remember to invest in proper lighting and a good microphone to influence the perception of quality.
Be Your Own Broadcast: Facebook has made it possible to be the only person that views your broadcasts. You can use this opportunity to test your setup, rig, and skills.
It’s all About Timing: Don’t just stream for the sake of it. The last thing you want is for your video to underperform. Find out when it’s most convenient for your audience to watch your live stream and schedule it for that time. When is your audience at their most active and less indisposed?
During the Stream:
It’s time to go live now. You want to make sure you’re doing it right to avoid alienating your audience. Here are a few pointers to observe while streaming your videos:
Be Keen with How You Conduct Yourself: It’s live broadcast – so yes, it’s supposed to be a bit informal. But there are established conventions that still hold. First, your customers expect you to remain professional. Don’t fidget around. Maintain eye conduct and speak loud enough to be heard. The best way to go about it is to view yourself as a broadcaster.
Address Your Customers by Name: When Responding to questions, remember to mention your customers by their names. It’s also crucial that you answer many of the viewers’ questions.
Give Shout-outs: Always remember your audience, and if you happen to see someone you remember, give them a shoutout. Let them know that you acknowledge their presence. That’s how you retain viewers and win over brand loyalists.
Remind your Viewers to Subscribe to Your Live Notification: You want your viewers to be notified every time you go live. So, it helps to remind them to hit the notification button to avoid missing out on your live broadcasts. Mention it at least twice during the stream.
Let Your Broadcast Run for a Bit Longer: Don’t be quick to end your broadcast. The longer it runs, the more audience it’ll attract. Also, you’re the person to decide how long you want the broadcast to run. Making it longer just stretches the opportunity for more people to pop in and be part of your broadcast.
Use Call to Actions (CTA): Don’t be shy to ask your customers to take action. Remind them of what you sell or if you’d want them to take a certain action: selling an eBook, buying your products, or if they should check out your website. You can experiment with different call-to-actions and see what works best for you.
After the Stream
Here are a few things that you can still do after the live stream.
Confirm that the stream is over: Before you blurt out or do anything, be sure to check your microphone and camera and make sure they’re all turned off. The last thing you want is to do anything or blurt out something stupid in front of the camera or when the mic is still on.
Edit the Video: After the live stream ends, you’ll be given a chance to edit and publish the video. If the video looks right, you can post it as is. However, if you feel like editing some parts out or refining some aspects of it, you’re free to do it.
Check on the Stats that Facebook Provides: Facebook will provide critical stats on the live stream: engagement rate, audience retention, number of clicks, and so on. The metrics should help you figure out how to improve your live streams for better results in the Future.
Promote the Video: The live stream will be converted into a video that you can either post on YouTube or promote on Facebook (or better, do both).
Live videos are a great way to connect with your existing customers and find new ones. You can use it to develop brand awareness or to sell your products and services. You can also use it to engage with various groups on social media or to target a specific audience.
The chances are high that you won’t be good at it the first time you try. But that’s no reason to forgo the idea. The more you live stream, the more confident you become, and the better you become at it.
The next most effective social media platform to social sell on is Twitter. Don’t worry if you’ve never used the platform before. We have a few pointers to guide you all through the process:
Create Your Twitter Handle: You can start by creating your twitter handle and completing your profile. If your name isn’t available, that’s your chance to get creative. For instance, you can come up with something along the lines of @TopBrokerSingapore.
Identify Thought Leaders and Follow them: You’d be surprised by the number of thought leaders that will be willing to go out of their way to help you. All you have to do is follow, retweet, and mention them. Some may ignore you, but many of them will be willing to help in case you want something from them.
Content Strategy: Your content strategy should be the same as the one for Facebook. The only thing that should change is how you publish your posts. Focus on making your content great, and you’ll have no trouble getting people to notice it.
Leverage Tools: You have a long list of tools to take advantage of while social selling on Twitter. Here are a few we recommend:
- TweetAdder: This will recommend to you the people to follow.
- Hootsuite: Great tool for scheduling your posts.
- Advanced Search: Great tool for monitoring tweets that are connected to a particular search term or subject
- Social Bro: Great tool for managing your profile. It also comes with a full analytics suite. You can also use it to find influencers based on a topic or keyword.
- ManageFlitter: Great tool for getting rid of the deadweights in your account. It will identify inactive followers and clear them up for you.
Ebb and Follow: Be sure to follow about 50 to 100 people that fit your description of ideal customers. Unfollow those that don’t follow back without making a big deal out of it.
Dedicate 20 minutes per day to participating on Twitter: Before you think of selling anything to anyone on Twitter, you must first try to engage the people you follow in a conversation. Retweet their posts, and comment on anything that catches your eyes. Focus on networking and everything else will fall in place.
Complete Your Profile (100%): You want people to know you. The least you can do is give them some background information about yourself. You can start by uploading a professional profile picture. Tell them about your expertise, experience, and a little description of what you do.
Paid LinkedIn Version (25 per month, billed annually): You can use the free version while starting. But as your business begins to pick up, you might want to consider upgrading to their paid version. There are benefits aplenty for this.
Content Strategy: The same content strategy that you’ve been using on Facebook and Twitter can also work with LinkedIn. If not for anything else, you might want to do it for consistency. You, however, have to make some adjustments to how it’s published. Just figure out how to make the content useful to the people that interact with it.
Advanced Search: LinkedIn isn’t just a social network. It’s a great tool for tracking down decision-makers. Search for them on the platform using relevant keywords, company names, title, location, and so much more. You’re even guaranteed better results with their paid version. But first, dive in and learn the ropes before you can even think of investing with them.
Join LinkedIn Group: LinkedIn has so many groups that you’re free to join. This is how you get noticed by relevant customers. Be active in the discussions raised. You’re also allowed to start your own discussions and demonstrate your knowledge. The more you shine on these groups, the more respect you’ll garner, and the higher the likelihood customers will start noticing you.
Content Strategy: It always boils down to this. You need a functional content strategy to excel at social selling, regardless of what platform you’re on. Figure out how to help your prospects. What should you be sharing to demonstrate your expertise while pushing your prospects closer to your solutions?
WordPress: You’ll never find a better blogging platform than WordPress. It’s reasonably priced and easy to both manage and optimise. So yes, think about setting up a WordPress blog to complement your website and social media activities.
Draw Ideas from some of the Questions that Your Customers Ask: Find out what your customers are interested in reading by checking out their comments. Find a way to transform some of these comments into detailed blog posts that they can read.
Promote Your Blog Posts on Social Media: After you publish your blog posts, the next thing you want to do is share them around on the various social media platforms. Not just once, but hundreds and even thousands of times. Share them on your page, the groups that you participate in, and so on. The more readers dig through your content, the more they’re likely to convert.
Here are five social selling myths that are holding you back from closing deals and blowing your sales to the roof. We’re here to bust them in this section of the post.
Myth 1: You Don’t Necessarily Need an Online Presence to Sell
How comes when 89% of all purchases (and 75% of B2B purchases) begin with an online search?
Myth 2: A Website is All You Need
Of course, you need a website. But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of your online success. Not when 82% of the traffic that you’re likely to attract will be from social media sites.
Myth 3: Social Media Should be Used to Market, Not Selling
Studies show that 64% of sales teams that rely on social media to sell hit their sales quotas. They also tend to get 15% more contract renewals compared to the 49% that are still dithering.
Myth 4: Discussion Groups Have Nothing of Substance to Offer
You’re mistaken for thinking discussion groups have nothing to offer. For all we know, 40% of customers have been found to use LinkedIn Groups to weigh their options and reach a decision. You have a lot to gain by being part of these discussions.
Myth 5: Cold Calling is More Effective than Social Selling
Your sales reps have to make at least eight cold calls to be connected to the right contact. That’s nothing compared to the number of prospects you can target at once on social media.
For B2B, 63% of decision-makers are already engaging vendors. In most cases, they’re the ones making the first move instead of waiting for you to call them out of the blue with a pitch.
The biggest challenge sales professionals and business owners face when they decide to try out social selling is figuring out which platform to be on. So, expect to hear so many questions along the lines of, “what’s the most effective social media network to sell on.”
Here’s a Quick Solution:
You can start by sending a short email to 10 of your most loyal customers, asking them about what social media platform do they prefer you to connect with them.
That’s the platform to be on. You can even send them an invitation link and dig further to find out where they like congregating. That should give you some ideas on the groups to join
Social selling is taking the world of marketing by storm. The real question is, why aren’t you riding the wave yet? To find out more about socials selling and how to take full advantage of it, make a point to talk to us.