Social Selling: How to Unearth Prospects Through Social Media
For growing businesses, social selling is firmly established as an essential component in an intelligent sales strategy. As selling platforms, social media channels give sales reps convenient, low-cost and targeted lead generation opportunities. As social media use grows, salespeople will define their networking marketing successes by how effectively they leverage social selling.
The benefits of social media are expanding, making it easier and more critical for businesses to focus their approach. Facebook and Instagram offer payment portals and business hosting. LinkedIn selling solutions, like their Social Selling Index, provide analytical insight to guide social selling strategies. Businesses of all sizes and industries have the potential to drive growth with social selling.
The ability to earn new sales leads, nurture prospects and develop brands give salespeople power over their business. In this article, we will define social selling and offer helpful social selling tools and tips to get started.
What Exactly Is Social Selling?
Social selling involves salespeople researching and interacting with prospects on social media to generate sales. It gives businesses a chance to offer value through engaging customers, responding to feedback and providing the content.
The whole process provides better reach and access than old models of cold calling. Salespeople do not have to rely on someone picking up the phone and hanging around for a value offer. Instead, concise and attractive value showcases can immediately show up in front of leads to generate awareness and interest. Using lead generators to fill the sales funnel, salespeople can nurture desire and inspire action without a hard sell.
Social selling takes advantage of the growing usage and dependence on social media to inform business decisions. Most B2B buyers conduct research online and much of that is moving from organic search to social media. Salespeople can be effective by adding value and authority to their brand to earn their audience’s trust.
How Social Selling Can Help to Grow Your Business
Social selling can benefit all aspects of the client relationship, making it wildly impactful on revenue generation. When social selling accounts for 78 percent of salespeople outselling the competition, the implications for your business are clear. From lead generation to forecasting, social selling benefits arise in each step of the sales cycle:
- A higher number of leads.
- Better conversion.
- Increased customer retention.
- More accurate forecasting.
- Higher customer satisfaction.
- Streamlined sales cycles.
10 Effective Tips in Social Selling
Sales reps maximize their opportunities and sell more when they are using social networking. Attempting social selling without an effective strategy, however, will limit your potential.
Your social media activity will depend on your target audience, your brand and your social selling goals. When you are getting started, there are some basic principles in producing results with social selling. Follow these tips to make an immediate impact on your sales with social selling.
Keep a Professional Image
The images and profile pictures you use are your prospect’s introduction to you. To make sure you are setting the right impression, maintain a professional but approachable look. Prospects will develop a number of lasting attitudes from these introductions, so it is best to appear genuine, friendly and capable.
Your profile copy should accomplish many of the same goals as your business website. This is your chance to communicate a value proposition and start building a connection. Writing should be concise and customer-centric, outlining immediately how you help your customers. Offer as many opportunities to reach out as possible by making your contact information clear and prominent.
If you have extra space to fill out your bio, feel free to expand on your values and attitudes. Discuss why you help clients, how you became an expert or how your personal life drives your motivation. This is a chance to build trust and begin deepening connections at an early stage.
Use Content to Boost Your Reputation
Sharing useful, relevant content is a great way to gain a following and drive engagement on social media. It takes little time to research and share industry articles daily. When you add personal insights and ask provocative questions regarding the content, you can start conversations with prospects. You are able to establish trust and extend your reach, especially when others start resharing posts and tagging you.
Track Your Current Social Selling Performance
Look at the results your existing social selling strategy is generating to understand your strengths and weaknesses. By gathering information on what is working, you can make adjustments and experiment more productively.
Tools from services like Sprout Social, BuzzSumo and Leadfeeder can show you how leads follow social media to your business. You can track engagement, impressions, follower growth, social media-generated traffic to business pages and much more. This information can help you decipher what content works to spark interest and which leads are worth pursuing.
Scan Social Media Conversations to Identify Prospects
When you know who your target customers are, you can follow their conversations to better understand them. Find users who are engaging in discussions related to your industry and brand. How do they view and interact with your solutions? Do they voice frustrations, recommendations or praise?
You can further your research by investigating activity on your competitors’ social media presence. What issues do customers have with other companies in your industry? Do they identify gaps you can fill? What common pain points do they experience?
Following these lines of thought can show you where you can improve your messaging and your offers. Using information to tailor your solutions will engender trust, displaying your genuine concern for your prospect’s specific issues.
Use LinkedIn Groups to Engage Prospects
Rather than waiting to gather a following, you can infiltrate your prospects’ meeting spots in LinkedIn Groups. Search for groups related to your business or industry and request to join. Once you are in, you can start sharing valuable content, offering expert insight and conversing with other members.
The relationships you develop through Groups will often equate to more leads to nurture. You can use the platform to discuss new products, talk about developing projects and make service offers. Search LinkedIn with relevant keywords describing your ideal customers to find groups full of prospecting potential.
Set up Social Listening Alerts
Keep your ear to the ground with social listening alerts from Keyhole, Mention, Awario and a growing number of services. Social listening tools notify you when customers interact with your brand or make relevant industry searches.
When a customer tags your brand, comments on a post or starts discussing a major competitor, you get alerted. With instant alerts, you can immediately formulate value-laden responses and improve your social selling marketing efforts.
Stay Active on Comment Boards
Reader comments can help you understand the viewpoints of your prospective customers in their most unfiltered form. The feedback your content and posts inspire indicates what content they prefer and what questions they need to have answered. This will inform your posting schedule and allow you to engage with prospects. Following up on user comments can develop rich relationships and networking opportunities while displaying your responsiveness and consideration.
Customer reviews and testimonials are unbiased, real-world accounts of solutions in action. Because of the social proof they provide, it is easy to see why 92 percent of customers read reviews before buying.
Prospects are more willing to trust the advice of their peers than companies pushing their wares. You can leverage that by sharing great customer stories with your product. This establishes credibility and gives prospects a chance to imagine the same solutions working for their needs.
Be Mindful of Customer Service
Social selling is not just a mechanism for furthering sales but also improving productivity within the whole organization. Your social listening tools can be used to see what your customers are saying about your company and their experiences. When you encounter dissatisfied customers, you can support your customer care teams with notifications.
Customer care can provide rapid response and resolution for the customer when you make them aware. Meanwhile, you can monitor how the problem is solved so you can confidently address similar prospect issues.
Track Engagement and Find Referrals
Engagement gives weight to user interest and validates the content’s authenticity. This generates even more viewership and engagement. As such an important component of social selling, tracking engagement is crucial to continue offering relevant content.
Check which posts and shared articles generate the most likes, shares and comments. If particular topics show a pattern of interest, you can find more elaborate content to dive deep. Alternatively, you can start conversations to lend your own perspectives and knowledge on the topic.
When you find individuals to engage with but need an organic entrance, check out connections on their profiles for mutual friends. You can request an introduction from them and immediately establish a connection and credibility with the referral. Likewise, you can find connections shared with several prospects. If you can establish a relationship with an industry insider, they can connect you with multiple leads.
How You Should Optimize Your Social Profiles for Social Selling
When making social selling a part of your sales model, distinguishing between social media outlets is important.
Selling on Twitter is not the same as selling on Facebook. Varying interfaces, capabilities, users and purpose require social selling strategy adjustments. Here’s how to optimize your profiles on three of the top social platforms — Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
When you use Twitter to sell, strategy is constrained because of the limited real estate in your profile. To squeeze the most potential out of the few elements at your disposal, follow these key tips:
- Use a professional profile picture without looking too serious.
- Write your value proposition or more specific positioning statements in your bio.
- Include links to your company accounts and personal social profiles, especially LinkedIn. Make them trackable with tools like Bitly so you can gather insights on interactions with your profile.
- Research common hashtags relevant to your target audience and include them in your profile.
- Keep your pinned tweet frequently updated to highlight current offers and trends.
- Use Twitter Lists for social listening.
LinkedIn is the biggest opportunity to capture high-value B2B prospects but it is also the most exhaustive. Still, freshening up your profile can be accomplished to a noticeable degree with a few easy considerations:
- Get a high-quality, professional profile picture.
- Use your headline to creatively advertise your value, not just to reiterate who you are.
- In your bio summary, lead with a strong positioning statement. Follow this up with data, a brief case study or some other social proof showcasing your solution’s effectiveness. There is little room for fluff, as you want to quickly grab attention and convey your value.
- Use compelling visuals to illustrate complexities and engage buyers. Making your profile visually appealing and easy to view will make it more effective in holding interest.
- Reinforce your value proposition in your experience section by detailing how you delivered results to customers. Focus on their successes rather than your own.
- Carefully curate your connections to keep a tight, purposeful network. Look to industry innovators, influencers, prospects and industry connections to build out your profile.
- Join relevant groups and stay active in conversations.
Facebook offers greater customizability than Twitter and a new group of users and potential relationships. Keep the following points in mind to reach your audience and make the right impression:
- Use your about section to voice your value proposition and social proof like on LinkedIn. Since Facebook is a more personal platform, adding in personal interests or family life can make you more down-to-earth and relatable.
- Create a complete and updated contact section, with linked profiles, business emails and phone numbers.
- Promote company content such as achievements or business and industry news.
- Engage with customers from the company profile, addressing their concerns or offering service and product opportunities.
- Be careful in submitting friend requests, as this is a more personal space than LinkedIn. Find entrances through common connections and Groups before sending a friend request.
- Join relevant industry Facebook Groups, similar to LinkedIn. Search for communities consisting of your target market. Because it has a wide array of interest-related groups, Facebook offers better targeting based on brand persona characteristics.
Social selling relies on ongoing performance tracking through a smart blend of online tools and professional services. Through thoughtful execution, salespeople will be able to tap a brand new well of fruitful prospects and grow their business organically. If you are interested in learning more about how social selling can boost your team’s effectiveness, contact Selling Revolution today.