Using Social Selling to Elevate your Marketing Strategy

Using Social Selling to Elevate your Marketing Strategy

Social selling is a process of using social media to identify and connect with potential buyers for your products or services. It’s a way to use online tools to build relationships with potential customers, nurture those relationships, and ultimately convert them into sales in a way that feels organic.

As a B2B marketer or sales leader, you may be wondering how it can help you close more deals.

Here’s what you need to know:

It is not about hard selling or pitching your products or services on social media. That’s a surefire way to turn off potential customers. Instead, it’s about building relationships and trust with potential customers by providing valuable content and insights.

Your audience will begin to trust you and will be more likely to do business with you when they’re ready to buy.

  • “77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a salesperson until after they had performed independent research.” (Source)
  • “90% of decision-makers never answer a cold call, but 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions.” (Source)

So, focusing on building relationships and providing value is the best way to win new customers and grow your business through social media.

And it makes sense – this new kind of selling is essentially word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. By leveraging social media platforms, you can reach a vast number of potential customers with your message.

Let’s explore the aspects of social selling to help you get started.

Linkedin and Social Selling

LinkedIn is hands down the best B2B platforms and it basically introduced social selling.

The website naturally connects you with your targeted audience, which makes it easy to build relationships and get your foot in the door.

It’s formatting encourages users to respond more professionally, so their recommendations have greater legitimacy.

It’s the perfect platform to get started.

To quantify the value of social selling, LinkedIn launched the first-of-its-kind social selling metric called the** Social Selling Index (SSI)**, which is based on a scale of 0 to 100 and reflects your LinkedIn activities that relate to the four pillars.

According to LinkedIn, these four pillars of social selling are:

  1. Create a strong professional brand
    Increase your visibility with your target audience and build credibility in your field.
  2. Identify the right prospects!
    The new process enables you to find and connect with potential customers more effectively than traditional methods, as over 76% of buyers feel ready for a social media conversation! You can use LinkedIn’s filter options–such as role or industry to hone in on your target audience.
    Use this Marketing Persona Template to help you identify the right prospects.
  3. Establish yourself as a subject matter expert and thought leader
    Whether it be through sharing industry news or engaging with other thought leaders in related fields; show that not only can YOU talk about these things but also bring value where others might lack knowledge.
  4. Build trust with your prospects
    Share information relevant to their needs and pain points. Engage in authentic conversations, focusing on what will help them the most first before selling anything else at all!

According to a recent study by Linkedin, businesses with high SSI scores reported 45% more sales opportunities and 51% more likely to hit quota. This shows how important it is to track your SSI and ensure that your efforts result in a return on investment.

Social Selling On Other Platforms

Only Linkedin offers this first-of-its-kind social selling metric, so you may need to look elsewhere if you don’t have it.

To measure your selling efforts on other social media channels, you must consider different metrics based on your priorities.

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. are just a few of the many social media platforms that you can pick.

But how do you know which platform is the right one for your business?

The platform that is most relevant to your business and where your ideal prospect spends most of their time is where you should be.

When you have decided on which platform you are going to focus on, how do you start social selling?

There are three things you can begin with:

Broadcast Or One-To-One

You do not want to come off as salesy during your interactions. You most definitely don’t want to broadcast a generic message to a generic audience in hopes of converting them.

Instead, you will want to focus on one-to-one engagements with a targeted audience. You will be engaging with the right context on the channel rather than straight up selling your product.

Identify Context On The Channel

Understanding the specific context of each social media channel is as important as providing high-value content.

The following are some of the channels that are bound to a specific context and creating content within that context can help you to catch your audience’s attention.

Let’s suppose you’re on instagram. The context on Instagram is predominantly lifestyle photos with a catchy caption. You could sell sales software on instagram by showing a picture of a person relaxing by the beach in a hammock with a margarita in their hand with a caption “crushing sales from the beach”.

That’s a contextual and effective way of providing the right kind of content your audience will want to engage with.

Update Your Social Profiles

Begin with setting up your business profile and making sure it conveys professionalism.

According to the Linkedin Global Survey of 1,500 B2B Decision Makers and Influencers (May, 2014) “Your social media presence is your introduction to these buyers. In fact, 81% are more likely to engage with a strong, professional brand. The social selling model ensures that your company’s brand will encourage buyers to seek you out.”

As the third pillar of social selling suggests, position yourself as an industry expert by publishing industry information, reacting to news alerts, and developing your professional brand.

B2B buyers respond positively to salespeople that provide relevant insights and possibilities.

Salespeople may improve their thought leadership by following up with prospect news and identifying new contacts or decision-makers when accounts make important hires.

Metrics To Track

Here are a few metrics for measuring the success of your social selling activities across different channels:

  1. Inbound connections and network growth
  2. Content engagement rate
  3. Follower engagement rate
  4. Prospect referrals
  5. Click-through rate
  6. Number of conversations started
  7. Message response rate

You can find and track these metrics within your CRM or use the analytics tools that come with each social media platform.

Social Selling Roadblocks

Social selling requires cross-functional collaboration between sales and marketing teams.

Marketing needs to create winning content, while sales need to be responsive to any leads that are generated from social media activity because they are the customer-facing team who knows how to engage with the prospect.

There are many tools and processes that you can adopt, so it’s important for both teams to establish a consistent process for a successful cross-functional collaboration.

Companies with consistent social selling processes are 40% more likely to hit revenue goals than non-social sellers (Source)

Another challenge of selling on social media is that it can be difficult to measure the results. It’s hard to track how many sales are directly attributable to social media activity, but there are some indirect measures that can be used - like the ones we mentioned earlier.

For example, you can track the number of leads that come from social media, or the number of leads that turn into sales.

To fully overcome the hurdles, you need support from marketing and IT teams for the proper infrastructure to track and evaluate content performance. A clear set of tools and a sales playbook can get the ball rolling.

Despite these hurdles, social selling is a powerful tool that B2B sales professionals should be using.

Social Selling Tips

When you’re social selling, there are no hard and fast rules, anything that works is the only rule.

That being said, there are a few tips you may want to keep on your finger tips:

  • Develop a powerful social media presence on the most relevant platform
  • Keep optimizing your social profiles with industry-related news and insights
  • Leverage social listening tools and platforms to get real-time insights from your community
  • Join the main relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to participate in discussions and interact with other people
  • Plan, develop, and share insightful content on a regular basis to foster trust
  • Look at and respond to comments since this is where genuine and valuable feedback and inquiries is found
  • Keep your page up to date and fully built out.Customers expect reviews, testimonials, and success stories to be shared on a social media platformIt’s a long game, so be patient and don’t give up hope. Continue to engage in order to lay down your own road
  • Use analytics software to analyze social media activity and adjust what works for your target market

Why does social selling benefit your business?

If you’re not social selling, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to scale your business.

By establishing a direct line of communication with your customers, you can create a more personal relationship that can lead to increased sales, stronger customer relationships, greater reach, more effective lead generation, and improved brand awareness.

Use of a sales enablement tool will make you more efficient and productive.

And while it may take some time to learn how to use social media effectively, the rewards are well worth the effort.

If you want your business on the right side of history, there’s no right time except NOW to include social selling into your marketing plan.