What is Social Selling?
Social selling is simply building relationships with prospects through social media so that your brand will be at the top of their list when they’re ready to make a purchase. It’s a simple concept that has a big impact on sales, reputation, and the company’s overall health. Before social media took over the world, marketers and businesses would build relationships through cold calling and other outdated, interruption-style tactics. Good social selling is conversational, imperceptible, and much more effective.
What not To Do
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners or even larger business marketers bombard strangers with unsolicited messages. You’re probably familiar with this if you’ve ever accepted a random connection on LinkedIn. You tell them you’re not interested in their service or that you’re not even a member of their target audience, but the messages keep coming. At best, that’s spam. At worst, it’s harassment. It’s not social selling.
What are the benefits of social selling?
All of the boxes that digital marketers talk about are checked off by social selling. You’re expanding your web presence down into the trenches where the buyers live, and you’re chatting them up like a politician at a gala. You’re not shoving your pitch in their faces but talking to them like a human being, learning how they feel about your product, and planting a seed (your brand) in their mind.
Brand awareness will make or break your company. It takes at least five impressions on average for a consumer to remember your brand, so if you’re not talking to them, you’re losing them. Poor branding even affects how much you have to shell out to retain decent talent.
When you start listening and participating in consumer conversations, you’ll gain access to a more refined class of your target audience. You’ll be able to identify leads that are seeking your product and considering your brand right now. Statista says that 81% of Instagram users research products on the platform.
Statista also tells us that 96% and 82% of content marketers use LinkedIn and Facebook for organic marketing, respectively, and that about 25% of eCommerce enterprises were planning to sell on social media in 2020. If you’re not working those platforms, you’re losing market share to brands that are.
Of course, the goal of all that work is to improve your bottom line. Here are some stats from LinkedIn Sales Solutions that show just how effective social selling is at increasing your sales:
- Social selling leaders create 45% more sales opportunities
- Businesses that prioritize social selling are 51% more likely to hit sales quotas
- 78% of businesses that use social selling outsell businesses that don’t
How to Start Social Selling
If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to start by establishing a social media presence on the platforms that engage your audience the most. Once you have that, all you have to do is take the time to interact with them. Engage interested parties on your ads and posts and grow your following by going to the pages, hashtags, and channels where they gather. And always follow these four best practices:
- Provide value. Establish yourself as an authority in your domain to build trust by sharing valuable content that aligns with your brand.
- Pay attention. Watch what your audience is saying about your brand, company, industry, and competition. Specifically, watch out for pain points you can solve.
- Be real. We’ve all received the copy/paste DMs, and we’ve all ignored them. Connect over shared interests and be genuine.
- Give it a minute. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Relationships take time to grow to fruition.