If you’ve been working in the business world for quite some time now, social selling might be a familiar term. Many confuse it with social media marketing and social media advertising, but social selling is something else altogether.
In essence, social selling means targeting specific leads, building connections with them and their networks, and saying goodbye to hard-selling and cold calls. Here’s a quick how-to guide on social selling and why it should be your next prospecting strategy.
An easy definition
Social selling is a modern way of connecting with potential customers through social media. The purpose of this practice is to establish a relationship with your customers, get to know their needs and wants better, and pitch a solution that is more likely to drive sales. Today, this has removed the need for cold calling and emails.
If your B2B marketing effort includes using LinkedIn, then you’re pretty much engaging in social selling.
A critical practice to consider in social selling is that it isn’t about spamming your LinkedIn network with messages, but more about engaging in a two-way conversation.
Why make the switch?
Nothing can prove the effectiveness of social selling more than numbers. Without a solid strategy, you might be missing out on quite a number of quality leads and conversions.
In fact, your customers might be ahead of you. As marketers use social listening to find and filter clients, those clients are already using social listening to compare and contrast vendors, do research on brand values and credibility, and decide with whom to do business with.
According to LinkedIn, 76% of buyers are ready to have a conversation with salespeople. All it takes is an extra push to get them to convert finally, and without social selling, you’re losing quality leads to competitors.
The industry’s best practices
Like any B2B marketing strategy, there are best practices that can help you implement social selling effectively.
1. Humanize your messages
If you have several leads, it’s tempting to use canned responses, message templates, or LinkedIn tools. While these can save you time, it carries the risk of damaging your brand image and losing that potential client for good. Similar to customer service, nothing beats human conversation in pleasing a client.
Engage, be curious, and share insights. Strive to make yourself more approachable – it will be easier for your prospects to build trust if you talk to them on a personal level.
2. Pay attention
Social channels are a gold mine of information, and you can use this to your advantage when identifying what your leads want and need. Listen to what your LinkedIn network is saying about you and your brand. These are opportunities to gather customer feedback and requests.
Similarly, do your due diligence and research about your client before getting in touch. This will help you customize your message and get their attention better.
3. Share what you know
As a brand, you want your LinkedIn network to trust that you will provide products and services of the best quality. How do you do it? By establishing yourself as an industry expert.
When in conversation with potential customers, your goal should be to contribute insights and knowledge that they can use in their careers. Forget your product and service for a bit and prioritize sharing useful information.
While it’s okay to mention your product at some point, be cautious of unintentionally doing a sales pitch.
4. Build relationships that last
Keep in touch, send follow-ups, and continuously engage. If you can keep a meaningful relationship with your contacts, you’ll establish yourself as a go-to person when they’re finally ready to make a purchase.
When it comes to social selling, there’s no better place to start than the online world’s biggest professional network: LinkedIn. With 50% of B2B buyers using the platform as a resource when making purchase decisions, you’ll surely find quality leads.
Start off by building your credibility. Collect recommendations and publish relevant LinkedIn content that can show your familiarity with industry topics. If potential customers decide to open up your profile, you’ll be sure that the odds are in your favor.
Next, uncover potential connections by exploring your existing LinkedIn network. Referrals are gold when it comes to B2B marketing. If people find out about your business through a colleague’s positive reviews, you’ve already won a customer.