According to the “Global Social Media Overview” report by Datereportal, there are 4.20 billion social media users around the world at the start of 2021, equating to more than 53 percent of the total global population.
For sales representatives anywhere in this world, such statistics lead to an inference that is easy enough to arrive at, if not so easy to follow through: targeting, engaging, and converting potential customers on social media platforms is no longer on the sidelines of sales strategies for businesses, rather it is a necessity.
This realization among sales representatives has made itself apparent in the growing preference for social selling among them—research by LinkedIn reveals that top-performing sales reps, who close deals 51% more than their peers, consider social networking platforms “very important” to their success.
The results also seem to be supporting the merit of dedicating at least some part of the available sales resources to social selling. A report by SalesforLife, for instance, notes that sales teams using social selling experience 18% greater pipeline volume and 21% increased pipeline velocity than those who don’t.
Before we start discussing how to do social selling with some extremely helpful social media selling tips and techniques, let us get around to putting down what social selling precisely means.
Social Media Selling Tips and Techniques-
What is social selling?
In a nutshell, social selling is a sales tactic that makes use of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. to research, connect, and interact with prospective customers. The sales representatives typically build relationships with the customers as part of their social selling strategy by interacting with their posts or by connecting over shared interests, to boost credibility and ultimately drive conversions.
The gradual nature of the social selling process means that it resembles lead nurturing more than a hard-sell tactic. The process, therefore, requires patience and perseverance in order for it to make any tangible contributions towards your business goals.
The need for social selling lies primarily in the way that the brand-customer relationship has evolved over the years since the advent of first the Internet, and then the social media platforms. Unlike just a couple of decades ago when customers typically interacted with brands only during their weekly shopping trips, now they engage with brands 24/7 and brands also use sophisticated personalization and targeting techniques to drive this engagement.
Such a scenario necessitates social selling and rewards the brands who do it in a meaningful manner: according to LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index, 78% of social sellers make more sales than their counterparts who aren’t using social media.
Now let us look at some immediate steps that you can take to help your business achieve the highest goals of social selling:
- Optimize your social media profiles
If a salesperson approached you in the real world and his clothes were rumpled up, his hairs unkempt, would you be likely to hear out his pitch with an unbiased mind? The analogy holds true for sales representatives trying to engage customers online for social selling with unoptimized social media profiles.
In the process of social selling, the social profiles of salespeople help build a reputation with the customers and optimized profiles help in putting them across as trustworthy advisors who can bring fresh insights and solutions to the table. Therefore, you should give due consideration to either improving or else completely revamping your social profiles while keeping in mind the preferences and biases of your intended audience.
Also, you must keep in mind that while profile optimization methods may vary from platform to platform, it is generally a good idea to make your profile look professional and engage only with pages and accounts that are credible and have maximum connections to your business and customers.
Prioritize relationship-building over sales
As you begin to learn how to sell on social media you need to accept the fact that social media platforms are not the place where people typically go to shop or do business. Most of the time they go there to interact with friends, to satisfy their need for entertainment, and to engage with the brands they love or aspire to do business with.
It makes sense, therefore, that people do not generally like being sold anything unless they have actually expressed an interest in doing so. Moreover, sales representatives approaching customers with a single-minded approach of getting conversions make the customers feel annoyed with the brand and that has an adverse effect on the brand identity.
Keeping this in mind, it is a good idea to put your focus on building meaningful relationships with prospective customers as the first step of social selling. When you behave in a trustworthy manner, and put across a genuine image, sales will naturally follow suit.
Focus on the quality of engagement, not quantity
In order to build a credible image for your business (which you will need if you want to get social media success), you do not need to engage with your customers day in and day out—you only need to make sure that every single one of your interactions adds some value to the customer’s experience with your business. Broadly speaking, engagement on social media can be classified into four types of interactions:
- Content Sharing: Posting content that your target audience will take an interest in will contribute to bringing you to their mind the next time they are thinking of an industry leader.
- Liking: Being less time-consuming than posting a comment or adding something substantial, ‘liking’ is a great way to associate your brand identity with that little dopamine kick someone gets on receiving a social media ‘like’.
- Commenting: Your comments need not necessarily be a sales pitch unless someone is explicitly asking for it, but it is very much advisable to add something thoughtful or thought-provoking to articles and posts that matter to your business domain.
In case, you think your products or services can solve someone’s issues you can also pitch your business in an unintrusive manner.
- Connecting: While it is acceptable to follow as many prospective customers as you want on Twitter, you will need to be a tad more careful on LinkedIn if you want to come across as someone credible. Good etiquette involves referencing something that a person wrote or posted, or referencing their earlier work or testimonials when you send them a personalized invitation to connect with you. Instead of filling up your connections list, this approach will ensure that you actually have good prospects of driving conversions via people who connect with you.
Keep track of your social selling success
Measuring the success of your social selling initiative can be quite tricky because due to its resemblance with lead nurturing its effects are not linear in nature. There is no straight-out formula yet which can correlate the number of likes, comments, connections, or posts shared with the number of conversions done in a given period of time. This does not mean, however, that you should make no effort whatsoever to keep track of your social selling success.
To begin with, you can use metrics like LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index and Buzzsumo insights which measure a person’s social selling aptitude. Going forward, you can also tweak your CRM software to add a “social” source of deal options to figure out how many customers are coming your way through social selling.
We hope that by putting these steps into practice and combining social selling techniques with your own unique understanding of your business and customers you will be able to achieve great social media success.