Social Selling

Social media is not only a platform best suited for consuming cat photos or stalking your ex, but it can also be your best source for leads.

It’s time to start taking social media seriously when developing sales strategies. In particular, identifying prospective customers on social media may be the best new initiative you can try.

We have a tendency to broadcast our lives on social media. We post images of what makes us happy, our deepest fears, or our current challenges. This content should not be used to solely entertain our followers. This content should be used to identify leads that may be interested in our products or services.

Here’s your key to social selling and why social media should be your best source for leads.

Social Selling Tip 1: Choose The Right Networks


Once you understand your audience, you can begin to understand where you should be sharing content. Typically your audience demographics, as well as your type of business, should provide a clue on what social network to use.

Pew-Demographics-Social-Media-Users-Aug2015

Facebook

For instance, if you’re looking to attract a wide demographic of everyday customers between the ages of 18 to 65, Facebook is the best social network.

Keep in mind, I have seen many organizations build a large following on Facebook but do not have the budget to efficiently reach their audience.

Although you cannot reach 100 percent of your Facebook audience, there are ways you can optimize your Facebook posts to reach more users.

Instagram

If you’re looking to attract Black 18 to 29-year-olds, Instagram is a great social network for you. If you choose Instagram as your network of choice, you should determine how users engage on this network.

Specifically, understanding how your target audience engages is even better.

For instance, do they respond better to quotes or infographics?

Take a glance at your analytics to see how Instagram is contributing to your bottom line.

Social-Demographics-instagram

LinkedIn

Although there are several ways to engage your B2B customers on Instagram, LinkedIn is the preeminent network for professionals. On this network, users are accustomed to networking with peers and more willing to dialog over business deals.

Consider it this way:

Eighty percent of LinkedIn users say they want to connect with companies, and they are almost 50 percent more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.

Social-Demographics-linkedin

Twitter

Twitter is about people and ideas. If you are capable of captivating your audience in 140 characters accompanied by links to articles of interest, you will provide great value to potential leads.

Social-Demographics-twitter

Choosing the right social network is very important. Once you determine where to engage with prospective customers, it will have a significant impact on the number of leads that follow.

Social Selling Tip 2: Grow Your Target Audience


Before developing any social selling strategies you must do everything you can to build an audience. Start by promoting your social handles to your customers in the physical world.

You might think this tip is elementary and widely known to many businesses. But, you’d be surprised to how often businesses consider social media an after-thought–especially when it comes to selling.

jdfunnel085h

Turning your physical audience into your social audience is also the first phase of your social media sales funnel.

Yes, there is such a thing as a social media sales funnel.

The more customers you engage with via social media, the easier it is to convert them.

Many businesses market to the masses on social media. I highly suggest building a targeted audience rather than promoting your social account to the masses.

As I mentioned earlier, many businesses consider social media an after-thought. Just because it’s easier to have a social media presence does not mean you should only use social media for brand awareness campaigns.

Develop a following that resembles your audience base in the physical world. If done correctly, that following will generate more leads and increase conversions.

Here are some nice articles that outline how to grow your audience on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Periscope.

Social Selling Tip 3: Interact With Users


Once you have chosen the right social networks and begun to grow your audience, it’s important to engage with them on a daily basis.

Typically, when a user engages on social media, they expect a response or action within 24 hours.

Keep in mind that engagement goes beyond responding to user’s questions. It involves developing insightful content that influences users to engage and amplify your marketing message.

That’s the key to social selling.

focus on how to be social

When social selling, here are great ways to interact with users:

  • Step outside the box. Think beyond traditional methods of engaging with users. Instead of white papers, try creating videos that present your information in an entertaining fashion.
  • Get your audience’s attention. Ask a thought-provoking question to initiate the conversation that may eventually turn into a lead.
  • Establish an interesting profile that make potential leads excited to engage with your brand. Make sure all your social media graphic identity is appropriate for the network in which it resides. Be sure to have a strong call-to-action prominently displayed on the network to immediately engage potential leads.
  • Be helpful. That pretty much sums it up. Provide help, and leads will follow.
  • Demonstrate your expertise. Develop a strong content marketing plan that will establish your brand as a resource. Ask yourself how your brand has shaped, influenced, or contributed to your industry? Once you’ve figured it out, begin developing content based on your answer.

When social selling to potential leads, try the aforementioned tactics to see if it helps increase your leads. If one tactic is ineffective, keep trying. You never know how much impact a particular engagement may garner.

Final Thoughts


In the business industry, social media is a great place to gather leads. No matter what business you’re in, social media can still be your most conducive marketing strategy for generating leads. If you’re looking to enhance your marketing strategies, social selling should not be overlooked.

Have you benefitted from social selling? What challenges should marketers consider when social selling?

 

 

 

Sources
https://snap.licdn.com/microsites/content/dam/business/marketing-solutions/global/en_US/site/subsites/content-marketing/pdf/CompanyPagesPlaybook6-11-13.pdf

Blog Image courtesy of Shutterstock


  • Andy Mura

    Great post! The biggest challenges right now are represented by organic reach and focus. The problem with social media is that most of the channels need to filter messages to prevent cluttered feeds. Therefore, your message is usually delivered to a small portion of your followers and it’s extremely difficult to find a proper strategy to reach a new audience (for example by using apt hashtags and so on). Additionally, the whole space is over-crowded and most of the players in the game are actually marketers like us. But with social selling you need to focus on your target group, you don’t need to address other marketers…there are several tools and tactics to overcome these problems, but since we all have access to similar resources, it’s extremely hard to generate the attention you desire for your messages (to reach potential customers or to share content). Nonetheless, social media marketing (especially if associated with specific ad campaigns) allows you to get in touch with your brand ambassadors and supporters…a good way to keep the conversation going and offer additional value. Plus, social media are vital tools for reaching out influencers and for analyzing needs and pains of your potential customers through social listening.

    • You’re spot on Andy. Cluttered feeds are the most significant challenge to the average marketer. When social selling, do you think marketers should focus on their target audience over their social presence? Which is more important?

      • Andy Mura

        I think it really depends on the stage of the company you need to market. Initially, startups need to collect enough audience to back their statements with some social proof. For young companies it is vital to gain momentum and work on their own credibility by showing some influence. Later stages can be a lot more selective and require a much more focused strategy. The priority is not awareness but sustainability and growth…hence a more qualitative approach within their social media strategy in general. Do you agree?

        • I absolutely agree! Sustainability and growth are goals for every business with a social media presence. First and foremost, it all starts with quality engagement.

  • Andy Mura

    Great post! The biggest challenges right now are represented by organic reach and focus. The problem with social media is that most of the channels need to filter messages to prevent cluttered feeds. Therefore, your message is usually delivered to a small portion of your followers and it’s extremely difficult to find a proper strategy to reach a new audience (for example by using apt hashtags and so on). Additionally, the whole space is over-crowded and most of the players in the game are actually marketers like us. But with social selling you need to focus on your target group, you don’t need to address other marketers…there are several tools and tactics to overcome these problems, but since we all have access to similar resources, it’s extremely hard to generate the attention you desire for your messages (to reach potential customers or to share content). Nonetheless, social media marketing (especially if associated with specific ad campaigns) allows you to get in touch with your brand ambassadors and supporters…a good way to keep the conversation going and offer additional value. Plus, social media are vital tools for reaching out influencers and for analyzing needs and pains of your potential customers through social listening.

    • You’re spot on Andy. Cluttered feeds are the most significant challenge to the average marketer. When social selling, do you think marketers should focus on their target audience over their social presence? Which is more important?

      • Andy Mura

        I think it really depends on the stage of the company you need to market. Initially, startups need to collect enough audience to back their statements with some social proof. For young companies it is vital to gain momentum and work on their own credibility by showing some influence. Later stages can be a lot more selective and require a much more focused strategy. The priority is not awareness but sustainability and growth…hence a more qualitative approach within their social media strategy in general. Do you agree?

        • I absolutely agree! Sustainability and growth are goals for every business with a social media presence. First and foremost, it all starts with quality engagement.

  • tracysestili

    Great post, although a lot of pressure on the social team. I think that social selling is something that should be rolled out the Sales team. For example, with LinkedIn I always have sales people check their social selling index score and then use that as a talking point to show them how well LinkedIn (and other social networks) can work for them. https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi

  • tracysestili

    Great post, although a lot of pressure on the social team. I think that social selling is something that should be rolled out the Sales team. For example, with LinkedIn I always have sales people check their social selling index score and then use that as a talking point to show them how well LinkedIn (and other social networks) can work for them. https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi

  • Thomas J

    While still an absolute fledgling in terms of company size as well as having any significant influence socially, I can agree with what Andy was discussing earlier in the comments. The biggest challenge I am currently running into is I have more connections with other social marketers and designers (my niche is in UX and web development) than I do with my target audience. Granted, my following is quite minuscule in comparison to many of the more prominent brands out there. This issue definitely presents itself as being a potential hazard to the growth of a new brand’s social presence, both by having posts washed out in the flood of every other brand marketer’s posts as well as the fact that your posts will likely have less impressions over the duration of their visibility. Less influence = less visibility, by way of SEO and SERP rules. This effect is even further amplified on platforms such as Twitter where your timeline can accumulate thousands of tweets within a brief moment. However, on that note, I have found utilizing various tools to schedule posts and keeping current with posts from influencers, both in social marketing as well as my niche, does have a significant impact on breaking through the initial barrier of just developing a network of others doing exactly what you are doing. The benefits of social marketing are nearly immediate when proper techniques are applied. First hand I have committed just about every mistake you can on nearly all social networks. Knowing exactly what to do makes all the difference in terms of size of growth and speed of that growth. I think the biggest pitfall for social marketers at this point is simply finding which platform to post on at exactly the right time to be seen by the target audience at the most opportune moment to gain that lead or conversion. With the rapid development of all these platforms, if one isn’t one step ahead they’re two steps behind and this game is all about being right up front.

  • Thomas J

    While still an absolute fledgling in terms of company size as well as having any significant influence socially, I can agree with what Andy was discussing earlier in the comments. The biggest challenge I am currently running into is I have more connections with other social marketers and designers (my niche is in UX and web development) than I do with my target audience. Granted, my following is quite minuscule in comparison to many of the more prominent brands out there. This issue definitely presents itself as being a potential hazard to the growth of a new brand’s social presence, both by having posts washed out in the flood of every other brand marketer’s posts as well as the fact that your posts will likely have less impressions over the duration of their visibility. Less influence = less visibility, by way of SEO and SERP rules. This effect is even further amplified on platforms such as Twitter where your timeline can accumulate thousands of tweets within a brief moment. However, on that note, I have found utilizing various tools to schedule posts and keeping current with posts from influencers, both in social marketing as well as my niche, does have a significant impact on breaking through the initial barrier of just developing a network of others doing exactly what you are doing. The benefits of social marketing are nearly immediate when proper techniques are applied. First hand I have committed just about every mistake you can on nearly all social networks. Knowing exactly what to do makes all the difference in terms of size of growth and speed of that growth. I think the biggest pitfall for social marketers at this point is simply finding which platform to post on at exactly the right time to be seen by the target audience at the most opportune moment to gain that lead or conversion. With the rapid development of all these platforms, if one isn’t one step ahead they’re two steps behind and this game is all about being right up front.