Social selling: how does it work?
Last modified: 2019/07/05 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
It’s hard to deny that buying and selling are social activities which require interaction in various forms. Whether that means getting a product recommendation from a friend or neighbour or simply asking someone working at your favourite store for their opinion. Nowadays, a huge portion of generating leads and closing sales has moved to the online realm, which can make for an ever-more complicated challenge for those selling. The opinions of other consumers play a huge role in what people buy and why they buy it, so in this technological climate of hyperconnectivity, how can you use this to your advantage? Cue social selling.
Social selling allows you to directly interact with possible prospects by way of social media. This is an excellent tool for lead generation, and we’re going to go over why you should consider employing it in your marketing strategy and how it can be used.
Social selling: how does it work?
What is social selling?
As mentioned in our introduction, social selling is a lead-generation technique that offers a salesperson or company a way to interact with prospective clients by way of social media. Social selling takes some time and effort to put in place, but in a nutshell, will involve reaching out to people on social media who happen to be looking for services or products you're offering.
As an example, if you work for a company which installs windows and doors, you’ll be looking at social media for people who may be in need of these services. Maybe you follow someone on Twitter or Facebook who just opened a new storefront and is looking for repairs? Maybe you follow someone who recently purchased a new home and is looking for a window upgrade? The social selling strategy would have you send a message to these prospects and offer the recommendation of your services. Depending on how the prospective customer reacts, this could lead to an instant connection or may require a bit of back and forth before following through with appointments.
Social media channels are an excellent place to connect with potential new clients and build out your business relationships. Of course, is isn't as simple as simply cold-messaging someone, so keep reading for more specific details about how to use this technique for your benefit.
The mechanics of social selling
Social selling works in a similar fashion to that of inbound marketing and comes down to building stronger relationships with current clients but also, growing your network with a target audience. As you may have guessed, the goal of social selling is to improve your overall sales. Your focus should be finding ways to generate and engage in meaningful conversation as a tactic of moving forward with the sales process. This should happen organically and over time rather than in a single fell swoop.
Your sales team should approach this by participating as much as possible on social media platforms, and this includes sharing compelling content as a way to connect with people. This content should be a balance of branded and non-branded. This will offer visibility that should trickle back into your sales.
These points should be the overall goal of your social selling:
- Create and build relationships
- Improve visibility in your marketplace
- Define your brand to your audience
- Offer valuable products and services to your clients
- Establish your credibility
Behind these goals are your marketing metrics. It’s important to consider the ways that social selling can positively impact certain areas and these include the following:
Referral traffic: These are people who find your website by way of your social media presence. Your efforts for generating awareness about your brand via social media should directly impact this.
Direct traffic: If the traffic on your site has improved, this could be a surefire sign that your social selling efforts are working to offer more visibility and build brand awareness. It also suggests that you have a strong, memorable brand; enough so that people are willing to type your URL into search engines.
Exposure: The content you put out into the world and share with your audience will be the face of your brand and will thus offer you a way to grow. Using social selling can allow you to cover channels of communication and connection you may not have known about.
Tips for exploring social selling
Social selling won’t come second nature to everyone. Thus, you may need to be aware of a few tips and tricks regardings how to find sales opportunities using this strategy. Even if you have the most effective service or the best product in your market, your sales may not be a direct reflection.
In most cases, sales success will depend on how you’re able to relate branding to customers, both from a practical and emotional standpoint. With the technology of today, a company has a multitude of options to expand their presence and get their brand out there. As a result of social media, it’s almost simple to gain detailed information about prospective customers that will help you to drive sales towards them. These include:
- Who to target as a result of their interests
- Connections as a result of your current customers or clients
- What’s happening in real time, including sales and product trends and how this can affect your business
- What customers are complaining about and how you can offer a solution
With the access to most, if not all, of this information, it will be easy to put together a detailed and emotive sales pitch that will appeal to the needs and wants of these prospective customers. Make sure that this pitch comes across colloquially and isn't only about selling.
Social selling can also allow you to find ways to go above and beyond your competition. There are plenty of tools online that allow you to monitor your sales competition by way of social media. Consider setting Google Alerts for brand names, key products or people you’re competing with. Join customer groups on LinkedIn that apply to your field and scan them for key insights. If you’re using Twitter or Instagram, be certain to follow influencers in your market. Lastly, look through forums for common questions and consider the ways in which your product could solve them. Understanding the right approach as well as the care that should go into each of your messages is crucial for being successful.
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