Is cold calling a thing of the past? Not necessarily, but the rise of social selling demonstrates there may be a way to generate better leads. Social selling is a sales and marketing strategy in which sellers connect and engage with prospects through social networks. This method can help you introduce yourself to new audiences, helping build relationships and resulting in sales.
But how can you become a social seller that gets conversions?
Follow these tips to build a social selling strategy that gets results.
1. Show your prospects who you are rather than telling them.
Let’s say you’re a value-driven company and want to demonstrate your focus on creating an inclusive workplace. You could simply post a picture of your workplace with a caption explaining how your company is inclusive. That would be you telling your prospects who you are.
Or you could share a series of posts detailing the stories of your co-workers from all different backgrounds and how they came to become integral members of your company. You’d show your audience your company is committed to inclusion without outright saying it.
Creating eye-catching, engaging, and on-brand content can help you introduce yourself to potential prospects without physically introducing yourself. Social selling isn’t about sliding into someone’s direct messages and telling them about your company and why they should buy from you.
Better forms of social selling are more subtle, allowing your content to speak for you. In a way, your content is having a conversation for you. The potential client seeing your posts is learning about your company, even if they don’t realize it.
But to create engaging content, you must invest in social media posts that fit your brand and goals. Every image, video, or text post you share must exemplify your company.
From a clear profile picture to a caption in your brand voice, think of everything you post online as an extension of your sales pitch. For example, what would you say if you were to give an elevator pitch to your new Instagram follower? Does that pitch come across with your profile photo, bio, and posts?
2. Choose the right platforms and understand how they tick.
How you social sell depends on the platform because content and engagement vary from one channel to another.
Think about what you see on LinkedIn. Your feed is likely filled with thought leaders talking about multiple industries, friends, and colleagues posting updates on their career journeys and job postings. Now think about your TikTok feed. Here you’ll find trending, often unpolished videos, frequently with catchy music attached.
You wouldn’t go to TikTok to read an article from a CEO about the state of hiring in 2023, and you wouldn’t go to LinkedIn to see what new song has become a dance trend. What you post on each platform should depend on how audiences use them, but it’s worth diving deeper. To reach more audiences, you need to study the platforms and invest in making the right type of content.
In 2022, Instagram prioritized video content, resulting in brands focusing more on still photos seeing their reach and engagement drop. As of 2023, Instagram says it will reprioritize photos, balancing the algorithm’s rankings of video and still content. Knowing these adjustments to social media channels’ algorithms can help you maintain, grow, and engage your audience. If your content isn’t getting seen, the possibility of social selling effectively dramatically declines.
Still, don’t discount a platform just because you think your industry doesn’t fit on it. TikTok is an example of a channel brands are still learning to use. They’re seeing no one-size-fits-all way to create content for it. And the more outside of the box you are on TikTok, the greater your traction can be. So don’t be afraid to get creative and step into unfamiliar places.
3. Demonstrate you’re the expert.
To become a master at social selling, you need to establish yourself as an expert. Why should someone buy from you? The first question is, why should someone listen to you? Before you can sell to someone, you need to convince them you’re worthy of their attention.
When becoming a part of the conversation on social media, you need to understand you’re competing for attention. At any moment, someone could scroll away from your YouTube video even though they still have a minute left before it ends. They could stop reading your LinkedIn post without interacting with it. They could unfollow you on Instagram if your Stories aren’t engaging them. So your content needs always to provide value to your audience.
To create valuable content, you must prove you have worthwhile things to say. You can show your value by building credibility. So, first, show your credentials on social media profiles and posts. Then, create content that comes from your knowledge and expertise.
Write LinkedIn articles and post them to your feed. Share an Instagram Story series that addresses common questions in your industry. Join a Facebook group to meet people interested in your industry, make connections, and assist.
4. Stay up to date on your prospects’ industries.
If you’re in a B2B company, it’s your business what your prospect’s business is. You should always consider how your audience could benefit from your product. But to understand how they could benefit, you must know what’s happening in their industry.
Industry alerts should be on your radar if you want to master social selling. By understanding what’s happening in industries that could utilize your product, you can stay ahead of your competitors and craft more well-informed sales pitches.
If your knowledge of an industry is outdated, your pitch will lose relevance. And if your pitch is obsolete, the recipient will think your product is too.
You can also use industry alerts to help establish yourself as a thought leader online. In addition, you can share the news online in different ways, such as through a LinkedIn article, and demonstrate to your followers you’re on top of new trends and information.
5. Stay active in the online conversation.
Social selling is as much about selling as it is about relationship building. Engaging with your fans and followers can help you create more points of connection with your potential prospects. Pay attention to what people are discussing online and find ways to interact.
Consider investing in a social listening tool. A social listening tool will track your mentions online. Many of these applications will also follow other words or phrases you’d like to stay on top of. For example, say you sell a product that allows your customers to collaborate with their coworkers virtually. In addition to having the social listening tool track when users mention your name, you can also track your competitors’ names and other keywords like “online collaboration tool.”
Then, you can head to the post that mentioned your name or other word and make a connection. By making this connection, you can begin to foster a relationship and positive feelings this person has for your brand.
6. Take it to their inbox.
Social media is just one part of the social selling puzzle. Using it can help your audience start to understand your brand, but it can also help you know your audience.
By finding prospects through social media, you can better target your pitch to that specific person. A more targeted pitch typically has a better conversion rate than a more general pitch. When you find prospects online, you should tailor your pitch to who they are.
What industries are they in? How can your product help them with their specific position? Do their values align with your brand? Find ways to relate your product to your prospect.
But now the question becomes how to send your pitch to the potential client. Sending the pitch in a direct message is one option, but you may end up in limbo. If you’re not friends, mutual followers, or otherwise connected on a social media platform, you’ll most likely send your message to a folder outside their primary folder.
As a result, your prospect may never see your message.
Another option is to email your prospect. Sending an email instead of relying on social media can result in a higher clickthrough rate, higher conversions, more direct conversions, and, ultimately, a higher return on investment (ROI).
Social media can help you make that email happen, as you can use social media profiles to learn about your email recipient. You can even use profiles on places like LinkedIn to find the email address you need.
Wrapping Things Up
Understanding the art of social selling starts with the understanding it’s not entirely about selling. Instead, it’s about creating connections. You want your prospect to find value in your content and, therefore, in your product.
You can show your audience why they should want to connect with you through engaging and relevant content. And while they’re learning about you, you can use social media to learn about them, allowing you to create better pitches and stronger leads.
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