Social media isn’t all about selfies and Snapchat. It’s a great way to build business and sales success.
Every social media platform may not work for you and your business. And if you have a highly-technical backend product, social media might not be your first thought as a way to promote it.
However, businesspeople who are looking to solve problems and be successful regularly connect and do research on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. Here are a few tips on how you can use social media to grow and improve your sales success.
#1 - Scour social sites for potential clients
Your potential clients are out there using social media and interacting every day. If you Intelligently search social media sites to collect names and data, this can be a convenient, low-tech way to create prospect lists.
Turnover happens frequently in companies, and prospect data decays quickly.
About 2 percent of your data becomes invalid each month, which means about one-quarter of your data is outdated annually. However, people that change jobs are typically quick to update their personal online/social profiles to share their newfound success, so take advantage of that.
High-performing sales reps use LinkedIn six hours a week as a tool for finding and building relationships with potential clients and peers.
#2 - Tell the story you want to tell
Fifty-five percent of B2B buyers search for information on social media. When they look for your company, or for you personally, you have an opportunity to give them a social media first impression.
Make sure you’ve created a profile that is tailored to the story you want to tell. Even your personal profile can reference your business success, and your business pages should highlight the benefits you provide and the problems you solve.
#3 - Use images to your advantage
When it comes to social engagement, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Just adding professional photos has a big impact on LinkedIn profiles, making them 21 times more likely to be viewed. Facebook posts with images also perform 53% better than traditional text-only posts.
To take advantage of images and their propensity for attention-grabbing, consider including images with your success stories. Including image links to case studies and testimonials regarding your projects can also help you to build confidence with consumers visiting your profile.
#4 - Use video as a social tool
Video catches attention. When a video is available on a page, 72% of people would rather watch it than read or listen to the same content.
Videos are a great way to build social engagement and to move people from your social campaigns to your website, or to encourage them to enroll in an email campaign – both of which build or strengthen your relationships and increase your chances of making the sale.
#5 - Build a platform for listening
The two most important things you can do to create a positive sales experience are listening without pushing, and providing relevant information (also without being pushy).
Using social media to connect with your audience gives them a place to talk back to you.
With traditional advertising, you’re using a megaphone to blast a conversation to the largest audience possible. Social media gives you the chance to create and connect with an audience, receive their feedback through comments and posts, and make timely replies (42% of social commenters expect a response within an hour).
And your replies benefit more than just the initial questioner; anyone who scrolls through your page with a similar question gets the benefit of the response and sees how dedicated you are to solving problems for your customers.
#6 - Be where your buyers (and clients) are
They want to see what your brand looks like, what content you’re sharing, results and wins you can highlight, and who else is using your products.
Testimonials from customers are valuable in any sales setting. By using them on social media, you have a chance to tell a story in your customers’ own words about why your business is the best choice for their needs.
#7 - Be where your competitors are
The best offense is a good defense. This saying is true for basketball, and it’s true for social sales as well. It makes sense for social media to be a place for competitor research.
After all, you can learn a lot about what your competitors value by reviewing their posts and interactions. Even better, you can see if their customers and potential customers are asking questions that align with your products and use your company's messaging to answer or highlight your benefits.
#8 - Nurture your relationships
Social selling is a powerful tool, more effective than traditional channels. LinkedIn, for instance, is one of the most effective lead nurturing tools available. A typical LinkedIn message can have an open rate of 60% compared to around 30% for typical B2B emails.
When you engage on LinkedIn, you can share content without seeming intrusive. A LinkedIn tag on an article seems like a helpful hint, rather than something that’s a bit more pushy or a chore to respond to.
And, sharing your own content (blog posts, guides, and videos your company has created) via LinkedIn gives you a way to position yourself as a thought leader and to drive interested buyers to your website where they can connect with a sales chat rep.
#9 - Connect before selling
Think of social media as a giant virtual networking session. You might attend a networking session to engage in small talk, gather some business cards, and start building relationships, giving people a chance to warm up to you before pitching them a product or service.
Social media can give you that same opportunity.
Take time to engage thoughtfully with prospects before making a sales pitch. If they share useful content, comment on it. If they ask for feedback, post an intelligent response.
In this way, you’re showing that you have knowledge of the field and that you're interested in serving their industry and resolving their issues and pain points.
And, as an added bonus, as you follow their content and posts, you may be able to glean useful information that you can mention in your pitch, making your first official contact more of a warm call (or email or social message) than a cold call.
#10 - Start small
With all the statistics heralding the success of social media for your business, everyone’s probably using it, right?
Actually, the numbers are a little startling; only 31% of sales reps report using social media as a regular part of their sales process. At the same time, 78.6% of salespeople who use social media outperform those who don’t.
Clearly, combining social and sales together makes sense, but getting started can seem a bit overwhelming, especially when it’s combined with your typical daily workload. If taking on social media as a sales team seems daunting to you, just start small.
You don’t have to launch an enormous, extremely polished social media campaign to be successful. Authenticity from brands is valued in the social media realm, and by starting small, you have room to create a brand identity and grow your social presence the right way.
Updating your profiles, adding some successes, requesting endorsements – these are all small changes, but they can add up to improving your social visibility and reputation.
#11 - Outsource your efforts
If you don’t feel ready to take on social media, an outsourced sales partner can use it as a part of their strategy. Managed sales teams have experts who focus on creating social media connections, from building shareable content to researching prospects and making initial contacts.
By reaching out and creating connections via social media, they can help you take the first step in a relationship, take those hours of social prospecting off your plate, and then pass great leads to you once they’ve nurtured a connection.
#12 - Keep it simple and share good information
If you don’t know what kind of original content to create, start small by re-sharing others' content and adding a snippet about why you found it valuable. Follow industry leaders and learn about the types of insights they share.
By curating content that provides value and connecting with influential leaders in your industry, you can continue building your visibility as a knowledgeable professional in your field.
Mandatory to Success
Based on results alone, social media should be a mandatory tool in every sales professional’s arsenal. When it’s done in a strategic and focused manner, social media can give you the opportunity to create connections, build ongoing loyalty, and grow your sales success.
What’s your favorite platform for social media connections? Feel free to share it, and any social sales tips you have, in the comments below:
Have you ever considered outsourcing sales?