If a business isn’t on social media, it basically doesn’t exist.
But why is it so important to have a social media presence? Because it doesn’t only give you brand recognition, visibility, and marketing benefits, but it will also help you expand your client base through Social Selling.
Yes, I know you’ve probably heard this before, but many people still fail to use social selling as part of their lead generation arsenal. Thankfully, it’s becoming more and more popular and in 2018, 49% of B2B brands adopted a social selling program.
The benefits are clear - 73% of salespeople who incorporated social media into their processes outperformed their colleagues, and there are countless other stats that support this.
In this article, I want to show you what Social Selling is and share some secrets and tips that I use, and that you can use too, to be successful at it.
What is Social Selling and why should you be doing it?
Simply put, Social Selling is all about building and nurturing relationships with prospects on social media.
More specifically, Social Selling is the art of using social media platforms to interact with prospects, educate them, understand them, share valuable content with them and guide them throughout the different stages of the buyer’s journey until they are ready to speak with you to potentially become your customers.
Image Credit: SuperOffice
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a B2B or B2C market, 82% of prospects can be reached "socially" via online networks. Decision-makers use social media to research and exchange information on vendors, their products and services, and all businesses should take advantage of that.
So how do we do it? How can someone be successful at Social Selling without coming off as a stalker or salesperson spamming them?
I give you my 6 tips to carry out an effective Social Selling strategy.
#1 - Know your Buyer Persona
Before you reach out to people on social media, you need to be clear about who’s potentially interested in your product or service.
Being clear about your Buyer Persona, helps you define what your audience cares about, how and when they are more likely to interact with content, what common problems or pain-points they experience, and what they need to move through the sales funnel.
Therefore, when it comes to engaging with them, you’ll be able to provide information or offer tips that they want to hear.
Here are 10 Buyer Persona examples you can use to help you create your own.
#2 - Use the right channels to find your prospects
Would you use Twitter as your main channel if you were promoting a business whose Buyer Persona is made up by elderly people? Probably not the best way to reach that target...
Well, after having clarity of who it is you’re trying to find, think of what social media platforms they might typically use for leisure, research or work-related purposes. Where do they usually go to when they try to find a solution to a problem?
Social Selling experts don’t just limit their communication with a particular prospect to one channel. Consider connecting on several platforms to see if what they’re looking for is consistent in all of them.
Having a clear understanding of your prospects preferred channels and digital habits increases your chances of connecting with them and building a relationship.
#3 - Follow potential leads and interact where you can
You’ll want to connect with or follow anyone that may be interested in your product or service. A couple of quick tips:
- If possible, be sure to personalize a follow/connection request and remember: Never pitch!
- If you want to target a specific geographic zone, geo-targeted social searches can help you do this.
By connecting with or following your prospects, their colleagues and the people/brands they look up to, you have a greater chance of reaching them through authoritative and relevant sources.
Commenting, endorsing, liking and sharing are types of interactions that can be extremely helpful to make yourself noticeable and to start conversations that can later scale into trustworthy relationships. Bear in mind that your interactions should be thoughtful, relevant, and personalized, and always looking to add value to those you’re engaging with.
Take your time to read about the prospect, their company and more importantly their post before you actually start engaging.
Check out the following example of a good comment that created engagement and a chain of responses:
“Excellent advice John. A lot of first-time businesses don't realize that the unity of their message across platforms is what's keeping prospects from buying. I wonder if this issue exists at smaller companies on the same level it does at enterprises. What do you think @tom @jess @michael?”
#4 - Share valuable and engaging content
When you have an answer to the questions your potential clients are asking, you show them how easy it can be to rely on you. You get to this point of credibility and authority simply by sharing useful content without expecting anything in return.
You genuinely want to help them out in their decision-making process by guiding them and educating them on a subject in which you are an expert. This can even be pointing people in the direction of another company - what you share just needs to be valuable and authentic.
Post articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, and whatever you think might be useful and engaging, and then, position yourself as a viable option to solve people’s pain-points and troubles.
To see some great examples of content sharing done right, take a look at Gary Vees’ posts on LinkedIn.
He simply helps people out by offering valuable content that his followers can benefit and learn from, whilst at the same time growing his brand.
#5 - Use and follow relevant hashtags
#fitnesslife #tbt #love #summer #nofilter #foolover
Chances are you’ve seen at least a couple of these popular hashtags on Instagram or Twitter. They get millions of searches every single day! Hashtags get indexed on social media and make posts visible to a wider audience who are searching for a specific topic.
They will help you grow exponentially if you use them correctly since they serve as a way to get more exposure on your posts and to find who’s searching for a specific topic. People who find your content through hashtag searches are already interested in that specific subject and therefore could potentially be interested in your product or service.
Finding the perfect hashtags to use on a post can be a little tricky, but it’s worth the time. Take a look at your keywords and see what other businesses are using for content that’s similar to yours.
#6 - Join groups and participate in relevant conversations
If you want to find prospects and engage with them, what better way than to be part of social media groups they are part of?
Start by searching for groups on your social media platforms that talk about your industry, products or services and request to join. Once you’re a member, use these channels to share useful information, ask relevant questions and engage with other group members where there could be mutual benefit.
Take a look at what others are talking about and comment on their posts. By using all the tips above, you can then add value and strike up conversations.
Social Selling takeaways
When done correctly, Social Selling is one of your most powerful sales strategies.
If you’re not proactively seeking out your prospects on social media, you’re missing out on opportunities; and this will only become more true when even more consumers use their social networks, not just for pleasure, but also for business.
What are you currently doing to succeed on social? If there are any tips you’d like to add, let me know in the comments below.
Are you a keen user of LinkedIn? Wanting to generate more leads?