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A Complete Guide to Social Selling: What Is It and How to Use it to Increase Sales?

A Complete Guide to Social Selling: What Is It and How to Use it to Increase Sales?

Anirban Banerjee
Anirban Banerjee
August 5, 2022
5 min read

"He's a man out in the middle of nowhere, riding on a smile and a shoeshine."

That's how Arthur Miller narrated Willy Loman in his classic "Death of a Salesman" play from 1949.

Most of the salesmen are still in the blue even after seventy years.

Except it's the blue of social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, and million-dollar smiles have devolved into million-dollar smiling emoticons.

Loman was unfamiliar with social selling statistics, but he understood what all great salespeople do: relationships build sales. 

You become acquainted with your prospects and their requirements. You establish trust. When the time comes and prospects are ready to purchase, they will think of you first.

That was the case in 1949, and it is still the case today.

That is why the best salespeople use social media selling sites as upper-hand. They recognize the power of social networks to enhance customer interaction. Willy Loman would grant it as the honest hard work of connecting, engaging and building relationships for sales.

What is Social Selling?

Imagine this:

  • Mike is a flooring salesman. He discovers on Twitter that a woman named Monique is launching a bakery in his city and is looking for contractor recommendations.
  • Mike sees this as an opportunity to recommend some previous clients and sends her a message on Twitter .
  • Monique sees Mike's social profile and discovers that he works for a flooring company. She's been meaning to look for new flooring and adds Mike's company to her list of potential vendors.
  • Mike follows up on Twitter the following week, and Monique arranges to visit his showroom.

As you can see from this example, this wasn’t a quick process and isn't a one-and-done deal. Here, Mike is connecting with new prospects and laying the groundwork for new business relationships which is an important part of the sales cycle.

In simple terms, when sales professionals use social media to find and engage with new prospects, this is known as social selling. 

Salespeople use social media and its trends to provide value to prospects by sharing content, responding to comments, and answering open-ended questions at all stages of the buying process.

Here’s how the new sales model, or sales 2.0 looks:

While the traditional sales model relied on cold calling, sales demos, and lead qualification, the new B2B sales model entails reaching out to new prospects, educating them on how your company can help them grow their business, and nourishing them with your content assets.

Why should you care about social selling?

Social selling has numerous advantages. We'll go over some of the benefits of social selling, but first, let the numbers from LinkedIn speak for themselves as to why social selling is an important weapon in your arsenal.

Social media usage growth has been a major element in the acceptance of social selling, and several studies show that B2B buyers use social media as an important part of their research process.

Before making a purchase from a specific brand, B2B buyers search at least 12 times over the internet.

As a result, 55% of the B2B companies are using these digital channels and utilizing their marketing budgets in a way that enables them to create a more personal B2B buying process.

How to sell on social media: the best platforms to use 

In a nutshell, it depends.

Your choice should be based on your target audience and effective social selling strategy.

Instagram and Facebook, for example, are excellent social platforms for sharing short and catchy content and sparking discussions in the comment section. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is for more professional coverage and networking.

Don't use all of the exciting platforms available to establish a social presence. Most Internet users can probably identify five social networks off the top of their heads, and some can definitely name ten. The fact is that not all of your clients use social media regularly. 

They are busy, just like you. They simply lack the time.

Some platforms may be irrelevant to your industry and produce no results. Experiment with different platforms to see which one works best for your business. 

In addition, Twitter and Instagram are excellent platforms for customer interaction. They provide tools responding to customer inquiries and are informal virtual spaces where communication flows naturally. Simply put, they are excellent for developing relationships.

LinkedIn's Best Practices for Social Selling

1. Maintain Your Connection

It's critical to stay active on the platform if you want your profile to be viewed by as many people as possible for better brand visibility.

Make timely connections with thought leaders, and potential prospects, and include a personal note with your request.

Examine your network and mutual connections on a regular basis to see who is passing in your social professional sphere and how you can help them.

2. Include a Follow Button

Instead of making a more formal connection, LinkedIn users can allow people to "follow" their profiles. Go to Settings to enable this option, which will allow people to remain passively connected to you and your content without feeling pressured.

3. Maintain Your Social Selling Index

Fortunately, LinkedIn has its own system for informing users about how effectively they are using the platform to make connections and generate leads.

According to LinkedIn's algorithm, your Social Selling Index indicates how well you establish your personal brand awareness, find the right prospects, connect, and build relationships.

Facebook’s Best Practices for Social Selling

1. Utilize Facebook Insights and Analytics

Facebook actually has a fairly robust analytics feature that can aid in your social selling success. This tool can help sales reps and managers understand which content and outreach strategies are most effective with their target audience in order to further optimize their strategy. 

What if you could look back on your past business performances and results and use that knowledge to plan for the future?

In a nutshell, you are the sole master of your fate.

2. Like and respond to all comments

Facebook is a great place to start conversations, but don't stop there. When you receive engagement on one of your posts, use it to engage: like or react to all comments, and respond whenever possible.

Twitter’s best practices for social selling

1. Use Twitter Lists

The ability to organize followers into groups is one of Twitter's most useful features for sales professionals. Sales representatives can use this to tailor their messaging based on what content appears to be relevant to each group.

Users can create Twitter Lists for their Twitter followers based on their company, location, job title, or people they've met in person.

2. Be an open book

First and foremost, ensure that public can see your profile and they can send you direct messages. 

Admit it, you’ve adapted to receiving irrelevant or spam messages. So, don’t block yourself because you may lose far too many engagements if your profile is private or does not accept DMs.

Social selling best practices to increase sales 

Now that you know how to approach your potential customers on the top three social selling platforms, (without creeping them out, of course), it’s time for some social selling tips that can come in really handy!

1. Collaborate with Social Media Influencers

You've heard of influencer marketing and are curious about the hype. Because it works, influencer marketing is a popular marketing tool. According to Annalect and Twitter, after seeing an influencer’s tweet, nearly 40% of Twitter users make a purchase.

2. Subscribe to content-rich blogs & emails

How will you break the ice and decide what to share with your prospects on social media? By reading.

Examine the content that your buyers and industry leaders are reading, and sharing. You can also subscribe to their emails where they share the most recent industry updates and content assets with you. Then, share the articles you believe will be of particular interest to your buyers on your decided platform.

3. Seek recommendations

Once you've identified potential leads to whom you'd like to get connected, check out their LinkedIn profiles to see if you share any connections. You can then ask your mutual connection for a referral. Warm lead unlocked.

4. Keep track of engagement

Likes, comments, and shares are social media engagement metrics, and high engagement indicates that a piece of content truly resonates with your audience. Keep track of your profile engagement and learn from what works best so you can continue to share the most relevant content with your audiences.

For example, if you come across a post about B2B sales tools that is receiving the most likes, comments, or shares, you can make a guess that the topic resonates with your audience and is something you should discuss further.

5. Keep customer service opportunities in mind

Buyers are increasingly interacting with businesses via social media and messaging platforms. Keep track of what buyers and consumers are saying about your company and its offerings on social media platforms, especially if a customer is dissatisfied.

Take note of any comments on social media where a customer expresses dissatisfaction with your company's product or service. If your company's marketing team or sales teams haven't yet responded, notify them of the comment so they can respond, and take note of the language they use for the resolution.

How to start with social selling for your B2B company?

This is the section you've been looking forward to. Now that you know which channels are good to go with, here's how to master the art of social selling. Top social media agencies in New Jersey also deal with this same methodology, so such a working principle is worth looking at.

Sync your CRM with a sales navigator

Did you know that whenever you sync your CRM or social selling tools, you will most likely notice a difference in social selling speed and precision?

The advantage of using such automation practices is that your sales navigator will be able to update any exciting information regarding the decision makers you are targeting using your CRM like HubSpot.

Use social data to provide better customer service.

Customers expect consistent interactions from all departments, according to more than three-quarters (76 percent). However, more than half (54%) report that teams do not appear to share information: they receive different responses from sales, service, and marketing.

Create custom audiences for social ads using CRM data.

CRM assists you in determining who your potential leads are. Social CRM like Hootsuite Toolbox enables you to transform that data into new lookalike and highly targeted audiences for social ads based on attributes such as social behaviors, location, age, and so on.

A lookalike audience comprised of people who have purchased from you is more likely to result in conversions than a lookalike audience comprised of fans or followers.

Data-driven companies must go beyond social selling!

Prospects today are engaging with brands through various platforms round the clock. Some people connect to a customer center and speak with a business analyst, while others reach out through a chatbot on a website, a contact us landing page or through DMs on social media sites.

All of these interactions that occur across the various channels are valuable to the organization and help to create or optimize their strategies.

And to get the most out of such relationship building efforts, they need an AI tool that allows them to record and analyze such data in order to present actionable findings that helps in shaping strategies to grow the business. 

Our conversation intelligence platform, Wingman serves this purpose well.

Create more targeted marketing strategies — and drive higher ROI — by using our Conversation Insights to highlight niche content themes in real time and then leveraging them to decide on event sponsorships, brand ambassadors, social media plans, and content strategy.

Integrating your social media tool with our Marketing Intelligence tool will save you time. Respond to questions and complaints across multiple channels, create tickets, and interact with chatbots all from a single dashboard. Try it for free right now.

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