Social selling in the digital age is very different from what might have gone on in the past. Food container manufacturers and producers of cosmetics traditionally used party selling methods in the past. With this approach, a franchise holder would sell products in their home to friends and family directly.
For professional salespeople, this might seem old-fashioned. That's because social selling via the internet is a very different beast. Find out what you need to know to start selling through social media platforms and how to get the best out of your sales team if you have one.
The Business Definition and Benefits of Social Selling ?
What is social selling these days, you may ask? In short, it is a lead generation method that seeks to use social media to feed into a sales pipeline. By interacting with people on social media – and other digital platforms – so you can augment the number of leads you generate.
The benefits of social selling include operating in a more targeted way with people who may already be interested in your goods and services. It is a low-cost way of selling, too, since social media is largely free to exploit. It can also help to replace tougher selling techniques, such as cold calling.
The Four Steps For Successful Social Selling
If you want to engage with more potential clients on digital social platforms, then a focused approach is best. Like many other aspects of professional sales work, a scatter-gun approach rarely yields good results. Follow these four steps for a targeted social selling strategy that is more likely to bring about longer-term success.
Step 1 - Optimize Your Team's Social Profiles
When you are operating as a team of salespeople, social media profiles should have the same tone of voice and similar content so that brand recognition is consistent. Carry out an audit of the sales team's professional profiles so that they are optimized for social media. If your sales staff are all directing traffic to different landing pages, for example, then adopt a more uniform approach.
Equally, you need to use the same hashtags, logos, and slogans across all of your social media profiles, ideally utilizing the same ones on multiple platforms. Social selling is about consistency, after all. Make sure, too, that keywords are used on all posts so that search traffic is increasingly directed to your other social media pages as well as your own website.
If you already post blogs on your corporatewebsite, then use social media to promote them. However, don't post lengthyblogs on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. Optimization meansoffering teaser information that promotes interest and encourages followers totake the next step of clicking onward.
Step 2 – Understand Customer Needs Through Social Platforms
Listening is key to selling, as any sales professional should know already. How do you listen in the digital world, though? Well, numerous online tools exist that will provide alerts for you when people are talking about the sorts of things you sell online. Set up an alert for 'used autos', 'hair styling', or whatever it is you do. This way, your sales team can get involved in the online conversation and influence potential customers.
Equally, you'll need to listen when your company or brand is mentioned. Follow the relevant hashtags so you can deal with customer dissatisfaction promptly. After all, social selling means maintaining a good reputation as well as forging new leads.
In addition, you should follow the comments made by businesses you might want to target. Let's say a new procurement manager has been announced at a firm you could sell to. Knowing his or her details is likely to be a big help. The same goes for competitor announcements. Comment on them and get involved, so others know who you are and what your business is about.
Step 3 – Position Your Business as an Authoritative Expert
Write high-quality content. Produce videos and infographics that have genuine value. Repetitive web pages and plagiarized blogs get lost in all the noise there is online for attention. What you want is something that is thought-provoking, coming at a reader with an opinion that is, in the end, newsworthy.
If you get this right with your blog posts and other social media content, then you will build a reputation as a place of expertise. This means setting the tone in conversations rather than following the crowd.
Step 4 – Build Social Selling Relationships With Trust at Their Core
Finally, you need to keep it real. In terms of social selling, what this means is tailoring responses and comments to the person or people you're engaging with. Generic wording ends up sounding like spam. Individualize your social media posts as much as possible. For example, by citing something your business and their business are both engaged with.