If your business is anything like ours, it has forever changed because of the differences we see in our customers and their complex buying behaviors. Customers now arm themselves with more information than ever before to make informed purchasing decisions.
Customers are constantly having conversations with their peers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn about the successes, challenges, and problems involved with any product or service they might be interested in.
Businesses need to be involved in and around those same conversations to socially surround potential buyers by engaging with them through the sharing of ideas and content that can help them achieve their goals and overcome their problems.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is a means of building relationships as part of the sales process using one or more social media platforms to engage with prospective customers.
For the most part, social selling takes place via social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but can also occur on other platforms depending on your business's brand identity and customer personas.
Think of social selling as an additional "layer" on top of your existing sales process. When done properly, it will help you build a sustainable sales pipeline and keep your business top of mind with your potential customers.
Go where your clients "live"
Whether your business is focused on B2B or B2C sales, connecting regularly with your future clients where they "live" in the social media space is an important element of your sales strategy for the following reasons:
- It creates a channel(s) for you to build additional value in your business by sharing relevant content with buyers that will help position you as a subject matter expert within your industry and gain their trust.
- It also allows you to like, share, and have on-line interactions with buyers who can benefit from your products or services without a hard sell type of approach.
Of course, you need to be selective with the platforms you're using and the ways in which you are engaging prospective customers for the best ROI.
The general idea is to choose the sites that your targeted prospects use on a regular basis for business and/or personal interests during the days and times they are most active.
Use your customer personas and business model to understand what forms of social media your targeted audience is using, and the days and times they are using them.
- For example, a 30 year old CEO within the Tech Industry is probably not using Facebook to the degree that they are using LinkedIn and Twitter, and since they're the CEO they're likely using social media in the evening or on weekends since their workday is very busy.
- >If your company is focused on B2B sales, then LinkedIn would likely be the best choice to connect with your audience vs. Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to pick the right platform for both your buyer and your unique business strategy.
Do your social selling homework
It's important to understand that the research process will take some time and that's okay-- it's critical to get these aspects of the process right before moving forward. Ask yourself the 5 "W" questions to best uncover this information:
- "Who" am I trying to connect with?
- "Where" are they spending the majority of their time on social media?
- "When" are they using social media the most?(Days and times)
- "What" are they most interested in? (What trends, groups, or industries do they follow)
- "Why" are they using social media? (Topics of interest, goals, problems, needs)
Social selling success requires strong internal communication
Once you have a good idea of the platforms you want to be involved with, and at what times, it's time to make sure your sales and marketing departments are aligned. If you're wondering if your sales and marketing teams are aligned or what that means, STOP! Go back and click the link.
Alignment between sales and marketing is essential to your company's overall ability to attract and covert sales leads — not just on social media.
Your sales Pros are on the frontline of your business. They’re out in the field or on the phone, talking with buyers everyday, and hearing firsthand what buyers are looking for. By involving them, your content will be more relevant and valuable to your audience.
You're almost ready to put your business out there and start practicing social selling.
In our next blog installment on this topic, we’ll share the process and several best practices that will help you execute your social selling strategy with excellence!