Probably this is not the first time that social selling has been talked about. If the term doesn’t sound familiar, everything about it will be explained here.

Although it has the “social” word in it, is not equal to social media marketing or advertising. However, it has something to do with social media and definitely has everything to do with people, specifically with leads.

Social selling has become the new way to find leads and interact with them. Statistics shows that around 90% of sellers use social selling tools. Besides, 64% of the sales representatives apply social selling methods to reach their team’s share.

May this strategy work for any kind of business? This guide of social selling will help to understand the value it can have for any kind of entrepreneurship. Let’s start.

What is social selling?

The social selling is a new commercial method that uses the social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to connect and interact directly with the leads. Constitutes a new way to create meaningful relationships, replacing the cold calls old practice what has made it very popular. However, it doesn’t use any hard or direct selling practice.

Over the years, the way to sell has evolved, and nowadays, it is about stablish solid and trust-based relationships with customers. The use of social networks to make sales gives leads the impression that they are talking to a matter expert and a renowned figure on that area, which places the seller in a very advantageous position compared to others that are still using traditional sales strategies.

Social selling uses social networks to reach the right leads, create brand conscience and stablish relationships with them. This sales strategy will place the seller in lead’s mind turning the seller in the first option they think about when they’re finally prepared to buy a product or service such as the offered.

Social selling data and statistics

If someone is wondering if the social selling may work for a specific business, should take a look to some data and key figures shown as follows to analyze its performance.

In 2020 social networks had around 3.500 million active users around the world.

About 89% of high-performance sales professionals use social media platforms as a space to develop their sales strategy.

The 70% of the current sales professionals claim to use more frequently the LinkedIn platform for commercial purposes, compared to Facebook (64%) and Twitter (43%).

Social selling programs can promote the improvement of the production processes and the success rates which results in a 48% increasing of the agreements.

The sales representatives who take advantage of social selling get a 31% higher ROI compared to those who stick to the traditional sales methods.

Around 84% of high-level senior executives use social networks to make purchasing decisions, while the 75% of B2B buyers use them to make purchasing choices.

The 33% of users prefer to contact brands through social media instead of phone calls.

The research reveals that the best sales professionals, who also reach deals a 51% more than their colleagues, consider social networks something “very important” for their success.

The 39% of the B2B professionals claim that social selling decreases the time they spent searching leads while the 33% of them claims that increases their number of leads.

The two parts of social selling: the outgoing prospecting and the inbound marketing

Social selling success and efficacy consist both in the outgoing prospecting and the inbound marketing. Surely both terms are very familiar; on next, we’ll explain the way both techniques are used in the case of social selling.

Outgoing prospecting: The first part consists in identify and learn as much as possible about the leads to profile them and establish direct contact with them. This is done in order to find candidates that are more suited to the products and services being offered.

Inbound marketing: The second part consists in building a relationship with potential leads. This requires sharing valuable content that, not only attract them, but also make them come to the advertisers.

Social selling allows sellers to target quality prospects, stablish a relationship with them (as well as with their networks) and make a sale with these prospects using these two marketing techniques.

Social selling benefits

One of the biggest social selling advantages is that offers a more efficient selling process, which helps getting more sales in return.

Let’s see some other advantages of this selling method.

Social selling saves time and shortens the sales cycle

The switch to social selling makes sales representatives reduce or completely eliminate the cold calls.

Statistics shows that about 39% of the B2B area professionals claim social tools reduced the time spent on market research.

Buyers participate in online communities and use to exchange opinions and advice. Being present in these online platforms allows to listen, supervise and answer these conversations.

For someone who manage to position as an expert of the area constantly sharing valuable and useful content for the leads, the chances of closing a deal with them are much bigger.

Finding new opportunities

Taking the sales strategy to the social media allows to find the decisions makers that ask questions or give recommendations in the online groups. On the other hand, the chance of interacting with a lead won’t be there for those who stick to the traditional methods.

It is possible to share a content that answers consumers’ questions or help them with their problems through a direct message. Despite the way they’ll receive help regarding their concern, what matters is offering a solution for their problems, gaining their trust and hopefully closing a sale.

Allow sales representatives to build real relationships

A 31% of the B2B area professionals claim that the social selling tools have allow them to stablish deeper relationships with customers.

Social selling consists in stablishing a relationship and make genuine interactions between the seller and the leads.

It’s about sharing content or information that satisfies the needs, wishes and problems of the leads through the sellers or brands public profiles in social networks.

Putting aside the cold calls and other typical techniques of sales prospecting helps to gain the leads trust with no need to push. Besides, when a sales team optimize their profiles and share content online, the brand’s visibility increases, since social media make them appear on the radar.

Higher number of leads

A survey shows that 1 out of 3 B2B area professionals claims that the social selling tools help to increase the number of leads. Social selling helps companies to attract and capture more leads compared to traditional prospecting.

Besides increasing the number of quality leads, this new way of selling constitutes also a way to effectively boost the sales results. In the end, a higher number of customers and consumers means also higher incomes for the company.

With social selling it is possible to develop a path to sale by providing assistance anytime leads need it.

Better customer retention

One of the social selling main objectives is generating trust and, in a long term, keeping in touch with previous customers in a less intrusive and no invasive way. With a social selling strategy, it’s not necessary to call customers to confirm, update or promote a product they could be interested in.

Being available and present in social networks allows to do all the work more easily. For example, It’s possible to post valuable content in a space where it can be seen and besides there is the possibility of being available anytime the customers have questions.

The best channels for social selling

How to sell through social media

There are several social network platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to create communities or LinkedIn for strictly professional matters. It is necessary to determine where the target public is in order to determine which are the platforms where the advertiser must have presence.

On next, there are three useful social networks platforms for sellers.

Facebook

With about 2.6 billion of active users per month, Facebook has consolidated as the most popular social network. In regard to the business aspect, there are more than 80 million of small and medium companies that use Facebook pages and about 6 million that use the advertising platform, according to the earnings call of the 2018 second trimester.

Furthermore, statistics shows that the social network titan has the platform that is most used by B2C (68%) and B2B sellers (48%) since almost all kind of quality contents – from a good text post to a video – could generate engagement on Facebook.

On Facebook, sales representatives can share photos or videos in different formats. Is an ideal platform to share links and articles, as well as, for example, promote a blog’s latest post; is also a more personal network for social selling.

LinkedIn

Before the rise of social media, sellers used their phonebook for making cold calls. Nowadays, more information can be found in social networks such as LinkedIn than with the cold calling method or checking a phone guide.

LinkedIn, the world’s biggest professional network platform, has over 690 million of members and 50 million companies.

The sales professionals also claim to be more actives in LinkedIn (70%) than in Facebook (64%), maybe because is a social network for business professionals of different areas and with different titles; many companies decisions makers are also here.

Individuals and companies or brands can share company news, announcements, updates and much more through posts and articles in their LinkedIn profiles. It is important to highlight that the site also admits video contents, however, it must be pointed out that, if someone wants to share a video, is necessary to make sure to include caption so users can watch it even in silence while being at the office or in public.

Instagram

With an amazing growth rate (1 billion active users), Instagram, the platform derived from Facebook where thousands of photos and videos are posted, has been becoming in an important space for advertising.

It is the ideal network to promote future events, web contents such as blog posts to obtain comments or answer questions from the audience. It is also a very good mean for the social listening and for monitor the public feeling about certain brand, product or service.

Likewise, it increases the brand’s exposure and the website traffic. Nevertheless, Instagram is not the ideal platform to publish texts: instead, it’s better to appeal, in an exclusive way, to photos and videos and, to a lesser extent, polls and other means which opens a wide space for creativity anytime a content is created and posted.

How to start with the social selling

Stablish an objective.

For a social selling strategy to be efficient, is necessary to identify the objectives, supervise the progress over time and identify the metrics that fit those objectives. For instance, can be set as an objective the started conversations, the number of arranged meetings and the sealed agreements.

It can also help to offer value to the leads and stablish lasting relationships with them.

Identifying the right social network platform

As it was said previously, before selecting the most relevant social networks platforms that can be used for social selling, it is essential to determine in which of them the target is more active. It can be done by deliberating on social networks that matches the target and leads. It is important to review the use of social platforms by demographic group.

Create a professional profile in social media

It’s almost mandatory for any company to create a professional profile in social media that can be used to promote the brand or business.

It must be a strictly professional profile and must serve to build a reputation with leads and also to present as experts that can provide something new and valuable to the brand.

Instagram

It is necessary to have a professional photo (preferably the brand’s logo) and write a short and concise biography that offers a clear description of the product or service.

It is also advisable to use hashtags that the leads follow and, most of all, sharing relevant and informative content.

LinkedIn

A professional photo must be uploaded and in the “About” section write a summary, ideally three paragraphs, about what the company does.

It is important to include the value proposition and any social proof about the help that is provided to customers in order to promote the business.

Like in any other social network, it is advisable to constantly share valuable content for the audience and also join the groups and communities in which the leads participate.

In the experience section, it must be described how the company has helped customers to improve the business.

Facebook

To promote a brand, it is also recommended to have a business page in Facebook.

It is advisable to upload professional photos and also to offer clear and brief information about the business or the entrepreneurship in the “About” section. A link to the company’s website can also be included.

Contents that provide value for leads, must be constantly shared. It is also useful to join groups or communities in which leads participate and share information about the latest trends and news of the area.

It is important to connect, interact and commit to the right people.

Selling itself is a personal task in which the soft skills go in the driver’s seat. The most interaction and engagement the advertiser gets (even with likes, sharing and comments), the best.

Before start to stablish relationships, it is essential to make sure to connect with the right network. This is the way to start:

It is important to follow and interact with the area’s movers and shakers to position as a prominent and authorized figure in the niche. This can also help to promote the relationships with leads or prospects.

Leads must be also searched through the internet and review in which social networks they’re active so, as the next step, leave relevant and useful comments in the posts and that way start a relationship based on trust and credibility.

It is also advisable to avoid being too persistent or including commercial information when making the first contact with the leads. It is important to remember that the social selling objective is, first building relationships and after that, sealing deals.

Sharing content to stablish credibility

How are the leads most pressing questions answered and how their weak spots and needs are addressed? Sharing relevant and attractive content is a key factor and it’s important to do it constantly so, over time, audience will notice that the brand is the best option when some advice from an expert is needed. This way, the seller will be closer to making a sale.

It is also important to check social media engagement metrics once on a while to see which contents get more participation and which are the topics that interest the public.

To make the content curation easier, it’s possible to create a calendar and make a plan or a grid that shows the content to be shared in the profiles.

It’s possible to go even further and take an additional step by automating the post to be published in a specific day and hour.

Track and measure sales performance on social media

Like tracking, marketing strategies analysis and adjustment are fundamental.

Tracking and measuring the progress of social selling to see what is working, the lacks it could have and what must be improved serves to substantially optimize the sales strategy.

There are many metrics that can be monitor on social networks, but if the objective is the social selling, it is necessary to pay attention to metrics such as:

Reach (followers or fans, impressions, traffic data).

Engagement (clicks, comments, actions, likes, profile visits).

Contacts (click rate, rebound rate).

Conversions.

Advanced social selling strategies and advice from experts

It is necessary to keep in mind that, at some point, contacts on social networks will turn into real life contacts. Once a solid relationship with the lead has been stablished, it must be offered to continue with the conversation through a phone call or a face – to – face appointment. This will make easier to get to know the problems or issues that could have which, in turn, will allow the seller to know what kind of solutions can be offered and make the sale.

Asking for references

If there is a people list, maybe stakeholders that the seller would like to be introduced to or would like to connect with, it is advisable to check on LinkedIn profiles for a review and see if there is any common connection.

In case of finding a common friend or an area colleague with whom there is a good relationship, it must be asked if it’s possible to introduce the stakeholder.

Paying attention to customers complains

Customers’ complains, bad public relationships and business mishaps can tarnish a brand’s image and reputation. Besides promoting a business through social media, social selling also implies responding and solving customers’ complains.

If a comment from customers expressing their displeasure with the company’s product or service is detected, it is important to let the community management team know so that it can be solved immediately.

Since sellers represent a brand, they should also be trained to manage social media crisis.

Sharing the success stories

A company can be said to be excellent at this or that, but without evidence to back up those claims, those are nothing but empty statements. To gain the leads trust, social networks should be used to show evidence such as success stories.

Links can also be shared on social media channels that redirect to testimonial sections posted on the brand’s website or share a photo of a customer including a summary of their success story and the brand’s logo.

Implementing social listening

Social listening allows to know what leads want or need, as well as monitor the current customers feelings (positive and negative) about the brand, the products and the services. It’s an excellent way to prove that the customers are being listened and also an opportunity to provide knowledge.

Social listening tools can be used to supervise the conversations that are related to the brand, the products and the services. There is also the option of setting up the social listening notifications, so when a lead brings up an issue that has been assigned as a trigger, it can be addressed immediately.

Joining relevant groups and forums

Besides joining the area’s well – known groups to be up  to  date on trends, it’s helpful to find out which Facebook or LinkedIn groups leads belong to and join them as well.

When a topic comes up and there is something valuable to add to the discussion, it’s necessary to step in. However, it’s not advisable to sell products or services insistently, otherwise, seller may be expelled from the group.

Social selling tools

Social selling is not easy. Fortunately, nowadays there are many social media tools for companies which can help to streamline social selling efforts.

Feedly

This news aggregation tool is used to monitor the blogs and favorite websites in order to follow the topics and trends of interest for the seller and the leads. It is recommended to make a list of meaningful contents ready to be shared on social networks.

BuzzSumo

It’s important to know what kind of content is the most shared in social networks, for which it is highly recommended the use of BuzzSumo. This is a social media listening, analysis and curation tool that allows to discover new content ideas, as well as experts in the area.

It is possible to specify keywords or websites and its advanced search engine will identify the contents that works best for each one of them. This tool makes it easier to find and share the most interesting content for audience.

Canva

It’s time to say goodbye to poor quality images and charts. Now it’s possible to create impressive designs for contents using Canva.

This friendly graphic design tool offers a drag and drop function that allows non – graphic artists to easily create social media graphics and other visual content.

If what is wanted is to produce professional designs and attractive content to share, it definitely must be tried!

LinkedIn sales navigator

This professional network platform offers a prospect searching tool, that could turn to be essential for the B2B social selling professionals.

It has advanced search filters that allow to target the right prospects as well as save and segment LinkedIn prospects to improve the overall sales process.

It is also possible to quickly discover the right persons through its personalized suggestions.

Sales Navigator also provides real time updates about leads and existing customers for a better communication.

Nimble

Nimble is a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that has social media mining and is used to classify leads and existing customers, as well as monitor the relationship with them, including the exchanges on social networks. It is useful for creating customers profiles and activities.

To finish…

Social selling is selling 2.0. For anyone that wants to stay in the game, it’s necessary to adapt it, embrace it and see how the business begins to grow. If social networks are already being used to commercialize a business, it is advisable to take advantage of this powerful tool to optimize sales and maximize profits.

We hope this social selling guide will help more enterprising join the conversation that is already taking place around different areas, brands and offers.

Adding social selling to the sales strategies can help to find the right leads and connect with people that really want to know more about the brand.

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