How do You Sell on Social?

A Pretty Good Guide to selling on Social

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, understanding the art of social selling is paramount for businesses targeting audiences on social media platforms. Social selling empowers you to identify ideal prospects, cultivate authentic connections, and position your brand as the natural choice when purchasing decisions arise.

While social selling is not a complex science, it requires finesse and a departure from traditional hard sales tactics. This extensive guide equips you with a step-by-step plan to initiate and refine your social selling strategy, covering everything from content posting strategies to optimising conversions with minimal pitching.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is a dynamic lead generation strategy that involves identifying, qualifying, and connecting with potential prospects on social media platforms. This strategy leverages social listening to understand prospect interests, engaging in or initiating conversations to establish and nurture relationships.

For instance, if you’re a commercial contractor, responding to a query about building codes on a platform like X (formerly Twitter) positions you at the forefront when the user seeks bids for an upgrade, showcasing the essence of social selling in lead generation.

Social Selling vs. Traditional Selling

Social selling distinguishes itself from traditional sales strategies by occurring on social media platforms rather than in-person or via cold calls. It directly targets product users or decision-makers, using warm introductions and personalised conversations instead of generic scripts.

Social Selling vs. Social Media Marketing

While social media marketing tends to be one-to-many broadcast-oriented, social selling emphasises one-to-one relationship-building through personalised conversations. While both strategies can coexist and complement each other, social selling focuses on genuine connections rather than immediate conversions within the social network.

Who is Social Selling For?

Social selling is applicable to any company selling products to individuals who engage with social media. Considering the global prevalence of social media usage, with over 62% of the global population (and over 90% in the US) being active on social platforms, virtually every company can benefit from incorporating social selling into their strategy.

Benefits of Social Selling

1. Connecting Comfortably:

   Engaging with people where they spend an average of 2.5 hours daily fosters a comfortable environment for building connections. Social media users often seek information about products, presenting an opportune moment to position your brand as a helpful authority.

2. Building Trust Through Conversation:

   Social selling addresses the challenge of consumer trust in salespeople by allowing for the gradual establishment of trust over time through ongoing conversations and engagement.

3. Perfectly Timed Outreach:

   Social listening enables you to identify opportune moments for outreach. By monitoring brand mentions, competitor discussions, and industry trends, you can connect with prospects at the exact right time.

4. Proven Technique with High ROI:

   Social selling leaders, as evidenced by LinkedIn data, create more opportunities, are more likely to reach quota, and outperform peers who don’t utilise social media. The approach requires minimal initial investment and delivers a fantastic return on investment.

Four Pillars of Social Selling

1. Establish Your Brand on Social Media:

   Create an engaging profile and share relevant content to position your brand as an expert in your industry.

2. Fill Out Your Network:

   Identify and connect with current customers, potential customers, thought leaders, and influencers in your industry.

3. Engage Them with Insights:

   Share thought-provoking content directly with your prospects to become a go-to source for information.

4. Build Relationships:

   Strengthen connections by establishing trust with decision-makers and influencers.

Best Social Selling Platforms

The choice of social selling platforms depends on the products you sell and your target audience. However, LinkedIn and Twitter are particularly effective for social selling. LinkedIn, with its robust features like Sales Navigator and Social Selling Index, is ideal for B2B social selling, while Twitter’s public discussions facilitate brand expertise establishment.

9 Tips to Become a Pro-Level Social Seller

1. Provide Value and Prove Expertise First:

   Establish credibility by sharing helpful, insightful content before making direct connections.

2. Be an Active Social Listener:

   Leverage social listening tools or platform features to stay informed about relevant conversations and engage organically.

3. Optimise Your Profiles:

   Ensure your social media profiles are professional, complete, and reflective of your brand, including professional images, bios, and links.

4. Personalise Connection Requests:

   Craft personalised connection requests, mentioning mutual connections, recent interactions, or providing additional value.

5. Continuously Grow Your Network:

   Set weekly goals for posts, comments, and replies, dedicating time exclusively to tending to your social media network.

6. Be Active in Comments and Replies:

   Actively engage in relevant conversations through well-timed and thoughtful comments, boosting post visibility.

7. Strike up Conversations in Your Posts:

   Encourage engagement by posing questions or polls in your posts, prompting discussions within your community.

8. Engage with Influencers:

   Interact with industry influencers by liking, commenting, and referencing them in your posts, fostering collaborations.

9. Find Communities to Join:

   Participate in online communities related to your industry, providing support and insights to strengthen connections.

Best Social Selling Tools

1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

   A robust tool offering features like Relationship Explorer, prioritising prospects, finding advocates, and surfacing accounts with high buying intent.

2. Meltwater:

   A social listening tool tracking brand, product, or audience mentions across social media accounts, providing sentiment data and image recognition.

3. EveryoneSocial:

   A brand advocacy platform facilitating content sharing across team members’ social channels, enhancing team engagement and reach.

30-Day Social Selling Launch Plan

Days 1 to 5: Get Set Up

   – Choose social media platforms.

   – Create a style guide.

   – Identify relevant hashtags.

   – Optimise social media profiles.

   – Select social selling tools.

   – Set up social listening.

Days 6 to 15: Establishing Credibility

   – Create a content calendar.

   – Determine posting frequency.

   – Brainstorm content ideas.

   – Share existing content.

   – Produce and schedule a week’s worth of content.

Days 15 to 25: Begin Outreach

   – Identify industry accounts.

   – Narrow down targets.

   – Engage with posts.

   – Repost or retweet content.

Days 26 to 30: Make Contact and Analyse

   – Send a connection request.

   – Review social selling tool metrics.

   – Note top-performing content.

   – Plan for the second month.

The guide concludes by emphasising the long-term nature of social selling and encouraging continuous network growth.

Social Selling FAQs

1. Does social selling really work?

   – Yes, data supports its effectiveness, with social sellers outperforming peers, and leads generated through social selling being more likely to close.

2. What is social selling the inbound way?

   – Social selling inherently aligns with inbound marketing, attracting buyers organically rather than pursuing them through aggressive ads and cold outreach.

3. Is social selling creepy?

   – Social selling is not creepy when conducted appropriately, focusing on engagement and assistance rather than intrusive sales pitches.

In conclusion, embracing social selling in the digital age is essential for building authentic connections, fostering trust, and driving business growth on social media platforms. It’s a strategic shift from traditional sales methods, offering a personalised and relationship-centric approach that resonates with today’s consumers.