What is Social Selling
By Emily Woodman Creative author and long time digital marketeer
What is social selling? Simply put, it’s the practice of using social media to find and connect with customers and prospective customers. Social media allow for a tremendous benefit in that they allow for instant responses, thus deepening the communication every brand needs to polish.
Another benefit of social media is that it provides customers’ feedback, without you having to ask for it. Brands apply various approaches to get to know customers’ peace of mind, including paid surveys and giveaways. Social media allow for a seamless communication with feedback included.
Connecting these benefits with social sales is the key to boosting a brand’s ROI in the long run. Given that all kinds of follow-up can be provided directly via social media channels, it makes sense to invest a bit into social media campaigns to increase a brand’s visibility.
Differences Between Social Media Platforms
Different social media platforms present a brand in different ways, so it is important to know how to market your products/services on each of them properly. I.e., LinkedIn should depict how your brand is beneficial and why it should be trusted and include contact information.
By using multiple social media channels, you can present your brand as a solution to people’s issues and needs simply by listening to their feedback. And that’s the first step for successful social selling - providing a solution in an affordable, reliable way. By doing it publicly via social media, you eliminate the risk of sending random messages and offers to random people, who may well flag them as spam.
For one thing, social media followers follow brands they are interested in. By simply polishing the offer to suit their specific needs, you can increase your sales dramatically.
Social Media as a Means to Build Long-Lasting Relationships
Communication is the center of any good business practice. In the most basic sense of the words, they replace cold calling (which is rarely welcome or answered) with targeted offers appealing to the audience. The audience gets to choose whether they are interested or not at their own convenience.
That is, perhaps, the greatest benefit of social media selling. It rarely runs the risk of being observed as spamming.
Further out, a well-planned social media campaign connects the dots across multiple channels, creating new sales opportunities. A business advertising on Facebook and not bothering to create a professional LinkedIn profile is rarely taken seriously.
Conversely, managing only a LinkedIn profile will do nothing more than show your company info, without dicing deeper into the offer.
According to LinkedIn data, the value of social selling lies in:
The outline is on building trusted relationships with a strong social selling index (SSI) that results in return customers and a dramatically increased performance.
People Are Already Interested in Your Offer
As mentioned above, social media followers are already interested in your offer; they’re just looking for the most beneficial variant. It is only natural that buyers will compare offers and prices to determine which brand suits their needs best.
That translates into continual research, just like in all other aspects of running a successful brand. It is common practice to follow successful competitors’ social media pages and subscribe to their newsletters. Staying on top of the competition is a hard work, social media selling or not.
Of one thing you can be sure: the best performing competitors are already engaged in social selling. Building a reputation of a brand may be a continual process, but it has to start somewhere. Normally, email marketing offers should feature contact information and links to your social media pages, especially if you target younger audiences.
Be Active on Social Media
Simply creating social media profiles will not do the trick, however. While this practice may increase a brand’s visibility, it will do nothing in terms of boosting sales.
It is important to actively engage in communication and it needs to be done by real, breathing people, not by bots. The businesses using automation to communicate with customers have learned, to their woe, that the practice has permanently damaged their reputation.
Follow up with social media communication in a timely manner and listen to what people are saying. This will help you build relationships with your customers, which will prevent them from looking elsewhere for their next purchase. For, let’s face it: why shop around when there’s a trusted brand available?
You’ll want your business to stay relevant, trusted and responsive.
Setting up social media campaigns is a hard work. Albeit the process is highly customizable, it applies the same principles other sales funnels do, notably - insights. Since social selling calls for investments, unlike, say, email marketing, you’ll wish to optimize your campaigns for best results.
The trick is in not appearing overbearing. As ever when marketing is concerned, you should demonstrate value rather than just be another annoying salesperson. They key to doing that lies in building credibility and trust, which is, as already mentioned, an ongoing process.
The practice goes hand in hand with posting meaningful content, which means you should build your brand carefully from the very beginning. All new content appearing on your brand’s webpage (which must be responsive and professional) should be advertised via social media channels.
It will show the followers that you are indeed an expert in the field, not some upstart out to rob them out of their money. You’d be surprised to learn how many such brands exist out there.
Social Media Best Practices
Each social media channel should be used in accordance with its purpose - it’s a no brainer. Using LinkedIn to sell products would be as unwise as using Pinterest to post images of your family, so there.
Last But Not Least…
Coupling multiple marketing strategies is always the best approach to achieving long-term results, boosting your ROI in the process. Email marketing campaigns are always a good idea, and even better when the offer is shared on social media channels.
Think in terms of discounts and special offers, which are bound to be seen by a greater number of people if advertised across various channels.
And while there’s no general recipe for long-term success, the key, as always, lies in maintaining healthy relationships, showing customers that they are special and that their feedback matters, and in continually improving your offer to stay ahead of the competition.
Creative author and long time digital marketeer
Rick Rea &