Social selling is becoming more popular, though some marketers are not sure what it involves and how it might increase revenue. It can be a highly effective sales technique, which is why we’ve created this short guide.
What is social selling?
You might guess that social selling is selling services or products via social media. That’s not exactly correct, however.
The technique is often confused with other concepts such as social commerce or social media marketing but, while social selling is related to these aspects, it is different in practice.
- Social Media Marketing is a marketing strategy that uses social media platforms to reach different marketing goals, such as promoting products or services, increasing brand awareness or increasing brand loyalty. In short, it uses different social media techniques to answer larger marketing goals.
- Social Commerce refers to the use of social media to directly sell services or products on the platforms. This means that social media users can become customers and purchase products without leaving the apps.
- Social Selling refers to a sales technique that connects businesses with prospects via social media with the goal of converting them into clients. It is used by salespeople and it involves interacting with potential customers by answering their questions or pain points and offering relevant content and information to nurture them and create trust-based relationships.
While social media marketing and social selling are related, both have very different goals. It doesn’t mean that marketing and sales can’t join forces to leverage social media and create synergies to make the most out of social platforms.
5 reasons to start using social selling now
There are many reasons to start using social selling. The most compelling are:
1. Engage with your audience more easily with social media than with phone calls or email
This is due to the nature of social media, which is more informal and interactive than other channels. You can engage with users in a more personal and reciprocal way – more like a conversation than “messaging.” Social media allows brands to show their personality in practice and build more authentic relationships with users.
2. Track prospects and gain quality leads
There is a lot of information available on social media. Just looking at a single account, you can discover that user’s demographic and professional information, their interests, sense of humor and even their level of education. In this way, social media is incredibly useful for gathering information and tracking potential customers.
3. Social selling has proven to be successful
As Startup Bonsai reported, 72% of sales professionals who use social selling exceed their sales quota by 23% compared to those who don’t use social media in their sales strategies.
SuperOffice supports this, adding that 89% of salespeople consider platforms such as LinkedIn to be important tools to close sales deals.
4. Social media is trendy, while other tactics such as cold calls are becoming less effective
Everyone is on social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, so it makes sense to leverage this channel for social selling rather than just promotion or brand awareness.
Not only that but, social commerce is already a thing. Audiences are accustomed to it and understand how it works. You don’t need to introduce it to a “cold” audience.
5. Use the power of social proof
One of the benefits of social selling is that there are social media tactics to improve your results. Social proof consists of sharing user-generated content (UGC) to build credibility and position your brand as a professional leader in your sector. This means, for example, sharing testimonials, reviews and successful case studies to improve the authenticity and trustworthiness of your brand and lure potential customers.
5 tips to make the most of social selling
The advantages of social selling are clear, but the next step is maximizing the selling potential. Here are a few tips:
1. Determine your audience
This is a must in all business strategies for a good reason. If you don’t determine your audience, your sales strategy will be unfocused and the results unclear. It’s necessary to determine the audience demographics – likes, interests and other aspects that define your audience – in order to deliver the most relevant and effective messages.
2. Choose the relevant social media platforms
Another crucial aspect is selecting the platforms where your target audience is mostly present but also with reference to the kind of product or service you are offering. For example, your target customer may use both LinkedIn and Facebook, but if your product is more leisure-related LinkedIn will not be the ideal platform because its focus is more professional.
3. Create relevant content
In collaboration with your social media and content team, you should focus on posting content that meets the needs of your potential customers, such as guides, how-tos or FAQs.
Critically, the content needs to relate to your prospects’ actual pain points and interests. It should be informative and engaging without too heavy a “sell sell sell” message. This kind of relationship building is more likely to lead customers to the next step.
4. Be credible
If you want your prospects to trust you and your brand, you need to build credibility. This translates into different tactics: creating a cohesive visual strategy, being consistent in your tone, personality and messaging, making yourself useful to your audience, engaging with other brands or businesses, using referrals, and getting verified by the platform.
5. Use social listening tools
Another useful tip to improve your social selling is to use social listening tools to know what people are saying about you, your industry and your competitors. This is done by searching specific keywords, hashtags and buzzwords.
Scrolling through a social media app can be tedious and sometimes unproductive, so social listening using these search markers can be a great way to do your research more effectively.
The benefits of social media can be powerful in any aspect of a business, and sales is no different. Social selling can be an incredibly helpful technique, and with the correct guidance it will take your sales to the next level.
What is social selling?
Social selling is a sales technique that uses social media to interact with potential clients by creating meaningful relationships with them in order to generate quality leads and improve sales.
Are social selling and social commerce the same?
No. While social selling consists of building trust-based and long-lasting relationships with prospects and clients, social commerce refers to the action of selling products and services directly via social media platforms.