Has social media changed the buying landscape? You bet. More people than ever are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok to research products and services before making a purchase. As a result, businesses have had to adapt their sales tactics and social media strategies to meet changing consumer behavior. Have you?
What is social selling?
Social selling is the process of using social media to find, connect with, and nurture potential customers. It’s about building relationships with prospects and providing value through content, engaging conversations, and personalized outreach— with the goal to establish trust and credibility so that when a prospect is ready to buy, they turn to you as their first choice.
This differs from traditional selling because the main focus is on building relationships rather than just making a sale. It’s about creating a dialogue with your target audience and providing the information they need to make an informed decision. In many ways, it’s more of a long-term marketing strategy, because building trust doesn’t happen overnight.
What’s important to know about social selling?
Know your audience: Before you start any marketing planning, make sure you understand your target audience. What are their pain points? What are their goals? What motivates them? Use this information to create messaging that speaks directly to their needs.
Focus on benefits: People don’t buy products or services; they buy solutions to their problems. Instead of focusing on the features of your product, focus on the benefits. What will your product or service do for your prospect? How will it make their life easier or better?
Use storytelling: Stories are a powerful way to engage and persuade people. Use compelling stories to show how your product or service has helped other customers overcome their problems and challenges. Customer testimonials and videos will impact believability.
Keep it simple: With an excess of 6,000 to 10,000 ads seen every day, it’s no wonder that the average person has a short attention span, so keep your copy short and to the point. Use simple language that’s easy to understand. Save your long, flowery content for your next novel.
Include a call to action: Make sure to always include a clear call to action (CTA) in your copy. What do you want the prospect to do next? Sign up for a free trial? Schedule a call or make a purchase? Your CTA needs to be clear and straightforward, so there’s no confusion.
What channels are best for social selling?
There are a variety of channels you can use for social selling, but they’re not all created equal and they may not all be right for your brand. For starters, look at where your audience is hanging out and where your competitors are promoting their businesses.
LinkedIn: It’s the go-to platform for B2B social selling. As the global leader in networking, LinkedIn allows you to connect with potential customers, share content, and join groups where you can engage in conversations with potential buyers and partners.
Facebook: With over 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest and most popular social media platform, ahead of runner-up YouTube. Think about Facebook for building relationships with customers, sharing a variety of content (fun, user-generated, special offers, etc.), and running ads.
Instagram: There are over 200 million businesses on Instagram and the channel is growing every day. It’s all about creating visuals, videos, stories, and reels that showcase your products and services. Business owners and brands who love the platform know that the average person spends about 53 minutes a day browsing, so they focus on creating content that engages their audience and generates leads.
Twitter: Even though Twitter has had its ups and downs this year, it’s still a solid channel for engaging prospects in real-time. Consider using Twitter to share content, have conversations, and monitor what people are saying about your brand. It’s not for everyone, but you may have success if the fit is right.
TikTok: Fast-growing and fast-moving, TikTok is popular with younger audiences and is best known for its short, engaging videos that highlight your brand’s personality. If you have the time, budget, and creativity to invest, you might find it an interesting test-drive.
Before spending time and resources on social selling, consider your target audience. Where do they spend their time online? Which platforms are they most active on? Focus on that first which will maximize your time, resources, and efforts.
How do you monitor marketing results?
Like any marketing strategy or marketing plan, it’s important to monitor the results of your social selling efforts. Here are some key metrics to track:
Engagement: How many likes, comments, and shares are your posts getting? This will let you know if your content is spot on with your audience and if you’re on track.
Reach: How many people are seeing your content? Think of reach as the number of unique people who see your content, but don’t necessarily respond.
Click-through rate (CTR): How many people are clicking on your links? This gives you an idea of how well your copy and messaging are working to persuade your audience to take action.
Conversion rate: How many viewers are taking the desired action – asking for more information or signing up for your white paper or case study? Your conversion rate will be the ultimate measure of success.
Can you target one customer at a time with social selling?
Think about targeting your ideal audience, then going a step further selling to just one person at a time on social media. Sales psychologist and author Dr. Nancy Zare covers this in her book, Compelling Selling. She teaches soft selling strategies and no pressure selling to generate leads, arrange appointments, follow up effectively and sell more.
Dr. Nancy’s sales and engagement tips can be used to build the like, know, trust, and believability process – in person, online, and with networking to connect with prospects, partners, vendors, etc. “Not hitting a prospect over the head with a sales pitch” allows you to start a conversation based on what the person’s style is.
How many social selling styles are there?
It all starts with identifying the decision maker’s buying style and adjusting your style to match their style. Dr. Nancy shares guidelines for identifying the personality type online (identified as a number and style) and ideas for finding prospects, engaging online and in person. A key consideration in this process is always asking for permission, to talk, send material, set up an appointment, etc.
My social selling style is #2
I don’t want to give it all away, but I know that I’m a #2. Zare says, “#2 buyers tend to make quick decisions, are fast paced, and take action quickly. They focus on the bottom line, are highly competitive, strive to win, enjoy finer things in life, and want freedom to do things without limits or accountability.”
To go a bit further, she points out that “#2’s prefer follow up with text, brief audio or video messages. They like bullet points to see ideas more easily and quickly and dislike details. So, it’s best to give a summary. Typically, they’re also not as price conscious at first – and are prone to act quickly.”
Bottomline: If you’re not sure what social selling style you are, check out Compelling Selling to find out. Whether you read the book or not, one thing is for sure, social selling is here to stay, so add it to your marketing plan – in the social media section.