As you may know, cold outreach methods to sell are no longer effective. So where are your customers, and how do you reach them?
The answer: social media.
3.46 billion people are using social media. That’s a large number of people (45% of the planet to put it in perspective) utilizing a social media channel every day. That is why social selling has become such an effective method of selling.
Social media is an effective but often overlooked tool for sales representatives to use. Social selling allows sales representatives to hone in on their target audience, learn their pain points and provide valuable insight on how to help solve their problems.
What is Social Selling?
Simply put, social selling is developing sales relationships using social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social selling is the modern way to engage, connect and nurture prospects.
Having a LinkedIn Company Page, a LinkedIn profile, Facebook Business page, professional Twitter or Instagram account is a good start in engaging in social selling.
Why Sell on Social Media?
Picture your target buyer. If they need to purchase something, where do they usually go? How do they research the companies they buy from? How do they know they will receive top-notch service? These questions lead us to why you should consider implementing social selling.
Buyers Are Already on Social Media
This reason is obvious - everyone is on social media, and that includes your buyers. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 77 percent of B2B purchasers said they prefer to do their own research before talking to a sales representative. 55 percent of them are doing their research on social media. Facebook Business Pages, LinkedIn Company Pages, and Instagram Business accounts are all ways for your consumer to research and determine if your services are the best fit for them.
On the flip side, you can use social media to prospect new customers. For example, if you are a B2B company, LinkedIn is perfect to find new leads. As a professional network, you can locate decision-makers by searching titles that you frequently connect with. You can also narrow down by companies that you have set your sights on as being a potential client.
Keep in mind, just like cold calling, nobody wants to talk to a complete stranger. Having a common connection that can introduce you to the potential client can really boost your chances of getting a response from them. (Hint - add a 2nd connection filter to your search. Learn about LinkedIn’s Degrees of Connections here.)
Build Relationships with Current and New Buyers
Selling is about relationships. Buyers expect to be treated like a person and not a number on a spreadsheet. They expect personalized service that makes them feel like they are genuinely important to the business. Social selling helps you achieve this.
While prospecting buyers on social media channels such as LinkedIn, you can learn the pain points of your buyer by noticing the content they engage with. From there, you can determine how your business can help them solve a problem by providing insightful and educational content. 74 percent of buyers choose to speak with sales representatives who provide value and insight, according to Corporate Visions research. By positioning yourself as a thought-leader, buyers will view you (and your business) as someone who can help them solve a problem.
How to Get Started
If you’re convinced that social selling is something you should start using, let’s take a look at what you should do to get started.
Identify your persona and determine which social channels they frequent.
To start prospecting your target buyer, build a buyer persona that all sales representatives can refer to. You can develop these personas by taking a close look at your current clients. What job titles do they have? What are their common pain points? How do they research before they buy? Most important, which social media channel do they use the most? If you’re not sure, ask!
Optimize the Company Page and Sales Representative Personal Pages
The next step is to optimize your company page and personal pages so that each is filled out completely and gives the buyer the information they need. Of course, you don’t need to do this on every social media channel. That’s why it’s important to narrow it down to one or two channels that your buyers are using.
The biggest goal in social selling is being able to provide value to your potential customers and start developing relationships. To achieve this, you will need to be present by checking your profile and company page every day. Share your knowledge by sharing helpful articles on your page and interacting with your connection’s posts by adding your insight.
Remember, don’t be too “sales-pitchy.” While it’s ok to share your products or services every once in a while if they’re of value to your audience, you have to be sure you don’t make this all about you and your company. You’re trying to build a relationship, after all.
Social Selling on LinkedIn
Social selling has been a proven, effective new sales tactic, but it is a new way of thinking of selling. It’s so new, in fact, that only a few know how to navigate it successfully. That’s where we can help!
The Marketing Essentials team can help you successfully start your social selling journey with LinkedIn Social Selling Coaching. This hands-on and highly interactive course will help you set the foundation with profile optimization coaching, take a deep dive into how to locate and educate your target audience, and how to include social selling in your busy schedule.
Grow Your Business with Social Media
Social media can be an effective tool in sales and growing your business. In fact, it’s a must-have for all businesses to stay relevant and reach today’s consumers.
Our guide, 10 Steps to Grow Your Business Using Social Media, will dive into how to use social media’s targeting tools, how to expand your brand, how to monitor your competitors and more. Download your copy below.