By Trevor Shorte
When it comes to selling, social media is changing the landscape. Your potential customers are all savvy users of social media and use it to help them make their buying decisions. The buyer journey has evolved, and people are spending time researching you and your company online, before they even decide to reach out to you. This is why social selling is something that you should start to become more familiar with. There’s more to social selling than just creating posts on your preferred social media platform though. Elements of your entire content marketing strategy will come into play here so let’s get started with some of the basics.
What Is It?
The term social selling is starting to become more prevalent these days and some might even say that it’s the latest sales buzzword used by business owners, CEOs, and sales managers around the world. Wikipedia defines it as:
Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. Today this often takes place via social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, but can take place either online or offline.
Now don’t get too hung up on the word selling though. This isn’t about trying to close a deal on social media in the traditional sense of selling. At its core, selling can seem somewhat transactional in that you have a product, someone gives you money for it, and everybody walks away happy. Not every engagement you make with someone on social media is supposed to end that way. This is more about taking the time to build relationships with people. Can this type of activity lead to a sale? Of course, that can happen. But that’s not the goal. The goal here is to engage your audience on social platforms in an effort to showcase your expertise, enhance your current relationships, foster new ones, and build trust. As I’ve talked about before, trust is one of the most important aspects of the sales process and resulting business relationship. Who in their right mind does business with someone they feel they can’t trust??
Why Would I Want To Do It?
If you want to create meaningful relationships with people and get them to trust you, then you’re going to have to meet them where they are. Not to mention the fact that people are already utilizing their social media channels to help them make purchasing decisions. They do their research on your brand and product, look for reviews and testimonials, and ask their networks for recommendations. What are they looking for?? They want to know if you are worthy of their time and hard-earned dollars.
Imagine that you are at a networking event (whenever those are allowed to happen again) and you are in a crowded room with other business professionals. Are you going to start pitching your wares right after you introduce yourself to someone? Probably not. But you will want to join in the conversation and add some kind of value to it. This is the premise of social selling. You use social media to engage with those in your network which will give you the opportunity to contribute to the online conversations and add some value.
What are the benefits of Social Selling?
To get the full benefits of social selling, it would be helpful for you to have an active social media presence and content strategy in place. As you are making connections with people, that will pique their interest in you and your social profiles need to be on point. Remember, this all should flow together as a coordinated plan. You engage with your potential prospects and other industry influencers and create some thoughtful posts to showcase your expertise and build trust. When people go to look up your profile, that’s where your content comes into play and you can educate them on what your company does, and why they should do business with you. These days, if a brand doesn’t have a presence on social, it can be the difference between someone choosing you, or one of your competitors.
How Do I Start?
Well this part is pretty easy. If you haven’t already, get yourself a social media account on a platform where your audience spends their time. If you’re trying to sell to other businesses, LinkedIn is usually a good place to find your ideal clients. If you’re selling to consumers, Twitter or Instagram might be more appropriate. It doesn’t hurt to setup social media accounts for your brand as well.
The next thing you want to do is get talking. Join a relevant industry group and look for people having conversations where you can jump in and add some value to it. Search for people who are posting about what you do or even about your competitors. Remember the example I made earlier about being at a networking event? Social selling is like an online equivalent of being at a networking event. You just politely introduce yourself to the conversation and go from there.
B2B or B2C are great ways to describe the type of customers that you are selling to, but when it comes down to it, you are really selling person to person. In order to make a sale, you have to find a way to make a connection with another person. Social media can give you the opportunity to do that.
Still have questions about getting started with social selling? Set up a free 20-minute consultation with us and we’ll help to answer your questions!