Social Selling: How it Works
If you’re a business that regularly utilizes social media, but you’re not engaging with your customer base, you’re missing out on a wealth of sales potential. With more than 4.5 billion people on social media worldwide, it can be an untapped way to build brand awareness, stay relevant with your audience, and drive conversions.
Every business should be integrating social media into its broader sales strategy. But how do you do that, exactly? Below, we break down how to sell through social media organically so you can connect with your audience, foster authentic relationships, and ultimately boost your sales.
The Cult of Social Selling
Selling through social media, commonly referred to as social selling, employs social media to support your sales activities.
This process helps promote brand awareness through your posts, stimulating customers’ interest in your services and products. Social selling also includes straightforward selling practices like outreach via comments and direct messaging.
And there’s proof that social selling works.
A study from HootSuite found that 49.2% of social media users worldwide use social media to learn more about brands. This means you need to be showing up where your dream customers are.
According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media. There are a number of reasons for this — for instance, there are more people currently active on social media than ever before.
And here’s the thing: Your main competitors are social selling right now. So, if you’re not, you could very well be losing potential customers to your competition.
Social selling has become such a ubiquitous and impactful practice that LinkedIn developed a metric for salespeople on their platform called the Social Selling Index (SSI), which gives users insights into how effectively they are using LinkedIn to sell.
The SSI measures four key elements of your LinkedIn presence:
- How thoroughly you’ve established your brand.
- How effectively and frequently you utilize LinkedIn prospect finding and research tools.
- How well you adapt your content and online behavior to analytics.
- How you’ve used the platform to build relationships within your network and expand your reach to new users
These parameters represent how social media users can leverage the platform to support their sales process.
How to Sell Through Social Media
Using social media to sell is goes beyond organic posting and digital advertising. If you want to reap the benefits of social selling, you need to have a more strategic approach.
#1. Track customer engagement
Taking the initiative to monitor the content your customers and prospects engage with on social media, including your own and other content they share, offers several significant benefits. For instance, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ preferences, interests, and behaviors, enabling you to tailor your offers to best match their needs.
Analyzing engagement patterns also helps you identify the content that resonates the most with your audience, so you’re not left spinning your wheels trying to think up content ideas.
#2. Join online communities
Almost all social platforms have groups. These are user-created online hubs for conversation and information exchange. You can find online groups of comprised of any vertical, such as SMBs discussing mutual promotion, business needs, and entrepreneurial insights. Groups can be utilized to do market research, cross promotion, or opportunity discovery – all while you contribute to a vibrant online community.
Joining the discourse is a great way to connect with like-minded peers and potential customers, demonstrate your expertise as a thought leader in your space, and improve visibility for your business.
Here’s an example of some of the top groups on LinkedIn:
#3. Set yourself apart
Comparing your online presence to competitors through competitive analysis offers valuable insights into ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t’. But, it also can help you figure out how to stand out from the crowd with your branding and marketing.
You’ll notice where your competitors may be missing out, better understand similar offers so you can refine your own, and learn more about your shared target audience’s preferences, behaviors, and pain points.
Additionally, competitive analysis may help you further develop your brand identity. For example, let’s say you’re passionate about the environment and notice your competitors are vocal about their values. By integrating content about your company’s environmental goals and promises into your online presence, you will add a human dimension to your company’s image, and inject your one-of-a-kind perspective into the market.
#4. Learn more about your prospective audience
A great sales message speaks directly to your prospect, but how well do you know them? By examining their social media presence, you can not only anticipate what their pain points are but also learn how to speak to them.
When doing a deep dive into your audience, look at things like:
- What college did they go to?
- Do they have children?
- Does their company have any recent big changes or wins?
- What are their principles and priorities?
- What kind of media do they like?
Even a little audience research can transform a generic sales email into a thoughtful message that demonstrates care and attention to detail. It’s this type of personalized approach that demonstrates you understand and care about the people you want to serve.
Incorporating firmographic and demographic data from social media into your marketing strategy enhances audience targeting, content creation, and relationship building. For instance, these data points can be use to build precision-based target audiences for digital advertisements. It also enables you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, which can result in more meaningful interactions and a better chance of conversion.
#5. Learn how to utilize direct selling
Beyond brand awareness, social media allows you to engage your prospects in meaningful sales conversations. When done correctly, social media can help you forge authentic connections that lead to sales.
Many salespeople think that social media is just for marketing, but adding it to their sales flow, just like phone or email, offers plenty of compelling benefits. If you’re not using social media to conduct cold and warm outreach, here’s what you might be missing out on.
- Personalized connection: Social media enables you to tailor your communication based on a prospect’s profile, interests, and interactions.
- Lead generation: By engaging with relevant conversations, sharing valuable content, and participating in groups, you attract potential leads and create opportunities for meaningful interactions.
- Cost-effective outreach: Utilizing social media for sales outreach can be more cost-effective than traditional methods like cold calling or attending events.
- Real-time feedback: Social media interactions offer instant feedback on your messaging so you can refine your approach and adapt to prospect responses.
- Global reach: With no geographical boundaries, social media enables you to connect with prospects from around the world and expand your market reach.
Using social media for outreach also gives any message a personal touch. People buy from people. And when a prospect can see your photo, learn about your life and interests, and have visibility into your network, they see you as human.
Remember: at the end of the day, whether your business is B2B or B2C, you’re ultimately selling to a human, B2H. Tapping into the human element will propel your sales outcomes.
OneAffiniti Supports Social Selling
Consistent content is key to building brand awareness and sparking product and service interest in your audience. With OneAffiniti, consistent content is guaranteed. Our marketing platform allows our partners to instantly schedule and share OneAffiniti email campaign content to their social media pages. Click here to learn more about the benefits of being a OneAffiniti partner.