Unleash the Power of Social Selling in 5 Simple Steps
August 25, 2016 | by David Moncur
So, what’s all this buzz about social selling? Simply put, social selling is a strategic process that utilizes social media to engage new prospects and generate new business leads. Through platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, companies are beginning to make connections, create relationships, and push content in a way that woos the end user without the cold façade of a hard sell. Better yet, they’re landing clients and seeing greater success – in fact, Sales for Life reports that 61% of organizations using social selling experience positive revenue growth! By understanding the true nature of social selling and the tactics behind the process, you can begin to bring your marketing approach into a new age of client engagement.
Why Social Selling is Such a Powerful New Business Tool
Social media has an ability to provide insight into the unknown. Nowadays, over 75% of Internet users are on social media and the people who are just love sharing the details of their daily lives—where they live, where they work, what they like, what they’re doing, where they’re going, who they know, etc. When it comes to finding new business leads, this makes research and recon a snap.
Additionally, social media platforms create a space that is easy to engage in and a place where communications rarely get lost. While marketing approaches like email blasts can end up unseen in a junk folder, social media platforms notify the users of any social engagement immediately. Plus, the emotional reactions associated with a request to connect, a comment or a share are much more positive than tactics like cold calling or targeted banner ads.
Social selling capitalizes on the fact that social media provides its users with transparency, engaging content and an opportunity to interact in someone else’s world in a way that feels flattering and inviting, not forced. This helps you build trust, gain visibility and ultimately gain the interest of potential new business clients.
How to Succeed in Social Selling
The key to succeeding in social selling comes down to having a smart strategy. Stick to the five steps below and you’ll be well on your way to creating valuable and profitable business relationships through social media.
1. Know your Audience
Identify potential new business prospects by searching for people that fall within a specific category. Maybe you are interested in expanding your business into a specific region, or talking to employees at a specific company, or perhaps you wish to target clients who have a connection to a specific thought leader or group. Whatever your new business goal is, use it to filter your targets on social media. Once you’ve identified potential clients, do your research; get to know as much as you can about them, their habits and the language they use. From there, you’ll want to start gradually integrating yourself into their social world in small ways—liking, retweeting, commenting—phase your name into their daily social notifications and interactions so they can begin to familiarize with you. Then, look for an “in”.
2. Make an Authentic Connection
Maybe your “in” is that you share a personal interest with this prospect, or that you both went to the same college, or you have a passion about something they recently posted. Once you’ve established a natural way to make a connection and introduce yourself, reach out by sending a message or simply liking something they shared. The most important thing here is that you reach out to people through a personal profile (that is somehow connected to your business), never under a commercial business profile.
3. Build and Maintain a Relationship
After you get introduced to your prospect, you’ll need to continually deliver value to them and establish trust. Nurturing a relationship through social media takes time, so don’t be too eager. Gain visibility in their social world by placing thought-provoking comments on content posted on their page or integrating yourself into groups they are a part of. Spark conversation and pull that conversation towards something relevant to you and your business offering in a natural way. Help them get to know you and what you’re all about to foster a sense of recognition, trust and friendship.
4. Wait for the Opportune Moment
As you nurture your relationship, scour the Interweb for relevant, interesting, entertaining and educational content. Start gathering content that will peak your prospect’s interest based on their social profile; this content can be articles, tips, infographics, webinars and even publications, case studies and press releases from your own company. Once you have a wealth of quality content, look for the right time to share it. As Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean preaches, “wait for the opportune moment”. The opportune moment is likely a social cue or disruptive event – look to the 30 LinkedIn Social Selling Triggers for guidance.
5. Play Your Content Right
Once you are engaged with a prospect through social media, you need to consistently deliver valuable content to them; even if you think they aren’t paying attention, they likely are and will notice if your social efforts towards them increase or decrease. You always want to give them something new and exciting to gravitate towards and keep your messages simple and intriguing with a strong call to action. You want the prospect to take the next step, so make it clear that they should share an opinion, schedule a follow-up call or a set up a meeting with you to discuss the information you provided further and/or to talk business.
If you take the time to strategically research new business prospects, make a real connection with them and continually deliver value over the course your relationship through social selling, you can likely turn an acquaintance into a new friend and a friend into a new business client.