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Have you heard about social selling before? If you haven’t, when you think of social selling, likely the first thing that comes to mind is eCommerce brands promoting their products on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. You might also think about social media ads or even brands directly messaging users and asking them to check out their products.
But that’s actually not what social selling is at all. Social selling refers to developing relationships as part of the sales process via social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on.
When you message a potential customer on social media or display an ad to them without them knowing who you are, it’s like walking up to a stranger in the street and asking them to give you money—it’s not very effective.
But with social selling, businesses can increase their brand awareness and build relationships with potential customers. When people already have a relationship with your business online, they’ll be more likely to take action and buy. In fact, according to social selling statistics, companies with consistent social selling processes are 40% more likely to hit revenue goals than non-social sellers.
And guess what? If your business already has social media profiles and pages, you’re already passively participating in social selling. But, now it’s time for your brand to get actively involved in social selling so that you can find new leads online and convert them into customers.
Let’s take a look at 5 tips for an expert social selling strategy.
1. Create a professional-looking online presence
First, if you want your social selling strategy to be effective, you need to make a good first impression—and you can’t do that with an outdated or incomplete social media profile. Instead, you need to create a professional-looking profile to gain the trust of potential customers.
Start with your profile picture since it’s often the first thing users will see. Your company accounts should use your company logo for your profile picture to increase brand awareness and your salespeople should use headshots that are professional and friendly.
Many social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also allow you to upload a “cover photo” which is the rectangular image that appears behind your profile picture. Make sure you have an eye-catching, branded cover photo to make your social media profile more visually appealing to potential customers.
You also can’t forget about your social media bios. Your social media bios will introduce you to potential customers. You’ll want to tell them who you are, what you do, and how you can help. Add in your contact information so people can easily get in touch with you and include links to your website and other social media accounts as well.
If you’re not sure what to write in your social media bios, do a little research. It’s always wise to see what your competition is doing so take a look at the social media profiles of your biggest competitors. How do they look? What do they say? This will give you some ideas for sprucing up your own social media profiles and impressing potential customers online.
2. Display social proof
Aside from telling potential customers what you do and how you can help in your social media bio, you also need to show them how you can help. Displaying social proof like testimonials on your social media profiles will build trust and encourage leads to become customers.
Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people look to the actions of others to determine what action they should take in a particular situation. So, if a lead visits your social media profile and sees a glowing testimonial from one of your customers/clients, they’ll be more likely to convert.
Be sure to share the success stories of your customers on your social media profiles. If you publish case studies or success stories on your website, you can share links to them on social media.
Here’s how Slack does it:
The blog post they shared discusses how big companies like Lyft use Slack to improve their business communications.
You can also encourage your customers to leave you reviews on Facebook or people you’ve worked with to give you endorsements on LinkedIn. When people see these reviews, they’ll take action. According to social proof statistics, 50% of consumers’ next step after reading a good review is to visit the brand’s website.
3. Share valuable content
Being active on social media is just as important as having a professional-looking profile. Imagine if a user visited your Twitter profile and saw that you only had one tweet or that the tweets you did share were just memes—that doesn’t make you look credible. So, build credibility and show potential customers that you know your stuff by sharing valuable content.
One of the most common ways businesses shares valuable content on social media is by simply sharing links to helpful blog posts on their website. Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags to widen your reach and help your target audience discover your posts easier.
You can also create short and sweet posts and tweets to share advice that’s relevant to your target audience, which is something I do often.
And don’t worry, you don’t have to spend all of your valuable time trying to think up new, helpful posts. You can also share content from other sources. For example, if an industry-related publication you follow shares something interesting, you can simply re-share it with your audience. Sharing content from other sources and companies will show your audience that you’re passionate about the industry as a whole, not just your own company.
Sharing valuable content that’s relevant to your target audience will position you as a thought leader in your industry. Your audience will know that if they need advice or solutions, they can turn to you.
4. Join relevant groups and conversations
After making sure your social media profiles look great, it’s time to get out there and start interacting with potential customers. Of course, you don’t want to message random social media users out of the blue. Instead, you need to join relevant social media groups and participate in conversations related to your industry. By joining groups and participating in conversations, people can get to know you and form a trusting relationship with your company.
For example, if your company’s target audience is social media marketers, you can join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that are specifically created for social media marketers. In these groups, you can learn about the goals and pain points of your target audience and contribute to the discussions in the group to start building relationships.
But remember, don’t be too salesy. Most social media groups don’t allow sales pitches to be posted and you could get kicked out of the group. Stick to offering solutions and giving valuable advice to form meaningful connections with group members.
Joining in on industry-related conversations is even easier on Twitter. You can simply search for hashtags related to your industry and reply to them. Once you’ve developed meaningful relationships with potential customers by interacting with them, then you can reach out and make a connection.
5. Use social media listening tools
Aside from joining social media groups and searching for online conversations yourself, you should also take advantage of social media listening tools. Social media listening tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer and even Google Alerts allow you to track mentions of your brand name or specific keywords across social media. So, you don’t have to go searching for industry-related conversations or potential customers—social media listening tools will find them for you.
For instance, if your business sells a CRM software, you can use social media tools to track the keyword “CRM.” Then, whenever anyone on social media mentions “CRM” you’ll be notified. You can then join in on the conversation, continue to build a relationship, and eventually make the sale.
Another key part of an effective social selling strategy is to maintain the relationships you have with your current customers and social media listening tools can help you with that too. If one of your customers has an issue with your product or service, they might talk about you on social media. Social media listening tools can alert you to these instances so that you can solve the customers’ problems right away. Providing superior customer service on social media will help you retain your existing customers and it will show potential customers that your business cares about its customers.
Over to you
Social selling is all about building relationships and increasing brand awareness so that you no longer have to waste your time and efforts with cold messaging. With an expert social selling strategy, when people are ready to buy, they’ll come straight to you.
Don’t forget to track and measure the results of your social selling strategy. By tracking and measuring your results, you’ll be able to easily see what works and what doesn’t. You can then use that data to perfect your social media strategy and skyrocket conversions.