Your life as a salesperson is changing.
The world of sales has evolved more in the last decade than in the previous century. As people spend more time online and general distrust for traditional sales methods grows, salespeople are finding themselves in a difficult position.
Their tried-and-true tactics are becoming less effective, and they have to adapt to new methods. One such method that is getting a lot of attention (with the rise of social media) is social selling.
Keep reading, and you’ll learn just what is social selling, why it’s important to your bottom line, and 7 insanely actionable tips to jump-start your own social sales strategy.
What is Social Selling?
If you’re looking for a clear definition of social selling, here it is:
Social selling is the process of showcasing your industry expertise in order to build trust with prospective buyers and nurture them through the buyer’s journey by helping to answer their questions and solve their problems.
We also wrote: Social Selling: The Definitive Guide
The reason it’s called “social” selling has to do with the use of social media platforms to sell, but it also encompasses the social aspects of the sales process. In social selling, you establish yourself as a trusted advisor that can be turned to in a time of need. In doing this, you answer the questions or solve the problems that would otherwise act as obstructions en route to a conversion (read: sale).
What Types of Businesses Should Be Social Selling?
Before we get into our social selling tips, let’s take a look at who should be using social selling.
Social selling has proven extremely effective for B2B sales. It has become a mainstream sales technique, and there are several programs dedicated to teaching B2B social sales.
However, there is plenty of opportunity for B2C salespeople to implement social sales as a part of their larger sales strategy. This is especially true for businesses selling products with a higher price tag.
That said, there is room for low-cost, high-volume sales to benefit from social selling. I’ll get into that a little deeper in tip #3.
Social Selling Tips
When entering the arena of social selling companies often don’t know where to begin. Use the tips below to develop a baseline strategy and continually test new tactics to optimize for long-term success.
#1. Be Personal
Of all of the social selling tips listed here, this is perhaps the most important.
In order to be truly effective in social sales for B2C you’ll need to do one thing well—develop personal relationships with your customers.
That doesn’t mean you have to friend them and like all of their posts (though that may help). Instead, it means that you need to present yourself in a way that they can benefit from your connection. By posting things that represent value to them, they begin to pay attention to who you are and see you as a trusted expert in your industry.
Establish Personal Authority/Expertise
The goal of social selling is to establish yourself as the go-to expert in your industry, and for your brand and/or product. That way, when people eventually have questions or encounter problems in your area of expertise, you’ll be the one they think to turn to for answers.
Use Personal Accounts
The line between personal and professional social media, well, it doesn’t exist. Don’t create separate profiles for your personal life and your professional life. Instead, blend them together!
Your personal life is a part of what makes social selling so powerful. Don’t hold back from posting about your personal plans and adding photos about what you’ve been up to outside of work.
In fact, that’s the kind of stuff that will help people understand more about who you are and like you. People buy from people they like and trust.
On the other hand, if you’re doing something questionable (something you wouldn’t want your mom seeing), you may want to think twice about posting a picture. Conduct yourself like a responsible adult, and you’ll be in the clear.
#2. Use Social Listening to Find Leads
Next up on our list of social selling tips is social listening.
One of the best ways to track down potential customers is a tactic called social listening. Using tools like social mention, you’re able to discover where your brand is being mentioned on a various social media platforms.
The reason this is important is that people don’t typically mention brands or products in casual conversation. Instead, it’s usually in the form of an impromptu review or a question. Seek out these questions and be the hero by stepping in and answering them out of the blue.
If someone has a problem, do what you can to turn it around. A bit of unsolicited support can turn a disgruntled customer into a happy repeat customer with microscopic effort. If they have something nice to say, send it off to marketing to be used as social proof!
#3. Bring Customers to YOU With a Service Page
Establishing a social media customer-service platform through a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or Instagram account allows B2C salespeople to have the questions come directly to them. This is especially helpful when selling lower-cost items where volume is often an issue.
In this way, you can effectively participate in social selling without dedicating tremendous time and resources to the social sales process.
Create a platform for your customers to hit you with their questions, comments, concerns, and even their big problems. If you have the opportunity to represent your entire brand, excellent. If not, establish a customer service platform that you manage as a representative of your brand.
Aim to create the “place to go” to get help or answer questions when it comes to issues involving your brand.
#4. Share Related Content to Find Leads
A list of social selling tips wouldn’t be complete without addressing the issue of content.
According to a recent HubSpot survey, 65% of buyers determined that a vendor’s content had an impact on their purchase decision.
Posting the right content can help spark conversations around your brand or your products that may allow you to foster relationships with new leads. Knowing when and where to share blog posts, how-to videos, tip sheets, and other types of valuable content is a skill you’ll be able to develop as you hone your B2C social selling strategy.
Images and videos are especially powerful, as they tell the whole story in a way that your prospects understand most easily. A single image can invoke an emotion, answer a question, or get a conversation started that engages other users.
#5. Avoid Automation (Make Personal Connections)
Automating your social sales process can be tempting. You can schedule your posts, let people approach you with questions, and call it a day, right?
Not so much!
The importance of keeping things personal has already been reinforced in tip #1, but I want to be clear about what that means. Social selling is about interactions and engagement as much as it is about providing value.
For example, don’t send a form-style letter or message to a prospect. Instead, make sure every interaction includes a personal touch, and all written engagements use the appropriate tone for their recipient.
You’ll see more powerful results from these social selling tips when you spend time leaving thoughtful comments on your community’s posts and replying to engagement on your content.
NOTE: I’m not saying you can’t schedule your posts! In fact, I recommend it. I just don’t want you to put your social selling on autopilot and forget about it. The personal interactions are what make social selling so effective.
#6. Use Informational Videos to Soft Sell
You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words.
How many do you think videos are worth?
Number six on our list of social selling tips has to do with the ever-important video component. Videos are a highly informative, low-pressure way to nurture your leads into customers. I recommend having a small arsenal of informational videos that help to answer the most common questions you receive.
Send your lead a link to the right video in a message. Tell them that you thought it would help to solve their problem or answer their question and you’ll be their hero.
#7. Find the Best Social Selling Platform for YOUR Business
I’ll wrap up my list of social selling tips by stating the obvious. All businesses are different. All salespeople are different.
What works for one may not work for the next, so try out each social media platform and focus on the one or two that provide you with the best results. Your customers are out there, you just have to find the approach that works best for you and develop a personalized strategy that makes the most of what that platform has to offer.
Get Out There and Sell!
Are you ready to get started selling?
You have the tools to develop your strategy and reach your customers on a whole new level. Remember, be human. Show them who you really are and work to showcase your expertise with the right types of content. Let people turn to you with their questions and seek them out with social listening.
These social selling tips are just that, tips. Don’t forget to test your approach and continually optimize your strategy. The more you work on it, the better results you’ll see!