From a distance, the social media looks to be a tool that can be used for brand awareness, at the most, but nothing that would guarantee you increased sales. However, social selling can change that.
Social selling is all about finding and engaging with new prospects on social media platforms- mostly Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You follow your prospects, interact with their posts, and the when a level of familiarity- or even likeness or trust- has been established, you then make the pitch!
So instead of making direct phone calls to prospects who would hang up on you at the hello, or sending a cold email that would get forgotten easily, how about you try social selling to raise your chances for a possible conversion?
Social selling would, of course, be an elaborate affair, even time consuming. But do note that for each dollar invested into selling, the return on investment (ROI) can be five times as much. Skeptical? Check this study conducted in 2014 by Sales For Life.
This study was conducted with data from more than 200 companies and over 45,000 sales representatives. A promising result indeed.
One important reason that businesses need to consider social selling is that it allows your business’ sales team to build real relationships with the clients that lead to brand loyalty and trust (an essential factor in ensuring a good sales turnover).
The most convincing reason for adopting social selling though is that it is already being utilized by top companies across the world. Research shows that 71% of all sales professionals are already making use of social selling and its associated tools.
Let’s try out these social selling strategies for higher conversions now.
1. Choose the right social network to build your portfolio
There are a number of social networks out there and it is easy to be confused between which one is best for your business. The true winner of social selling is the business that is able to identify and remain active on the same social media platform as their potential clients.
For instance, most fashion sellers prefer Pinterest over all other social platforms while B2B sellers prefer LinkedIn. The niche of your business defines the social platform that you should target (keep in mind that these can be more than one but it is recommended that you start off with one social network only).
Source: Pew Research Center
What you need to look for is the social network that your potential customers will most likely be found on – for instance, if your target audience is between the ages of 18-29 then Facebook would be a good platform to start off with since 88% of online social networking users of this age group use Facebook.
However, you can also consider factors other than age such as gender, interests, and time spent on the social network, as well.
2. Get into social groups and build a community for your brand
The rule with social media platforms is: You need to interact with the target audience on your social media page if you wish to build a relationship with them. And groups are the best for this purpose.
You need to think ‘people-skills’ and create a feeling of trust and understanding with your prospects. Be an active contributor in the groups to get noticed or build your own powerful social community for your business.
All it comes down to is being on the good side of your customers. One good way of doing this is through casual, inspiring, and even humorous posts that evoke positive emotions and connect with the customer. Talk about the things that they love to hear. Share videos, events, processes, and other exclusives of your brand that will make the followers feel special.
Make use of social media groups - this is particularly helpful when you are targeting individuals with specific interests only. In fact, create your own group to ensure your prospects remember you. In the long run, having hundreds of people following your group will definitely pay off.
3. Go after the big fish; interact with the people behind big brands
If you have ever thought of having a top-brand as a client for your business but fail to find the right links then social selling can help you out.
The fact is that everyone from small businesses to multinational corporations is users of social networks – particularly Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can easily find the CEO and CxOs or the target person through their company profiles and follow them.
A good way to reach out to them is by interacting with them – for instance, providing them with information when they ask for it, congratulating them on their achievements, and making helpful comments – so that you get noticed.
You can go beyond the platform to interact with them on blog posts and any relevant happenings.
This will eventually help you build up a reputation in their eyes which could lead to making a purchase or even a potential contract with your brand.
Make a wish list of 8-10 brands that you want to work with, and that is very active on the social media. Interact with them, engage with the target profiles, and build a strong rapport with them before you put up the deal.
Likewise, you can target influencers and celebrities from your niche in the same manner, as well to increase the social value of your brand.
4. Add value to conversations related to your business
Value addition is a very important part of social selling since it plays a vital role in getting your name on the radar of potential prospects. According to Corporate Visions, 74% of buyers choose businesses that add value to their buying process.
The best way for starting off with this is by listening to what people are saying about your brand or its associated niche and then responding back. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have powerful search engines that can allow you to see who is talking about your business or a certain subject matter.
Source: Social Media Examiner
Respond to your company mentions. Once you find different posts and conversations happening around your business, you can begin responding by sharing/retweeting or liking the posts/conversations. This will acknowledge the fact that you have been listening.
5. Provide product information in the preferred content style
The ultimate goal of social selling is to promote products and services that are offered by your business and for this, you need to provide customers with all the information that they need.
When buying products, 50% of B2B buyers will look for information on the social media which means that half of your target audience is likely looking for relevant content. It is your responsibility to provide this information to them in the form of product sheets, white papers, comparison sheets, and case studies.
In this graphic above, you can see that customers engage most with posts that contain images and questions– it also illustrates that audiences are not very keen to engage with promotional posts such as giveaways or discounts.
Find out what consumers in your niche are looking for when they make a purchase decision. Package your brand messaging in their preferred content style to add value to their experience.
6. Go beyond the Platform to Connect With Your Prospects
Check your new “likes” and interactions. In fact, check your competitor’s new followers and engagements too. See which people are actively talking, exploring the product and services that your company sells.
Don’t limit to your own social page, explore your competitor’s profiles too to find new prospects. Once you find a good prospect, begin the engagement process. Email conversations can be effective as well. Make sure to share useful, relevant content that enriches the customer journey.
If you think the prospect is ready for purchase, go for the email pitch. Use your company’s explainer video to communicate your brand values in an unforgettable way and increase the chances of closing the deal early on.
Research people who “like” your posts or are engaging with posts that are relevant to your business services and offerings. Those can be hot leads. Connect with them over multiple platforms, and begin contact through personal messages over the social platform or the company email servers.
7. Make use of native shopping carts
Social media platforms have grown to incorporate tools for assisting social selling – one such tool is a native shopping cart.
In the old days, a social media ad will take consumers to the product page on your website where they would have purchased it through the entire checkout process. This is not only inconvenient but also takes the user away from the social media platform to make the purchase.
Social media platforms can now be used for selling products directly through ‘in-app’ advertisements. You can set up a checkout page and shopping cart on your business’ social media page through the use of shopping cart apps.
The customer’s address, credit-card information, and other details can be recorded and stored to provide a one-click transaction to the customers for their utmost convenience. Facebook and Pinterest already have native shopping carts available while Twitter is testing out their own version of these ads.
Enable easy purchase. If you are a business that is looking to provide a smooth and reliable shopping experience to its customers, then social shopping carts can be a good tactic to use, particularly against impulse buyers.
Social selling is a strategy that you should use alongside your existing sales techniques for generating leads from followers that you have on the social media.
Be part of groups, provide value to potential clients by responding to their queries and comments, and share information, rich content on the social media to move the prospect from the awareness stage to purchase point.
What you need to remember is that customers, competitors, and prospects all make use of social media. If you embrace it, you will see your sales grow and if not, you will see yourself getting left behind.
Do you agree with us? Leave your opinion and insights on social selling in the comments below.
Deepasha is an Entrepreneur, Visual Marketer and the Founder of Crackitt.com. Crackitt helps start-ups and enterprises harness the power of visual marketing to generate leads and close sales through Explainer Videos and Infographics.