Remember the days when cold calls and door-to-door sales were the best way to find clients? Thankfully, there is a new(ish) tool that has the capacity to do more (with less effort). It’s social selling, the practice of using social media as a means to target prospects, build connections, and establish rapport and trust.
How exactly does social selling do all of that? It connects buyers and sellers directly, cutting out traditional sales channels and shortening the sales cycle. Essentially it eliminates the middlemen, which could be why 75% of B2B buyers now rely on social channels to assist them in making purchasing decisions. Yet social selling is one of the most underutilized tools that salespeople and businesses can rely on to build relationships and increase sales.
Three Reasons You Should Be Social Selling
1. Enhance your networking and relationship-building
No one likes a cold call. In fact, 90% of top decision-makers never respond to them. Social media makes it easy to network and build relationships that make sales conversations warmer. Even better is how easy it is to find mutual connections through social media. Today, nearly 90% of B2B buyers view common acquaintances favorably, which means a single connection could be the difference between a hit and a miss.
2. Your customers are already there
Customers increasingly consult social media when making purchasing decisions. They search for peer reviews, they research companies, and they compare the competition. Using social media contacts has become a common part of the purchasing process for 75% of B2B buyers. They’re online and ready to purchase, which means you need to be there, too.
3. Your competitors are there, too
Nearly half of all B2B enterprises have already developed a formal social-selling program, and only 2% have no plans to do so in the near future. The value in social selling is no longer a secret, which means your competitors are likely taking notice. A whopping 90% of top sellers are already using some form of social selling. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, so get out there!
How to Get Started
1. Show up
This step is a given: You have to show up on social when consumers search for your brand, industry, or service. The good news is that if you are already on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, then you may have this step covered.
Make sure to create your profiles with the end-consumer or purchaser in mind. People should be able to easily identify who you are and what you do, and they should be able to connect with you via the social network or company website. And remember how your mother always told you to be yourself? That advice applies to social—within reason. No one wants to read dry, corporate jargon on your feed. Be personable and show your interests: It could help you find some common ground with a potential lead.
2. Follow, follow, follow
A social media presence means nothing if the right people aren’t seeing your profile, which is why it is crucial to join relevant online groups as well as follow and connect with top prospects and industry leaders. The more connections you have (especially within your industry), the more credible you appear to your followers. And although it may seem like an arduous task to build yourself up on social, 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with thought leaders in their field. It is most definitely worth your effort to make yourself one of them.
3. Listen and engage
We know that listening on social seems like an oxymoron, but it is what will enable you to use social as a selling tool. Listen for mentions of your brand, industry, or competition, and jump in at appropriate moments with relevant insights.
Speaking of relevant, make sure the content you post is relevant and valuable to your target audience. Don’t have time to create your own content? That’s OK. Sharing third-party content demonstrates your ability to share an unbiased point of view, which solidifies you as a trustworthy source of information.
4. Activate your customers
Your customers are your greatest marketing asset, period. More than 90% of consumers trust personal recommendations, positioning word-of-mouth marketing as one of the most important means of driving sales for a company.
Companies like Gatsby collect and analyze your customers’ social data to identify potential micro-influencers who can help promote your brand. Since these people are already customers who love your brand, their promotion is authentic, which is exactly what today’s customers want. Whether a recommendation comes from a friend or a virtual stranger on social media, consumers trust those sources more than they trust your brand. Use that to your advantage!
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Setting up the right platforms for selling on social media takes time. But the payoff can be huge if you do it right. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor can your digital reputation as a thought leader in your field be. Start by setting aside 20 minutes a day to follow, listen, engage, and plan your future posts. Between your daily commute, waiting for your coffee at your local cafe, or just taking a stretch, there’s a spare 20 minutes somewhere in your day; all you have to do is use it!