For the majority of the commercial world, social selling is an elusive topic – thought by some to simply be another term for social media marketing and by others to be an only-slightly different form of social advertising. In fact, social selling is neither of things. And those who’ve mastered the art of it, are reaping big rewards.
In the simplest sense, social selling is a fresh new approach to selling – and it’s delivering benefits that no other medium is capable of – such as laser-precise targeting, the creation of consumer trust, the building of a strong brand image and the capitalisation on massive social connections that had previously lay untapped. Let’s be clear – if you’re yet to step up and onto the social selling band wagon, the next five minutes may just be pivotal to the next 12 months of your commercial growth.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is a strategy that uses existing social connections to discover, understand and cultivate sales prospects. Social selling allows you to build relationships that matter with your target market and to continually remind your consumers of your existence (and moreover, of the compelling reasons to make it your company that they purchase from when they’re ready).
Social selling is not about sending cold social messages out on mass (which is, and always will be, SPAM – bad for business, absolutely pointless when attempting to grow your business and utterly harmful for your brand).
Social selling is not about growing your network in an ad-hoc way – social selling is defined by listening to your audience and engaging them in conversation in the right place, at the right time. When you get it right, it’s clear to your prospect that you can solve their problem in ways unlike any other company.
Why You Should Invest In Social Selling
Think that your social strategy is working just fine? That social selling is likely just another fad or buzz term soon to be consigned to marketing jargon of days gone by? Think again. As the following benefits and concrete stats go to show, social selling is a must for your marketing mix…
1. Social selling builds meaningful relationships
Cold calling is a tough gig, and whilst the results it can secure remain impressive, there’s no doubt that it’s both hard work, and that it’s a vast numbers game – sapping time, morale and resources. Social selling can be thought of as the antithesis to cold calling – where scepticism must be overcome on a cold call, social selling fosters trust over time; where a prospect is unwillingly contacted by phone, social buyers often reach out first; and while cold calling is incredibly limited and does little for the health of brand image, social selling is capable of establishing authority and brand personality
2. Social selling is already being harnessed by your competitors (you just may not have noticed yet)
Put simply? If you’re not investing in social selling, your competitors undoubtedly are. And they’ll be the ones to chalk up their sales figures board day in, day out, whilst your teams may remain tied to cold-calls!
3.Your target market are already active social buyers
Your target market are ready and waiting to be socially sold to – in fact, they’re already out there as active social buyers – seeking out information through social networks and using social media to guide their purchasing process. With no social selling strategy in place, you’re simply ignoring a potential sea of warm leads out there in the digital sphere.
Social Selling 101 – How To Get Started
So that’s the what and the why out of the way. Now we need to deal with the how. Here are 5 mission critical tips for social selling:
1. Be there, be human, be personable
Streamline, automate, set and forget – it’s a natural commercial inclination to discover efficiencies where possible, and yet the social world has no time for social bots, automated commenting and pre-set postings that are never followed up upon.
While some tools can save you time (such as automated posting tools) you need to be around, often, to engage with your audience. And more than this, you need to do so in a way that shows personality, individuality and your unique brand voice.
2. Be searchable, be seen
You need to be there – ready and waiting, for the social buyers who may be seeking out services or products such as yours. This means making sure your social profiles are optimised cross-platform – and ensuring that your brand voice is consistent in every area, on every network. This goes hand in hand with a solid content strategy – creating blogs, videos, infographics and eBooks that clearly demonstrate you as an expert.
3. Keep your ear to the ground
There’s a vast world of insight out there – with prospects and potential clients who are divulging invaluable information through their own social profiles. For this you need the right tool, such as the DSMN8 app that helps you catalogue, curate and share your message through your employee social channels.
4. Offer value
Your prospects don’t care about you, your product or service. They care about their problem. It’s your job to leverage social platforms in a way that offers your target prospect value. Again, content marketing comes in – blogs posts that demonstrate your expertise, and that share guidance for helping the reader in moving along their buying process.