Pillars of Social Selling: Engagement and Curation

June 24, 2013
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In Part 1 of Richard Young’s Social Selling Series, he detailed the 4-step routine that can help “systematize” success. Here is Part 2:

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If you want to succeed with social selling, you need to lay solid foundations.

You can’t just connect or follow and expect people to listen. Instead you need to share intelligent, insightful content that gives your audience a reason to WANT to engage with you.

Don’t Push — Engage!

Have you noticed that the sales people complaining they don’t get results from social selling are often simply broadcasting and adding to the noise? There’s no effort to add value, initiate discussion, or engage with their target audience. Instead they tweet or post a continual stream of boring, generic sales pitches.

This is NOT how social media works. Remember successful social selling requires listening, initiating, and engaging in 2-way conversations. In addition, you’ve got to be yourself and express the personality behind the corporate face. You know of course that people buy from people. But more than that, they buy from people they know, like, and trust. That’s why you’ll spot successful social sellers consistently working to enhance their credibility and authority as their social presence evolves and matures.

Vary Your Content

The key is to vary your content to ensure your timeline is interesting, vibrant, and active. There are lots of ways to do that. For example:

1. Share your own blog posts to build your authority and credibility.

2. Ask questions or seek recommendations to initiate and engage conversation.

3. Retweet and share content created by the influencers you want to connect with.

4. Have an opinion to express your values and beliefs.

5. Respond in a timely way to people who are talking with you.

6. Post sound bites and tips to share your knowledge and expertise.

7. Share anecdotes and relevant insights into your personal life to express your personality.

Three Great Tools To Help

This varied mix of content will provide the information your target audience needs to know, like, and trust you. But there’s an additional step. Your impact as a social seller will increase if you establish yourself as a thought leader, influencer, and trusted authority in your niche. One smart tactic to achieve this is to become a curator of high quality, relevant content. And with a few tools, this isn’t as hard as you may imagine:

1. BufferApp.com

Buffer promises a “smarter way to share” on your social media platforms. You can use the app to schedule content onto your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and App.net accounts in advance. It staggers how content goes out, gives the impression you’re active throughout the day, and helps prevent social selling taking up all your time. But what makes Buffer really smart is this: it figures out the best times to post your content to ensure you get maximum coverage.

In addition, Buffer has a handy Chrome plugin that enables you to grab links to interesting blogs, pictures and videos and automatically schedule them into your timeline. You’ll find it’s an easy, effective way to build up a backlog of scheduled posts and get a grip on your social activity.

2. Feedly.com

Part of becoming perceived as an authority in your niche is to position yourself as a provider of timely, relevant information that adds value to your audience. Feedly is a news aggregator (it’s being promoted as the natural successor to Google Reader) that simplifies this task. Instead of trawling the Internet to browse content, Feedly helps you organize and view them all in a single source.

Again it saves time, speeds up your own content consumption, and enables you to quickly identify relevant content to push to Buffer.

3. Twtrland.com

Twtrland offers “a simple way to browse the social web.” One of the barriers to effective social selling can be figuring out how to proactively cut through the clutter and hone in on the individuals and groups you need to be engaging with. With Twtrland you can search for specific keywords or geographic locations to identify the key influencers who not only have a large audience – but an engaged audience. Then once you’ve identified key people, you can use your social listening skills to strike up conversation, share their content and establish a relationship.

Creating an active, thoughtful social profile will ensure you attract an audience and create a platform upon which you can engage with social selling. In short, get your content right and your credibility and following will naturally grow.

Then, the next step is to implement strategies that not only encourage engagement with your audience but actively allows you to interact to gain leads, sales, and referrals. And that’s what we’ll explore in Part 3 of this series.

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June 24, 2013
About the Author: Richard is the Director of EMEA, heading up the Nimble Social CRM operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Richard has 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, channel management and customer engagement. As a CRM and ITSM expert he brings a broad level of expertise to the growing area of Social CRM and how to use it to drive business through engagement.

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