Social selling is a modern B2B sales method using social media to connect with customers. It’s about genuine conversations, not just pushing products. It’s about building trust through helpful interactions. Adding social selling to business strategy is crucial as it uses platforms like LinkedIn for authentic connections beyond traditional advertising.
In this blog post, we dive into strategies and best practices for social selling alongside an interview with Tim Hughes, a social selling expert to guide you through the process.
Social Selling Explained
Social selling is a modern way of doing business-to-business (B2B) sales using social media. Instead of just trying to sell stuff, it’s about making real connections and talking to potential customers online.
Traditional sales might involve cold calls, but social selling is more about having conversations and sharing helpful content on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. These places become like digital meeting spots where salespeople can find and connect with potential customers. By being real and helpful, social selling builds trust and makes the sales process better.
It’s not just about pushing products; it’s about understanding what customers need and giving them solutions. So, social selling turns B2B sales into a friendly and smart way of working together.
Why Might You Add Social Selling to Your Strategy?
Social selling is crucial in marketing as it leverages social media to build trust and connect with customers. For instance, a B2B company using LinkedIn can engage in authentic conversations, share industry insights, and directly connect with potential clients. This approach goes beyond traditional advertising, establishing a more personal relationship with the audience and adapting to the changing dynamics of consumer behavior, making it an essential part of contemporary marketing strategies.
The Best Networks for Social Selling
Harnessing social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can give your social selling strategy a significant boost. This article digs into these top networks for social media selling, offering practical tips and examples to help businesses maximize their outreach.
We break down each platform – from LinkedIn’s professional space to Twitter’s quick interactions and Facebook’s wide social landscape – with easy-to-follow strategies. Real-world examples highlight successful social selling campaigns, offering a clear guide for businesses looking to navigate these platforms effectively.
Whether you’re building connections on LinkedIn, engaging in real-time conversations on Twitter, or tapping into the extensive reach of Facebook, this guide provides B2B professionals with the tools they need for success in social media selling.
Kicking off our exploration with LinkedIn recognized as a powerhouse for professional networking, we delve into specialized social selling strategies crafted to thrive on this platform. Our focus begins with the foundation – crafting profiles that not only showcase your business but also resonate with potential clients. We guide businesses through the art of creating compelling profiles that make a lasting impression, ensuring that each element aligns with the professional expectations of LinkedIn’s audience.
Moving beyond the basics, we emphasize the importance of engaging in thoughtful content sharing. We navigate businesses through the intricacies of leveraging LinkedIn’s publishing platform to disseminate valuable industry insights, thought leadership pieces, and relevant updates. Our guidance aims to transform your business into a go-to source within your niche, fostering trust and credibility among your target audience.
Real-world examples take center stage in illustrating the effectiveness of these social selling strategies. By showcasing successful campaigns from diverse industries, we provide tangible inspiration for businesses seeking to elevate their presence on LinkedIn. These examples not only demonstrate the potential impact of a well-crafted profile and strategic content sharing but also serve as practical blueprints for achieving measurable results.
Next on our Twitter social selling journey is mastering the art of real-time interactions. We provide businesses with insights on actively participating in relevant industry discussions, engaging with influencers, and joining Twitter chats. Our guide emphasizes the importance of being agile and responsive, enabling businesses to leverage the immediacy of Twitter for building connections and fostering meaningful relationships.Furthermore, we delve into the strategic use of hashtags and multimedia content to amplify reach and engagement. By incorporating these elements into your tweets, businesses can enhance visibility and convey messages more effectively in the Twitterverse. We also explore the potential of Twitter advertising, shedding light on how businesses can leverage paid promotions to target specific audiences and boost their social selling efforts.
Real-world examples take center stage once again, illustrating successful social selling campaigns on Twitter. These examples serve as practical demonstrations of how businesses have effectively utilized the platform’s features to connect with their audience, spark conversations, and drive tangible results. By drawing inspiration from these cases, businesses can tailor their Twitter strategies to align with their goals and navigate the fast-paced world of social selling on this platform.
Turning our attention to the expansive social landscape of Facebook, a platform renowned for its vast user base and diverse engagement opportunities, we guide businesses through effective social selling strategies tailored for this dynamic space. Beginning with the establishment of a compelling business page, we navigate through the essential elements that contribute to a strong and visually appealing Facebook presence. Crafting an engaging business bio, incorporating eye-catching visuals, and optimizing key details are pivotal steps in creating a page that captivates audiences.
Our exploration extends to the strategic use of Facebook Groups and Pages for community engagement. We emphasize the importance of active participation and content sharing within relevant groups to foster connections and showcase industry expertise. By creating and curating valuable content, businesses can position themselves as authoritative figures within their niche, fostering trust and loyalty among their audience.
Additionally, we delve into the potential of targeted advertising on Facebook, shedding light on how businesses can leverage the platform’s robust advertising tools to reach specific demographics. Whether it’s through sponsored posts, carousel ads, or video content, we provide insights into maximizing the impact of Facebook advertising for social selling endeavors.
Real-world examples take center stage once again, showcasing successful social selling campaigns on Facebook. These examples offer practical insights into how businesses have effectively utilized the platform’s features to engage with their audience, drive conversions, and build a strong online presence. By drawing inspiration from these cases, businesses can tailor their Facebook strategies to align with their unique objectives and navigate the expansive terrain of social selling on this influential platform.
Social Selling Best Practices
Useful Social Selling Tools:
Navigating the world of social selling is made significantly more efficient with the aid of cutting-edge tools. From social media listening platforms like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, which enable businesses to monitor conversations and track brand mentions, to advanced analytics tools like Brandwatch and Mention, businesses can gain valuable insights into audience sentiments and market trends. Additionally, email outreach tools like Outreach and Mailchimp streamline communication, allowing for personalized and targeted engagement. Furthermore, LinkedIn Sales Navigator proves indispensable for professionals, providing a dedicated platform to identify and connect with potential leads within the expansive LinkedIn network.
Social Media Strategies Examples:
Executing effective social media strategies is pivotal for successful social selling endeavors. Take, for example, the storytelling approach, where businesses craft compelling narratives to humanize their brand and connect with audiences emotionally. User-generated content strategies leverage satisfied customers to amplify brand credibility, while influencer collaborations bring an added layer of authenticity and outreach. Content marketing strategies, such as creating shareable infographics or hosting live Q&A sessions, foster engagement and build a community around the brand. These examples showcase the versatility and creativity that can be employed to enhance social media strategies for optimal social selling results.
CRM for Social Selling:
In the realm of social selling, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools play a pivotal role in maintaining organized and actionable data. Tools like HubSpot CRM, Nimble, and Zoho CRM seamlessly integrate social media interactions with customer profiles, providing a holistic view of each prospect. CRM systems allow businesses to track customer interactions across various channels, helping sales teams identify patterns, preferences, and potential pain points.
By utilizing CRM for social selling, businesses can tailor their approach, nurturing relationships based on a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and preferences, ultimately driving more targeted and effective sales efforts.
Social Selling FAQs
Let’s delve into key FAQs surrounding social selling, addressing pivotal inquiries that B2B professionals commonly encounter as they navigate the complexities of leveraging social media for business growth and customer engagement.
- Platform Selection: Which social media platforms are best suited for B2B industries, and how can businesses strategically leverage them for effective social selling?
- Automation vs. Personalization: What’s the ideal balance between automation and personalization in outreach efforts to ensure efficiency without compromising the human touch in B2B interactions?
- Content Optimization: How can businesses optimize their content to resonate with diverse audience segments on social media and drive engagement in the B2B space?
- ROI Measurement: What are the key metrics for measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) of social selling efforts, and how can businesses align these metrics with their specific B2B objectives?
- Integration with Sales Workflows: What are the best practices for seamlessly integrating social selling into existing B2B sales workflows to enhance overall efficiency and productivity?
- Compliance and Ethics: What are the compliance considerations and ethical guidelines when engaging with prospects and customers on social media platforms in a B2B context?
- Third-Party Tools: How can businesses ethically leverage third-party tools for social selling in the B2B landscape, and what potential pitfalls should be considered?
Nimble: Your Social Selling Tool
Meet Nimble — the ultimate CRM tailored for social selling aficionados who prioritize relationship nurturing in their business endeavors. Nimble seamlessly integrates into your social selling strategy by centralizing and organizing valuable insights from social media channels. Its robust features empower users to track and manage interactions across platforms, providing a holistic view of engagements.
Nimble’s intelligent insights help identify potential leads, enabling personalized interactions that go beyond transactional conversations. Whether it’s leveraging social listening tools or seamlessly integrating contact information from various platforms, Nimble transforms social media data into actionable intelligence.
With Nimble, social selling becomes a strategic and relationship-driven process, enabling businesses to not only track dollars and deals but to foster meaningful connections that drive sustainable success in the ever-evolving landscape of B2B engagements.
Tim Hughes’ Take on Social Selling
There are three things you need for social selling if you want to be effective: the key word being effective. That’s what I discuss with my guest, Tim Hughes, in this episode of 8 Unedited Minutes. Tim is universally recognized as the world’s leading pioneer and innovator of Social Selling. He is currently ranked Number 1 by Onalytica as the most influential social selling person in the world.
Your Profile and Your Network
First and foremost, you must have a “buyer-centric profile”. There are a billion people on LinkedIn who could (virtually) walk past your profile. When they see your profile, you want them to think “that person looks interesting, I think that person could help me”.
The second thing that you need is a wide and varied network. It’s like having an online territory, the wider the better. You want to have conversations with them. These aren’t sales conversations, they’re just conversations – which is very different.
While there’s no magic number when it comes to a wide and varied network, you need to be connected to more than just a few people. You need to be connected to those people because what you’re trying to do is influence them. Eventually, you want to influence them to buy something. The key thing is that you’re not spamming them and asking them to buy your product or service. You do this by initially having conversations because it’s conversations that drive sales, not sales that drive conversations.
Anybody who sends a message that is immediately trying to pitch is a spammer, not a successful social seller. If you do that, you’ll get a very low response rate because you’re going through your network pissing people off. You want to have conversations with people like you would at a networking event. You wouldn’t walk up to people and ask them to buy your product or service. You’d walk up to people and ask them how they’re doing, talk about their interests, and other types of proper conversations.
The same is true of social media, it’s in the name: social media. Those are the types of conversations that people want to have.
The third thing you need is content. People are looking for content that inspires them, content educates them, and content that’s authentic.
Good content resonates with your audience. You need to understand the psychology behind this, which is people don’t come to social media to read brochures or white papers. What they’re looking for is something that’s interesting, demonstrates that you’re an expert, and shows that you’re authentic.
Does content lead to the conversations or do the conversations lead to the content?
It could be both. When it comes to content first many people think they’re going to post something and walk away and still get results. Say 20 people like what you posted. That means 20 people are interested in what you have to say. That’s an opportunity to reach out and say, “Thanks for liking my post, can we connect?” or “Thanks for liking my post, what did you like about it?” It’s not an opportunity to say, “Thanks for liking my post, do you want to buy something?”
More importantly, it’s about the comments that easily create opportunities for conversations with new people as well as people you already know.
That’s the art of effective communication!
About Tim Hughes
Tim Hughes is universally recognised as the world’s leading pioneer and innovator of Social Selling. He is currently ranked Number 1 by Onalytica as the most influential social selling person in the world. In 2021, Linkedin said he was one of the top 8 sales experts globally to follow and Brand 24 announced recently he was the 16th most influential person in marketing globally, based on measured social media influence.
He is also Co-Founder and CEO of DLA Ignite and co-author of the bestselling books “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers – 2nd Edition” and “Smarketing – How To Achieve Competitive Advantage through Blended Sales and Marketing”. He has recently launched a second edition of “Social Selling – techniques to influence buyers and change-makers” which has been fully updated. All three books were published by Kogan Page.
Company Website: DLAIgnite.com
About Mark J. Carter
Mark has always been curious about how successful people got where they are in life. He has been interviewing successful people for 24 years, and posting interviews online for 11 of those years. Each interview is a “how to” interview which means as a viewer/reader/listener you get actionable advice about how to grow personally and professionally.
Mark’s other projects include events and marketing initiatives. He has collaborated with TED’s founder Richard Saul Wurman to create a world-class conference and helped with branding for the world’s largest chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). He has launched book tours and events for New York Times best-selling business authors, helping them share their big ideas with the world. Mark still enjoys interviewing people and posts many of the interviews on his YouTube station (@markjcarter), his Idea Climbing podcast, and his internet radio show.
Mark’s interviews culminated in his recent book, “Idea Climbing: How to Create a Support System for Your Next Big Idea” (Click here to learn more about the book).