Social selling is a buzzword term but it has become so much more than that. I don’t think you are going to see people use the term social selling in the future, it’s just going to be called selling. The reality is that outbound B2B salespeople should be using social media accounts now and if they are not, they will be, if they want to stay relevant and profitable. These social tools, like smartphones, email, and CRM software will become standard tools for all salespeople.
For now, we can define social selling this way:
“Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.” – HubSpot
Now that we understand what social selling is let’s discuss how you can use it to influence your revenue to grow.
Your social selling strategy should be simple and effective. If you implement this strategy and follow these simple rules you can achieve actual sales in a very short period of time.
- Identify the primary social media platform that your customers are using. Focus on that platform 80% of the time.
- Set up accounts with two other social media platforms. Use these accounts to test for opportunities to interact with new market segments.
- Do not sign up to every social media platform. You can’t possibly handle them all and things are changing so fast that you may find very quickly that one or two of them has become obsolete which means all the effort to build up those accounts will be wasted.
- Do not use your social media accounts to blast advertisements non-stop. Remember that there are actual people on the other side of each profile. Make it your goal to have conversations with real people.
- Use advertising options to promote your business. When you want to advertise, pay for the advertisements. The cost is minimal, it will extend your reach, and you won’t be perceived as a spammer.
- When you connect with someone, show personal interest in them, ask questions and make comments that demonstrate you care about them.
- Respond to every comment, like, follow etc… This will take time but will build a quality network.
- Schedule your posts ahead of time. Two reasons for this, one it allows you to think about what you are going to say, and two it is more efficient to use a service like Buffer or Edgar. Consistency is very important, this is a long-term strategy so set reasonable goals and focus.
- Start slow, test different options, measure the results and be very determined to allow the return on investment to guide you.
- Remember, social media accounts give you a tool to reach your customers. This is not the be-all-end-all-magic-bullet to catapult you to sales glory. As part of a total sales and marketing strategy, you can actually sell services and products using social media.
Just to give you a real world example to prove that using this strategy and following the above rules actually works, I wanted to share with you a success story from one of the companies I work with.
This company sells automotive and commercial vehicle parts. We opened a Facebook page for the parts store in a community that predominately uses Facebook. After one month we had 26 likes. We posted on average only once a week. The next step was to pay for Facebook advertising. We set up a 7-day campaign, spent $25.00, received 31 likes and had 1 customer come in and purchase a $350.00 light bar for his truck. Pretty good return on investment for minimal effort, time, and money. An additional benefit is that I interacted with 31 existing and new customers that responded to the add. How much revenue those interactions will lead to is yet to be determined but I am confident that it will be in the range of a $1000.00 to $2000.00 dollars.
Now I understand that this is not earth shattering but it proves that it works. Now that I know it works, I can slowly build on this foundation and incrementally increase the marketing budget while keeping a close eye on our return on investment.
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