We live in a world where everybody is accessible, yet nobody wants to be pitched to.
Social selling is a marketing strategy that uses social media channels to engage with potential customers to promote, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and sell. In 2018, there were 3.196 billion social media users across the globe. Companies and influencers have to understand how to capitalise on this opportunity.
In 2019, the top 6 most popular social media channels are Facebook, Youtube, WhatsApp, WeChat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Why is this important? Because according to Hubspot, 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase or contacting a salesperson.
Social selling works because you pitch to qualified leads. You take the time to understand the context, to find out who your target is, what their needs are and how you can best address them. Our business development team decided to use Linkedin as the primary channel of interaction with business partners, innovation programs, incubators, educational institutions, and thought leaders. Our plan is to provide relevant content that educates, to connect businesses with new opportunities and to attract talented people in our teams.
There three main steps to social selling are: find, connect and engage. Unlike cold calling, social selling focuses on connecting with prospects before pitching to them. It gives you time to build rapport with a qualified audience. Studies show that 48% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when you answer their questions on social media. Moreover, 46% of them value promotions and contests, while 42% of them convert when companies provide educational content.
After you've established a connection with the potential client, the next step is to strengthen that relationship by continued interaction. The advantage of this approach is that it reduces the need for alternative lead generation techniques.
SSI (Social Selling Index) is a tool introduced by Linkedin to help users estimate how much they could sell through social media. Knowing your SSI will give you a better sense of the type of seller you are and how to engage with prospects to maximise efficiency.
A successful strategy used by social media experts is to create a brand persona that social media users trust and engage with. This way you create deeper relationships with a higher level of trust and you reduce the need for customers to reach out for assistance.
Social media listening is used to identify what are the strengths and the pain points of companies, products and services from a client's perspective. By going through massive amounts of unstructured data, you’ll get valuable insights to tailor your strategy to maximise sales. It is imperative to move from the red ocean into the blue ocean where there is less competition, where you can leverage technology and adapt to it.
In conclusion, social selling is about taking advantage of your entire social network to find the right potential customers, build trust and ultimately achieve your sales goals.