The idea of social selling is gaining popularity in enterprise marketing. But what does it mean?
Social Selling Definition:
Social selling is when you use social media as a tool for sales. It’s a sales technique which uses social media reach to build relationships. And by establishing trust, you can then turn prospects into customers.
The reason behind this new technique is the sheer volume of users on social media. Social media is not only seen as a marketing tool now, but a way to close a sale.
And there is no doubt enterprises are exploring the social selling. In fact, have a look at the growth of social selling over the past five years.
Google Trends data shows social selling is gaining popularity. Sales teams will begin using social selling as a method for making sales.
We know the social selling train is picking up steam, so let’s dive deeper into the topic.
A Closer Look at Social Selling
We recently featured a Social Selling Pioneer in the Pagezii Pro Interview Series. We were familiar with the idea of social selling, but after the pro interview, we had a deeper understanding of the topic. Here’s Kelli Lampkin, NetSuite Social Selling Expert on the new technique –
The way I think of social selling today comes down to 3 factors: Messaging, Frequency, and Channel. It’s about designing the right messaging at the right frequency and through the right channels.
Keep in mind, for every business, these variables will be different. Social selling is about putting yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer and connecting with them in a meaningful way on the right forum.
To me, social selling is a lot more about listening than it is about posting your own marketing generated content. Using social networks to learn about your prospect gives you a starting point to build on. People want to buy from people they like and trust, and you like and trust someone who you feel “gets you”- social selling helps you prove that you “get” your customers.
Three Social Selling Factors
When it comes to social selling, there are three factors playing off each other:
- Messaging – How we communicate with potential customers. This could be a laidback style of communicating or a formal business approach.
- Frequency – How often we’re reaching out potential customers. One way to gauge frequency is to reach out to customers whenever they happen to post new content. Another method is to set reach out schedules, hitting the customer 2 times per month.
- Channel – Finally, we have the social media network you’re using for reach out. Examples include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. LinkedIn has become the preferred channel for social selling. And it makes sense due to the nature of the channel.
These are the social selling factors at play. But to get the most out of the technique, you have to use these factors the right way. Sales teams have to use the right message at the right time on the right channel.
The Goal Behind Social Selling
The goal behind social selling is to convert prospects into your social network into buyers. And to do this, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. With this in mind, you can start to engage with them in a meaningful way to build trust.
This brings us back to social selling factors. When you use the factors the right way, you’ll improve your conversion process.
Using the factors the right way proves you “get” your customers. In other words, you understand their needs and approach to business.
Tips of the Trade
With the outcome of your social selling tactics in mind, let’s discuss a few tips of the trade.
Listen to Your Network
When you listen to your network you learn about your potential customers. Stay up-to-date on prospects social posts and with occasional likes for example. This is a great way to you keep you in the loop, and also let the prospect know you’re there.
Put Yourself Out There
When we spoke to Kelli in her Pro Interview, we learned the most successful social sellers are the ones who put themselves out there. In short, this means getting creative.
A few interesting examples she mentions are using Snapchat to setup a product meeting, and boosting webinar signups by tagging prospects in LinkedIn posts. Both creative.
Walk the Fine Line
There’s an obvious issue brought up when we talk about social selling strategies:
Where do we draw the line between adding value and building trust and being creepy and annoying prospects?
And indeed it is a fine line to walk. When you engage with a prospect, your goal is to add value. As a result, you’ll develop trust with your prospects. On the other hand, if you overstep the boundaries, you could begin to turn the prospect off, and you’ll be left with nothing but crickets on their end.
So how do we draw the line? Again, we have to go back to the social selling factors. When messaging, frequency and channel are spot-on, you’re adding value. When you miss-gauge one of these factors, you risk stepping over the line or not close enough to be noticed.
2017 Enterprise Sales Trend
We know social selling is building steam. So why not hop aboard the train?
If you’re in enterprise sales, this technique is definitely worth a go. But keep in mind the key factors at play behind social selling. Using them the right way will lead to more prospects converting into leads.