Social media are a well-established marketing channels B2B and B2C companies use to connect with audiences and attract new clients. However, it’s common among business owners to narrow social selling down to using targeted ads — as a result, few marketing teams know how to fully leverage the potential of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms.
In this post, we will take a deeper look at social selling — its objectives, benefits, and tools. Other than that, we’ll share a few useful hacks that will transform your social media management strategy in no time.
What is Social Selling?
By definition, social selling implies relying on social media platforms for identifying target audiences, building relationships with prospective clients, selling products or services, and maintaining a connection between the client and the brand.
The term “social selling” can be misleading, making business owners think salespeople should directly use Facebook or LinkedIn to close deals.
In reality, this is really the case — we use social media to get in touch with prospective customers and move the conversation to a more engaging medium — in-person meetings, conference calls, or emails.
Objectives of Social Selling
If closing deals isn’t the main goal of social selling, you might be wondering what is. Let’s take a closer look at what social selling lets teams accomplish.
Listening to prospective customers
Sales and marketing departments should use social media to find out how prospective customers make buying decisions, which criteria they use to compare products, as well as the topics they are passionate about.
Armed with the understanding of the target audience, a business owner will know how to create content that drives engagement and discussion, discover which influencers he should contact for endorsements, and which messages the marketing team should use to promote a product or a service via targeted ads.
Building awareness and long-term relationships
Another important objective of social selling is to stay on a customer’s radar for as long as possible. By sharing valuable content with prospective clients via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms, a brand gains customer trust and builds a loyal following.
Although connecting with prospective customers will not instantly convert into sales, it’s worth exploring. At the end of the day, the clients who engage with the brand regularly and share its values are likely to become regulars or recommend the product to friends and colleagues at work.
Respond to hate and criticism
The more clients a business attracts, the harder it is to ensure that every deal is successful. As companies scale, it’s harder for marketing teams to monitor feedback and put out the fires of customer dissatisfaction.
According to statistics, social media is a go-to channel for expressing user and client feedback. In fact, 50% of dissatisfied shoppers leave social media complaints.
If a business owner doesn’t spend enough time, leaving negative reviews about the company online can become a trend, as is the case for Air Canada. In fact, most tweets featuring #aircanada are negative reviews.
Dear #aircanada… why is it that the #facemask I brought from home… which is good enough to be worn on other airlines and in other businesses… is NOT good enough for you? Are you my mom? Are you protecting me? Isn’t that my job? #tiredofthebullshit— mountainmanmethod (@mountnmanmethod) November 15, 2020
To make sure you keep a careful watch of the feedback clients leave online, it’s crucial to leverage the power of social selling. Asking satisfied clients to leave reviews and quickly responding to posts that feature negative reviews helps brand managers maintain the company’s stellar reputation.
How Effective is Social Selling?
Running social media accounts, monitoring reviews, and building relationships with prospects on multiple platforms is time-consuming and resource-draining. Because of this, it’s okay for business owners to wonder if the impact of social selling is worth all the effort marketers put in.
To answer this question, let’s take a look at a survey run by Aberdeen Group that clearly demonstrates the power of social selling.
|Teams that use social selling||Teams that don’t use social selling|
|The rate of sales quotas||64%||49%|
|The rate of one-time customers turning into regulars||55%||48%|
|Sales forecast accuracy||54%||42%|
|Reps meeting quotas||46%||38%|
The survey data proves that using social selling improves customer acquisition and retention rates, as well as the precision of sales forecasts.
Types of Social Selling Tools for Marketers
The impact of social selling can increase if marketing teams use the right technology for monitoring customer feedback, keeping active relationships with prospects, and tracking online engagement.
Let’s take a look at the types of tools teams use to run social selling efficiently.
Enterprise Social Networks
Since business owners are actively using social media to connect with customers or clients, why should they use communication platforms to connect with each other effortlessly?
Tools that allow the employees from the same company to communicate, share news, and build connections are known as enterprise social networks (or ESNs). These platforms help teams share insights, resources, and foster best practices.
Social Media Management Systems
To facilitate social listening and opinion monitoring, salespeople and marketers use social media management systems.
Tools like Buffer help marketers collect, share, and publish content on multiple social media channels using a single platform. Other than that, these systems give business owners a straightforward way to track analytics and measure post engagement.
Social CRM tools (SCRM)
To collect contact data on prospects from social media, monitor communication, and maintain long-lasting relationships with clients via social networks, a growing number of teams implement social CRM platforms.
By definition, a social customer relationship management system is a tool that gathers customer data and helps team segment leads using insights from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other popular platforms.
Social intelligence platforms
Business owners use SI tools to facilitate social listening, identify influencers who are relevant to the target audience, trigger events the audience is likely to react to, or decision-makers within the company using social media.
Since marketing and sales teams spend at least a quarter of their time researching leads and creating customer personas, SI platforms are a great help in reducing the amount of time needed to gather and process social media insights.
5 Social Selling Tips for Business Owners
If your team has already recognized the importance of social selling and is doing their best to increase the efficiency of social media management, it’s time to find new ways to connect with audiences and convert followers into leads.
To make the most out of social selling, add these tips to your social selling strategy:
1. Choose a first-priority social media platform
When you choose social media platforms that will feature the page of your brand, rather than putting a ton of effort into establishing a strong presence everywhere, focus on building a following on one platform.
How to choose the first-priority channel for social media?
Create a page for your brand where your customers are and might be. When choosing between social media platforms, choose the one that appeals to the most of your current and prospective clients.
For example, if you are a clothing shop targeting 22-30-year-old women, focusing on Instagram is a smart move. On the other hand, if you are an app creator targeting Gen Z, how about giving TikTok a try instead?
2. Prioritize relationships over sales
Social selling might have “sell” in its name — however, its main goal is to foster meaningful relationships with prospective clients, not close a deal. That’s why marketing teams should focus on creating a community rather than promoting their offers in every post.
After months of consistently sharing valuable content with followers, it’s time to let people know about your new product or a service. After all, a prospective client will be much more inclined to consider an offer of a brand he’s familiar with.
3. Encourage customers to leave reviews
Online reviews are a double-edged sword for business owners. On the one hand, they can land the brand a ton of reputation damage. On the other hand, if used wisely, client reviews can turn into your number-one trust factor and prove the quality of your products or services to first-time page visitors.
What’s the way to use customer reviews wisely? The number-one rule business owners should follow is taking control over what clients post about the companies.
Here are a few ways to take charge of the brand’s online reputation:
- Directly ask clients to leave reviews whenever possible.
- Offer extra perks and discounts for leaving a review online.
- Answer existing reviews and improve your product based on customer opinion. This way, clients will be aware that a review can help them improve their favorite products and services and become more eager to share their stories online.
4. Create an easy-to-manage social media strategy
To succeed in social selling, business owners need to leave teams as little room for error as possible. When it comes to sharing posts online, a single error can go viral and result in a reputational mess.
For example, you wouldn’t want Twitter users to call your team out for grammar errors in a tweet.
To make sure your social media management strategy is error-proof, consider using these helpful tools:
- Grammarly — a powerful spell-checker that helps avoid grammar errors and wordy sentences.
- Sprout Social — post on multiple social media platforms in one click.
- Pics.io — an easy-to-use digital asset manager that helps teams store, edit, and, organize, and review all content for social media posts.
- Canva — templates for customized and good-looking social media posts. The platform helps you create a banner in just a few minutes.
5. Have a clear path for your social media traffic
Not having a plan for driving converting social media followers into clients is another pitfall marketing teams face.
At the end of the day, such businesses end up having a well-performing social media page that has zero conversion, pouring tons of potential revenue down the drain.
To make sure your company’s social media followers become loyal clients, create content that drives all traffic you get on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to the website. Once a visitor is on the store’s page, a marketer should set up a sign-up form that will allow exchanging a prospect’s contact data for valuable content.
Other than sharing promotional posts that link directly to the offer, it’s a good idea to include posts featuring the company’s latest company blog posts to the editorial calendar.
Using retargeted ads is another powerful way to convert social media or website traffic into customers.
To know what people say about you, you need to listen. To be heard, you need to speak up. To build relationships, you need to connect. Without spreading the word about the company and getting in touch with the target audience, you will have a hard time acquiring new leads.
That’s why understanding the benefits and ways to implement social selling are so important for SMEs and large-scale companies. Putting in social media management effort is a powerful way to connect with customers to encourage them to make an order again. So, make sure to train your team and leverage the full power of social selling.
About the Author
Victoria Golovtseva is a content marketing manager with 8+ years of experience, currently contributing to Pics.io blog and developing the content marketing strategy of the brand.