Social media has become far more than a marketing tool for companies. In sales, social media has become a sweet spot for connecting and building relationships with prospects.
This process is called social selling.
Social selling is the art of using social networks to source prospects, build relationships, and ultimately close more deals.
According to LinkedIn Research, 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.
But the key to succeeding in this process is to always remember – social comes before selling.
Social selling isn’t about sending tons of unsolicited messages to potential buyers on their social networks. The focus is to engage with prospects so relationships can be built before the sale, ultimately making the selling stage much easier.
And if you do it right, it doesn’t come off as invasive or crossing any barriers.
We gathered the top 5 most effective ways to go about social selling and how to successfully implement these techniques to build valuable relationships with your prospects.
Before you get started social selling…
Before we begin, you need to establish yourself as a thought leader. LinkedIn Research found that 92% of B2B buyers engage with social professionals if they are known industry thought leaders.
How do you do this?
First, make sure your profile is public: Before implementing any of these suggested tips, make sure your profile is public so prospects can view your information.
Ask for recommendations from colleagues: Ask for endorsements and recommendations from former colleagues and clients. This will allow anyone viewing your profile to view you as a credible and reliable source. As a salesperson – this can be the leg up you need to differentiate yourself from another potential salesperson reaching out to the same prospect.
Stay top-of-mind: Sales cycles can be long so it’s important to stay top-of-mind. You can do this by consistently posting or engaging. Little things such as liking relevant posts help you stay active and in the feed of your connections.
List your skills: Studies found that LinkedIn members with 5 or more skills listed get 17x more profile reviews. By listing your skills, your connections have the possibility to endorse you. Then, your network will see your talent and skills through the lens of other connections.
Grow your number of connections: Building out your network can help you connect with more people and leverage further relationships all on top of helping you get viewed as a more credible source. Studies verify the benefits of having the “500+ connections” on your profile – it gives you instant authority.
Now let’s get into some actionable ways to start social selling on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
1. Join social groups and reach out when the time is right
Social groups such as LinkedIn Groups are groups of professionals in the same industry with similar interests – they share insights, ask questions, share experiences, and build connections with one another.
You can use LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups to access factions of your target prospects at the same time.
Join relevant groups that cater to your industry and customers. Within these groups, you can engage with members, offer advice, answer questions, and share useful information – which helps establish yourself as a thought leader on top of allowing you to interact and build connections with potential customers.
Remember, make sure to be social before you sell.
Only reach out to prospects about your solution when the time is right – you are much more likely to engage them if you have a reason as to why you’re reaching out. If there are indications of pain points and struggles that you can provide value to, the timing could align.
To find relevant groups on LinkedIn, simply enter your keywords into the search bar and filter the results to show “Groups.”
For example, if you sell software to financial advisors, search for groups that focus on that target market.
Do the same on Facebook to seek out even more relevant prospects.
2. Share value and engage
A great way to show your expertise and build credibility is to share interesting and compelling content. Share industry-related articles, thought-provoking studies, and valuable information. This will ensure you deliver tangible value to your audience.
The more value you provide, the more credible you become.
Also, get involved in the comment sections as much as possible to engage and spark conversations with others.
If you see high engagement posts, join the conversation. Provide advice or discuss industry trends. The more you’re engaging with your industry, the more likely you’ll be viewed as a thought leader, which means your prospects are more likely to trust you.
Also, sharing content can help align your sales and marketing team. Share your company blog posts, product demo videos, testimonials, etc.
Create and share relevant information within your network and you will find yourself much more engaged, growing your network, and establishing yourself as a thought leader.
And by sharing valuable content, you’ll be able to amplify the reach of your messaging.
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3. Monitor Twitter lists
You can create your own lists on Twitter or subscribe to lists created by others.
The biggest problem with prospecting on Twitter is that it’s challenging to keep track of every single potential contact. Twitter lists can help you streamline information about contacts to organize details about potentially interesting people.
Add potential customers to private lists and monitor conversations, don’t engage until you see indicators of problems or pain points that your solution can solve. From here – reply with helpful content at the right time.
You can also subscribe to lists to monitor conversations in fields that interest you. Read between the lines and pay attention to trending topics.
4. Join in on social conversations and trending posts
Posts that have high engagement typically have a heavy-loaded comment section. The comment section on posts about your industry is the optimal location for listening and engaging with prospects.
On trending posts – join in on the conversation and interact with people. This will only help build relationships and connections. Also, reading your prospect’s comments will give you another glimpse into their point of view.
What are your prospects talking about? Why are they engaging with this post? Are they mentioning any pain points?
Creating posts similar to trending topics can also help you grasp their attention.
Another tip – on Linkedin, posts trend under hashtags. Everyone who follows that hashtag gets a notification:
Responding to these and getting involved in trending topics is key to connecting with people in your industry as well as staying on top of current trends in the industry.
5. Connect with industry professionals
Grow your network with professionals in the industry.
Make sure when that when you send a connection request to these people, you send a personalized message along with it.
Especially with someone that doesn’t have mutual connections, it’s a good idea to send a personalized connection request.
When making connections, don’t go the “spray and pray” route.
Rule of thumb – make connections that actually matter.
From here, interact and engage with their posts, congratulate them on accomplishments, and share content that’ll catch their eye as well.
This will not only help you build connections but also gives you more industry-related content in your feed.
Tip – to find the right connection at a specific company you can go to LinkedIn and search for that company and the position in quotes (“Yesware” “Marketing Manager”).
Also, use LinkedIn’s advance filters to find specific people depending on a variety of options such as connections, location, industry, company, etc.
Grow your network with connections that matter and the selling will ultimately come much easier.
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Lastly, remember social selling doesn’t stop at the sell
Your relationship with a prospect doesn’t end when they turn into a customer. A smart practice is to nurture the relationship onward.
Continue to share valuable content and interact with others even when your intentions aren’t selling.
Potential customers, current customers, and old customers – they’re all important. If you’re establishing yourself as a thought-leader, it will help you shine across all groups.
Embrace multiple channels, be personable, and always look for creative ways to spark conversations. That’s the heart of social selling.