“Social selling” — you’ve probably come across this phrase before. It’s another common buzz-phrase that’s been floating around the digital marketing space for the last few years. But, what exactly is social selling? And, how can you leverage this strategy to educate and nurture your prospects before driving them to convert?
What is Social Selling?
Social Selling is actually a bit of a deceiving phrase because there’s often no “selling” involved at all. Instead, “Social Selling” refers to the act of building relationships with potential prospects by creating and sharing content on social media. While closing the deal can be a part of the process…
…it’s usually the last part of the process. Essentially, it involves creating content to increase your brand reach, bring new prospects into your world, and educate & nurture them until they are ready to make a buying decision.
You’re probably already involved in the basics of social selling — if you have a company page on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you’ve taken the first step. By increasing your brand presence on social media platforms, you are generating brand awareness within your target market. This is a critical aspect of Social Selling.
How is it different than Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing involves creating ads targeted at a certain demographic based on your target market. These ad campaigns are designed to convert people who are ready to buy. Social Selling, conversely, is focused on building the relationships and educating the prospect. Often, they simply don’t understand their own pain points. Before exploring your solution, they must first understand why they need it and how it can make a difference in their lives.
That’s where Social Selling comes in.
Why should YOU care?
Simply put: you should care because it works.
According to a recent survey, 78% of “social sellers” are outselling their peers who are not leveraging this strategy. In a time when everyone is connected to their devices at all times — and subsequently bombarded with marketing content at all hours of the day — staying top-of-mind can be a struggle. You have to be able to get your message out there if you want to build these relationships and bring more people into your sphere of influence.
By consuming your content, your prospects will gain a greater understanding of their own pains and how your solution can help them. If you deliver REAL value to them with no expectations of anything in return (i.e. by sharing free content that addresses their needs), eventually, they will see you as an authority in the space and trust your opinion.
Social selling looks different for every business. If your business model revolves around B2B sales, your social posts should identify the ideal audience for your solution. From there, the goal is to share as much valuable information as you possibly can — you want to call out your target market’s main pain points and illustrate how your solution solves this problem.
Sometimes, your prospects won’t even realize they have a problem, or they won’t have pinpointed the cause of their pain yet. That’s why social selling is so important — it allows prospects to absorb information and consume your content until they are ready to make a buying decision. They cannot convert until they fully understand their own needs and see your solution as the right solution for them.
By putting your content in front of them on a daily or weekly basis (depending on your content marketing strategy), you can effectively educate & nurture them while remaining top-of-mind. 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry Thought Leader. By offering your insights and knowledge for free as part of your social selling strategy, you can solidify your position as a Thought Leader in your space. Once prospects are ready to make a buying decision, you’ve put yourself in a position of authority on the subject, so they are much more likely to reach out to you if your solution meets their needs.
How can YOU leverage Social Selling?
80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn. It’s where all of the professionals hang out, so it’s crucial that you have a strong brand presence on LinkedIn (if your target audience is largely professionals).
If your audience is NOT on LinkedIn (which is more likely if you sell B2C), Facebook is also a great option for Social Selling. 68% of Americans still use Facebook, with 74% of those saying they check their account daily. Beyond that, Facebook has evolved from a networking platform for younger audiences to a legitimate business avenue, as more and more businesses flock to where the consumers live on the web. But, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY be using Facebook ads to target your audience. In terms of Social Selling, you can create a powerful brand presence by sharing custom content created specifically for your ideal customer.
By creating and sharing content just for this audience, you will support your position as a Thought Leader in your space. The more brand awareness you have, the more likely customers are to come to you when they are ready to buy.
This is where video becomes a critical part of a successful social selling strategy. Videos get 21.2% more interactions compared to images, which demonstrates the shift to more interactive content that can put a face to the name.
This is where YOU actually become your brand. So, the goal here is to create authentic, captivating content that delivers value to your audience. That’s how you strengthen your brand and develop lasting customer relationships in the age of social media.