Have you ever heard of social selling , which is one of the most interesting ways to increase sales thanks to social media?
In this practical guide, we want to offer you all the basics about this online marketing tool , and above all explain to you the key strategies that will allow you to get the best out of it.
Let’s start with the definitions .
Social selling is the set of strategies and methods that social media use to identify, connect, understand and nurture potential customers .
It is therefore a digital way of building positive relationships with individuals who may be interested in our products and services, in order to retain them in our brand in view of their future purchases.
In fact, social selling is increasingly replacing the “cold calling” typical of outbound marketing, ie “cold” calls which, until a few years ago, represented the primary way in which companies tried to identify new customers .
Generally, social selling is conducted on the most popular social platforms, such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter , using professional profiles and pages .
But be careful: social selling does not mean bombarding our contacts with commercial offers, neither on their profiles nor through private messages! That’s spam , and that’s another thing (which, by the way, nobody likes it).
On the contrary, social selling is the activity that puts you in contact with other people or companies (depending on whether your proposal is B2C or B2B) and allows you to know them, understand them, evaluate them, communicate with them so that you can represent for them a solution to a given problem .
This is why every business should consider social selling
The reasons why social selling is increasingly used by companies and professionals in very different sectors are numerous, and the first is that, when done well, it works .
The following are in our opinion the three main reasons why no organization should do without it:
- It allows you to develop real relationships : since social selling is the opposite of cold calling, and which is all based on listening and understanding the other, when exploited in the right way it helps your sales team to identify real potential customers , and not random goals. By understanding the conversations on the web, identifying specific critical issues and listening to users’ needs, you will have the opportunity to intervene by offering timely solutions and answers that your interlocutors are actually looking for.
- Identify people already involved in social buying : the latter is the other side of the coin. On the one hand, we have social selling that listens and interprets online conversations to favor a specific commercial proposal; on the other hand we have social listening which is instead oriented to evaluate the opinions of other users to make a purchase. A good work of social selling will therefore allow you to hit these users transversally and indirectly, conditioning their purchase process in a way that favors your brand.
- Your competitors are already using it : as mentioned at the beginning of this article, social selling is an increasingly important way to identify potential leads using the network. This almost certainly means that your main competitors are already moving in this direction, offering answers and support to users who are also part of your audience of interest. Over time, their systematic and timely action in this sense will increasingly tend to retain and engage the target audience, progressively cutting out other potential vendors. That’s why it’s important that you too can contribute to the conversation and bring the Unique Brand Proposition that makes your business worthy of attention.
Four steps to make the most of social selling
There are numerous best practices for using social selling correctly and consistently in the pre-sale phase.
Experience and practice certainly improve the final result and allow sales specialists to develop precise and personal intervention strategies that can vary significantly from professional to professional.
However, we propose that you follow what we believe are the four key rules to approach this digital marketing tool in the right way.
- Make yourself seen: fill out your professional profiles to the best of your ability, whether they are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, completing them in every part and making it clear who you are, what you do, and how you do it, and then jump into the fray. Maintain human contact and personalize your communications with other users, so as to make it clear that you are not a bot or the result of automation, but a real person who knows how to offer real listening and answers. Be present, engaging and above all be yourself, because the heart of social selling is always human relationships – even if translated into a virtual dimension.
- Listen strategically: Practice reading and listening to online conversations to identify who are the most effective leads for your business proposition. Study user behavior carefully and you will find that Internet users share crucial information about their purchasing processes, that they know how to tell very well what they want and how they want it. The only thing you need to do is to remain attentive and present in your listening: not only of potential leads but also of your competitors and other players in the sector. Take advantage of social selling also to evaluate the reputation of your brand or your product on the network: it will be a fundamental step for the future strategic decisions of your business.
- Offer value: and communicate it to the right people at the right time, through punctual and calibrated interactions, which do not suffocate your users but on the contrary produce ideal answers and solutions. This does not only mean proposing your product or service at every turn but rather making your expertise, experience, and competence available to users to make a difference in communicating with each other. Over time, this approach will make you a privileged interlocutor and a point of reference for specific areas of interest of your digital audience. Remember that if they trust you, they will also trust your business proposition.
- Build virtuous relationships: as you can see, we are back to the starting point – that is the key objective of social selling, which is to create digital (but no less real) relationships with other users. In practical terms, this means staying in touch with them even after the eventual sale, supporting them in their purchasing or purchase evaluation processes, listening to their objections or doubts, and providing timely assistance and support