What is Social Selling? A Guide to Get you Started

What is Social Selling? A Guide to Get you Started

Sophie Hedestad
30 April 2018
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What is Social Selling? A Guide to Get you Started

Social selling is a marketing buzzword that’s on the rise. So why are we all suddenly waking up to this engagement trend? It’s most likely down to the fact that this strategy has a positive impact on both business results and improving the positioning of your own personal brand.

Companies who take social selling seriously are said to improve the number of qualified leads generated by up to 40%. This mixture of sales and marketing makes for the perfect cocktail to showcase how both departments have a direct impact on the bottom line. So, with that being said, here are a handful of tips to get your social selling strategy off the ground and drive that revenue.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is a way of generating leads and increasing your sales opportunities – long term. Specifically, it’s about using social media for engagement and find potential prospects. The goal is to build on existing relationships (as well as create new ones). By doing so, your company will become “top of the mind” and a natural choice when a potential lead recalls brands to continue further research.

The art of social selling lies in finding and understanding the decision makers in your social network and educating and engaging them through content. This helps build long-term relationships and positions employees as credible sources. In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with branded messages, cold outreach just doesn’t work anymore. Social selling helps us to avoid contacting people randomly and try to start a dialogue that creates value for both parties. After all, social media was originally used to connect people with people – not with products.

Since the introduction of the internet, the purchase funnel has become even more complex. Consumers are presented with a wealth of information online to help with research, prior to deciding whether or not they should part ways with their cash. In fact, Forrester Research has reported that 57% of the customer’s research is already complete before sales are involved!

Prospects are searching and collecting information about key industry players, alternative solutions, trends and products on social media – so it’s important for businesses to create trust and relationships that aid this research. To do so, you need an understanding of your network’s capabilities, challenges, and preferences in order to align the content you post with their pain points. This will help you appear as credible, but the commercial source. You can use a media intelligence tool like Meltwater to uncover the key themes discussed by your audience and weave the themes into your own content strategy.

Social Selling

The above image from eMarketer gives a good indication of what other B2B professionals are using social selling for – maybe you can get inspired?

What social selling is not?

Since social selling has only recently exploded onto the scene, it’s important to get to know what social selling is not, as well as its correct use case.

The emphasis, here, is on increasing sales opportunities in the long term. Some think it’s okay to use social channels for direct sales, but in general, social selling is about building trust using relevant content, advice and dialogue amongst decision makers in your network. A cold direct sales approach won’t work. Direct sales should take place through the company’s social profiles and not through your own private profile.

WATCH DRIVING QUALIFIED MARKETING LEADS ON-DEMAND WEBINAR

Social Selling Facts

Still not convinced that social selling is something for you? Perhaps these statistics can convince you!

74%

Did you know that 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before contacting a seller?

57%

Did you know that 57% of the purchase process has already been made before a potential customer is contacted?

90%

Did you know that 90% of potential customers delete emails from people they do not know? If you want to send an email, make sure it’s personal, or use, for example, LinkedIn for outreach

95%

Did you know that 95% of B2B buyers choose suppliers that provide relevant content throughout the purchase process?

40%

Did you know that social selling generates 40% more qualified leads than cold outreach?

72%

Did you know that, as a B2B seller, you have 72% more chance of achieving your goals compared to your colleagues who do not use Social Selling?

79%

Did you know that 79% of SaaS companies attract new customers by working actively with social media to nurture prospects through engagement?

See more statistics from Forrester Research!

Social Selling on LinkedIn

Do you have a profile on LinkedIn? Then you already have a good foundation to get started with social selling!

The amount of content shared on LinkedIn is increasing. Similarly to most other social networks these days, LinkedIn has implemented an algorithm to make sense of this big data and stop their users from becoming too overwhelmed. The result? No more chronological feed. Instead, we’re seeing the algorithm favour posts deemed most relevant.

How to find decision makers in your network

Need to increase your professional network? First and foremost, focus on quality rather than quantity. In this case, think of social selling as a traditional sales process. Expand your network with relevant people you want to develop relationships with in order to build trust and identify their needs and challenges in an easier manner.

1. Make use of common connections that can introduce you to 2nd-degree connections

2. Take advantage of available information about the people who have actually visited your profile

3. Don’t be afraid of using “Advanced People Search” on LinkedIn. You can add new connections based on business, industry, keywords or georgraphic location.

LinkedIn Social Selling

4. Join LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to your industry. Here you can network with (potential) customers and other professionals. You can find and sign up for LinkedIn groups by searching for groups in the search box at the top of the homepage, or you can choose from LinkedIn’s suggestions for groups that might be of interest to you.

5. Connect with thought leaders you’ve come across whilst reading industry-related content. Perhaps there’s a blogger who always writes brilliant content or a journalist that often covers trends before anyone else. Add them on LinkedIn to keep up to date with their most recent content. Not only does this help your profile to stay fresh, but 92% of B2B buyers nurture thought leaders in their industry through social engagement, according to LinkedIn. Building a relationship with them will, therefore, help expand your reach to their community too.

LinkedIn Social Selling Index – How to Actively Work with Social Selling
LinkedIn allows its users to measure how well their social selling efforts are working. They do this by providing you with a score, as well as specific pointers that can be used to actively increase your ranking. LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) is based on 4 parameters:

  • Establishing your professional brand
  • Finding the right people
  • Engaging with relevant content
  • Building relationships

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index gives you a total score of 0 to 100. You can score up to 25 points in each of the 4 parameters. Your score will be updated on a daily basis, giving you ample opportunity to keep track of your influence. All LinkedIn users can view their personal SSI scores for free. See yours here! Benchmark your SSI score with the industry average and your own network – it can quickly create positive internal competition in your organisation too!


Social Selling Index
Hvad er Social Selling

Hvad er Social Selling

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Meltwater can help you create relevant content to share on social media platforms. Get in touch!