What is social selling?
Social selling is a sales prospecting approach where salespeople use social media channels to find and engage with new prospects. The goal is to build relationships that further your organization’s sales objectives.
According to Gartner, social selling is “the process of shaping demand and lead generation with social media tools that allow sales representatives to engage prospects, create and strengthen relationships, and move them through the sales funnel to achieve sales goals.”
Meanwhile, LinkedIn calls social selling a strategic approach to “forming meaningful social interactions and presenting your brand as a trusted source to solve a customer’s problem via your product or service.”
Social selling vs. social media marketing: What’s the difference?
Social selling uses personal posts or messages to build your credibility and authority. It is akin to content marketing through individual social media channels.
Meanwhile, social media marketing involves running promotions and advertisements via your company’s social media platform.
Unlike social selling, social media marketing also requires a specific portion of your marketing budget to run ads.
What are the elements of social selling?
- Establishing a professional brand by building a great social media presence and publishing meaningful content consistently
- Finding the right people using research tools (like LinkedIn Sales Navigator)
- Engaging with the audience by creating and sharing conversation-worthy insights and updates
- Building relationships by connecting and establishing trust with decision-makers
What are the benefits of social selling?
LinkedIn states that 75 percent of B2B buyers use social media to make buying decisions. So, being active on the right social media platform can help you prospect better and close more deals.The main benefits of social selling are the ability to:
- Connect with sales prospects faster: With social media channels, you can connect with decision-makers immediately, shortening sales cycles and improving conversion rates. That’s because well-crafted, relatable messages and content on social media are more likely to get a response from prospects, as compared to cold calls or emails.
- Increase sales: According to LinkedIn, social selling leaders are 51 percent more likely to reach quota. Personalized sales pitches, posts, comments, and articles can help you develop authentic relationships with your prospects, convert better, and drive revenue without investing heavily in resources (i.e., more salespeople or a bigger ad budget).
- Build credibility: Social selling is an organic way of elevating your brand and establishing your authority. With better credibility, your content – posts, comments, and other forms of social media engagement – will get displayed to a broader audience. This, in turn, attracts qualified inbound leads.
Which platforms should you use for social selling?
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are the most popular platforms for social selling. LinkedIn is a must if you’re in B2B sales, as most decision-makers, peers, and competitors are already on the platform.
LinkedIn is great for networking and building a professional brand. Getting your profile and posts viewed by as many people as possible is an excellent way to gain qualified sales prospects.
You should connect with thought leaders and potential prospects and find ways to engage with them regularly.
Additionally, maintain a good Social Selling Index (SSI), LinkedIn’s measure of how effectively you use the platform.
What is the LinkedIn social selling index (SSI)?
In 2014, LinkedIn developed the SSI (Social Selling Index) to evaluate and quantify the value of your social selling strategy. The LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) considers your professional brand, network, content, and LinkedIn activity to award you a score between 0-100.
The score is updated daily and offers insights into how your peers perform. Accessing the SSI requires a subscription to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Premium solution.
Using SSI scores, LinkedIn has discovered that social selling salespeople generate 45 percent more opportunities and are 51 percent more likely to meet their sales targets.
Twitter is an excellent platform for customer interaction and sharing insightful content (in the form of Threads) that spark discussions.
The best feature of Twitter is the ability to organize followers into groups via Twitter Lists. This helps you adjust your messaging to make sure it's customized as per your audience's tastes.
With over a billion users, Facebook is one of the largest and most popular social media platforms. It’s a great tool for starting conversations and drumming up engagement.
You should ensure you stay active by responding or reacting to comments as much as possible.
Moreover, you can use the powerful Facebook Insights and Analytics to understand which content pieces perform well and fine-tune your social selling strategy accordingly.
How to implement social selling
To get started with social selling, do the following:
- Choose the right social media platform
- Develop a social selling strategy by taking into account your target audience, the platform’s pros and cons, and your resources
- Deliver value in the form of educational content, business or industry insights, success stories, and personal experiences (relevant to your product/solution/service)
- Identify potential influencers and thought leaders to explore collaborations
- Sync your CRM or sales intelligence platform with the social media platform
- Create custom audiences to deliver messages that truly resonate
Social selling tips and best practices
Here are six social selling best practices to help you out:
Optimize your social media profile
Start by sprucing up your profile (be it LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook) and then building trust online. For instance, if you’re using LinkedIn:
- Add a professional, high-resolution headshot
- Use the headline to show how you create value for your audience
- Tell your story via the Summary section
- Highlight your abilities and get endorsements for your skills
- Get recommendations from colleagues, clients and employees
Join relevant groups and forums
Find your audience on your platform and join the conversation. For instance, if you use LinkedIn, then join the relevant LinkedIn Groups and follow the right people. If your platform is Twitter, join the right Twitter Space or chat, discover trending chats in your industry, and start participating.Also, ensure you expand your network by connecting with prospects you've engaged with online.
Set up social listening alerts
You can also use social media monitoring tools, or Google alerts to keep track of conversations about your brand, competitors, and industry trends. Following such trends will help you be more personal with your content.
Create and share helpful content consistently
The next step is to generate value by sharing insights through original posts and curated articles and by commenting on others' posts to start meaningful conversations.Sharing relevant content is one of the best ways to build credibility, elevate your social profile, and increase your online engagement. In addition, creating original content – LinkedIn posts or articles, Twitter threads – is a great way to demonstrate your expertise.You can also share interesting articles, videos, podcasts, and more with your network, along with your unique take, to start a conversation while coming across as a knowledgeable, trustworthy source.
Build and nurture relationships
Social selling is all about nurturing relationships for the long haul rather than just selling products/services. So, you must consistently curate, create, and share useful content.
Respond to those who reach out to you and demonstrate that you’re always willing to listen and help.
You can also share success stories and reviews from your existing clients to show how you deliver value. This approach will make you more appealing to your new prospects.
Collaborate with social media influencers
Influencer marketing is a great way to boost your social media presence and credibility. According to Twitter, nearly 40 percent of Twitter users purchase after seeing an influencer’s tweet.
So, find ways to invite influencers to create content with you – blog posts, podcasts, LinkedIn Lives, or Twitter Spaces.
Monitor your engagement
Keep an eye on social media engagement metrics to determine which content truly resonates with your audience. Then, you can work on doubling down on those content types or topics to generate more engagement.
Social selling requires a lot of research and some guesswork with the approach to take. However, you can base your next social selling strategy on something other than intuition.
With Clari Copilot, you get real-time insights into sales conversations. It lets you compile all sales and marketing data in one place and applies AI-powered analytics to mine useful insights that can improve your conversion rate.
Clari copilot also helps you set up a library of calls, along with their summaries, so that you can explore the various tactics that worked and adapt them for your digital conversations.
You can also review game tapes – a playlist of winning sales tactics – to take cues from your team’s best winning pitches for everything from discovery to demos.
Interested in learning more?