The traditional way of selling, especially cold calling, is often not the favorite activity of many entrepreneurs. Even well-trained salespeople find that this selling method often consumes a lot of time and energy and does not always yield the desired results. Fortunately, there are now more ways to connect with potential customers, such as social selling:
This new way of selling is not a complete replacement for the old selling methods, but it does strengthen the processes. Social selling focuses more on being relevant and attracting customers, rather than product push and hard selling. It is a personal way of selling, where you let customers come to you. In today's society, this often works better than cold calling or hard selling techniques. Curious if social selling could be useful for your business? We're happy to explain what social selling is and how to implement it.
Before you can start using social selling, you need to know what social selling is. Therefore, we'd like to give you a definition and an explanation of social selling before delving into examples and strategies.
Simply put, social selling is a way to let customers come to you. You do this on various social media channels. This can be on platforms like LinkedIn, but also Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook can be used for social selling. Besides being a method to attract new customers, social selling is also a way to stay in touch with existing customers. So, social selling is the process of researching, connecting, and engaging with both potential and existing customers through various social media channels.
Social selling is done in various ways. Responding, 'liking,' and sharing content from important customers and/or prospects is a way to strengthen the relationship. Additionally, you can strengthen your own presence on social media channels. By sharing valuable content, you create value for your followers and potential customers. It also sparks curiosity and allows prospects to get to know you, the company, and the offerings in an approachable way. This way, they already know a bit about you when you invite them for an initial conversation.
During social selling, personal and professional branding is crucial. This applies to both B2C companies and B2B. Through social selling, you slowly build trust, resulting in a lasting relationship with the customer. To do this, you need to show yourself. The customer wants to know who is behind the social media account. This not only builds trust but also enhances your credibility.
Now that you know what social selling means, it's time to give you some examples of social selling. This method of personal sales can be implemented in many different ways. Social selling is therefore suitable for use by many different people. It's a great new way of selling for account managers and sales professionals, but various other entrepreneurs can also use social selling. For instance, a small freelancer can attract new clients in an accessible way without spending hours. Moreover, you stay up to date while using social selling. By reading contributions from colleagues, you stay informed about current trends and developments in your field. This way, you kill two birds with one stone.
When you start with social selling, it's good to set yourself a goal. This could be focused on relationship management and building a strong and valuable network. But market research and professional branding can also be part of a goal. Often, different goals overlap a bit and reinforce each other. For example, a strong brand helps in building a valuable network.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are all examples of social media networks where you can use social selling. However, it is not advisable to focus on all channels simultaneously. This takes a lot of time and does not yield the desired results. It is, therefore, recommended to choose only one or two of these channels and focus on them.
The social media channel you choose depends on your preference and your target audience. Consider where your prospects are and focus primarily on this channel. For many companies, LinkedIn offers many opportunities to connect with professionals and other businesses. LinkedIn nowadays has many features that allow your company to profile itself. Blogging and sharing videos, which have become popular, are possible on this platform. Additionally, you can easily connect with people who share the same interests in specific groups related to your field.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are still underestimated by many companies in terms of their value. However, all these channels are valuable for social selling. For example, on YouTube, you can share product videos, customer reviews, and interviews. Videos often convey information more powerfully than text alone, making them a perfect complement to written content. Good videos on YouTube are not only viewed but can also be liked and shared. Leaving comments is also possible. Thus, it's also possible to start a valuable customer relationship on YouTube. Moreover, you can share YouTube videos on other social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Instagram and Facebook are mainly used privately by many people, but as the line between private and professional life continues to blur, these channels are increasingly used for social selling. Instagram is especially suitable for visual content, while Facebook is a good place for networking.
Twitter is a good place if you are doing market research. You have access to thousands of public conversations, making it easy to discover trends and understand what challenges your target audience is facing. It's also a platform where people express their complaints, whether about your company, product, or the competition. This provides valuable insights into what's happening. Twitter is also widely used by customer services to improve customer relations.
Are you ready to start with social selling? Do you know your goal and on which channel you will be active? Then it's time to develop a social selling strategy. Personal contact with the customer is central to social selling. Building a sustainable and warm relationship is crucial. People prefer to do business with people, which is why social selling works so well. However, it is a relatively slow process. If you start with social selling today, don't expect to have new customers tomorrow. You must first invest time and energy, but then the chances are high that customers will be much easier to find than through traditional methods.
When implementing social selling, it is essential to have a clear goal, target audience, and one or more social media channels in mind. After that, it's time to get to work. Broadly speaking, you can have four different goals:
These four goals are measurable on LinkedIn with the Social Selling Index, or SSI. This SSI is updated daily by LinkedIn. Not only do you see how you score, but also how this compares to other professionals in your field.
It's also possible to monitor your results on other social media channels. Be sure to do this so that you can analyze everything and refine your strategy where needed.
You don't develop a social selling strategy in one day. Prepare certain content in advance that you want to try out and monitor how it resonates with your target audience. Share valuable articles, but also interesting videos, for example. Don't forget the 'social' part of social media. It's not just about sending information but especially about the interaction it creates. This can be reactions under your shared post, but also don't forget to respond to interesting content from (potential) customers and business partners. Show genuine interest and provide substantive responses to strengthen your relationship.
If you consistently implement, analyze, and refine social selling, it becomes a very valuable way of selling. There is even a chance that potential customers will approach you for an introduction. In other cases, the first introductory conversation will go much smoother because the prospect already knows you.
Do you also want to add social selling to the sales techniques within your company? Then contact one of our sales professionals. We can tell you everything about social selling and the different ways you can implement it. Soon, you too will enjoy all the benefits that this way of selling brings.