With the ever-increasing rise of digital technologies, the marketing landscape has changed a lot in recent years.
One of the most significant disruptors continues to be social media, along with the new tools and techniques that can help you target and define your audience even further.
Even with the recent data scandals, social media still holds enormous value to businesses around the word. Every company strives for high engagement, more leads, an increase in brand awareness and to provide a consistent customer experience (CX).
This concerted effort to engage with prospective customers across your platforms is known as ‘social selling’.
This blog will help answer the question of whether there is value in incorporating social selling into your organisation’s sales and marketing strategy. We will cover:
• What is social selling?
• Why is social selling important?
• Quick tips to start your social selling strategy.
Buying into the role of social media
Customer expectations are changing no matter what industry you are in. And to keep up with these expectations, your business needs to use all the resources it has at its disposal.
Customers spend a lot of time online. Therefore, your organisation needs to meet them there, engage with them, answer their questions, offer valuable content and build a relationship with them.
By developing a relationship with a lead or a target audience on social media you are more likely to get their business.
A whole world of possibility
Social media has given businesses of all sizes the platform to potentially reach a lot more people than it has been able to with traditional marketing tactics.
The benefits of social selling include:
• Social selling allows businesses to develop relationships with preceptive buyers
• It allows them to provide these customers with value
• Boosts brand loyalty
• Improves the customer experience
• Helps expand a company’s network of contacts
By cultivating a social selling strategy, you will allow your marketing team as well as your salespeople to better target prospects, connect more deeply with leads, and use social media platforms to generate leads rather than having to spend large parts of their day cold-calling.
It’s a social media contest
According to Forrester, the business analyst, 49% of B2B companies have developed a formal social selling programme. 28% have started the process and only 2% of respondents said they had no plans to create their own social selling strategy.
In fact, according to the report, B2B sellers are 72% more likely to exceed quotas than companies who don’t.
So, if you haven’t managed to build a social selling component into your marketing (or sales) strategy than you could be left behind by your competition.
You might be more prepared than you think
If you have a LinkedIn profile, a company Facebook page or Twitter account for your work than you already have the basic tools you need to begin social selling.
Social selling is when you use these tools to build relationships with your target audience, your perspective buyers, and other contacts in your network.
It’s not about gathering as many contacts as possible but connecting and building relationships with meaningful contacts. It’s also not about sending out boatloads of unsolicited messages to anyone you have contact details for.
The real goal of your social selling strategy, just like your sales or marketing strategy, should be another genuine way to present your business as the solution to your target audience’s problem.
Here are a few tips to help you begin your social selling journey:
• Understand your audience
Your first step should be to research your best performing social media channels. There’s no point in building your strategy around a channel that isn’t your target audience, delivers poor engagement or doesn’t offer value.
• Turn-on and tune-in
The first step once you have your profiles set up is to start engaging in the world of your target audience. Post valuable content. Comment on others’ work, offer value.
Start conversations, continue conversations and answers questions. This the way to build relationships.
Part of this is listening to what your audience is saying and what pain points they have. By understanding what’s happening in your industry you can create content that addresses these issues and paints your business as a thought leader.
• Provide value
By listening to what your prospective and current customers are saying across social media, you gain a better understanding of what they want and need.
Based on this, you can provide valuable insights to the appropriate targets, at the right time to maximise the chances that they become a customer.
• Stay in touch
Building relationships is the cornerstone of social selling, even if you don’t always ‘sell’ to everyone you connect with online. So, with that in mind, keeping in touch with your contacts is always best practice.
This is as easy as liking a post, dropping a comment on a piece of content or providing a meaningful answer to a question.
Social selling is here to stay, and your business needs to make sure it’s ready to compete.
While you may be undertaking specific aspects of social selling currently, combining these efforts into a wider plan is a must, do this and you can become a leading light in your industry.