If you’re a new entrepreneur trying to bulk up your client portfolio with a team of capable salespeople who are currently wasting away making cold calls, then switching to social selling could be a more powerful move to achieve results by getting your sales team to do more than just punch phone numbers hoping for a big account.
Social selling is a modern way for any business, including new entrepreneurs, to build relationships, making this a powerful sales tactic. If you think that social selling is just a social media advertising or marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place to get the complete story. The truth is that social selling simply isn’t any of those. It’s about nurturing your customer relationships as part of the sales funnel. Simply put it’s about having more conversations and pitching less—a lot less.
Now you may already be using some social selling tips and not even know it, and if you are then kudos to you! But just to make sure that everyone’s on the same page, we’re going to answer what we think, maybe some of your burning questions. Let’s start with a popular one:
What’s social selling?
We gave you a snippet a few moments ago but here’s the complete overview. Social selling is all about connecting with your customers through your brand’s social media channels, developing a connection, and then engaging with them.
For most businesses hitting sales targets is everything and this is a technique that uses modern relationship-building to help you achieve those targets—and maybe even exceed them. If you’ve already got a Facebook, LinkedIn, X or any other social media account then you’ve already well into practising the basics of social selling.
The great part is that it’s a great technique for any business. Whether you’re selling handmade candles, heavy-duty power tools, or jet skis, this is a great way to nurture relationships with prospective customers.
But be aware of going too far
Sometimes it’s easy to blur the lines between social selling and jumping off the deep end because social selling isn’t about bombarding strangers with unsolicited messages. That’s called spam and it’s a line that you and your team should be careful not to cross.
Remember that social selling isn’t about beefing up your contact list either. Think quality over quantity because your ultimate goal is to turn your social media activity into sales.
Your brand should be presenting solutions to problems that clients have and be doing it in a meaningful way. When you master the art of doing this, you build and make confidence, loyalty, and trust synonymous with your brand and nudge prospective customers into making a purchase when the time is right.
Social selling tips for expert-level success on top social media platforms
When it comes to social media platforms and social selling, you might find that the social selling tips you get are different from one platform to the next. If you’re planning on flexing your social selling muscles, here’s how to do it on some of the most popular social platforms in the world.
- Build your credibility: Whether it’s asking for good reviews, highlighting relevant expertise you bring to the table, or sharing useful information from credible sources, this is a platform that’s built on credibility. Talk about the impact you’ve had on your previous clients to really push them over the edge.
- Build your network: On a platform like LinkedIn, it’s all about who you know. Look for mutual connections and create relationships with them. You can even take it a bit further by joining some LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry so you’ve got a better, more focused target audience instead of sending out connection requests on a whim.
- Use Sales Navigator: The platform’s social selling tool takes the guesswork out by helping you target the right audience and send custom messages. The tool also helps you get a better look at your performance with some in-depth analytics.
In practice: Microsoft launched its social selling program with the help of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and saw its sales productivity increase by 38%!
- Current customers: X lists help you keep a close eye on your existing customers and what they’re up to. Use it to find opportunities to reply, like, or retweet so that your brand is always on their radar. But, again, don’t go overboard. Only offer a response if you have something valuable or relevant to say so that you don’t come off as disingenuous.
- Prospective customers: Once you’ve got potential clients add them to a list, but don’t start engaging with them like you would with an existing client. Just stay alert about what they post, it could be a grievance a competitor or something that gives you an ‘in’ to replying and helping them sort out the problem
- Competitors: Yep, you heard us. Keep your friends close and your competitors closer! Add them to a private list—without following them—so that you get updates about what they’re doing. Plus, you might even get some inspiration for your brand.
In practice: Jetblue Airways uses its X brand page to reply to its customers who have queries or problems and they don’t phone it in either. Every customer that @mentions them—whether a long-time JetBlue aficionado or a first-time flyer—gets a reply, making them one of the most popular U.S. airlines on X!
- Engage with other businesses: Reaching out through comments, shares, and likes isn’t going to cut it anymore. Brands need to take it a step further and create shareable content. Get this right and you could be looking at a whole new audience including other businesses that share your content.
- Engage! Engage! Engage!: If someone comments and mentions your brand then don’t be afraid to respond. When publishing your own posts, include questions in them to help your engagement skyrocket. Remember that they don’t have to be related to your product or service offerings to be relevant.
- Join Facebook Groups: These are often grassroots communities and are a great place to strike up conversations and build connections. It’s also a great way to find out more about your target audience and use them to plant very subtle pitches that don’t come off as too sales-y.
In practice: Starbucks actually went a step further and instead of joining a Facebook group, they created their own private group called the ‘Leaf Rakers Society’ for their die-hard fans of the pumpkin spiced latte and used it to create meaningful interactions on the platform.
Make your first (and best) entrepreneurial move with these social selling tips
If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of business, then you’ve probably got a few key ideas to help you lay the foundation for your social selling plan and all you’ve got to do is make the most of these ideas.
Following these social selling tips could also open up new avenues for your brand and help in evolving your existing marketing strategy to one that’s more suited for current times—and customers.