The following is a guest post by Deepti Jain, an engineering student who has a knack for writing and is currently working at AeroLeads as a content writer.
Social Selling is a buzzword these days.
I doubt it surprises people anymore given how huge social media is.
I don’t think people realize just how big it is.
According to Statista, 3.02 Billion of the world population will be using social media by 2021.
I know it gets a bad reputation sometimes and folks involved in B2B businesses are often a bit skeptical of leveraging social selling.
What they don’t realize is that they are missing out on a lot of leads, ROI, revenue, yadda yadda yadda.
In fact, Neil Patel, the marketing guru, recently discussed in his blog how he generated $332,640 in 3 months from Instagram alone.
Did this change your stance on social selling?
Hah! I knew it would.
However, if you are still not sold on the idea of social selling, then also don’t fret.
Today, I have rounded up some solid reasons why social selling is important for every salesperson.
1. You can easily identify your target audience
Before anything, you need to identify your target audience – there is no question about it.
After all, it’s important to know the leads you are going to engage with.
Otherwise, you will spend your time chasing unqualified leads and coming up empty-handed. I know how scary this sounds. To be blunt, the reality is scarier.
But it doesn’t have to come to that…if you leverage social selling.
Social selling makes it substantially easier for you to identify your target audience. It offers the possibility of getting to know your prospects on a more personal note. You can now identify their problems, issues they are facing their business, their preference, and so forth.
You can also make your presence known by constantly engaging them to try to identify whether they are the right fit for your company or not.
All this would have been impossible with the traditional marketing approach.
However, as with any other medium, identifying your target audience with social selling also requires a whole lot of planning.
For starters, you should know where your target audience is located.
There are countless social media channels available but not all of them are useful for you.
Have a look at the most popular social media channels in the world:
You don’t have to start off with all of them.
Different social media platforms cater to a different audience.
For instance, if you are a B2B brand, then you have better chances of success on LinkedIn than a social media platform like Instagram.
2. It’s easier to engage your audience with social selling
How do you engage your target audience usually?
Through cold emailing?
Cold calling? I hope not.
Who responds to cold calls anymore?
Your prospects are likely to hang up on you before you even complete your sentence. Ouch!
In fact, 90 percent of B2B decision makers say they don’t respond to cold calls.
And this is where social selling comes into the game.
Using social selling, you can easily identify the prospects that are already talking about your business, or niche, or your competitors.
Once you are privy to this information, you can reach out to such prospects and engage them in order to convert them into a permanent, paying customer.
Apart from this, you can also use social selling to connect with your existing followers and increase your outreach in your vertical.
But remember that bland social media posts won’t be of any help.
People use social media platforms to get away from their tedious routines.
Thus, if you are using your social media page to talk about your product all the time and how great your company, then I’d say don’t even bother about social media marketing.
Your target audience will take one look at your profile and do a volte-face.
On the contrary, if you engage your audience by adding your personality and a dash of humor and wit, you can enjoy long-term success with social selling.
This might mean poking fun at your customers and taking a funny angle on your competitors (without belittling them).
Before you click that exit button and write me off as a lunatic, let me show you a live example.
Have a look at how Wendy’s social media team has taken Twitter by storm:
They don’t shy away from taking a jesting swipe at their competitors either:
Are you still skeptical of stepping foot in uncharted waters?
Take Wendy’s social media success as a direct lesson. Just have a look at the number of followers their Twitter account has.
It’s simply awe-inspiring!
So, start engaging your audience on social media by standing out of the norm and showing a great deal of your personality.
The more candid you are, the better will be your social selling return on investment (ROI).
Don’t delegate it anymore — you already have a lot of catching up to do.
3. Better customer service
You have closed a huge final deal with a customer.
Congratulations are in order it seems.
Now what? You go on your merry way?
No, nope, no freaking way! This is not how it works.
Even after your prospect makes the final purchase, you have to continue engaging them to retain them for a longer time.
And this can only be achieved if you provide a great customer service to your existing customers.
Alas a lot of sales representatives fail to follow through this point.
In fact, according to a report, 68 percent of customers leave a company because they start feeling that you no longer care about them.
Thus, it’s important that you don’t make your customer feel that way.
The task of providing a better customer experience gets decidedly easy with social selling.
And the best part is that other people in your network, as well as your prospect’s vertical, can see how exemplary your customer service is.
When other people see how much effort you are putting in to make your customer happy and solve their issues, you are going to get a lot of goodwill and even more leads.
But don’t forget that it is a double-edged sword.
If you fail to satisfy your customer and that customer decides to post about it on their social media channel — you are going to face some serious censure.
Don’t believe me?
Well, here’s an example for you.
When Kylie Jenner famously tweeted that she doesn’t open Snapchat anymore, surprisingly their market value dropped by over $1 billion.
While it would be absurd to think that all the blame goes to this single tweet, but still one cannot deny the effect it might have had on the market shares.
When Kylie’s followers showed the same attitude towards their app, Snapchat quickly tried to placate the situation.
And mind you, it doesn’t matter whether someone with a lot less outreach badmouths you on social media, you should know that these things spread like fire.
Take this direct lesson from Snapchat, keep track of your mentions and quickly reply to your customers.
The better customer service you offer through social media platforms, the more leads you will generate.
4. Allows you to build authority in your industry
Everyone is using social media these days — just about everyone — from Aunt Sally to Grandma Betty.
And all your prospects are also using such platforms and engaging in social buying.
If you want to build authority in your industry, then you should be present wherever your audience is.
Continue to post useful and valuable content on your social media channel, engage your audience, and you will see how easily your follower count proceeds to increase.
There are so many ways to offer value to your target audience on social media channels, such as:
- Post advisories
- Offer solutions
- Follow the influencers in your domain and get them to retweet your posts
- Don’t forget to add a dash of humor and wit in your posts
Once you build authority on social media channels, you easily emerge as an influencer in your industry, which helps you generate massive B2B leads.
However, if you plan to abandon your social media accounts for days on end, then you are heading for a disaster.
Here’s the deal: Your tardiness won’t work on social media because your audience isn’t going to wait for you to post something valuable — they will simply turn to one of your competitors.
The more interactive and regular you are, the more leads and prospects you are going to get through social selling.
Don’t pull a stunt like Christian Bale, who disappeared after posting two vague tweets:
Do you think you can get away with this as well?
*Rolling my eyes*
You are not Christian Bale, are you?
You have to provide engaging as well as valuable content to your audience with a veritable consistency. If you don’t do it, your competitors will.
5. A platform to show off your social proof
Since you are reading this article, chances are that you are just getting started with social selling. When you start selling from scratch, it might take a substantial time to gain a foothold and garner some followers.
That said, there’s one process that can speed up the process.
Sharing your success stories, testimonials, and reviews on social media makes it exceedingly easy for you to build an audience.
When your prospects see that your past customers are satisfied and have gained a lot with your services, it makes it easier for them to trust you.
There are no two ways about the power of social proof. In fact, studies claim that nearly 70 percent of folks make their buying decision after looking at product reviews online.
Moreover, consumers trust product reviews 12 times more than they trust product descriptions.
It’s quite simple actually — consumers are not naively believing what the company or manufacturer has to say about the products. In other words, they want unbiased 3rd party reviews to come to a final decision.
Since social media channels have a great outreach, it is considerably more beneficial for you to show off your social proof on your social pages.
And there are plenty of ways to show off your social proof. You can use word-of-mouth marketing techniques to grow your business or simply post case studies, the options are limitless.
Here are some other types of social proof you can consider:
6. One-up your competitors
Your target audience is on social media.
And a whopping over 70 percent of top sales professionals are using social selling to reel in leads.
This means that even your competitors are on social media.
Can you connect the dots here?
The logic is simple: If you don’t engage your audience using social selling, then your competitors will…gladly.
And brands in every industry are leveraging social selling today.
Even Microsoft engaged its target audience on social media and boosted 38 percent of productivity using their social selling pilot program.
Have a look at what Phil Amato, Marketing and Communications Manager at Microsoft, says about their social selling program:
The impact of social selling is as clear as crystal. It is not something you can afford to ignore anymore, especially if you want to one-up your competitors.
7. You can easily track your prospects’ activities
Spying on your target audience has never been so easy.
Wait, it came out wrong!
Hear me out — it is not as creepy as it sounds.
Being on board with social selling allows you to monitor the response of your target audience. You can now easily determine what they think of your services, what problems they are facing, sometimes even things like what communication medium they prefer, and so forth.
You just need to hire a credible team to keep track of your mentions and target audience. For instance, if someone mentions you in a bad review, you can quickly resolve the issue before it gets out of hand.
Also, suppose you come across post wherein a prospect talks about the difficulty they are facing with something that you believe your services can solve — you can immediately engage them and show how you can help out.
Social selling: Summing it all up
After going through all the benefits of social selling, are you now tempted to give it a shot?
I’d say, good for you!
However, here’s one important suggestion for you: don’t just give up after trying your hand at social selling for a couple of months. There’s no guarantee that you will witness exceptional results in initial months — it might take more time than you expected.
That said, in the end, it will be well worth the effort and the ROI you will generate is likely to transcend your expenditure.
The key is to remain consistent and continue to provide engaging content to your social followers.