I bet you’ve heard of social selling before, but you might not be completely sure what the term implies? Below, you will get insight into the meaning of social selling – what it is, and how you can use it to strengthen your business.
What is social selling?
Social selling is a relatively new concept that indicates a business using social networks to understand and develop potential customers. Similarly, social selling is used by salespeople and employees when they use social media to strengthen their brand, forming and maintaining relationships that eventually result in leads and sales.
It is simply a matter of finding potential customers and get recommendations that ensure greater revenue for your business. Social selling is not just another buzzword – it is a legitimate marketing strategy that can increase your revenue and strengthen your business.
In other words, you might want to start investing time in nurturing your relationships in social media and in creating new ones. People are already using social media to seek out information on their own initiative – a term known as social buying, which has significant influence on the buying and selling process.
How does social selling work in reality?
As mentioned, social selling is creating and grooming potential leads via digital platforms, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If your company has an active profile on one of these media now, then you are, in fact, already involved in social selling.
Depending on the industry to which your business belongs, you should choose the platforms that make the most sense in terms of potential customers. One obvious choice when looking for valuable relationships is Instagram, which is today used as a marketing channel almost as much as it is used as a photo sharing platform.
On Instagram, you can network, enter into dialogues, and create interest around your brand. With the right social selling strategy, you can get all your employees to be ambassadors generating leads for your business.
1: You brand must provide value
When your brand becomes a success, it is because it provides people value. Contact with your target group and potential customers shouldn’t consist of sales pitches that ultimately benefit just your company – every time you contact people, you are taking their time.
If you provide them with value through insight, learning, entertainment, or something else suitable for your business that also interests your target group, you will be forming important relationships and potential leads.
2: Select your contacts carefully
Selling is all about establishing contact with the right people. Therefore, you shouldn’t go for the first contacts that come along, but rather you should learn to locate potential customers who are actually interested in your company.
On Instagram, you have the option of interacting with potential leads by liking and commenting on photos, posting your own photos, and generally making sure you are active and replying to inquiries from your followers.
3: Use your own relationships for social selling
As you develop a strong network of potential leads, you will find that your sales increase. If you have a web shop, you can post photos on Instagram, showing your warehouse, your brick-and-mortar store, new products, bestsellers, sweepstakes, campaigns, and other things that are relevant precisely for your core target group.
Case: From zero to 6500 followers
Ting-shop (t.i.n.g.) is the perfect example of a company that has had success with social selling on Instagram. By continuously posting relevant content that creates value for their followers, they have managed to go from 0 to 6500 followers within just a few years – and that’s without spending a dime. The followers are purely organic, and they engage in the posts through likes and comments.
By letting their followers gain unique insight into the products they sell, letting them know when they have sales campaigns, as well as posting general mood pictures from the shop and providing inspiration for potential customers, they have created a faithful following. Hopefully, sooner or later, these will be converted into sales in either the brick-and-mortar shop or the web shop.
How to get started with social selling
If you want to get started with social selling, it is important for you to be present on those social platforms where your customers are. For a web shop like t.i.n.g. that deals in furniture and home goods, the obvious choice is Facebook and Instagram, where visual content is king.
If you work in marketing, the obvious choice would be a medium like LinkedIn or Twitter, where you find decision-makers for companies with an active marketing strategy.
If you sell beauty products, Instagram and Facebook are also the obvious choice, since they enable you to show the effects the products have on users, post inspirational photos, and launch sweepstakes and other things that provide real value for your potential leads.
It’s about continuous exposure
It’s all about drawing constant attention to the existence of your brand, while also creating important relationships that can result in actual sales. By being consistent and giving more than you initially get back, you will find that you develop a reputation of credibility, which, in time, will strengthen your business.
Great tips for your social selling strategy
If you want to succeed with your social selling efforts, you should focus on five overall activities:
#1. Visibility: Make sure you are active and post updates, articles, share links, like, and comment on the posts of others. It’s about being as visible as possible.
#2. Create value: When posting updates, photos, or articles, they need to be relevant for your target audience. You need to create value, so you won’t get far with just posting prices, sales, etc., which are ultimately of value primarily for your business.
#3. Trust: When you share your knowledge and inspiration from the industry in which you operate and help people by taking the time to answer their questions, you are building trust. This helps you to become recommended.
On Social Media, answering fast is becoming more important, as the platforms are tracking it. Especially on Facebook, if take yourself too long to answer, your answer-rate will decrease. Your answer-rate shows on Facebook.
An example here, is from the Facebook page of snoir.dk, where the response rate is showing on the website. Seeing the reply rate implies your business operates and runs, and that you are active on your Facebook page.
#4. Relationships: Find potential leads and form relationships with them by starting a dialogue. The end all and be all is for you to create positive relationships by being helpful and sharing your unique knowledge.
#4. Sales: As you work on your visibility by disseminating content that is relevant and interesting for your target audience, you build trust with potential leads. Once that trust is established you can start working on your sales efforts by arranging meetings, etc.
These are just a handful of useful tips, out of many other things you could do to start with social selling – most important is that you know who you are selling to, and how to approach them. Not every customer segment is the same, and you can’t appeal to everyone with social selling.