It’s a celebratory day for you. You just got word that your funding was approved, your office furniture is on its way, and your new business cards have just arrived. You’re currently on your way to starting an LLC, and then you’re having lunch with your social media manager, Alex. During the lunch meeting, Alex approaches you about creating a social selling strategy that could potentially replace outdated sales tactics.
The problem? You have no idea what social selling is.
To save face, you tell Alex you’re interested in hearing a more specific pitch about social selling at your next meeting. Meanwhile, you glance down at your phone and start feverishly Googling social selling.
You see a Google-featured snippet that sums it up for you, but you’re still confused. Is social selling just social media marketing? Is it affiliate marketing? Or is it something else?
Luckily, you’ve come to just the right place to find out.
In this article, we’ll clear the air about what social selling really means. We’ll also share 10 of our favorite social selling tips you can implement after launching your business.
Let’s have a look.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling means using your social media channels to connect, engage, and build relationships with prospects.
Picture a two-hour-long networking brunch. You know, the ones where business owners meet to exchange business cards and share their networks?
Great. Now, imagine that the brunch mixer is a party — a never-ending party that lasts all day and all night. Oh, and it happens every single day, too. But instead of just business owners at the party, you’ve also got repeat customers, potential prospects, and influencers running amuck.
Now imagine that the 24/7 party changed venues. However, it’s no longer at a bustling restaurant; now it’s online. Specifically, it’s taking place behind the digital doors of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
Behind those doors is where the magic of social selling happens.
Why Are Sales Professionals Opting for Social Selling Tactics?
Brands and sales professionals are looking to transition from outdated sales tactics, like cold calling and door-to-door sales, to more relationship-based sales tactics.
So the main reason? They work.
Nobody appreciates getting called out of the blue these days to have a sales conversation. And answering the door to listen to a sales rep pitch their latest inventory? Fat chance.
To convert a potential customer into a loyal fan, you have to earn their trust. And what better way to do so than through social selling?
And now, let’s get to those tips.
1. Introduce Yourself with a Strong Bio
You can’t get to know people at the party if you don’t tell them who you are, right? Indeed, an easy way to introduce yourself to prospects on social media is by creating a strong bio.
This way, anytime a prospect heads to your profile, they’ll understand exactly who you are and what kind of value you can offer. Bios are also an excellent opportunity to display a link to your latest offer, website, or store so prospects can immediately start shopping.
Here’s an example of a strong bio:
Indeed, we love this Instagram bio example because it clearly explains who the business owner is, what value she offers, and how the prospect can claim that value.
So, your first assignment? Rework your social media bios to reflect:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Who you serve
- What value you’re offering
- How prospects can claim that value via a link
Then, brainstorm a few calls to action you can insert in your future social media posts to encourage followers to head to the link in your bio.
2. Embed Social Selling into Your Revenue Operations Strategy
A revenue operations strategy may sound like a complex term. But it really just means creating a strategy that unifies marketing operations, sales operations, and customer success.
Businesses thrive when they have an effective revenue operations strategy because all of the pillars that support profit-boosting are working together in harmony.
In other words, integrating social selling into your revenue operations strategy is critical to creating a consistent revenue stream.
3. Build Momentum and Leads with Contests, Giveaways, Freebies, and Deals
70% of Millennials follow brands on social media, and half of them do so to keep up with special promos and discounts that brands offer on those platforms. Indeed, prospects want you to sell to them on social media, especially if a bargain or a gift is part of the equation.
That’s why using contests, giveaways, freebies, and deals is an effective way to raise brand awareness. Couple that with influencer marketing, and you’ve got a recipe for lead magnets galore.
When deciding which kind of giveaways and deals to run, focus on your target audience. What do their social media buying habits look like? What kinds of freebies do they usually sign up for?
For instance, if they can’t say no to a good rewards program, consider starting a rewards program or a VIP program. Also, if they love a good closeout sale, start offering end-of-season sales every quarter.
Some other examples of lead magnets you can use include:
- Holiday giveaways
- Birthday gifts
- New-season sales
- Early signup discount
- Customer appreciation specials
- Company anniversary freebies or discounts
- Refer a friend contests
4. Boost Your Reputation with Thought Leadership Content
Relationships are based on strong connections. And one of the best ways to form connections on social media is by sharing valuable, helpful content that positions you as an industry expert, a mentor, and a trusted friend. It’s called thought leadership content.
Boosting your reputation through thought leadership content might sound overwhelming. But the truth is, you don’t have to be a guru to be a thought leader. Indeed, you just have to be one step ahead of your target customer.
Therefore, just because you provide career consulting services doesn’t mean you have to know how to launch any career known to humankind. You just have to know how to be one step ahead of your target customers.
So maybe that means you know how to create resumes that sell. Or, maybe that means you know what job interviewers are looking for. Or maybe that means you have access to pages and pages of job recruiters and headhunters.
Regardless of how much you know, as long as you stay one step ahead of your target customer, you’re delivering thought leadership content.
Still, struggling to come up with thought leadership content ideas? Here’s some quick inspiration:
- Share something that will help improve your customers’ lives
- Share a post that clearly describes how to solve a problem your target customer struggles with
- Record a live Q&A video session every week where customers can ask their own questions live on camera
- Share a useful tip, hack, or shortcut about your industry
- Post inspirational and motivational quotes in your Stories
- Share valuable lessons you’ve learned in your industry
- Share valuable lessons that have changed your life for the better
Creating how-to guides, listicles, and ultimate guides on topics you’re well-versed in is another effective way to share thought leadership content. We love this tactic because it’s also a great way to market your blog.
For instance, this article about how to make money podcasting would be perfect thought leadership content to reshare on social media.
To feature an article like this one on social media, you can:
- Post a short summary about what you’re covering in the article and then add a link to the article in your bio
- Screenshot a snippet from the article in Stories, followed by a few slides explaining what the snippet means
- Shoot a live video tutorial about how to make money podcasting and then post a link to the article after the video
5. Keep an Eye on Changing Social Media Trends, Algorithm Changes, and Policy Changes
After all the effort you’ve spent on social selling efforts, the last thing you’d want is for them to go to waste.
Unfortunately, that’s easy to do if you’re not actively staying on top of:
- New social media rules and policy changes
- Changing social media trends
- Algorithm updates
- Layout and feature updates
- New relationship-building techniques
Yes, that even means keeping an eye out for wrenching news stories and possible mergers.
Just about anything that affects social media has the power to affect your social selling efforts. Therefore, to stay on top of emerging changes, we recommend spending a few minutes each day researching what’s happening in social media today. However, if you don’t have time to keep up with this yourself, ask your SMM to manage it for you.
6. Build Real Relationships with the Right People
The best social selling tool on the planet is relationship-building. But we’re not referring to just any kind of relationship-building. We’re referring to building relationships with the right people.
Because the truth is, if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.
The key to mastering relationship building is to build authentic relationships with people you can serve — people who need what you’re offering. And, most importantly, people who want what you’re offering.
So, when it comes to relationships, get laser-focused on your target customer. Understand why they’re your target customer, what they need from you, and how you can serve them best. And with any relationships, commit to playing the long game. Trust and connection aren’t built overnight, but they sure do beat those slimy sales tactics everyone loathes.
When used as a long-term strategy, social selling is a powerful relationship-building tool. Integrating social selling into your social media strategy is pivotal to building a community of followers that like and trust you — and eventually convert.
With strong social selling tactics under your belt, you’ll be on your way to attracting ideal prospects and converting them into raving fans (and maybe even friends, too).
Ioana is a freelance content writer and SEO strategist for B2B and B2C brands specializing in Business, Digital Marketing, SaaS, Tech, and Mental Health. Born in Transylvania, raised in Texas, and transplanted to Barcelona, Ioana’s next move has taken her to sunny Mexico.