Social selling: A fresh outlook on building relationships with prospects on social media to sell your products.
Social selling helps create credibility by offering valued content to your target market and developing relationships you have created as part of the sales process.
It can take place on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms and communities which your target audiences use. The social selling process allows you to connect with, and understand, your prospects and leads. This contemporary way of developing relationships helps bring prospects closer to the sales representative and organisation and increases the likelihood of a sale or conversion.
How to get started with social selling
Representing the Organisation
First, ensure your social profile is adequate. Have a clear profile picture that represents your organisation, normally a company logo, or ensure your account incorporates the organisation in some way. Your background or cover image is just as important as the profile picture you should have a cover image that represents your organisation, products or brand. A powerful bio is also vital, which is normally the first contact a prospect will have with your organisation. The bio needs to be detailed but not overwhelming, offering your target market a snippet of insight into your organisation and personality.
Know your audience
You need to make sure you exist and are active in the same locations as your audience. Ensure that you know everything there is to know about your prospect, such as what web pages they tend to visit, what type of content they share, what time of day they are online and what type of content are they interested in reading. Once you know this information, you can share content that your prospects will gravitate to and you can write blogs answering questions they have. Following the pages and accounts they do (and those similar) is a good start to become familiar with what their feed looks like and what they see.
Identify the platform
There is no point in setting up a detailed account on Facebook if your audience predominantly uses Twitter. If you are a B2B organisation, you will find LinkedIn a good place to start. LinkedIn is great for creating business connections and also a great way to get your audience familiar with your brand. Facebook and Twitter are also good places to be present; the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors appear to be active on those platforms.
Don’t forget to post content. It is important you know what content works and what doesn’t - sometimes the only way to find out in this respect is experimentation. Post something and keep an eye on it to see how it does, social media channels have analytics where you can see how each post has performed. Once you analyse the data you can see if you should post that type of content again or not.
Benefits of social selling
Increased brand visibility
If you can get everyone in the company to share the content you post then you are going to get more people seeing and sharing the content. If 5 people share that content then it will show on their friends feed and has more chance of being shared again, each time the views increase the possibility of being shared also rises. The more shares your posts get then the more coverage you will get, and coverage is what you need to get people familiar with your brand.
Appeal to your target audience
The more coverage you generate, the more people who are going to recognise your brand. If potential customers are interested and they feel like they know a bit about the company, they are likely to visit the website or web page to find out more. LinkedIn followers are interested in informative content so try giving them a little bit of information and then link to your website for the rest of the content. If you know your target audience, you can better serve them content that will appeal to them.
Quality results take time
With social selling, it's key to remember this is not a quick sale. Things take time. Always offer value, in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, professionals are interested in informative content that educates. Spending time to create good content will show you serve your audiences in the best manner. Be sure to remember that such content will take time to take effect (as well as create).
Feedback is a good way to know if your customers are satisfied and social media is a great way to get it. Ask followers if they are happy with the content you are providing. Facebook allows you to create mini questionnaires, this is a fun and interactive way for you to gain valuable data from your audience, to be able to refine content so that you are providing quality content, continually.
Tips to navigate social selling
Provide your prospect with Real value
Some websites will have a chatbot running on them so that potential customers have something to interact with. Chat features as such are great conversation-starters. The challenge is to remind them when you are not a robot; let them know that they are talking to a real person. If you can provide your prospects with value and a personalised service, it will be clear you aren’t a bot.
Show your prospects that you know what you are talking about. We write informative blogs to show our current and potential clients to help our audiences with common problems, which in the process, contributes towards our brand positioning. If you are going to write blogs, practice what you preach. If you tell your audience they should be doing something then you should also make sure you are doing it.
You need to keep in mind that valuable information is what your clients are after they want content they can learn from. Sometimes you will have to give away valuable information for free to get them interested but never give everything away all at once. Make sure to keep hold of some information and then use that to get contact details.
Create detailed and professional social accounts
You must start knowing that this process isn’t instant and you do have to put the effort in but the customers that come out of the process are loyal and tend to stick around. Take the time to grow your social accounts, your social media will need attention and it is important you keep it up to date.
Take a look at some of our earlier blogs to learn how you can make the most of your LinkedIn and help yourself determine if Twitter is a suitable B2B platform for you. Make sure your profiles are professional and full of informative content so that the prospect can see who you are before interacting with you. If the employees have good professional social accounts, then this is likely to give a good impression of the company.
Use a content schedule
Create a content schedule so you know you are always going to have something to publish - it’s important to not neglect your accounts. You want to be posting content regularly. You will know when your target market is active so this will usually determine when you post. You could have weeks or days dedicated to a topic, for example, around Christmas you might want to do a week dedicated to Christmas-themed content.
Research your prospects
Know your customers. You need to know who you are pitching to make it personal, social selling is all about knowing who you are targeting and what they are interested in. if you are presenting a product to a company try not to make it generic do some research into the company first. You should know who their current clients are, understand their goals and have a grasp on the image they are trying to portray.
Consistency is key
Be familiar with your potential customers and make regular interactions with them. If you talk to your prospect on a regular basis you will form a relationship with them, and they will begin to trust you. If they trust you, they are likely to share and like the content you post. Being consistent with your target audience shows that you haven't forgotten about them and proves you are invested in them.
Use multiple platforms
Don’t think you have to stick to one social platform, there are many available and users tend to flit between them so you should too. If you have started a conversation with someone on Facebook, then you should still connect with that person on LinkedIn and any other platforms you use. People like to see different content depending on the platform for example, LinkedIn is professional and Facebook more personal.
Don’t forget about existing customers!
Prospects aren’t the only users you should focus your social selling efforts on. Existing customers are just as important. Continue interacting with existing customers because those are the ones who are loyal and are going to keep coming back. Existing customers will tell people about the experience they have had so it is important to make sure it's a good one.
Why use social selling?
Social selling is a great way to get closer to your audience. It is a great way to become familiar with what they enjoy and what they are doing. It allows you to create good relationships with long-lasting clients who will spread the word about your organisation.