Today’s sales environment is undoubtedly a challenging one; with in-person, face-to-face contact eliminated, continuing a conversation with your customers and prospects has been severely hampered. To maintain engagement therefore, digital communication has become the chief weapon in the sales person’s armoury. And with the shift to digital engagement, many more sales people are turning to social selling to drive conversations with customers and prospects. Given the overwhelming evidence that social selling turbocharges sales, the importance of getting social selling right into today’s environment has never been greater.
So, how do you go about making sure your approach to social selling can deliver the results you want? There are a myriad of possible tips but here are our favourite five.
- Be authentic
Social selling is really more about social engagement, than selling, and this is often the first stumbling block for many. We all know when we read something on a social platform like LinkedIn whether it is corporate ‘speak’ or has the ‘voice’ of the individual posting the piece. So if you want your audience to engage, try to imagine what you would be saying to them if you met with them in person. When you are posting, try reading your post aloud before you actually post it. Does it sound authentic or the work of a corporate drone? People buy from people so be human and remember that humour works well! Although, be careful with humour and if you have any doubt, sound out a colleague before posting. Ultimately what we’re looking for here is personality and character to come through in social posts; engagement rates massively increase when this is the case.
- Be timely
Social engagement can’t be self serving; it has to be consistent and biased towards your needs. For example, you shouldn’t be posting simply when it suits you to do so; when you have a product launch or corporate announcement. Instead, share updates that are of general interest such as industry trends and issues, interspersed with your own news. A rule of thumb is to aim for a 3 to 1 ratio of third party posts for each corporate one. And also don’t overload – two to three posts or messages per week is a good ‘rhythm’ of content to aim for.
- Know your audience
Social selling is about using your social network to share useful information that will add value to the community you’re communicating with. The key to being really great at social selling is to understand what content people want to engage with. So, work hard to find out what your customers are interested in, analyse where those interests intersect with your own and make those your content themes. In essence, think about what your customers want to read and how you can add value to the conversation as the first priority and NOT what you want to talk about. From there, you can weave in your own message in a contextual way, accordingly.
- It’s a two way street
For social media to work from a sales perspective, you have to engage in conversations. Cropping up on posts with relevant pearls of wisdom will develop your personal brand and over time builds your sphere of influence within your space. Try and find the negative comments around your competitive products or services. Is there an opportunity for you to offer help? Also, search for people asking for advice in your product category. Then, don’t just answer their question, but instead give them something more than they are asking.
- Content is king
Having interesting material is essential to engage and there is a LOT of mediocre ‘me too’ stuff out there. So, audit your content and check whether it is really going to grab people’s attention. And remember, one piece of content for all won’t cut it; it must be created for specific needs and preferences. So, work hard to make your content personalised, contextual and relevant; it will pay off!
No time to do this?
Spending time every day sourcing relevant content from across the B2B web, ensuring it’s relevant, authentic and of value to your audience, however, is time consuming and often not realistic for busy sales folk. It’s worth taking a look, therefore, at some of the tools available to help with this. Agent3’s offering, SoSell, for example, can help ensure you’re saying the right thing to the right people in as little as 5 minutes per day. Make sure that any tool you consider is able to serve up the content in a way that satisfies our 5 tips above.
Today’s environment may have brought an end to in-person interaction with your prospects for now, but social selling has never been more important. With most of the corporate world now finding themselves desk-bound, interaction with prospects and customers over social networks has become a huge opportunity. Utilise the five tips above and you can be very confident about making the most of that opportunity!