Social selling isn’t new, but the way it’s defined and implemented is.
So what is social selling? It’s the process of finding and developing relationships with customers online. While social marketing aims to reach large amounts of people, social selling makes the sale by building one-on-one relationships.
Social selling often focuses on business-to-business (B2B) efforts to reach decision-makers — but businesses use social selling efforts on consumers, too. It is an effective way to acquire more clients in today’s crowded market, where traditional methods are working less and less. It allows sales and B2B professionals to reach more customers and close more deals.
The benefits of social selling include:
- More lead generation
- Improved lead conversion rates
- Better relationships with customers
- Shorter sales cycles
One of the most common social selling methods is using social media to increase sales — also known as social media selling.
How to Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media
Before the internet, sales were made over the phone or door to door. But the web opened doors to new avenues such as emails, websites, and more. Social media has rapidly become the primary avenue through which salespeople generate and nurture leads.
With social media selling, you can:
- Utilize professional networks and company social networks
- Target key decision-makers and focus on real people
- Gather the information you find online and discover social insights
- Use what you learn to leverage warm introductions
- Have relevant conversations
- Create a smoother transition through the buying process
While it is a softer approach to sales, social selling is more than just following someone on Twitter or liking their Facebook posts.
Here’s an example of how social selling can play out:
- First, create a list of companies or people — both from a buying and selling standpoint. LinkedIn is a good network for this.
- Next, connect with those you listed. If it’s a company, connect with a key decision-maker. Send invitations to connect. If the platform offers an opportunity to send messages, make sure you personalize them.
- Once your requests are accepted, don’t just put your sales pitch out there. Get social with contacts by engaging with and sharing their content, asking questions, etc.
- When they are ready to talk or begin engaging, it’s time to pick up the phone and take the next steps.
A strategy like this relies on you to initiate contact and take action.
Another way to pursue social selling is to become a thought leader in your industry. Doing so will attract leads to you.
To start on the path to thought leadership, you need to produce and share engaging and relevant content — which can include:
- Personal stories or behind the scenes photos
- Mistakes made or achievements and accolades
- Unique perspectives on a subject
- How-to sessions or webinars
- Interesting stats and articles
- Customer stories, case studies, or testimonials
Be sure to share links to your content on your social media channels via your page, news feed, groups, or messages.
It’s easy to get referrals through social selling. Customers can tag or mention you, share your posts directly, or even introduce you to their contacts who need your product or service.
Why Using Social Media to Increase Sales Works
Now that you know what social selling is and what’s involved in implementing it, why should you do it? These stats should convince you.
1. When making a purchase, 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by social media.
This shows that having a social media selling strategy is critical to finding your leads and building relationships.
2. To find and research products and services, 97% of consumers go online.
With so many people looking to the internet for answers, your business needs to be online. The conversation about what you offer is already happening, and they are waiting for you to join in.
3. Social sales is responsible for building deeper relationships with clients, according to 31% of B2B professionals.
Nurturing your client relationships plays a role in your success, and social selling allows you to do this even better.
4. Those established in social selling attract 45% more sales and are 51% more likely to reach their quotas.
LinkedIn uses a social selling index to measure a salesperson’s social selling skills and execution, and the data shows that the better at social sales you are, the more opportunities it creates.
5. More than 90% of decision-makers never respond to cold calls.
The success rate of cold calls to make appointments is 0.3% — a clear sign that cold-calling is no longer effective. Salespeople have moved on to social media as their preferred method of contact.
6. According to 48% of sellers and 51% of decision-makers, trust is the most important factor in making a sale.
The people who matter think that trust helps close deals. Social selling allows you to forge and build relationships based on this crucial sales factor.
7. Compared to counterparts who don’t use social media, 78% of social sellers make more sales.
More than three-quarters of those using social media to increase sales see better results than those using traditional methods.
8. If a company’s salespeople understand customers’ needs, 96% of professionals would be more likely to buy from that business.
Business people want to feel understood just as much as regular consumers. The more personalized approach offered by social selling helps salespeople retain old customers and generate new leads.
9. Social selling reduces the lead search time for 39% of B2B professionals, with 33% reporting an increase in their number of leads.
B2B professionals reported that their social selling stats improved because they were able to generate more leads in a shorter time. A boost like this is priceless in the B2B world.
10. Among sales reps with more than 5,000 LinkedIn connections, 98% meet or surpass quotas.
The more connections you build, the more leads you can generate. Companies that have formalized processes are 40% more likely to hit their revenue goals.
Use Sharetivity to Boost Your Social Selling
Sharetivity is a Social Selling Automation tool for sales professionals that allows you to make social selling a significant part of your marketing efforts.
We help bring the sales leads alive before you make contact, boosting your chances of moving them through your sales funnel. Sharetivity improves sales engagement and reduces the time it takes to create personalized messages. Try Sharetivity today!