What is social selling? (And how to use it to boost sales)

6th April 2022

Do you engage in spam? In case you don’t know, bombarding prospects and customers with unsolicited tweets, emails, ads, is spam.

Don’t do it! 

There’s a better way to engage with them. 

While cold calling and cold emailing might still work, they’re intrusive and customers hate getting emails from strangers.

Social selling is the answer, especially for online SMEs. With over 3.4 billion active users on social media, you have a chance to reach a fraction of these people and build strong relationships with them.

With social selling practices, you can tap into your brand’s social media presence, develop a deep connection with an engaged audience and potential customers, and meet their needs in real-time.

If you’re looking to reach your sales target, social selling might just be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Your potential customers are on social media, but they have pain points — reasons why they’re active on these platforms. 

You’ll discover how to position your brand as the focal point when prospects are ready to make a purchase?  

What is social selling?

Social selling is a selling technique that allows small businesses to laser-target their marketing efforts and establish rapport through existing connections.

The idea behind social selling is to establish connections with prospects and customers, and secure future business. 78% of reps who use social selling outperform their peers.

This can be achieved through individual interactions on social networks, accepting follower invitations, or responding to comments on blogs or other websites. 

The goal of this process is to build relationships with customers and prospects so that they feel comfortable making future purchases. 

One key to social selling is building relationships with prospects. 

Developing these relationships involves getting into the conversation and sharing relevant content with the right people. 

The value of social media for small businesses

According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Social report, 58% of marketers say that social media is very important for their business. 

Using common online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram to market your business is crucial.

Success is not based on the number of followers your business has – it largely depends on how much of a response you get from your customers.

Social media provides the much-needed platforms for lead generation, especially for small businesses. 

In a survey, 59% of marketing professionals agree that sales/lead generation is their top goal.

It allows you to provide added value to your prospects and customers. 

When your customers or prospects use your social media page, they are actively searching for content and opting in to receive updates. 

These are the perfect demographics to convert to customers. 

How to develop a social selling strategy

Let’s go through the five-step process of developing a winning social selling strategy. You’ll appreciate how easy this can be. Let’s dive in.

1. Pinpoint your social audience

For your social selling approach to yield results, you need to know who your target audience is. Who is your ‘social’ audience?

It’s very important to know your social audience. This will give you a better idea of the types of content they prefer and what to avoid. About 57% of consumers follow brands to learn about new products that will help them.

Using analytics will also help you to understand the demographics of your audience. 

You can use social media analytics tools to identify your social audience. 

Monitor your analytics and understand your audience better with ease with Metigy. Our social media tracking platform shows you the best time to tweet or share on Instagram, how many followers you got vs how many stopped following you, and so on.

Social-media-analytics-for-tracking-your-content-marketing

Once you have an idea of the demographics of your target audience, it’s time to create a social media marketing strategy. 

You may already have a clear idea of your target market but you must still define the age groups, generation, and interests. 

This will allow you to make your content more relevant to your target audience. 

You can even create an avatar of your ideal customer based on your social media profiles. According to BaconSports, “a customer avatar is your representation of your ideal customer.”

Moreover, you can use a monthly template that makes it easy for you to keep track of your findings on the different social platforms.

Once you have a basic idea of your target audience (or buyer persona), you can start targeting them with hyper-relevant posts. 

You can also segment them by age and location. The location will help you determine the best times to post on each social media site. 

You can also consider the language of your target audience. It’s crucial to understand their preferred language because you don’t want to be in a foreign country, or your brand won’t be successful.

2. Create a social media content calendar

There are so many benefits to having a social media content calendar. 

“It helps keep track of what’s performing, so you can upkeep your content quality and consistency,” says Mark Walker-Ford, managing director at Red Website Design.

You need to create a social media content calendar based on your current strategy and efforts. 

Firstly, choose the platform where the majority of your audience is active, such as Facebook and Twitter. 

Next, analyze your analytics and find out what types of content your audience likes the most. 

After all, you want to be sure your message comes across to as many people as possible. 

Then, stay consistent with your branding: You must create a consistent tone and voice that will be consistent with your brand and industry.

From there, create your calendar: The next step is to create a social media content calendar. There are many ways to create one. you can do it with Excel or Google Spreadsheets.

For a more seamless and effective way of organizing your content, create your social media content calendar with Metigy. Our platform allows you to curate, create, schedule, and publish your posts without even opening the social media apps. This makes the marketing process easier, giving you more time to focus on engaging with your customers.

This can go hand in hand with effective project management tools such as ClickUp, Trello or HootSuite.

Any of these tools will make it easy to keep track of your posts.

By using a social media content planner, you can organize your posts in a way that will save you time and keep you organized.

3. Use social media listening tools to find opportunities

You need to use social media listening tools if you want to gain valuable insights from your audience. 

Social listening will tell you ‘why’ people are talking about your brand. This can help you adjust your strategy on all fronts.

There are numerous benefits of these tools, such as their real-time capabilities and the ability to identify relevant influencers. 

You can also find out which consumers are most active and interested in your brand. 

By using these tools, you can identify these customers and create opportunities for them.  

If you are looking to identify potential customers, use social media listening tools to gain valuable insights. 

You can find out the latest complaints, brand mentions, and product ideas. 

Before you can successfully sell to your existing audience without being pushy, you need to use social listening tools to understand people’s perceptions of your brand. 

That’s exactly how Matt Brum, director of Digital Strategy and Social Media at Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) does it:

You should communicate the insights you gain through social listening to your content marketing and customer support teams.

You’ll arm them with tools and insights that they can use to address any issues or new opportunities that come their way. 

This is particularly useful if your audience is active and often tweets about your brand. 

Social media listening tools are a great way to learn about industry conversations on various social media platforms. 

They provide a comprehensive report that enables you to make informed decisions. 

4. Use hashtags

In ‘The Science of Using Hashtags‘, Jeff Haden recommends using hashtags to increase engagement by up to 100%.

Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs uses hashtags whenever she posts on Twitter and other social platforms.

Hashtags are a powerful marketing tool. If you want to grow your social media presence and sales, you need to be distinctive from your competitors. 

You also need to be specific about your hashtags to increase your reach and audience. 

Some hashtags can be evergreen, while others can be timely or seasonal (such as #thanksgiving)

Regardless of the platform you use, hashtags will help you connect with your audience. 

Consider what keywords your audience uses to find products or services online. 

Using specific hashtags will help you connect with your target audience. If your business is into Pizza delivery, for example, you could find people who are interested in your services.

A more specific hashtag would be #pizzadelivery or #deliverpizza. Here’s an example from Pizza Patreon.

Hashtags help your audience connect with your brand. Make sure the hashtags are relevant to the audience you’re targeting. 

For example, if you’re targeting millennials, use hashtags that are popular among them. 

If you’re targeting a general demographic, use the #mytargetaudience to target them more effectively. 

Social Selling: In summary 

It doesn’t matter how big or small your followers, fan base, or email subscribers are, you can still nurture relationships with them and recommend your products/services without being pushy or using tricks.

For the 56% of SMEs that depend on in-house social media teams, it makes sense to use a dedicated social media marketing tool to optimize workflows, including developing a content calendar and post-scheduling activities.

While the right tool can provide centralized views of all your social media channels and views, your social selling strategy is the only guarantee of long-term success.

Build closer relationships with your customers with Metigy

Metigy’s artificial intelligence creates and organizes all the data you need to understand your target audience and their wants even more. Strengthen your customer relationships today.

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