The field of “social selling” continues to change and evolve, according to the needs of those doing the selling. In the early days, “social selling” simply meant hanging out on social platforms like LinkedIn and offering solutions to people’s problems. Now, it’s been used for everything from turning “cold leads” into “hot leads” and for helping members of a sales team craft their marketing messages. Here are few do’s and don’ts of how to do it right.
DO: Use the social networks that people in your industry actually use
This is particularly important for B2B companies, where LinkedIn is still the preeminent social selling platform. If you’re trying to use Twitter and Instagram and people aren’t actually using those platforms, then you’re not going to have the kind of success you’re counting on. But that also means that you have to understand not just WHY people are using certain social networks, but also HOWthey are using them. For example, nobody likes to be DM’d on Twitter with obvious tweet spam.
DON’T: Ignore the value of “social listening”
There’s a common misconception that if you’re hanging out on a social network and not actually contributing new content, then you’re somehow “lurking” or “stalking” other users. That’s not the case at all. With any social network, the old 80/20 rule is in effect – 80% of the content is created by 20% of the people. Take time to listen to what potential customers are saying, and listen carefully to how they describe their problems. That will make it easier for you to chime in every now and then with some suggestions and ideas.
DO: Provide valuable, actionable content
When it comes to “social selling,” you can’t view social media as just another broadcast medium where you simply blast out offers, deals and promotions. Instead, your goal should be to provide real value and knowledge. It’s about more than just leaving behind your company’s URL as a comment, too. It’s about sharing insights and knowledge. That’s the way you build up credibility and trust with potential customers. On social media, people can spot a lack of authenticity very easily. If you’re only sending out “connect with me” requests on LinkedIn only so that you can message them with a promotional offer, you’re doing it wrong.
DON’T: Ignore the value of measuring results on a daily basis
With most sales teams, the focus is squarely on the quarter. As in: How many accounts did you open this quarter? But in social selling, the focus is on the day-to-day. Instead of setting targets and goals just for the quarter, you need to set up daily goals. How many people are you going to try to reach? How many conversations will you contribute to each day? If you’re hitting your daily goal, then you’ll most assuredly reach your quarterly goal.
Just remember: there are two parts to “social selling” – the “social” part and the “selling” part. You need to focus on both in order to land the results you want. Being “social” means acting the way you would with your friends and colleagues – you wouldn’t go around stalking them and constantly barraging them with offers and comments every time you see then, and you shouldn’t do the same on social media.