In this week’s installment of “social selling 101,” our humble inbound marketing agency brings you four digital tactics you simply can’t live without.
If you’re already familiar with social selling, you know it’s an increasingly popular way to guide prospects, improve lead quality and delight customers.
Not so familiar? Fear not. Here’s four ways to become a social selling guru in short order.
ABL (Always Be Listening)
Here’s a fundamental social selling principle: listen instead of pitch.
Buyer behavior has changed. Today’s prospects and leads don’t want to be sold. They want to be educated. As we’ve previously discussed, social selling aligns beautifully to the principles of inbound marketing, which favors thoughtful, customer-centric content over a narcissistic, hard sell.
And of course, the best way to educate your prospects is to listen to what the industry is talking about. Staying informed helps you craft and deliver better messages and content.
But here’s a challenge. When you’re bombarded by noise, listening is hard. LinkedIn and Twitter provide near-constant updates, especially if you’re tracking multiple, highly-active groups.
Fortunately, several tools exist that can help you find the information you need.
For Twitter, look into:
Topsy: Tracks historical use of hashtags, letting you find out which tags are valuable for your marketing and sales strategy.
Hashatit: Shows you who’s been using your chosen hashtags and help you find prospects, leads and influencers.
Riffle: Compiles a specific user’s activity, influence and interests into a dashboard.
For LinkedIn, explore the site’s Sales Navigator tool, which includes:
Lead suggestions that offers prospects based on criteria
The ability to save a list of leads
The ability to view profiles beyond third-degree connections
This may err on the side of obvious, but to be effective at social selling, you must have a robust social media presence.
That means the more you participate, the better. Just remember to keep your interactions informative and supportive. Your sales strategy here is based on nurturing, not closing.
To make social selling an effective weapon in your arsenal, stay involved and think long-term. Don’t “Like” a prospect’s post and expect immediate results.
Think of it this way. You’re planting a seed and watering it diligently, not pumping it full of aggressive chemicals. Do your part and wait for the harvest, but remember: plants need to be watered.
Social selling might be part waiting game. But that doesn’t mean you should take a sideline role, liking and favoriting posts randomly to show support with no endgame in mind.
Use social as an additional opportunity to help your prospects overcome pains and see results. Don’t hesitate to lend your time, knowledge and skill to offering a prospect valuable information.
Even if you don’t close today, the prospect you helped might need your products or services tomorrow, or next week, or next year.
Finally, don’t overlook the value of your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Already a core part of your sales and marketing strategy, your CRM is also a great social selling driver - if it has the right tools for the job.
Social-integrated CRMs enhance your contact records with behavior data pulled straight from your social networks. Along with the tools mentioned above, this helps you understand their behavior even more and provide even more relevant communications and content.
See if your chosen CRM has social features integrated. If not - and if you’re serious about social selling - consider switching to one that does, such as HubSpot CRM.
So there you have it. Armed with these four tactics, you’re ready to turn social selling from a vaguely-understood buzzword into an invaluable part of your business.
Start Today Tip- Block off some dedicated time on your sales team’s calendars to find prospects on social media, identify topical content and review social media engagement analytics. Diverting time away from “direct” selling might seem scary at first. Remember, your goal with social is to create high-quality leads, delight customers and get brand evangelists spreading your good word to the far corners of the internet. Embrace the long cycle associated with social selling or you won’t execute it successfully.
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