7 Tips on How to Use Social Selling to Reach More Customers

Social media is no longer just a place to connect with old friends and meet new ones. It has become a vital platform for brands to engage their audience and reach more relevant customers. This allows brands to successfully drive conversions through social selling. In this article, we will discuss seven effective social selling tips that will help you reach more customers.

Remember those dark days of cold calling? You had very limited information about the customers you were supposed to convert. Today, social media has brought a much needed change. This is not just a change in technique. This is a change in attitude.

These days, potential customers don’t want to make a purchasing decision based on a sales pitch. They’d rather do their own research, which they often carry out online, much of which is on social media. 56% of customers who use social media to interact with a brand feel a stronger connection with it. According to research conducted by PwC on more than 22,000 consumers, social media is the most influential digital media that inspires shoppers to make a purchase. Therefore, social media is a place marketers can no longer ignore. In this article, we will discuss how to use social selling to reach more customers. Before that, let’s elaborate a little on social selling.

Put Social Before Selling

Think of social selling, simply, as your brand being social or personable with your consumers and selling when it’s relevant. With social media analytics, it’s easier than ever to gain a comprehensive understanding of your buyer personas. Knowing your audience’s’ interests and behaviors can help you build messaging that resonates with and strengthen long-term relationships.
On social media, consumers shouldn’t be strangers by the time you sell to them. Now let’s see how we can make the most of these platforms.

#1: Pick Your Social Media or Don’t

Each social media platform has a unique personality — the artsy Pinterest, the trendy Instagram, the professional LinkedIn, and so on. You should choose the platform which gels well with your product and matches your brand’s identity. If you have a B2B product, you might want to focus more on LinkedIn than Instagram.

If you are an apparel brand, it will be the other way around. In that case, Instagram and Facebook will be your major places of activity. Keep your products and brand in mind while choosing your preferred social media platforms. Here are three things you should consider while choosing a suitable social media platform:

  1. Where do your customers visit the most?
  2. Where can you access your target the best?
  3. Where do your ads get clicked the most?

You’ll need to analyze your performance carefully on each social platform. You can also choose to explore all social channels if your time and budget permits. This will help you get a better understanding of what works best for you.

#2: Join Groups, Make Your Own, or Do Both

There are likely many groups related to your product on social media. Join those groups, follow the discussions, and participate in them. Remember, related groups are highly targeted areas where you have a high chance of conversions. If you can’t find a relevant group, create one and try to build a space for people to talk about shared interests relevant to your industry. For example, the LinkedIn group Big Data and Analytics with 337,244 members is the biggest group of its kind. This super active group is run by Sarah Howes, the director of Howes Media.

#3: Analytics is the Key

For every marketing effort, you need analytics to measure its effectiveness. This will help you understand how to take further steps in developing new strategies and making improvements. For social selling, analytics are a must. You need to constantly track your posts’ performance. LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index can give you a free score which will help you understand your social selling success rate.

You may already be using Google Analytics to measure traffic to your website. Leadfeeder takes the Google Analytics features further by telling you which companies are visiting your site. Using reverse DNS lookup to determine the companies associated with your audience members’ IP addresses, the tool turns anonymous traffic into segment-able, automatically scored leads for social selling outreach. Just click through from your Leadfeeder dashboard to the provided social media profiles and engage.

#4: Use Storytelling to Engage

You have followers, and you may have caught the interest of some consumers. Your job doesn’t end there. It is just the beginning. You have to engage consumers throughout their journey. Otherwise, they might lose interest in you at any time. There are many ways you can engage your followers like providing useful information, organizing an event or contest, etc. Storytelling I believe is one of the best ways to engage consumers.

Storytelling can happen through a video, an infographic, or just a simple image or post. A good explainer video can be a great brand storyteller. Tell a story about how your product makes life easier and how it has helped other people. You can also tell a story about how your product came to be and some of the important milestones you’ve completed along the way. You can take Airbnb’s amazing photo stories and real-life traveling stories as an example.

#5: Use Targeted Ads

In the case of other online channels, it might take some time to yield results. Social media ads can fetch you results from day one. Therefore, this should be your prime focus. Almost all social media channels have their own advertising platforms. To reach more customers, you can try the ad options on each channel. LinkedIn, for example, has highly targeted advertising options. It will show your ads directly to decision makers. Below are the four major social media platform advertising options:

1. Facebook

Facebook allows advanced targeting for the advertisers. You can also create your page and promote it. As reported by Metricool, the average CPC of Facebook ads amounts to 0.05 USD, which may vary significantly from business to business. It may also vary according to the objective of your campaign.

You can manage your page and posts using a dashboard and then use the Page Insights to understand the analytics. Here is a sponsored post example from Facebook. The aim of this ad is to create awareness and get more followers for the page.

2. Instagram

Instagram has four major options for advertising. Photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and Stories ads. In the carousel, you can add more than one picture in a single ad. Instagram Stories have a wider reachand its full-screen vertical format makes it more attractive. Here is an example of a sponsored post from Elastic Email on Instagram.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has sponsored content, sponsored InMail, and text ads. LinkedIn too is a highly targeted platform. You can buy ads in the auction. You need to bid a price and compete to reach the same audience your competitor is trying to reach. Below is an example of a promoted post on LinkedIn from a Gartner Report.

4. Twitter

There are different types of campaigns you can run on Twitter including promoted Tweets, promoted accounts, promoted trends, and website cards. They have a special platform for social media agencies so that they can serve their clients better. Ferguson, for example, is one of the largest plumbing wholesalers in US. The brand used Twitter ads to talk about their state-of-the-art showrooms to industry professionals and homeowners.

#6: Use Hashtags Everywhere

Hashtags help separate you from the crowd. Your visibility on social media is highly dependent on using the right hashtags. Hashtags get indexed on social media and make posts visible to a wider audience who are searching for a specific hashtag. There is no doubt that people who found you through hashtags are highly interested in your brand. Therefore, it has a segmentation benefit too. For hashtags, you have to be vigilant about keeping up with what’s trending.

However, you could add brand specific or content specific hashtags too. For example, people may look just for your brand, in which case a brand hashtag will help. A specific product or content hashtag will bring in people who are interested in those things in general. Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign is considered one of the best hashtag campaigns.

#7: Count Those Discounts in Your Budget

You should have a budget dedicated to run social offers, discount coupons, and contests throughout the year. They are among the best ways to keep your followers engaged and also to get new followers. You can arrange a dollar-based campaign, a percentage discount offer, or a store credit.

For all of your discounts and offers, maintain a sense of urgency. People act when they feel they might miss out on something. You may not get the best results in your first coupon campaign. You should keep doing experiments on this. You can run this kind of campaign and track results using social media marketing platforms. ShopRite regularly runs coupon campaigns on their Facebook page.

The Takeaway

These are some of the best social selling strategies to help you break the ice and reach more consumers. I cannot emphasize the importance of socializing on social media enough. Build up a strong social media presence, and nurture your relationships with consumers. Keep your followers engaged, but don’t overburden them with unnecessary posts and information. Do your research and do A/B testing to find the best times when your posts will get the most visibility. Be present in the right place at the right time.

Originally published at Socialbakers.com.

About The Author

Shane Barker is the Founder and CEO of Content Solutions and Gifographics. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

7 Tips on How to Use Social Selling to Reach More Customers was originally published in The Mission on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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