Marketing involves the promoting and selling of products and services. If you’re a marketer you’re essentially a salesperson, even if that’s not how you perceive your job. Most people think a “sales” role consists of these typical activities: endless cold calls, prospect meetings and a whole lot of proverbial doors slammed in your face.
But in today’s business world, the tenets of selling are evolving right along with the core focus of marketing. Consumers no longer stand for being forced and bullied into a decision; instead, they prefer to build relationships with brands, gather information and eventually come to an informed conclusion on their own. Your job as a marketer or a salesperson is to do a better job of highlighting the value of your products and services than your competition.
Social Media Is Changing The Business Landscape
The ability to adapt is one of the most important components of success in both business and marketing. This willingness to pivot and take risks is especially important for truly great digital marketing campaigns due to the fast-paced nature of the Internet. One aspect of the digital space that is significantly shifting the business environment is social media. While some companies are still getting acquainted with the idea of social selling – using social media platforms to generate leads and close sales – the early adopters are busy reaping the benefits.
The simple fact is that in order to sell, you need something very specific: a potential customer. Logic follows that to interact with potential customers, you need to be where they are (waiting for them to come to you just doesn’t cut it). This is exactly why websites and strong digital branding have become such a vital part of marketing over the last decade – if you don’t have the website customers expect it makes a bad first impression. As consumers flock to rapidly growing social media platforms, social activity is becoming just as critical as an engaging website.
From a numbers standpoint, the stats speak for themselves. Recent Forrester research shows that 91% of B2B IT buyers are involved with social media:
On the other end of the spectrum, studies found that 78.6% of salespeople who use social selling out performed those who weren’t using social media – download a free report from here. Essentially, social media platforms are like giant, can’t-miss conferences that literally never stop running. The people who attend achieve more success – it’s not a coincidence. Do you really want to actively ignore an opportunity that big?
How to Master Social Selling
The Selling Process
While it may seem like a daunting task, getting into a daily social selling routine is relatively simple. It just takes 30 to 60 minutes a day and a lot of practice, patience and determination. To get you started, here’s a look at our framework for a social selling routine:
Choose platforms: do some poking around and try to determine which social platforms are most popular in your market. Pick two to start – you can’t afford to be overwhelmed or discouraged. Get acclimated to the social environments of each platform and set up and optimize your profiles.
Research and share: one of the keys to social media is sharing the right stuff. Don’t just share the first article you find and never share something you haven’t completely read. Do your research and only recommend posts and articles that you truly believe bring value and enrichment to your potential customers.
Connect: whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ it’s easy to see who is engaging with you socially. So ensure that you connect, follow, add or circle anybody that seems interested and, you know, be social!
Measure and follow-up: an upside to social selling is that every social platform is easy to use, no matter your location or device. This means you can cut down on speed-to-lead time by quickly engaging with people who share your content and immediately responding to messages and inquiries, even while you’re on the go.
This has simply been a brief outline as to why you need to consider social selling and how you can get started. Dedicated social selling is becoming more important to keeping up with the competition and meeting your sales goals. For further information or guidance on how to better understand and develop a social selling strategy, get in touch with Tony Thornby at WSI Thames.
“Winning LinkedIn Profile – Social Selling Guide” (click link)