A Complete Guide to Social Selling for Marketing and PR Agencies

A Complete Guide to Social Selling for Marketing and PR Agencies

It's an obvious fact that sales reps often battle with generating new and more qualified leads. Today, around

It’s an obvious fact that sales reps often battle with generating new and more qualified leads.

Today, around 90% of people never react to or purchase from the age-old technique of cold pitching. Facing this difficulty, how can businesses generate more leads?

Well, it’s possible to boost traffic and amp up conversions by using the power of social selling.

Yes, social selling. And hey, don’t get confused there is a difference between marketing and advertising. It’s a whole other model that permits sales reps to focus on sales possibilities around the corner and dump the feared practice of cold pitching. Keep reading below this complete guide to social selling for marketing and PR agencies!

Social Media for Attracting More Sales

The growth of social media has been on the rise. But what’s the scope of its adoption in the sales space?

According to a study of Accenture’s State of B2B Procurement, 94% of B2B purchasers do research before they purchase anything, and 55% do online research before buying anything at least half of their purchases.

buyers_percentage

Source: Accenture

And, you would be surprised to know that most of them were using some of the other social networking sites.

A recent research found the following:

  • 91% of B2B consumers are actively seeking social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
  • 4% of senior executives seek help from social media before making any purchase.
  • Social media has a great influence over 75% of B2B buyers.

You see, social media has significantly changed the way people make purchases and the thought process that supports their buying decisions.

Another study found that 46% of people ranging from 18 to 34 years of age make major purchase-related decisions. It’s a significant segment of the audience on social media.

So, now you can understand the power of social media and what it holds for the future of your business. If you haven’t used social selling till now, you’re likely to lose business opportunities.

Let’s understand what it is.

What Does Social Selling Mean?

Social selling is the way toward creating connections to improve sales and augment ROI. From businesses to common people, everyone uses popular social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social selling is a great medium to share content that serves your purpose. Moreover, you get an opportunity to interact with prospective customers. This way, you can build a personal brand, and help in fine-tuning on networking sites.

social-media-icons

Social Selling has gained significant popularity over the years, primarily in Business-to-Business (B2B) selling. It includes wholesales, chain retailing, selling to business organizations or non-profit organizations, advisory, or bulk selling to retailers.

Apart from this, B2C organizations have been utilizing social selling to build relationships with customers. Both B2B and B2C organizations are adopting these techniques over popular social networking sites.

While social selling is often mistaken for marketing, they are in stark contrast. To start with, social selling is centered around sales professionals instead of marketing professionals. Second, It aims to develop one-on-one connections instead of broadcasting the same message to may at one time.

Why Social Selling?

Did you know?

As per LinkedIn Sales Solutions, “78% of sales reps involved with selling on social networking sites are beating their competitors who are not doing so”.

That’s not all. You will see a great deal of stats and figures, which may make you ponder over why your brand should think of investing time and effort in social selling.

If you haven’t embraced social selling yet, here are some good enough reasons to start leveraging the power of the social network.

  • Social selling helps you build Connections

Let’s be honest: Nobody likes cold pitching. Furthermore, it’s not a viable option, as many people don’t respond to it. Utilizing social instruments to tune in to spark conversations that serve the purpose of your industry is known as social listening. It could be people discussing your product line, or your industry rivals. It serves as a way to connect with prospects gradually with the help of valuable information you get from various conversations.

social-media-selling

In a recent survey, one in three B2B professionals claimed that selling on social networking sites helped them increase their prospects. Also, 39% of the professionals said that using social tools have helped them to minimize the time they used to consume for customer profiling.

eMarketer-social-selling

Source: eMarketer

You can create your first source of contact, which could be customized and relevant to your objective with the help of information that people share about their needs and wants. That leads to meaningful and progressive prospects. Moreover, experts from the industry say that social selling helped them to make better and long term associations with customers.

Social networking platforms help in finding new prospects that create trust and rapport. Thus, it leads to recognition and authority when you connect from trusted networks and groups.

In social selling, you get better opportunities over your less socially minded counterparts. It helps you to emphasize on the right people and engage them with meaningful content. This builds credible connections that lay the foundation for personal branding.

  • Social selling improves your sales performance

Around 71% of all business experts—and 90% of top sales reps—are using social selling tools. The numbers are even higher among the youth, with 78% of sales experts using social selling tools. 63% of the sales professionals say these tools are critical to their performance

It is indicative of the fact that recruiting top sales performers will be even harder. Furthermore, brands are adopting social selling to make connections and find business opportunities.

Different Social Selling Practices for Your Marketing and PR Agency

  • To Know Your Customers

Customer research is essential in social selling. The more you know your target customers, the better you can strategize your content and attract their valuable attention.

To serve the purpose, it’s wise to join different groups on Facebook, for example, that are relevant to your business. This way, you can track what’s trending and create similar content to pique the interest of your audience.

Follow what your audience and clients share on their social networks. If the audience likes the content that your clients share, you have a better opportunity to generate leads.

Tools like BuzzSumo can help you to discover content that is trending on social media and is high in demand. You can assess trending topics in the industry that’s a close match to yours to ace your social selling.

This will help you spot content that picks the interest of your target audience.

This way, you can help your clients to conduct customer research and optimize their social content strategy.

  • Effective communication

Large agencies dealing with multiple clients often find it difficult to plan, manage, and run result-oriented campaigns. That’s when top-rated social media content creation and management tools come to your rescue.

You can handle up to 25 client portfolios per account with tools such as Zoho Social.

zoho-social-home

Source: Zoho

It provides your clients with a customized dashboard and helps you to collaborate effectively with them. It eliminates the need for back and forth emails and aids direct communication with clients.

You can track every engagement and respond to comments directly from the tools which streamline the communication. It gives you the liberty to schedule and publish contents on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social channels to improve social selling opportunities.

You can also analyze how your posts perform on different platforms and change your strategy accordingly.

Do note that social selling has so much to do with timing. Advanced tools help you to deliver content at the right time, which significantly improves your client’s chances to reach out and engage the right audience.

As the audience interacts with the content, it sparks a conversation that helps in the process of social selling.

  • Efficient client reporting

Streamlining the client reporting procedure is a tried and true way to up the social selling game for your clients. This way, you get a single dashboard to oversee information from different clients and multiple data sources. This empowers you to keep an eye on every client’s social selling endeavors and the result of their SMM campaigns.

It’s a smart idea to use platforms like Supermetrics that allows users to collect data from one or many Google Analytics accounts. You are required to link this data to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to drive better results in terms of client reporting.

When down correctly, these tips will let you know what works for your clients and how your social selling efforts are helping your clients to perform better in their industry.

  • Increases customer loyalty

According to a study by Twitter and Annalect, 49% rely on recommendations from Twitter influencers.

new_research_thevalueofinfluencersontwitter

Source: Twitter

It is indicative of the fact that referrals influence the purchase decisions of modern-day buyers. The fact applies to both B2B and B2C customers.

To fine-tune your client’s social selling approach, you should plan to set up an effective and convincing social advocacy program. These programs should be geared to ask customers to recommend & share the brand value, services, and products of your client and boost their inflow of traffic and revenue.

Why should customers care to share? Well, because they can accumulate store points, get significant discounts, or grab a prize for sharing your brand’s message!

You can use SocialReferral to create productive social reach and employee advocacy programs. The tool would help your clients to expand their social reach – they can ask their employees to share the company’s content marketing materials and build a reputation in the target market.

These recommendations would influence people’s purchase decisions that will significantly improve their social selling efforts.

  • Check the client’s product category and learn about the queries they get

People use social media to interact with friends and celebrities and discuss varied topics.

It could be about brands they like or dislike or their experiences with specific brands. Some people even ask for recommendations on social media before they make a purchase.

Your task is to monitor conversations carefully when their interaction is about your clients or anything that concerns their market. Mentionlytics is an ideal tool for this purpose. Your clients can participate in the discussion and find an ideal opportunity for social selling. The clients can help buyers make an informed purchase decision, and their responsiveness can dramatically change people’s perception of their brand.

A study by Sprout Social found that 48% of buyers would like to purchase from a brand that actively responds to customer concerns/queries on social media.

Look for conversations where people are seeking recommendations or asking questions about your client’s products or services. Also, look for posts with any brand mentions that have a question, or which is related to your client or its direct market competition.

Additionally, you can use search terms that are intended to boost purchases. Some common yet highly effective words are “looking to buy” or “wanting to buy.” This will allow you to identify your client’s potential customers with relative ease.

  • Focus on solving customer issues

An overt promotion of your clients’ product offerings can negatively impact their social selling performance. It is generally advised to focus on solving customer queries and helping them out in every way possible. This creates the impression that the brand cares and is the best fit to move ahead with.

This involves responding to comments of potential/existing customers that they leave in the comments and inboxes. You need to provide them the content that could solve their purpose and make them like your brand’s services and attentiveness.

Consumers are naturally attracted to a brand that creates and promotes informative content. To boost social selling, you need to craft/tweak your clients’ content marketing strategy, learn their pain points, and give them the perfect solution that answers their customer queries.

Make it a point to deliver content in user-friendly formats. Blog posts, infographics, live videos, and webinars can answer customer queries and improve your marketing efforts.

Further, always keep on trying something new as you never know what could pick your customers’ interest. This way, you can cater to the unique needs of different customers.

You can create multiple social media profiles specifically to cater to a special interest or category. For instance, Deloitte uses different Twitter accounts for their customers. These accounts are for digital consultation, analytics, government services, and many more.

Where to Do Social Selling?

As per important stats found on SalesForce, it’s wise to optimize your profile on big three – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Wondering why?

SalesForce

Source: SalesForce

Here are some of the social networking sites where you can start social selling:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is ideal for participating in social selling, particularly in B2B. 50% of B2B buyers refer to LinkedIn before making purchasing decisions. This makes it essential for you to make a big name for yourself so that buyers turn to you before making any purchase decision. Here are three key ways to use LinkedIn for your social selling.

#1 Be credible

As per the report from Reply.io, a grand number of B2B buyers love to engage with strong brands and sales reps that are recognized as thought leaders.

reply-io-social-selling

Source: Reply

LinkedIn can be of great help to help you emerge as a credible brand and reflect your market dominance. To boost your profile, you can request support and suggestions from the people you are connected to. It helps you gain instant credibility with every new connection that you make.

Ensure that your profile highlights your USP that draws in a prospective client. Also, highlight how you have helped your customers to accomplish their goals in the past.

#2 Grow your network

Search for potential new connections through the LinkedIn Advanced Search by leveraging existing connections within the network.

This way, you can prospect on social networks improve your social selling efforts and grow your business.

#3 Don’t just go social but be social

Join LinkedIn Groups that serve your purpose and make connections with compeers and potential clients. Find new Groups, through the search feature on your LinkedIn homepage that would help you further.

Twitter

Use Twitter Lists to keep an eye over the content shared on particular groups of people. Create lists around different companies, demographics, and people you have met personally. It will help you generate familiarity in all aspects.

#1 Keep Track of Your Current Associations with Clients

Keep an eye on people whom you are currently associated with. Reply to or like their Tweets so you don’t go out of their sight.

Only react to those Tweets that you genuinely like and value, otherwise, people will start taking your actions in vain. Try to put it in front of the public so that your potential clients can get an idea of what kind of businesses you are into.

#2 Keep an eye on Potential Clients through a Separate List

Add prospects to a separate list as you would not like to share this data with your peers as this may be crucial for your business. Make sure that you don’t let your users know that you have categorized them in a separate list and you will disclose it when the time is suitable.

Also, don’t engage with the same sense of familiarity as you do with the customers you are already dealing with. Keep track of requests reflecting their issues where you can give your valuable suggestion through a comment.

#3 Keep Close Tabs with Your Peers

Add your compeers to a separate list and keep close tabs even when you have not followed them on Twitter. This would help you in the ideation of your social selling strategy.

Establish yourself as an industry expert with the help of Twitter chats.

SEMrush-social-selling

Source: Twitter

Facebook

If you are keen to do social selling the right way, Facebook can be a go-to source. As per HubSpot, Facebook can help you optimize your brand value and –

Facebook-optimize

Source: Hubspot

Facebook is highly personal, so, you have to be cautious while approaching your prospects. You should avoid sending friend requests and create a Facebook Business Page instead, to get the audience’s attention.

#1 Connect with other Companies

Try to connect to clients and build your clientele base with the help of their likes, comments, and shares. If you have something valuable to share and comment on, your action is likely to be reciprocated. It helps your professional network to grow as other businesses would also pay attention to what you share and react to it. This will put your Facebook Page before a whole new audience allowing you to engage with other businesses.

#2 Engage with followers

Responding to your followers’ posts is good practice. Ask questions to spark conversation among your Facebook followers. It is generally noticed that posts that ask questions get instant attention than normally posting on Facebook.

Mari-Smith-Facebook-Post

Source: Hootsuite

You can participate in the discussions and interact with your supporters on Facebook. It helps build reputation and authority that paves the way for your personal branding.

You could also ask your supporters about some of their issues that need immediate attention. You address their concerns by creating simple posts and making them public. Make sure you include how your product or service can help.

Prep Up for Social Selling!

Undoubtedly social selling helps you increase your sales and revenue. But, it all depends on how you embrace it!

When it comes to social selling, you should know the people you are targeting. After all, it is about building relationships and nurturing them for which you need fresh content to engage and educate your audience. But, before you build them, you need to make sure you follow the path; only then can you provide value to your customers.

We hope the tips and strategies we’ve mentioned will help you to upscale your social selling.

So, are you prepared? Tell us in the comments below!

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About George Mastorakis

George is a co-founder of Mentionlytics supervising Financial Planning and Analysis and our Cloud Architecture. He is an Associate Professor on Emerging Technologies and Marketing Innovation. His interests include Cloud Computing, Web Applications and Internet of Things.