Guide to Effective Social Selling For PR Agencies in 2018

Gone are the days when PR agencies made cold calls and door to door sales to find new

Gone are the days when PR agencies made cold calls and door to door sales to find new clients. These have been replaced by social selling, a sales tool that comes with the higher potential for finding clients. Social selling refers to the use of social media to target potential prospects. Through social selling, the PR agencies are able to build connections and establish trust with their clients.

Despite the fact that social selling is no longer a new phenomenon, research indicates that not all PR agencies have got to grips with it. Ideally, there are PR agencies that are still using the traditional forms of sales.

The problem is that the traditional forms of sales no longer have a high potential of finding new clients. These include the cold calling and door to door sales strategies. As a matter of fact, 90% of decision-makers no longer respond to cold calls (Chris). Actually, people have become accustomed to blocking unknown callers, and therefore it is not easy trying to reach new clients through cold calling.

On the contrary, decision-makers will accept new connections on social media and read content that seems to be helpful to them. Therefore, it becomes absolutely necessary to find out how these agencies can effectively take on social selling.

In this article, we focus on elaborating the basic steps for implementing social selling for PR agencies. Through this step by step guide, PR agencies will be able to effectively sell to new clients and attain a high client retention rate. Therefore, keep reading to find out where to get started and what exactly your PR agency needs to do.

Step1. Determine the Social Selling Goals and Focus on Solving your Biggest Challenges

In any social media marketing campaign, it is important to begin by establishing your goals. What exactly do you want out of your efforts? There are different goals that PR agencies would like to attain when it comes to social selling.

For example, you might choose social selling to:

  1. Increase the agency awareness
  2. Achieve higher sales
  3. Drive-in-person sales
  4. To Improve your ROI
  5. To Create a higher Loyal Fanbase

PR agencies should first determine the challenges that they want to solve before getting on social selling. Once you have identified what it is you want to solve, you will then set goals that are attainable. Achievable goals will help you to stick to the original plan (York).

For instance, you might want to increase your Sales to a certain figure this year. With your goals set right, you can also determine the right social media platforms that suit your plans. Note that not all social channels are suitable for PR agencies marketing. It largely depends on the goals that you want to achieve when it comes to social selling.

While setting the goals that you want to achieve, it is important that you avoid complicating your sales strategy with too many targets. Instead, make sure each of the strategies has an attainable target so as to effectively implement social selling. Each social media campaign should have a set target to ease the implementation procedure. Otherwise, you will find it much harder if you choose to mix different goals under the same campaign. Under some circumstances, you might find that a single social selling campaign serves different targets, but in others, you have to break down the campaigns to specific targets.

Step2. Research and Learn Everything You Can About Your Social Media Audience

While getting started with social selling, it is important that PR agencies focus on understanding their target audience. Therefore, investing some time and efforts understanding their target audience is worthy. During your research, you should focus on answering the following questions.

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they like on social media?
  • Which topics do they comment on?
  • What do they like to share on social media?

With the above insights, it becomes possible to achieve the set goals because you know where to focus more attention as a social seller. In addition, creating audience personas will help PR agencies to show that they are thinking of their target audience. At the same time, your agency will be able to find out what exactly to offer the social media fans so as to achieve the set goals.

Avoid making assumptions when it comes to learning about your audience. You might take advantage of social media polls feature, gather real-time data or even approach a social selling expert to help you in understanding your audience. Social media analytics help PR agencies in understanding their audiences. In fact, social analytics offer a reliable source of information that PR agencies can use to gather facts about their target audiences.

Example: Social analytics information will show you the number of users on each social media platform. With this type of information, a PR agency focusing on social selling can get enough insights so as to determine the platform that best suits them. Here is a screenshot showing example analytical data from a social analytics tool.

Step3. Research on Your Competitors

The good thing about social selling is that PR agencies can be able to study what their competitors are up to. Basically, through understanding your competitors, you can be able to counter their efforts and therefore retain your clients. You can check out their social media posts, track their mentions online, study what their customers are complaining about, and therefore be able to counter their efforts.

Some might refer to this as unethical, but actually, the same competitors are also studying your efforts. Therefore, if you don’t follow suit, you will most likely face unsuccessful campaigns when implementing social selling. Make sure that your marketing department keeps a close eye on what your competitors are up to so as to make sure they don’t out do you on social media.

However, bear in mind that your goals might be different from theirs. In this regard, as much as you are benchmarking ethically, you will also want to make sure you do it prudently. Otherwise, you will be participating in a wild chase which ultimately leads to unmet social selling goals.

Therefore, even as you study your competitors on social media make sure you implement counter efforts carefully. Understand how the competitor’s social selling strengths might hurt your business. On the other side, make sure you identify their social selling weaknesses and focus on taking advantage of them. In addition, do what the competitors are not doing as long as it promises you a better sales capacity.

Step4. Come up with a Powerful Social Media Content

With social selling, content is king. PR agency that aims at succeeding in social selling should focus on developing powerful content. Come up with content that best suits your social selling goals. For instance, if your aim is to educate your audience, then you should make sure you publish insightful content.

Regular content publishing will help your PR agency retain the social media audience. Note that if your social selling content is boring, you will have a low audience retaining rate. On the contrary, making sure that the audience always read insightful content will help in increasing your audience. This is through high content shares through social media. Social marketers already know how getting a high number of content shares help them in increasing interaction with their content.

As a social selling starter, focus on content that promotes your brand identity online. Strike a balance between building brand awareness and promoting your content. Note that social media followers will most likely stop following an agency shares too much promotional content. Therefore, make sure you come up with content that suits your audience needs. As illustrated above, when you study your audience you will have insights into the type of content that they prefer to see on social media. Therefore, creatively craft suitable content to maintain a high following of your PR agency online.

Include Video on Your Social selling Content

Statistics indicate that video content will actually score higher engagements (Jesse). Therefore, the PR agencies should focus on coming up with more video content for their social selling campaigns. This will help in driving more engagements compared to text content.

We have mentioned that regular posting is important for your social media campaigns. In addition, it is important that you come up with content sharing calendar for your campaigns. For example, you might choose to share content weekly, monthly, or even daily. Whichever best suits you, make sure that your audiences know when to expect to read from you. Also, encourage your social media followers to share content with their connections. To do so, you might want to approach your loyal clients who will help in sharing your content.

Step5. Social Media Listening 

You have come up with appropriate social selling goals for your agency and also developed appropriate content. Now, you should also focus on listening to social media.

It is important that you listen to what your social media followers are saying. Track your agency mentions online and pay attention to what the followers say about your agency. Make sure you respond appropriately and in a timely manner. In many cases, responding to clients concerns about time will help in making sure your clients are satisfied throughout. If you fail to respond, then you might lose some of your potential clients to your competitors.

Social listening can be done using various tools. A good example is the Mentionlytics social listening tool which helps PR agencies to track what their clients are saying online. Through the use of such social listening tool, agencies can effectively respond to clients concerns. This offers a better selling advantage for the PR agencies and therefore increasing their profitability.

Through social listening, PR agencies will also keep track of industry news. You can take advantage of the trending topics related to PR to drive more traffic to your website. The only way to keep track of such trending news is listening actively on social media. Social selling campaigns will also attract comments from your social media followers. These comments offer insightful information on how the PR agencies can improve their services. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that PR agencies invest in social listening.

Step6. Pay Close Attention to Social Media Analytical Data

Analyze your social media marketing campaigns for a chance to identify room for improvements. Social selling campaigns can be analyzed by using various tools that are available online. These analysis tools will measure the engagements. These include the number of comments, the likes, and shares achieved. At the start, the numbers might be low, but over time, you will be able to achieve higher numbers.

With low engagements, this might illustrate that your social selling content is not so good, or maybe you are not reaching the right audience. Therefore, this makes it necessary to keep track of the social selling analytical data so as to identify such shortfalls.

Running blind social selling campaigns will end up to wasting your resources and time. This is the number one enemy in any business. Ideally, PR agencies need to ensure they are getting a high return on investments. Otherwise, a low return on investments will mean that your organization will plunge into losses as you are not getting enough traffic to guarantee you sales. You will be able to determine this through the use of an effective social media analytical tool.

To Sum Up

Social selling enables the PR agencies to achieve a high return on investments only if the agencies implement effective strategies. Therefore, it is definitely important that any PR agency that wants to implement social selling first spends time studying a guide to social selling.

To begin with, any PR agency that wishes to take on social selling needs to make sure they clearly determine their goals and objectives. Secondly, it is important that the PR agency study’s the type of audience they are focusing on. This will help in determining the best social media platforms to use so as to effectively reach the target audience.

In addition, make sure the PR agency studies their competitors online so as to determine what the competitors are up to. Share insightful content for your social selling campaigns to keep your social media audience engaged. Also, listen carefully to what the social media users say about your agency and make sure you respond appropriately. Lastly, keep track of your social selling content to determine how effective these strategies are. A high ROI indicates effective social selling strategy.

Through these basic social selling steps, your PR agency stands to benefit than through the use of traditional selling approach.

About John Kopanakis

John is a co-founder of Mentionlytics supervising Business Development and Business Processes. He is a Professor of Business Intelligence with interests in Data Analytics and Innovation.