Never having to do cold calling again and clients who just come knocking on your door by themselves: What. One. Dream. But in this case, it doesn’t have to stop at dreams. With a successful social selling strategy, you can achieve this. In this blog post, we explain what social selling is and how you can get started!
What is social selling?
Although it’s called social selling, this strategy isn’t about quick sales, it’s about building lasting relationships with your prospects. You will do this via social media, by sharing interesting and relevant content. It is a long-term strategy: traditional sales are more like a sprint, but social selling is a marathon.
In social selling, you as a person are central – so it will not surprise you that personal branding is an important spearhead in this strategy. This is also the main difference with inbound marketing, which it is sometimes confused with. With both strategies, you use interesting content to convince your prospect, but with social selling you use your own network.
Sales are a sprint, social selling is a marathon.
Although social selling can present promising figures, it is not the holy grail. It should be part of a larger, thoughtful sales and marketing strategy. In addition, this strategy requires time and consistency. Only if you keep it up consistently for a longer period of time will you reap the benefits.
Convinced that social selling is something for your start-up? That’s how you get started:
#1 Think why and how you want to do it
Have you taken a close look at your current sales and marketing process? How do you convince new customers today? And what is the answer to social selling?
Social selling is best part of a larger sales and marketing mix. It is unlikely that social selling will replace your entire sales strategy, rather it will support it. Mapping your current approach and seeing how social selling fits into that puzzle will increase your chances of success.
You also need to start thinking about your target audience. Who is your ideal customer? What can you convince him or her of? The better you work this out, the more focused (and therefore more effective) you will be able to get to work.
#2 Develop your personal brand
Start with an audit of your (social media) channels. What are you working on today? And especially, where is your customer active? LinkedIn is often put forward as the ideal social selling channel, but perhaps other channels match better with your target group. It is tempting to bet on everything at once, but it is better to start with one, maximum two, channels.
Then it’s time to start thinking about your proposition: how do you want to market yourself? And how does that relate to your product or service? This will form the basis for the content that you will soon be searching for, sharing and creating yourself. Setting out clear guidelines makes it easier to find the right content.
Don’t forget to add a personal touch to all the content you share and create. That will be the distinguishing factor that will allow you to stand out. Why are you sharing that article? Why do you think these topics are so important? You may share the most interesting content, but if you don’t give it a personal interpretation, you’re nothing more than a human RSS feed. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel: simply putting into your own words what the article you’re sharing is about can be a good start.
#3 Get started!
Once you’ve decided who you’re going to bring what kind of content to on what channel, it’s just time to do it! As with just about anything in marketing, it’s important to test things out. Which content appeals to you and which formats do you feel comfortable with?
How to easily get all that content? Set up information streams that provide you with the most interesting content from your industry. This way you don’t have to go looking for it yourself every time, but the content comes to you.
There are several things you can do: follow the right people on Twitter, subscribe to newsletters, or set up feed readers with relevant sources, like Feedly. It’s just what works for you.
#4 Avoid these pitfalls
Pitfall 1: you don’t plan for it. If you don’t have a concrete plan, you’ll brush it aside as quickly. So: choose a rhythm that is achievable and consciously plan time to work on your posts. Be concrete: for example, agree with yourself to check your feedreader every Sunday night and extract 3 relevant pieces of content from it.
Pitfall 2: You spam your network. Social selling is not about the number of times people see you in their feed – quality over quantity. Constantly sharing (irrelevant) links, sending private messages to your network over and over again, begging for likes,… Go for valuable content that will benefit your network.
Pitfall 3: You only send. Also interact with other thought leaders, influencers and of course your target audience. Social media is ultimately for that. And that way you also find out what is trending in your sector and what keeps your customers awake. So take the time to spend ten minutes at a time – focused! -scroll through your social media feed and actively comment.