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How to use social selling to your advantage

Often mistaken for social media marketing, social selling has replaced the ‘cold calling’ step of sales that everyone wants to move on from. Using your brand’s social media presence is highly advantageous, not only for your reputation and brand awareness across your social platforms but for identifying and converting leads.

It’s a key tool that can be utilised to suit the needs of inbound marketing – as it’s a suitable platform in which inbound marketing can take place. It follows the same principle of building relationships in a sales-based way, playing on the user's familiarity with social media and making sales based on positive interaction.

Providing a more informal digital meeting space

Social media is a great way to sell because it’s really the most comfortable digital setting for you and your customer to digitally interact. Think of it as swapping that formal yet short office block meeting laced with sharp suits and black coffee – for a long and comfortable chat about the same topic over a cup of coffee in a café. Well, social media essentially provides that virtual space to communicate the customer journey and make a soft, long-haul sale within the comfortable boundaries of this 'digital café.’

It’s the new cold calling – because let’s be honest – who really buys from hard-selling phone calls anymore? Figures have shown that cold calling is 1-3% effective – and while hard sells do work overall, social media nurtures and converts leads in a process-based method, that has a far more impressive and organically substantial outcome.

With social media (especially if your product or service is far more based on an initial consultancy, you’re going to want to make your site approachable so that it's easy for your customers to initiate contact with you. Following customer accounts that are affiliated with similar businesses is a light, awareness-boosting nudge simply just to gain exposure and show that your business exists, to place yourself in front of your audience's eye line without being overly pushy. Social selling allows the user more autonomy over what they decide to do – and how and when they would like to initiate the inbound marketing process and embark on the journey of sales-based marketing.

Have you ever been followed by an account because you interacted with an account posting similar content? In the world of social selling, a simple ‘follow’ can be the first part of the ‘attract’ phase of inbound marketing. These simple follow tactics to market to accounts which, based on public activity and profile information are likely to fit into the category of the buyer persona in question. Using social selling is easy to understand. But how can you really make it work to your advantage? 


Make sure you’re looking good

More people initially judge a business based on digital presence more than they do physical presence – of course, because digital has far more reach. Use this to your advantage, and treat your digital presence as a well-groomed shop window. Take the opportunity to make your digital presence as gleaming as possible and spend the time analysing your public bios, your 'following' list, and reviewing your content pillars. Build your digital presence as you want it to look, and ensure that it's consistently reflective of your business and its values, whilst retaining the element of approachability. This is important to adhere to consistency, not only to attract new leads but to keep them interested.

It’s also important to make sure that you consider the impressions given out on different social platforms too. Where LinkedIn might give you a further biofield to flesh yourself out, to give people some information about your business; Instagram might be more limiting due to the character cap. Tweak and review your bio so that it contains the copy that most accurately represents your company. And of course, consider the types of people that will be circulating on the social platforms you’re using. For example, if you’re selling cosmetic products to be used by younger people with a disposable income, then Instagram and TikTok are probably going to take priority. If you’re selling to event stands for an SME or business owner, then LinkedIn is probably going to work more in your favour.

Increase your credibility

People don’t want to buy into something without 100% knowing it really works. Accreditation is one of the strongest things you can have on your social profile. Being socially backed can do wonders for your brand reputation. Forming relationships with your connections means you can ask them for endorsements and positive reviews - which help you secure credibility and improves your business' image. LinkedIn is a great place to gain credibility because it has endorsement features built into the profile editing section. Social proof is a big help!

Of course, you may receive negative feedback on social media too, as unhappy customers tend to use social platforms to negatively review experiences. Keep on top of any negativity so that you can publicly rectify any issues, and prove they have been fixed. Every opportunity to engage with your audience is an opportunity to improve - sometimes they're good and sometimes bad but the feedback is always priceless!

Keep active

Whether there's hybridity of management across your social media accounts, or you're running the whole account yourself, ensure that your social presences are highly active. If you're not engaging in conversations, then start them. Provide content that your audiences will genuinely want to look at while they're scrolling, and make it interactive wherever possible - try and get engagement past a 'like.' This shows that you're active, and keeping up to date with the world.

It's important to treat social selling as though it were a marathon, not a sprint. Social selling allows you to 'nurture' leads - meaning it provides a platform in which you can persuade your customer to purchase based on a slower, yet effective sales process. You want to try and mark the balance between promotional and engaging - without being annoying or spammy. Treat your social media interactions with potential customers as real-life sales conversations, and take the time to get to know them. Dedicate the time and effort into social selling, and over time, your leads will seemingly convert overnight. Building relationships will result in building sales.

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