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Social Selling

Social Selling in 2017 | Best Practices & Tools

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The omnipresence of Social Media has influenced Social Selling to be the most popular buzzword amongst successful sales people.

Communicating with prospects, engaging with them, building meaningful relationship and ensuring conversions are incorporated under Social Selling features. It helps sales people delight their prospects via social mediums without interrupting their regular lives with cold calls and other hard sells attempts.

Businesses are quickly including Social Selling in their marketing strategy, and as per a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Hootsuite in May 2017-

“49 percent of B2B enterprises have developed a formal Social Selling program, and 28 percent are in the process of doing so.”

However, despite being so popular and very different from Social Media Marketing, people still misconclude Social Selling with Social Media Marketing, and that is why, to clear the air, I thought to come up with this post.

Social Selling

How Social Selling is different from traditional selling

In this post, you will get to know what is Social Selling, why you need it, how you can do it on different social channels, etc. in 5 simple steps. So, let us delve into those steps-

Understand Social Selling in 5 Simple Steps

1. What is Social Selling?

Social Selling can be understood as a practice that utilizes social media networks for recognizing, connecting, convincing and converting sales prospects. It is very useful in nurturing meaningful relationships with the potential customers to cajole them consider you as a natural first point of contact whenever any of them is/are ready to make a purchase. Businesses that have embraced Social Selling into their marketing strategy are able to influence potential customers throughout their buying journey and ultimately ensure sales success.

  • Social Selling is done by using online social tools that help successful sales professionals create and execute the relationship-building strategies that convert potential customers.
  • With the help of a Facebook Business Page, professional Twitter account, or a LinkedIn profile, we all are already involved in the basics of Social Selling without exactly knowing what Social Selling really means. Therefore, the only thing that you should know here is how Social Selling is different from our regular social engagements.
  • Regular social engagements revolve around being active on different social platforms and accessing contacts, but in Social Selling, you need to build relationships by strategically comprehending the right moment to join the social conversations so that you are perceived as a solution to problem that your audiences may face.
  • In Social Selling, you should never bombard strangers with unsolicited Tweets and private messages as those would be termed as ‘Spam’ and your prospects would swipe and delete your message. With Social Selling, you ought to make life of your prospects easier.

Now that you have understood how to sell through social media by using Social Selling, let us look at why you need it-

2. Why you need Social Selling

Social Selling

Social Selling Benefits

The primary reason is Social Selling works and works in the most conversion-oriented way possible. Stats prove that 78 percent of salespeople who are engaged in selling on social media are outselling their competitors who do not know what is Social Selling and how to use it for their business. 2 of the most common and powerful reasons why you need Social Selling are-

1. Social Selling empowers Sales Team build relationships that sustain and convert

  • Cold calling is not going to offer any notable advantages to your sales people. In Social Selling, you use social tools that help you go through the conversations relevant to your industry. This is social listening that guides sales teams identify new leads (who are already interested in your industry, your business, or your competitors). This allows you target them at right time with the most relevant and useful information.
  • Social tools reduce the amount of time sales team spend researching accounts and contacts. You can make your first point of contact personalized by using the information that prospects provide about their preferences, wants, needs and pain points on their social profiles. This will help you build deeper relationships with your prospects.
  • As per stats, having strong Social Selling index ensures 45% more sales opportunities, plus, 51% amongst those become able to hit their sales quota

2. Your prospects already use Social Buying & your Competitors have already embraced Social Selling

  • As sales people use Social Selling to find target audiences, those prospects are already using social listening and social search for finding potential vendors, which is actually termed as social buying. This makes it extremely important to use selling of social because if you are not showing up in your prospects’ social purchase research, you will miss the opportunity to optimize your sales conversions.
  • In its one of the posts, Hootsuite says-

“The good news is that, according to LinkedIn, 76 percent of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers, and more than 62 percent of B2B buyers respond to salespeople who connect with them to share insights and opportunities relevant to their business. Even better, 92 percent of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader, a reputation you can establish by consistently posting thoughtful, relevant content on social media.”

  • Another important reason to use selling on social media is your competitors who are already considering it to optimize their sales. Approximately 71 % sales professionals are already using Social Selling tools while most of the top salespeople always prefer having Social Selling tools in their kitty.

After knowing why you need Social Selling, the next thing that you should know is best Social Selling practices, so let us dig deep into those as well-

3. Best Social Selling practices

Some of the most important Social Selling practices are-

1. Identify leads by Careful Listening

  • Prospects share valuable information on their social channels that actually tell you about their preferences and it is must for you to pay heed upon those information
  • You should monitor what prospects are saying about you, plus, you should check your leads’ following and followers, as this will help you customize your messaging as per the information people share on their professional social profiles

2. Expose yourself and show up

  • For building relationship, it is important to make yourself approachable and humane in your approach. You should also optimize your social profiles across all social networks
  • You should also ensure that your social profile shows up when your prospects are searching for the influencers and experts in your industry

3. Provide value & establish meaningful relationship

  • Providing valuable insight to the right prospects at the right time is one of the most important practices of Social Selling. You should contribute valuable information that can not only help your prospects but also establish you as an expert in your field
  • You should establish relationships on social profiles that can eventually lead to a sale and not for making a sale on the very first contact. Staying in touch with your new social contacts over time and paying attention to the content they’re posting will help you establish a meaningful relationship with them
  • Sending a quick note of congratulation to your contacts when they move to a new position or company or offering solutions to the queries of your prospects will help you have conversion driven relationship with your prospects
  • Empowering life of your prospects will help you ensure better relationships with them

4. Social Selling on Different Social Media platforms

Social Selling

Social Selling on Different Social Platforms

1. Social Selling On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most powerful social platform to do effective Social Selling. Especially in the B2B space, it is highly result driven. Overall, 50 percent of B2B purchasers utilize LinkedIn as an asset when settling on their buying decisions- And that is why you should be dynamic on LinkedIn to position yourself as a player in those choices. To ensure Social Selling on LinkedIn-

  1. You need to be valid that you can do by building your credibility on LinkedIn. You can ask for recommendations and endorsements from connections, as these are posted on your profile and can give you believability with the new contacts.
  2. Expand your network for which you can utilize LinkedIn Advanced Search that reveals potential new connections by utilizing existing connections.
  3. Join LinkedIn Groups that are important to your industry to begin organizing with associates and prospects. You can also utilize the search feature on your LinkedIn home page to discover new Groups, or look over LinkedIn’s proposals of Groups you may like.
  4. You can also try Sales Navigator of LinkedIn, which is actually the professional Social Selling tool of LinkedIn.

2. Social Selling On Twitter

To ensure selling on Twitter-

  1. Use the list of Existing Customers for replying or liking their Tweets, as this will help you keep yourself on their radar. However, you should not try too hard; instead, it is advisable to make your engagements genuine and significant. You should “like” Tweets that you really like, and just comment when you have something profitable to state.
  2. You should identify your prospects and then wait for the right time to engage with them. Lists of prospects should always be private. You should never let your clients know that you have distinguished them as prospects until the point when the time is more right than wrong to connect.
  3. You should have a list of competitors that ought to be private. This will give you a chance to monitor them without really following them. Valuable insights that come from this can help you have some great ideas for your own particular Social Selling endeavors.

3. Social Selling On Facebook

You must be somewhat more watchful when selling on Facebook, as Facebook is the most personal of the three social platforms we discuss in this post. A few people just would never prefer to blend business and fun on Facebook, so sending them requests as business prospects may appear to be creepy as opposed to supportive. You might need to make a Facebook Business Page rather, and then you can incorporate following strategies for your Social Selling on Facebook-

  1. Connect with other businesses as through Facebook, it is quite easy to connect with them via shares, comments or likes. In the event that you give valuable comments and share valuable content, your effort is probably going to be reciprocated to. In return, other businesses would also share and like your content.
  2. You should engage with your followers that you can do by asking a question that can spark a conversation amongst your followers. This will also enable you to participate in the discussion and connect specifically with the followers, making a feeling of compatibility, plus, also establishing yourself as an expert.
  3. However, it is not always essential to use questions that are directly related to your product or service.

5. Social Selling Tools

These Tools are extremely important for targeting and monitoring leads, nurturing relationship, building social media presence, and tracking leads.  5 of the most useful Social Selling Tools are-

  • Mi8 is quite effective to build interesting customer profiles over time that help sales professionals comprehend buyer’s journey of a prospect, plus, it also update about key interests of the prospects
  • Hootsuite is one of the best selling tools on Social Channels for easily sharing content over different social platforms, plus, it also helps in social listening, and engaging with prospects on social channels
  • Nimble combines CRM with social that keeps you alert on what is going on in social and help you manage customer relationships
  • LinkedIn Sales navigator is quite useful in identifying key stakeholders at accounts, plus, it provides insights that assist sales people start a dialogue with your prospects
  • Meltwater helps sales people in social monitoring and listening

Final Words

The four pillars of lead generations, conversions and sales are-

  1. Building Relationship
  2. Establishing Rapport
  3. Increasing Credibility
  4. Right Solution to Right People at Right Time

Social Selling helps you do all of these, plus, it alleviates the whole task and optimizes the advantages of existing relationships and connections to build an extended social network of prospects and potential buyers.

I hope over mentioned 5 steps would have helped you understand what Social Selling is, but in case you wish to know more about it, Social Media Marketing Course can help you in the most useful way possible.

Amongst the aforesaid Social Selling Practices, which practice made you curious?- Share your thoughts in comments.

A Certified Corporate trainer involved in Leadership and Life Skills coaching with a holistic 3Q approach. As an E-business Influencer and Digital Media Trailblazer, my forte includes Business leadership, Branding, Social Media and Digital Marketing, Online Advertising, Global Marketing Strategy and Refining of Marketing Processes.
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