Social selling is a new approach to selling that allows salespeople to laser-target their prospecting and establish rapport through existing connections.
Social selling — maybe you’ve heard of it, but you aren’t entirely sure what it means.
Think it’s the same as social media marketing? (Spoiler: It’s not.)
Or maybe you think it’s basically just social media advertising? (Second spoiler: Also no. That’s something else altogether.)
In short, social selling allows your business to zero in on business prospects on social media and build rapport with a network of potential leads. Done right, social selling can replace the dreaded practice of cold calling.
If you have not yet incorporated social selling into your funnel, you’re likely losing business to more social media savvy competitors. But once you’re done reading this guide, you will have all the information you need to change that.
Social selling is the practice of using a brand’s social media channels to connect with prospects, develop a connection with them and engage with potential leads. The tactic can help businesses reach their sales targets.
Think of social selling as modern relationship-building. Actively connecting with potential customers on social media can help you be the first brand a prospect considers when they’re ready to make a purchase. And it can replace outdated relationship-building and sales techniques like cold calling!
What social selling is not
Social selling is certainly not about bombarding strangers with unsolicited Tweets and DMs. That’s spam. Don’t do it.
Social selling is not just about adding new contacts to your list. It’s about making those interactions meaningful and presenting your brand as having a solution to a problem. When you do that, you’re more likely to build trust and loyalty.
If your brand has a Facebook Business Page, a LinkedIn page or Twitter profile, or is active on any other platform, you’re already engaged in the basics of social selling.
The social selling index (SSI) is a metric used to measure the impact of a brand’s social selling efforts.
LinkedIn first introduced the concept of the SSI back in 2014. The LinkedIn SSI combines four components to establish a score. It looks at whether you are:
4 reasons your business should care about social selling. If you’re still not sold (see what we did there?) on social selling, here are 4 reasons why you should give it a try.
1. Social selling works. Don’t just take our word for it. According to LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ internal data:
A recent Forbes article states: “87% of business event professionals have canceled events because of the pandemic, and 66% postponed events.”
Networking and relationship-building have shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and now is the perfect time to prioritize social selling.
Social selling creates opportunities to connect with new potential customers on social media, where they’re already active and engaging in conversations. Using social listening tools allows your sales reps to go a step further and identify leads who are already talking about your business, your competitors or your industry.
That means you can reach out to an audience who already have an interest in what you’re offering and authentically connect with them, offering useful information when the time is right. Authenticity builds trust — and that, in turn, can become customer loyalty.
3. Your customers (and prospects) are already engaged in social buying. In the last six months of 2020, 25% of Americans ages 18 to 34 made a purchase via social media. India, the UK, Australia and New Zealand all saw approximately a third of people ages 18 to 34 make a purchase via social media in that same timeframe.
4. Your top competitors are already social selling. Using social selling means staying competitive. Other brands are active on social media interacting with potential customers on popular social platforms. According to data from Statista: “In 2020, an estimated 25% of e-commerce enterprises worldwide were planning to sell their goods on social media.”
Now, consider the numbers: