Social selling is an essential part of any modern-day sales and marketing plan. It fuses the power and global reach of social media marketing with the personable approach of direct sales, giving you the best of both worlds.
Plus, the results are there too. A recent study conducted by Sales for Life shows that for every $1 invested in social selling, the return is a whopping $5! This is a 500% ROI, making it by far one of the best sales and marketing tactics you can invest in.
In this article, we’ll take you full-circle on social selling. We’ll start with an explainer on what exactly social selling is, and then dive deep and look at how your brand can do social selling right with social listening!
Let’s dive in!
First, what is social selling?
In short, social selling is the process of finding and nurturing sales leads through social media. More likely than not, you may already be doing this to an extent.
How you ask? Well, one of the most basic forms of social selling is simply looking through your LinkedIn contacts and finding people who work for a company that you’d like to sell to.
While that’s a great start, it’s important to note that you’re limited to the people in your personal network. Have no fear though: you can take social selling a step further with social listening.
In the context of sales, social listening is when you and your sales team monitor keywords on social media to find people that are interested in a specific product or service. And don’t worry—you don’t have to do this manually (more on that shortly).
Then, once you've recognized these leads, you can interact with them, establish a relationship, and begin the sales process (e.g. setting up a 15-minute phone call, sending a sales email, or otherwise reaching out)."
Why are social listening and social selling so important?
There are a couple of reasons why social listening is such an important part of modern day social selling. The first is that social media is a huge place where billions of people post their complaints, desires, and feedback on a daily basis.
If you can monitor these wants and needs, you can find and pitch to people that are already looking for your products or services—even if they’re outside of your existing network.
This also helps you filter out people that have no interest in purchasing your products or services, so you’ll never waste time on the phone with someone that isn’t a qualified lead.
Cold calls are getting harder, too
The truth is, no one really liked cold calls (on the sending or receiving end) in the first place, and with phone spam on the rise, you’re more likely than ever to get sent straight to voicemail.
Plus, cold calls are largely impersonal and may be considered intrusive by your leads. As a result, those leads may end up with a negative opinion of your company.
Of course, there are some leads that would love to hear from a company representative. These types of leads are likely to provide their phone number, which allows calls to be scheduled and the sales conversation to begin with a mutual understanding.
Social selling helps further line up and facilitate these types of conversation. Since you’re reaching out to your leads online, you can foster a professional relationship before you reach out to them with a sales pitch, making the pitch a heck of a lot easier (and less awkward).
So next time you notice a lead engaging with your company's social media, it's a good idea from a sales perspective to reply and interact. So next time you notice a lead engaging with your company's social media, it's a good idea from a sales perspective to reply and interact.
This is how to start social selling with social listening
Like we mentioned earlier, you need to start social selling with social listening. To do this, you’ll need a solid social media listening tool (like Social Report) to run ongoing searches for keywords or hashtags of your choice.
But before you dive into the actual searches, you need to find some keywords to search for first. Thankfully, you don’t have to think too hard about these—just brainstorm 5-10 solid keywords or hashtags related to your product or industry.
For example, at Social Report we might search for people voicing frustration on scheduling social media posts to multiple networks. We’d search for things like “social media scheduling”, “social media marketing”, and “Instagram scheduling”.
You can also monitor your main competitor’s @replies. Look for people that are annoyed with a particular feature or service, or people that have voiced that they’re looking for a better alternative.
Let your search run for a couple days, look through the search results, and create a list of leads that may be a good fit for your product. Take down their names, social channels, and any other readily available info.
Then, vet this list of leads and pick out the ones you think are the best fit for your products and services. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, start the process of adding the leads to your network by actively engaging with them.
Generally, you’ll find the most success by building a relationship on LinkedIn. This is where people go to find and make professional connections, so your leads will likely be more open to accepting a connection request from someone they don’t already know.
Alternatively, you can try interacting with your new lead on the network where you found them, or on the network that they’re most active on.
After liking and commenting on a few of your lead’s posts, you’ll want to send your first pitch. This doesn’t have to be a super formal message—just reach out and ask if they have 10 minutes to discuss your product and how it might fit in with their marketing plan.
Social selling with Social Report
As touched on earlier, you don’t need to manually monitor the keywords you’re listening to. Instead, you can simply use Social Report’s awesome Search function.
This tool will run ongoing searches for you across all social networks. These search results update in real-time, so you can stay up to date with all of the new leads that may come in during the day.
Setting up a search in Social Report takes just a few minutes. Here’s how to do it:
Log into your Social Report account and click into the project you’d like to set up a search under.
Click the Search button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen, then, click New Search from the drop-down menu.
Now, fill in the textboxes on-screen. Here’s what each of them mean:
- Name – Give your search a name.
- Where would you like to search? – Choose whether to search everywhere (all publicly accessible networks) or only within your own networks connected to your Social Report account (the people you're following). You can also search m a set of RSS feeds.
- What keywords would you like to search for? – Enter the keywords, hashtags, or social media handles you'd like to search for. You can add any mix of these here.
- What keywords would you like to exclude? – You can exclude specific keywords from your search if you'd like.
- Would you like to restrict results by location? – You can search within a specific country or within a selected radius of any address worldwide. Just keep in mind not all posts from networks are geo-tagged, so using this option will reduce the number of results.
- Click the Save button to start your search.
There you have it! Your search is now initializing, check back in two to three hours to view search results for all of your keywords across all social networks. Social Report updates these results in near real-time, so you’ll always be up to speed with the latest search results.
In addition, you can click the blue pin button to the right of a search result to assign the message to someone on your team. Do this, and you can manage your team’s social selling efforts directly from Social Report—no manually tracking or third-party team management software required.
And that’s all there is to it! Social selling is a surprisingly simple way of finding new leads and selling your products and services, and if executed properly, it can yield huge results.
So, ready to take your company's social selling to the next level? Start your 30 day Social Report trial today!
Have you used social selling at your company? Are you planning on it? Drop us a comment below—we’d love to hear your experience.