Social selling might still sound like a scary concept, mostly because you’re not exactly sure where to start… or finish. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide to make social selling that little bit easier. An infographic from Ben Martin walks readers through such a process that only requires a half hour per day. I’ve made some adjustments to this process which makes social selling a lot more effective for me, and I believe will work for you too.
Check out this 12 step plan to follow:
- Set up a LinkedIn and Twitter profile (personal account or company profile)
- Find content to share
- Share it on social media
- Check out who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile
- Send a connection request to any target buyers who looked at your profile
- Look at who liked, shared or commented on your posts
- Send connection requests to buyers who engaged with your content
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups
- Contribute to the dialogue and add insights
- Organize “hot” buyers in a LinkedIn folder
- Share specific content with hot buyers
- Send ‘Call-to-Action’ messages
Now let’s look at some of these steps in more detail:
1. Set up a LinkedIn and Twitter profile (personal account or Connectors profile)
– Add a background photo and descriptive biography. Contact info is a MUST.
– Include a call-to-action (Website/blog link) ideally with a trackable link, so you know which leads are being generated from your Twitter profile and which are from your LinkedIn profile.
2. Find content to share
Quality content. Content you think your target buyer would be interested in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the product you’re selling, it could simply be some helpful tips or advice on a common issue that your target prospect could be facing.
A good approach to content sharing is the ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ technique. The jabs represent content that your potential buyers will find helpful or insightful, but not directly related to the product or service you’re providing, and the right hook is a straight up promotion of what you’re selling.
Buyers are likely to be more receptive towards those who offer valuable content for nothing in return. And if your article really resonates with them, they may even follow you or your business page to get regular updates. This is the perfect scenario for you because now that you’ve got their attention, you can slowly convince them that you’re an industry expert and subtly persuade them that their business would benefit from what you’re selling.
3. Share it on social media
If you’re somehow able to social sell across a multitude of social media channels, then hats off to you. But chances are, you haven’t got the time to manage a large number of channels and do it well. Try sticking to channels that your prospects are most likely to be on. LinkedIn and Twitter have proven to be excellent networks for B2B interactions.
4. Check out who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile
Does their profile match your buyer persona?
5. Send a connection request to any target buyers who looked at your profile
It doesn’t help you to simply “collect connections.” So there’s no point in requesting to connect with just anybody who has viewed your profile. You want to build a connections base of quality prospects who are interested in your company and the information you put out, or are at least curious about it.
6. Look at who liked, shared or commented on your posts
If you post on LinkedIn Publisher, you can find warm prospects on the Who’s Viewed Your Posts page. Look below the graph and demographics for each post, and you’ll see a list of every person who has interacted with the post. You can view them by Likes, Comments, and Shares, and you can even see what they said in their comment or share.
7. Send connection requests to people who engaged with your content
If you find someone who matches your target client, send a personalized connection request mentioning their comment, like or share.
For example, in a direct message, say:
“Thank you for sharing my article…”
“Thank you for liking my post…”
Or on Twitter:
“Thank you for following me back…”
“Thank you for retweeting my…”
Not only are these people familiar with you, but they’ve also had a positive interaction with your content. So when you send your first message they’ll already have a good impression of you, making them more receptive to your connection request and future interactions. Starting a conversation with that first stranger can be tough but it’s all downhill from here.
8. Join relevant LinkedIn groups
Start joining groups that bear relevance to the product or service that you wish to sell. So for example, if you want to sell Lead Generation software, you will want to target LinkedIn groups containing keywords such as ‘Lead Generation’, ‘Marketing Automation’, ‘Marketing Leaders’ or ‘Sales & Marketing Directors’. Because what benefit would there be joining a general sales or marketing group if you are selling a specific product such as Lead Generation Software? You would just be wasting a lot of your time.
Yes, it cannot be denied that more general groups tend to cater for far more interesting and broader discussions. However, it will be far easier to identify prospects and connect with them in more specific groups. At the end of the day, your job is to generate potential leads that will lead to sales, not to appear active online and join as many groups as you can.
9. Contribute to the dialogue and add insights
It is time to start proving your credibility by showing that you are an expert in that specific field. Constantly engaging in conversations and sharing useful insights in the group can accomplish this.
It doesn’t count if your only contribution to the group is “good point, Susan” or “great article, I really enjoyed it!” I mean, it can’t hurt, but comments like these will ultimately fly under your prospect’s radar.
A nice way to start is by posting a short article to the group (can be more of an opinion piece. Perhaps a controversial one – one that is argued well) and asking group members to give their own opinion on the topic. Do they agree or disagree with your article? Do they have anything to add? Hopefully you will get a discussion or debate going and you can directly interact with prospects. But now instead of your interaction being “thanks for liking my post”, you’ll be replying to their opinion based comments with more insights and helpful advice.
But don’t get argumentative, your replies must remain professional and helpful. Your goal in these group discussions is to showcase yourself as an industry expert that is providing them with insights that your competitors are not, and to prove to buyers that you are genuinely interested in solving the problems that they regularly face.
10. Organize “hot” buyers in a LinkedIn folder
These are buyers who are showing the most positive response to your messages, content, product or company.
11. Share specific content with hot buyers
You need to figure out what stage in the ‘buyer journey’ they are in. This should influence the type of content you share with them. Or even better – they express to you a specific issue they’re facing, allowing you to showcase your expertise and willingness to go that extra mile for a prospect/customer in need by providing them with tips and advice.
12. Send call-to-action messages
This part comes when you feel you have nurtured a prospect to the point where you’ve built a trusting bond with them. Knowing more about your target (creating lists and tracking their insights) can help you to find opportunities to introduce the company/service in the right moment.
“… This Free Digital Sales Platform from my company might help give you a boost. Link.”
“… I`d love to speak to you about how our businesses can help each other.”
“… this article might help you.”
Use digital selling tools to make the whole process easier and more effective
For example, Connectors Marketplace Digital Selling Tool can help to identify the leads that are most relevant to your business and give you access to live activity from all their social media profiles, as well as their work contact information – all in one place! This makes lead generation, social selling and lead nurturing so much easier and much more effective.
By following these 12 steps, your social selling strategy will give you that competitive advantage today and will make sure you’ve got the right skills for the long run. Smartphones allow us to access social media 24/7. Sending a Tweet to a prospect is like texting directly into their pockets. As younger generations move up the career ladder you will find digital natives as the ultimate decision makers. You want to make sure your selling strategy caters to them.