Social selling is the latest buzzword, floating around B2B brands and other companies. With social media leading the way for both businesses and consumers to contact and connect with each other, companies are looking for more ways to engage these users.
In our last post, I discussed how tech companies can go about using social media to engage their audience online. In this post, I’ll tackle another question that I’ve been asked in the past – “what is social selling and should I be using it for my tech business?”
Social selling is NOT selling
The short answer to this is social selling is not selling and absolutely you should be using it.
There is, of course, a longer, deeper explanation that goes with this. In this blog, I’ll explain social selling and offer some tips to get started.
The quick definition for social selling is salespeople using social media to interact directly with their prospective customers. Some people have suggested that social selling is where companies sell their products on social media.
Firstly, social selling is not selling.
Social selling is actually about making connections and opening doors that traditional sales tactics aren’t doing or can’t do. It uses your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships for your tech company or B2B, by constantly marketing not only your brand, but yourself.
Social selling starts with the social part – your brand and your employees need to have robust and professional profiles on your various social networks. This allows for customers to not only find out more about your company, but your services, too. Why? Let’s explore:
Research from Forrester found that three-quarters of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before ever contacting a sales representative. This means that before your customers even considers speaking to one of your sales staff, they have already done their research on your company, your products and services, and your competition.
These customers are more than likely going to be contacting someone from your company or sales team through online means, usually through social media. As Amanda Healy, from Tibco Software Inc stated, “your first impression is going to be a digital one.” If your online presence isn’t up to date or worse, you have no online presence, this relays to your potential customers that your brand is out of date and out of touch with the digital world today.
“Your first impression is going to be a digital one.” – Amanda Healy, Tibco Software Inc
Having a digital presence is the first step on building a social authority and that’s the starting process to social selling.
Once your brand profile is completed and your employees have completed theirs, you might think that it’s time to start picking out prospects and sending them your marketing material.
Nothing will make followers and connections disconnect from you faster than receiving sales pitches that might not even be related to who they are or who their business is.
So how does your brand actually sell anything?
You aren’t selling; you’re nurturing
Again, you aren’t selling so much as you are nurturing. Remember, three-quarters of your B2B buying audience is going to be searching online for what they need and want before they ever talk to your sales team. Consider this:
The image below also helps to ‘sell’ the idea of social selling:
These numbers show that tech companies who use social selling are reaping the benefits:
In fact, 89% of buyers will turn away from a company if their salespeople don’t have knowledge or insight into their business. What does this mean? It means that your brand needs to showcase your knowledge within your industry, which is done through your social media channels.
This is why it’s important to make sure that your social profiles are filled out and completed. Your buyers want to know who your brand is and the best way for them to do that if by finding your brand online; if they can’t, they won’t bother to include you within their online search.
The next step for social selling is where the social part comes in – often times, businesses forget about this part of social media. If your brand is just posting information about your products or services, without providing anything else, you’ll turn off most of your followers.
Your brand will turn off most of your followers if you’re just posting information about your products or services, without providing anything else
The 70-20-10 rule is usually applied to businesses who are on social media – that is, 70% of what you should share on social is knowledge or insights within your industry, 20% should be something shared from somewhere else, and 10% should be promotional materials for your brand.
Only 10%? But how will people know about your brand?
That’s easy – again, social media is used to nurture your followers, providing them with information and insightful content about your brand’s industry. By engaging with followers, you build trust between you – this trust is what makes selling to buyers important. Remember – buyers won’t buy from a brand who isn’t knowledgeable, but it’s more than that.
Buyers don’t buy from brands they don’t trust.
That’s why many tech companies have millions, even billions of followers, fans, users, and buyers. For instance, consider Apple – there are millions of users that use the Apple platform, from their computers to their tablets to their smartphones and more. Then there’s Microsoft – many businesses run on the Windows platform, from Server to Windows to Office.
We have a blog on how to build your social authority, that goes through the steps of creating your profiles on social networks and how to present them to your audience.
These are just the first steps into social selling. It’s important to understand that by setting up your social presence doesn’t mean that you’ll get instant followers; growing your presence online takes time, but if done correctly, you can not only gain more followers, but entice them to purchase from your brand.
If you’d like to learn more about social selling or to start your social presence, please contact us.