How to Make Time for Social Selling

Learn how to make social selling a habit with tips to engage more effectively and efficiently.

April 24, 2016

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The thought of investing time in social media engagement can feel overwhelming. You might be thinking to yourself, "How can I find the time to share updates on a regular basis? Where can find enough content that other people would find interesting?" You may also think that there's a lot of fluff to sift through on your social feeds.

This post is about breaking through that resistance and showing you some easy ways to dip your toes into the social waters. 

Gary Vaynerchuk once compared social to exercise. He said, "Everyone can fit it in" with, for example, a little less TV or sleep. He added: "If it's important to you, then you make it part of who you are."

There are tricks to making the exercise of social selling easier, and they apply no matter how advanced your game is—whether you embraced social selling years ago or haven't even opened a Twitter account.

Make It a Habit

Start off slow. LinkedIn's Head of Social Media Koka Sexton writes, "When trying to form a new habit, the key is to commit to specific actions every day, no matter what else comes up."

Start by blocking off time in your daily calendar to engage on LinkedIn—even five minutes. And do it the same time every day as part of a routine.

Research shows that context matters. Opening up LinkedIn in the same place and at the same time (i.e. at your kitchen table before your workday starts) can help make it habit by sending prompts to your brain that it's time to do that work.

Schedule Messages Ahead of time

Tim Hughes of Oracle gets up at 5 a.m. every morning, feeds his cat, then eats breakfast and "Buffers" up (his words for queuing up the day's posts on Buffer). The tool is one of many (like Hootsuite and TweetDeck) that allow you to schedule a whole week or more of messages in advance.

This saves a bunch of time. But again, start slow. You'll want to share interesting posts that add value—even if that means a modest beginning, like a couple of posts on LinkedIn and three Tweets each week.

Once you've started to make social engagement a habit, you can move towards posting more. Buffer suggests about three tweets and one LinkedIn post per day. Hughes posts to LinkedIn twice a day.

Set Alerts and Allow Time for Replies

You'll also want to do a lot of social listening. Oddly, the biggest mistake people make using social media is not making it social. Entering conversations with others by sharing their updates, replying, mentioning them, and retweeting is the most important part of growing a following.

This doesn't mean you have to stare at your LinkedIn feed all day, waiting for someone to post something you can comment on with some authority. 

Instead, set up alerts for key terms relevant to your business. There are all sorts of ways to do this: you can use a tool like IFTTT to be emailed when a tweet mentions, say, "accounting software"—or you can create Google Alerts for new posts by influencers or news you want to comment on.

You can also use a service like Hootsuite to set up live streams around relevant keywords used on social media. All the posts mentioning that phrase—from everyone on Twitter and your followers on LinkedIn and Facebook—will be loaded into that stream.

With these alerts set up, it’ll be easy to post updates on your area of expertise, helping to build a following. Soon, you'll want to be replying to influencers and your sales prospects when they post about the topic.

Of course, your time is important to you. And as you can see, it's not going to take that much of it to get your game plan started on social media. But it is going to take some, and the investment is worth it.

To round out your social selling strategy and gain a leg up in the sales process, download our eBook: How Personalized Selling Unlocks Competitive Advantage.