How the Reluctant Social Media User Can Excel with Social Selling

Social Selling for Skeptics: Tips for Reluctant Social Media Users

June 26, 2017

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The world of social media carries a number of negative stereotypes, many of which are well warranted. At times it can feel like a cesspool of vitriolic venom, faceless bot accounts, and hokey hashtags.

For salespeople, a distaste is perfectly understandable. In certain ways, the inherently impersonal nature of interacting on social platforms runs counter to the core principles of selling. A public message or tweet may feel much less engaging than a face-to-face meeting, or a phone call, or even a thoughtful email. As such, it is no surprise that many traditionally trained salespeople are put off by the whole deal.

But in today’s environment, ignoring these channels is not really an option. The statistics surrounding social selling in the B2B space are undeniable. Cold calls and cold emails are rapidly losing any semblance of efficacy. Data from the LinkedIn’s State of Sales survey last year revealed that 90 percent of top sales pros are using social selling tools, and that individuals utilizing these tools are much more likely to hit their quotas.

If you feel like you may be lagging behind on this front, the good news is that you don’t need to reinvent your entire sales approach in order to conform. There are several simple strategies that can help you get what you need out of social selling without diving headlong into the realm of status updates and viral memes.

Social Selling for the Social Media Skeptic

1. Polish Your Public Profiles

This takes a little time up-front, but the payoff is worth it. Here is an exercise: Google your name (or, if your name is common, add a job title or location). Then, check which social media profiles pop up toward the top of the results. These are likely the same search results your  potential prospects and leads will come across.

Keep this in mind as you carefully craft and tweak content for these pages. If you are more of the private type, don’t feel the need to share personal information with the world. Instead, use these profiles to establish yourself as a knowledgeable, approachable, and helpful individual in your field. Ensure your contact info is always up-to-date, and use fitting keywords to make yourself discoverable.

2. Set Up Alerts and Notifications

Monitoring social media for opportunities does not mean you need to have feeds open 24/7, consuming your attention constantly. This is the beauty of alerts.

Identify specific terms or hashtags that interested buyers or researchers seeking your solution use frequently. Then, enter them into a social media monitoring tool. This can provide you with a real-time stream of mentions, queries, and conversations relating to your product, service, niche, or brand (not to mention your competitors). With many of these services you can set up email notifications when prioritized phrases appear, lessening the need for ongoing diligence.

3. Lean on LinkedIn

The single biggest issue with social selling, from my view, is that it often involves pestering people in places where it’s unwelcome. Folks mostly surf Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for leisure, and don’t care to be sold while using them. It feels invasive.

LinkedIn, however, is business-driven by design. While this does not mean we should start unleashing a barrage of salesy or promotional messages upon LinkedIn members, there’s nothing wrong with using the platform as a research tool and for developing professional connections. Take advantage of the wealth of relevant data available to you. Educate yourself about a prospect and his or her company. Use InMail for targeted outreach that stands out from the clutter.

LinkedIn Groups tied to your specific industry or niche are also great places to network. Make sure you contribute useful information and insights, rather than pitching products or services, and you will build trusting relationships with tremendous future value.

4. Know Where Your Customers Are

Regardless of the industry, they are almost certainly on social media; statistics show that in 2017, more than 80 percent of the population has at least one social networking profile, up from 24 percent less than a decade ago. But the usage habits of different demographics can vary dramatically.

Certain platforms, like Facebook and Pinterest, usually lend themselves more to the B2C side. LinkedIn and Twitter tend to be more conducive to B2B activity. At a high level, the latest Social Media Update report from Pew Research provides some illuminating data points with regards to which types of users are on which platforms.

5. Stay Active

Or, at least, keep up appearances. When people visit your social media pages and find a dead zone, they might get the wrong idea. Contrary to popular belief, maintaining an active presence doesn’t require a ton of commitment; it can be as simple as jumping on a few times per week to share quick tips or interesting articles. This can also assist with your discoverability factor, as people are likely searching the terms you’re discussing.

You will also want to make sure you’re responding to messages, mentions, and comments. Again, setting up email notifications will make this much easier, eliminating the need to log in and check for engagements frequently.

With these pain-free, practicable pointers, you can greatly improve your social selling impact even if you generally prefer the old-fashioned approach to selling.

For a more in-depth exploration of utilizing these methods throughout the purchasing cycle, check out LinkedIn’s definitive resource: How to Use Social Selling at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey.