This Week’s Big Deal: Selling on Social Media in 2019
August 12, 2019
According to the latest data, around 3.5 billion people are now social media users. That’s nearly half the global population. If you’re a seller and you’re wondering whether you should be active on social, this number alone should answer the question.
Of course, it’s not enough to just be on social media. If it were, every sales pro with an Instagram account would be swimming in leads. Your social media use should be as strategic as any other sales tactic you use.
What equates to an effective social media presence? You want to seem credible and authentic. Knowledgeable and relatable. Helpful, but not pushy or intrusive. This can be a fine line to walk, but the top-performing modern sellers do it well.
Let’s take a spin around the most popular trending B2B sales content on the web, zeroing in on the critical topic of social media selling.
Developing an Effective B2B Sales Presence on Social Media in 2019
First off, I’ll establish that LinkedIn is going to be the primary focus of today’s exploration. This is, after all, the LinkedIn Sales Blog, but more importantly it’s a B2B selling blog, and 80% of B2B social media leads from come LinkedIn.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be active on other platforms — and much of the following guidance will be applicable for any of them — but LinkedIn presents the ideal environment for business-oriented sales conversations, given the mindset of its members and the amount of professional data available.
Show Your Passion and Expertise
In my experience, buyers prefer to work with sales reps who A) know what they’re talking about, and B) clearly enjoy talking about it. Your social media presence offers a chance to broadcast these qualities openly.
In her recent post at MarketingProfs on using social media to boost B2B conversion rates and generate leads, Tessa Burg suggests that you “get your geek on.”
“Use social media to demonstrate excitement about your own offerings and, more important, the customers you serve,” she writes. “If your audience members see that you share their passions, they're more likely to be interested in your company.”
It’s a good idea to tailor your LinkedIn profile with this in mind. You want to trigger instant recognition and fellowship with people who work for the companies you serve (or wish to serve). Share and create content with a similar angle. Add your unique perspective on industry trends and events. Let your passion shine through.
Become a Valuable Resource
There’s only one place on the web people visit more often than social media networks, and that’s search engines. Why? Because the most common reason people get online is to satisfy their curiosities. On social media, the motivating question can be as simple as, “What are people talking about right now?” But oftentimes — especially on a platform like LinkedIn — they’re hoping to learn and grow.
In her piece at MarketingProfs, Burg adds that answering questions is a great way to empower yourself and your company as authoritative experts that are eager to assist. As a salesperson, you might not have all the answers, but there’s an opportunity to collaborate with your in-house resources (product managers, technical experts, etc.) who can lend a helping hand when you come across a member in need. Chances are they’ll appreciate it, and remember it.
Where can you find people asking questions? Try searching relevant hashtags or LinkedIn Groups.
Activate Your Colleagues
There’s only so much one person can do when it comes to reaching and engaging people on social media. Your impact can be magnified exponentially when combined with your teammates, who all have their own distinct networks.
Kelly MicKey wrote at Business 2 Community earlier this month about the power of social media for B2B organizations, citing several statistics that illustrate the dramatic effect an active team on social media can have on sales, marketing, and your overall brand. Whether through a dedicated employee advocacy platform like LinkedIn Elevate or a more informal effort, it’s wise to place an organizational emphasis on tapping the social influence of each person in your company. They can all play important roles.
Help Overwhelmed Decision Makers
We wrote here last week about new research from Gartner indicating that, more than quality information, today’s buyers are looking for help sorting through all the information they receive. Salespeople who are able to serve as guiding lights are outperforming their peers.
On the Smarter with Gartner blog, Jordan Bryan elaborates on these findings. “To help buyers find a way forward, sales reps must use sales interactions to help customers make sense of the information,” she writes. “Sellers employing this approach help customers prioritize various sources of information, quantify trade-offs and reconcile conflicting information. Sellers that do this reduce the skepticism buyers have towards them and increase the confidence buyers have in their purchase decision.”
With this in mind, you may want to orient your social media presence more toward providing clarity and context around all of the content on people’s feeds, rather than solely adding to it.
Identify Mutual Connections
A prospect is far more likely to give you the time of day if you can strike an instant note of familiarity. Gaining an introduction from a mutual connection on LinkedIn vastly increases your likelihood of getting a response from a decision maker and moving a conversation forward.
TeamLink is a feature in Sales Navigator that makes it easy to pinpoint these common connections. When we recently highlighted successful modern selling strategies, one example was HCL Technologies, which has leveraged TeamLink to drive dramatically increased visibility with key accounts, leading to big revenue gains.
Modern Selling is Social
If you’re not incorporating social media as part of your sales repertoire, you are undoubtedly leaving opportunities on the table. There are many different ways to take advantage of these platforms for business development, and most of them aren’t directly about selling — they’re about connecting, interacting, and building relationships.
The five techniques listed above are proven winners when it comes to each of these goals.
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