If you’ve done any research into B2B social media over the past couple years, you’ve probably come across the popular new term “social selling,” the practice of increasing and enhancing touchpoints by directly engaging with customers through social channels. It may seem like a new buzzword, but if you’re a seasoned B2B marketer, chances are you’re already a social seller without realizing it!
Despite the fact that the definition of social selling above seems like basic social media strategy, many businesses don’t see themselves as having adopted social selling and only 1/3 of the companies have a social media strategy for their sales organization.
In order to truly succeed at this new aspect of social selling, you need to understand how you are already approaching it and improve on that approach. With new, explicit knowledge of what you’re doing – and how it relates to social selling – you’ll find hints for how you can sell with even more intention and purpose than before.
1. Identifying the right prospects
You’re a social seller, first, if you’ve begun your social media marketing efforts by identifying who your prospects are. If you’ve done any sort of market segmentation by visiting relevant forums, conducting surveys, or reaching out to existing customers to learn more about them, you’ve laid the necessary groundwork to establish a social connection with your most valuable prospects.
If you haven’t been very organized in your market segmentation efforts, now might be a good time to revisit them and refine what you know about your customers. To make sure this information informs more than your social media marketing, it should be integrated with the tools you use to sell. Make sure the customer profiles in your CRM and other sales tools include the social information you’ve gained.
2. Personally responding and developing the relationship
Perhaps a customer has left a question on your page about how your product works. Or, someone has left a comment truly praising your service. If you’ve responded directly to such a post, even to quickly answer a question or offer a simple “Thank You!”, you’ve done some social selling.
If you haven’t quite seen it that way before, now is the perfect opportunity to revisit your protocol on responding to social posts from customers and prospects. Set specific guidelines for how your sales and marketing teams should engage with your audience on social. You can use your social media management tool to save posts your team can use to answer common questions. This allows you to control the message you are sending out and gives you a chance to link to one of your content pieces, such as a blog post, in which you’ve addressed specific benefits of your product.
Now that you’ve realized you’re probably a social seller, you can spend time deliberately thinking about how to enhance your efforts to connect with customers and prospects via social channels. With this increased focus on every exchange, you’ll prime your marketing to yield the best results possible from your social media initiatives.
Cover image via @jdhancock