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E-commerce brands around the globe have been utilizing social media marketing for decades to build and cultivate relationships with potential and current customers.
And with over 65% of potential customers conducting most of their research before contacting a business, it’s become more important than ever to provide value and engagement as a sales representative.
Today, we’re going to discuss some ways you and your team can utilize social selling in 2022 to achieve long-lasting sales success on platforms like LinkedIn. Let’s get started.
Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide to Social Selling 2022
What is Social Selling?
Social selling refers to the art of utilizing social media to connect, cultivate, engage, and build relationships with leads through value-filled messages, resources, and conversations.
Typically, a social seller will compile a lead list and then work down the list with a sequence of highly personalized, curated messages.
The prospects will either engage or be nurtured later on with a specific campaign curated for them, provide more value through an ongoing relationship and answer specific questions to help alleviate friction through the rest of the sales process.
Social selling has quickly begun replacing less valuable sales tactics like door-to-door sales and cold calling — and there’s never been a better time to get your own campaigns going.
Optimizing Your Profile for Social Selling
Before you can settle into sending curated messaging to clients, you have to optimize your profile for optimal selling results.
Think of your profile as the pre-cursor to the final sale. If it’s not optimized, you probably won’t make the sale. Let me explain:
Let’s say you’ve sent a message to a list of 200 contacts; most of them respond, and the conversation is going well. You decide it’s time to make a pitch, and you’re 99% sure nearly all of them are warm enough for it to take.
It doesn’t. What went wrong?
You didn’t optimize your profile, which means there’s no phone number or website linked for potential customers to do research. And no research suggests they can’t effectively vet what you’re saying or utilize your contact information to learn more.
Hence why it’s never been more critical to ensure your profile is optimized and updated for the best possible results. But how can you go about doing that?
#1 Updating Outdated Information
When it comes to setting yourself up for social selling success on social media, updating any outdated information, including:
- Your profile picture
- Your cover photo
- Your tagline/headline
- Job history
- Contact information
- Relevant awards
- Current and past job descriptions
- Relevant URLs — especially your company website!
Your profile and cover photos should be personal and professional. Don’t make people guess which person is in the photo — it should be just you — and you want to look your best. Remember: for many people, your name and profile picture is going to be their first impression of what it will be like to do business with you. Make it count!
#2 Providing Social Proof
As easy as it would be to just believe people will listen and buy products without a second thought, this isn’t typically the case.
Customers want social proof. They want to see the stories that back up your claim. Case studies, white papers, and blogs are things you want to make front and center on your profile. Pin them at the top if you can, or provide links within your bio and job descriptions.
It’ll help build trust, propel your relationships forward and help you close more deals. What’s not to love?
#3 Going Above and Beyond
Typically speaking, the more personal and professional information you can provide, the better.
Keep this in mind when you’re optimizing your profile. Having a profile picture is great, but having all of your prior job histories, some tidbits about yourself, memories, white papers, press releases, etc., right where your prospects can find them will make a huge difference.
So if it feels excessive but it’s also something that helps tell your story as a person and a business, never hesitate to include it! Your prospects (and results) will thank you.
Each Stage of the Social Selling Framework: Explained
The art and science of social can be broken into four distinct areas of expertise. And by doing this, we’ll get a better understanding of the “why” behind social selling.
- Listening to your audience
- Find out what they need, what they’re looking for, what they’re afraid of, and what’s keeping them from utilizing your product or service.
- Providing context and information about why and what you’re selling — and specifically, why your audience cannot live without it. (or why they can but won’t want to.)
- Now that you’ve successfully identified and begun educating your audience, it’s time to engage them personally — one-on-one — and builds a personal relationship with them. Find out what excites them and how you can help!
- You’ve successfully gotten the ball rolling and gotten the attention of your prospects. They’ve utilized a meeting link, and now you’re all ready to make the big pitch! And with all of your educational content under their belt and several conversations about things you enjoy, there’s never been a better sales set-up.
Social selling is very much an art, but it’s also a science. And when you have it down, the successful results are bound to follow.
How to Create a Successful Social Selling Messaging Sequence
When it comes to creating a successful social selling messaging sequence, there are five things to keep in mind:
- Being personal is always a good idea. But being too personal can scare prospects into ghosting. Remember to keep it balanced! Using first names, responding to specific questions, and engaging with discovering questions are powerful tools in helping prospects feel more comfortable and help you to shed the “bot” persona.
- Just like with your profile, you’ll want to introduce social proof within the first few messages to help cultivate trust between you and your prospects. This can include white papers, blogs, certificates, e-books, videos, case studies, and more.
- Be authentic. Prospects can smell inauthenticity a mile and a half away. This means if you’re working too hard to push a sale or being overly enthusiastic or too friendly, it’s not going to go over well.
- Avoid burying your prospects in messages. Five, including a connection request, is a good number to start with. And if you don’t get a response, a simple “Sorry to bother you! If you decide you’d like to discuss anything we’ve been chatting about, just click my meeting link. Otherwise, I hope everything is well on your end of the world!”
- No means no. Similar to the point above, if a prospect says no or doesn’t want to discuss, don’t push it. They have their reasons, and it’s our job to respect them and their point of view.
Ideal social selling messaging sequences are short, somewhere between 4 and 5 messages, to the point but full of value, personalized representation, and reflective of brand tone.
Ideally, you want each message to stand on its own, but when placed in a sequence, tell a story.
Is it Time to Take the Conversation Somewhere Else?
You’ve had some good conversation, and things are beginning to look promising — is it time for you to take the conversation somewhere else?
In my opinion, it’s always a good idea to move towards something outside of social. Phone calls and video calls are by far the best medium for this, and there are tools that can help simplify the move, like Zoom and Google Calendar.
At the end of the day, the less friction, the better chance you have of closing the deal. Being able to book a meeting or shoot someone a phone call removes friction around people not logging into social and thus missing your messages or just avoiding their inbox altogether.
Social Selling 2022: Winning Best Practices
2022 is going to be a big year for social selling- and we want to help you seamlessly close deals and nurture relationships online with these winning best practices. Let’s dive in.
#1 Determine and Set (Reasonable) Goals
You’re ready to start social selling — but you’re not totally sure where to start. This is where setting attainable, worthy goals are important.
You don’t want to discourage yourself by putting your goals too far out of reach, but you also don’t want them to be too easy to reach because it won’t help you push for bigger, better results over time.
The moral of the story: be ambitious, but be reasonable.
#2 Utilize Your Buyers’ Language
It can be tempting to utilize the same language you use in everyday life, whether it’s the lingo you use on the job or even your brand voice.
However, it’s actually more useful to utilize the language of your buyers instead of the language of your brand. And I don’t necessarily mean the lingo or typing style, though this can play into it.
Instead, you want to speak their language in a direct, emotional way. Communicate with them in a way that says, “I see your struggle. I hear how you’re coping with this. Let me help you.” Because at the end of the day, we’re all emotional beings — and appealing to the emotional side of a buyer is much more likely to be successful than attempting to play it cool in your own language.
#3 Take Advantage of Referrals and Introductions
If you can land referrals and introductions, don’t hesitate to utilize them!
Some people feel like it’s “cheating” or “unprofessional” to ask for an introduction, but it can be one of the most powerful, organic selling techniques available.
You’ve taken the time to cultivate and develop a relationship with someone — and if that helps get your foot in the door with other prospects, you’re already well on your way to social selling success.
#4 Continue Developing Your Personal Brand Online
As you continue cultivating a relationship with your prospects and landing new connections, don’t forget to continue developing your personal brand.
Regularly posting informative content on your profile will go a long way in establishing yourself online as a thought leader. And can further educate your audience, making the sales process that much easier.
Social Selling 2022: Your Ticket to A Brighter Future for Your Business
There is so much untapped potential when it comes to social selling. Whether you’re looking to increase leads or taking steps to expand your network and connections, social selling is a wildly effective tool in your sales arsenal- and one that is quickly growing in popularity.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take advantage of the benefits of social selling in 2022. All you need to get started is this guide and a social media profile on LinkedIn or Facebook (LinkedIn is our preferred platform) and start crafting messaging that fits your goals.
Do you have questions? Don’t hesitate to drop them below!