Social media marketing can be a confusing beast when it comes to delivering measurable outcomes for marketing and sales professionals. There’s a lot of mis-information around what is the most effective marketing activity on the web and what strategies will actually help a sales organization close deals.
Social selling is a secret weapon for crushing sales.
But what is social selling? To dive deeper, I contacted Jill Rowley, a quota crushing sales pro who’s held top positions at SalesForce, Eloqua and Oracle. She’s one of the foremost social selling evangelists and an expert on how to leverage social as an individual or a sales team of 10,000. Listen to the interview with Jill to hear all of the social selling secrets that I couldn’t fit in this post.
We can all agree that social media marketing is required for sales and marketing teams to succeed today, but the questions remain, where do we focus?, how well we do it? and to what extent?
Why social media marketing isn’t optional
The first question I had was “where does social media marketing fit in?” So I tracked down on of my favorite social media marketers, Rabekah Radice and she said “At a minimum, social is required to nurture relationships at scale, engaging, conversing, asking and helping the people in our sphere just like in real life.” The modern equivalent of yesteryears water cooler.
Ok, that makes sense, but what about social selling?
“Social selling comes into play when we have prospects and customers to work with”, says Rowley. “There is no better tool than social to research the buyer, the buying committee and their sphere of influence. This research allows us to be relevant, drive revenue, lifetime value and ultimately advocacy.” Boom, I get it now.
Dating sites are social selling for lovers
What’s become clear to me is that social selling is not just for sales people, anyone who needs to build consensus around an idea, establish credibility, find a job, attract talent, secure funding, and even find a mate, can benefit from social selling.
No I’m serious here. Social selling is really effective for dating, why do you think OkCupid, Match.com and Tinder are so effective? They’ve created highly efficient social networks that facilitate good first impressions with like minded people. But I digress.
With Social, the folks you want to connect with are literally at your fingertips, sharing intimate details of their lives that in past decades you would have had to hire a private detective to uncover. With the right information you have the opportunity to speed up the process of making meaningful connections where trust can be established. That my friend is what social selling is all about.
The social media strategist, Katie Lance weighed in by saying “Authenticity always trumps everything else in social. Being completely myself — not too sales-y, but genuine and authentic. Also, providing tremendous value to people. When you give and give in social media — you can then “ask” for the sale or the referral.”
The art of selling without selling
In another context, Bruce Lee coined the term “The art of fighting without fighting” . Watch the scene to get a laugh.
With nearly 1/4th of all time spent online occurring on social networks and reaching 75 percent of all Internet users. There is an extremely high probability that your customers are there, open to the possibility of engaging with you as long as you follow some rules.
As Chip Kidd says in his popular TED Talk, “First impressions are the key to how we perceive the world, and are perceived by it.” The ability to intentionally create relationships and build consensus around shared points of view are critical to sales success. In today’s connected world, social selling helps us efficiently achieve both.
9 Tactics for Connecting with Social Selling
1. Endorse your customers on Linkedin.
Assuming you like your customers and find value in what they do. Share that with the world. Write a personal testimonial that’s honest and heartfelt, I never met anyone that didn’t love that kind of public acknowledgment, plus it gets seen in their social sphere, influencer marketing at work.
2. Follow your clients on Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin.
One of the best ways to get to know what your prospect cares about is to watch what they do. Pay attention to the details. What is important to your customers and prospects when they’re not thinking about what you have to sell. You may be surprised at the level of intimate details that you discover. It will help you develop empathy and open the path to connecting as a human first.
3. Engage with your clients posts.
It is so simple today to build a relationship with someone on social. Start by retweeting and responding to their posts. But remember, you can’t just do it one time. Consistency is key. I loved watching Peg Fitzpatrick or Canva & Rabekah Radice deepen a friendship on social. It’s easy if you care.
4. Learn about the right topics to talk about.
Imagine for a minute you are going to an interview for your dream job and you have the choice between just looking at the company website or….. reading the Linkedin profiles and twitter posts of the company’s founders, leaders and employees. Which one do you think will prepare you most? My good friend Chris Smith, Author of People Work and the upcoming book, The Conversion Code, say’s it best. “If you can’t take the time to find out what’s important to your prospect, why should they take the time to listen to you”
5. Find your common ground.
Incidental similarities between a buyer and seller are enough to establish a personal connection and increase the likelihood to purchase. It can be almost anything: a shared birthday, alma mater or favorite restaurant.
6. Set up some listening tools.
If you aren’t using a social media management tool, get one. It will make your life a whole lot easier. Here’s some that I’ve used.
7. Connect long before you need to.
Look, no one likes to be sold to, but we are more than willing to go out of our way for someone we care about. I love this quote by Lee Odden of TopRankMarketing, “The day to create an army of influential advocates is not the first day of the war.” Reputations are earned not bought, invest in them and that will reward you handsomely.
8. Maintain a giving mindset.
Shifting your mindset from “what can you do for me” to “how can I help you?” will change the way people respond to you. We still like to buy from the people and places we like. Life’s too busy to pay attention to people that aren’t providing value.
9. Be real.
Nobody like a phony. Don’t do it. nuff said.