People are buying differently today, such as tapping their social media network for recommendations and reading expert reviews online. This has forced marketers to look at new ways of engaging with customers and building long-lasting relationships. One of these is social selling, built around people’s continued focus on social media.
Social selling is a way of using social media to find, engage with, understand and cultivate sales prospects and establish trusted relationships by using thoughtful content and social interactions. Through commenting, liking and sharing quality content, salespeople can underscore their knowledge and expertise around the products and services their buyers are actively talking about. The idea is that salespeople can become trusted advisers in the industry.
There are several benefits social selling brings in addition to increased sales figures. These include better brand visibility, greater visibility and ultimately increased website traffic as more people are motivated to find out about your brand. This in turn leads to be higher quality leads as people prefer informed recommendations over advertising. According to a report by Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertising.
LinkedIn reports that social sellers now attract 45% more opportunities that their peers, are 51% more likely to hit targets and outsell their non-social selling counterparts by 78%!
According to Demand Gen Report’s 2018 Content Preferences Survey, 48% of B2B buyers said they rely on content to research and make purchasing decisions, and that they consume at least five pieces of content before contacting a salesperson.
The best way to exploit this new buying landscape is to provide content and resources that allow customers to harvest knowledge and get information on the latest industry trends, in addition to product and services information. This means that you need to generate high quality content that appeals to your target audience.
Content must provide value
With social selling you must get it right, or connections will leave, frightened off by advertorial-style content that leaves them feeling they are being pitched to instead of feeling informed.
Content must be relevant, engaging and have a perceivable value that people will want to share. It should address the needs and challenges that businesses face, as well as encompass future trends. It needs to carry a definable, identifiable voice which people will come to recognize.
Social selling is by nature a slow burner, it is about nurturing the reader and encouraging them, so that they want to come back for more. To achieve this you need to continually analyze your content to see what works, what sticks and where improvements can be made.
Types of content
As well as informative company blog posts and articles you can share videos, infographics, interesting stats, images and case studies. Don’t be afraid to share personal experiences or even mistakes. These all help to build familiarity and trust, by giving an insight into the author’s personality.
The ability to think creatively in a visual way is an important part of a social selling strategy. According to a paper by the Management Information Research Center at the University of Minnesota, humans are capable of processing images 60,000 times faster than text.
Regularly creating and publishing quality content is an essential way for your company to stand out in an increasingly competitive digital economy. A stop and go approach to content doesn’t work. Consistency is key to building trust and enforcing your reputation.
Content is still king
A study by The Keller Center for Research at Baylor University found that the success rate for cold call appointments is a shockingly low 0.3%. With digital now taking up a large part of the buying journey, selling now needs quality content and social connections.
Social media conversations are taking place about your company and its product portfolio right now. Link in, be part of it, share unique content, increase your sales and establish yourself as a go-to industry expert.
Speak to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you create the content that will make your social media zing. We have helped companies right across the tech and telecoms sector find success with this approach.