Leonardo DiCaprio proved that he can be a great seller with the help of social selling techniques!
Even if you didn’t see The Wolf of Wall Street movie, you probably saw the scene in which Jordan, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, hosts a lavish sales meeting with his team. He delivers an electrifying speech, motivating his salespeople to connect with their clients on a personal level. He emphasizes the importance of building relationships, understanding clients’ desires, and positioning themselves as trusted advisors rather than just salespeople.
There you go, now you know the practical definition of Social selling. Every time you see DiCaprio, you will remember the social selling concept.
In this article, we will dig deep and provide you with everything you need to know for understanding and implementing social selling in your career path.
What is Social Selling
In simple words, Social selling definition is selling with the help of creating a relationship with customers. In recent years, companies try to use this strategy using different kinds of social media and platforms to expand their networks and gain their trust before selling to them.
More precisely, it is a strategic approach for sellers and companies to use humanized relationships to create a bond with customers rather than just trying to sell. With this strategy, sellers try to create a trusted connection with prospects and provide value to them through this connection. Exactly like Jordan in The Wolf of Wallstreet.
When an SEO expert creates and shares an article about how to increase website traffic on LinkedIn, he is proposing value to his prospects and placing himself as a professional that people can trust. Therefore, when someone from his connection needs a service in this field he knows he can trust the mentioned expert.
In other words, Social selling integrates personal branding, information exchange, networking, and social listening into all stages of the sales process using social media, CRM, and salesforce technology.
Social selling is a modern approach to sales that involves building relationships and providing value to prospects mostly through social media and online tools.
Unlike traditional selling, it eliminates the need for travel, saves time, and allows salespeople to reach a wider audience.
Social selling can help establish strong relationships with customers and build trust and credibility, ultimately leading to increased sales and customer loyalty. To implement a successful social selling strategy, one must consider growing their network with relevant people, providing value, being consistent, developing their brand, and monitoring results to refine their strategy.
Social Selling Index
The Social Selling Index (SSI) is a metric developed by LinkedIn that measures an individual’s effectiveness in leveraging social selling techniques on the platform.
It provides a numerical score based on four key pillars:
- Establishing a professional brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
The SSI takes into account factors such as profile completeness, connection quality, content sharing, and engagement with others’ posts.
It serves as a valuable tool for sales professionals to assess and improve their social selling strategies. By monitoring and optimizing their SSI, individuals can enhance their online presence, expand their network, and effectively engage with prospects. A higher SSI indicates a stronger social selling presence and a greater likelihood of success in leveraging LinkedIn as a powerful sales tool.
You can check your Linkedin social selling index (SSI) here.
Traditional selling vs. social selling
Social selling is a more modern approach to sales that take advantage of technology and the power of social networks to connect with prospects and build relationships. But technology is not the main reason for this popularity, the results of companies that use social selling can prove the effectiveness of this approach.
While traditional selling still has its place, social selling is becoming increasingly popular and effective in today’s digital age.
Here are some of the major differences between traditional and social selling.
- Typically involves one-on-one interaction between a salesperson and a prospect
- Focuses on persuading the prospect to make a purchase
- Often involves cold-calling and other outbound techniques to reach potential customers
- Can be time-consuming and expensive. It may require a lot of travel and in-person meetings
- May rely heavily on the salesperson’s personal charm and persuasion skills
- Involves using social media and other online tools to connect with prospects
- Focuses on building relationships and providing value to prospects
- Often involves inbound techniques, such as sharing helpful content and engaging with prospects on social media
- Can be more cost-effective and efficient than traditional selling. It reduce the need for travel and allows salespeople to reach a wider audience
- Relies on the power of social networks and the leverage of relationships to generate new leads
Why social selling is important
The internet helped customers to have access to many products and services all across the world. They also can access easily the information they need to satisfy their demand. However, since the competition is becoming more fierce than ever before, customers seeking trusted sources of information to help them choose between many different options. This is where social selling can be a key factor of success for many companies, especially newcomers or SMEs. Here are some of the reasons you should invest in your social selling strategies:
Establishing an effective and strong relationship
By leveraging social media and other online tools to connect with prospects, share relevant content, and provide value, this strategy enables sales teams to establish a strong relationship with customers. This can help build trust and credibility and ultimately leads to increase sales and customer loyalty.
Customers are currently involved in social buying
Potential customers use social media to research products, read reviews, and seek recommendations from their networks before making purchasing decisions. By engaging with customers on social media and providing helpful information, companies can position themselves as trusted sources of information and increase the likelihood of making a sale.
Your biggest competitors are using it
Many of your biggest competitors are likely already using social selling strategies to reach and engage with customers. By not investing in social selling, your company may be at a disadvantage and could miss out on potential sales and market share. Investing in social selling can help level the playing field and enable your company to compete more effectively in a crowded marketplace.
Social Selling Best Practices
To have a successful social selling strategy you need to consider 5 major principles.
Grow your network with relevant people
Social selling is not about increasing your connection list, it’s about building a relationship with the right people. Try to focus on the quality of your network, rather than the quantity. When you are connected with probable prospects, sharing relevant information with them actually brings value to them.
The goal of social selling isn’t to promote your products or services but to provide value to your audience. Share useful information, answer questions, and engage with your followers to establish yourself as a trusted source of information.
Consistency is key when it comes to social selling. Post regularly, engage with your followers, and respond to messages in a timely manner. Like any other kind of relationship, social selling takes time. Be patient, consistent, and keep providing value to your future customers.
Develop your brand
By establishing a consistent presence and voice across all your social media channels, you can create a sense of trust with your audience. As a social seller, you need to build your brand and place yourself as a trusted source of information. This means being an expert and showing your audience that you are knowledgeable in your field. Consistently provide valuable content that aligns with your brand message and mission. This will increase your chances of converting your audience into customers as you establish trust with them.
Monitor results and refine your strategy
Use analytics tools to track the success of your social selling strategy. Monitor your engagement rates, lead generation, and sales to determine what’s working and what’s not. Try to modify your strategies based on the results of your activities. Experiment with different types of content, platforms, and messaging to see what resonates best with your audience.
6 steps of starting social selling
If you want to start using social selling strategies or you are beginning to organize your social activities toward this strategy, you need to follow these 6 steps:
1- Identify your target audience
Before you can effectively implement a social selling strategy, you need to know who your target audience is. Identify your ideal customer and use social media to connect with them.
Pro tip: Knowing your audience means you should gain an in-depth understanding of their needs and preferences. One effective way to achieve this is by creating a Persona, which can provide valuable insights into your customers’ behavior and decision-making processes.
2- Select the right social media platforms
Determine which social media platforms your target audience is most active on and create a presence on those platforms.
3- Optimize your profiles
Create social media profiles that are optimized to showcase your brand and expertise. Use professional images, write a clear bio, and include links to your website and other relevant information.
4- Provide value
Create and share valuable content, answer questions, and provide helpful insights that are relevant to your targeted audience. Prove them that you are an expert in your field. Whenever you encounter captivating articles that pertain to your field, don’t hesitate to share them! These effortless conversation initiators can help you offer value to others and build credibility with your potential customers.
5- Grow your network
Connect with people who fit your target audience and engage with them by commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and starting conversations.
6-Monitor your results
Use analytics tools to track the success of your social selling strategy, and make adjustments as needed based on your results.
How can you improve your Social Selling capabilities?
There are some activities that sales professionals can do, to implement social selling strategy.
- Personal branding
- Information exchange
- Social listening
Let’s explore these activities in more detail to enhance your social selling strategy.
It Is a critical aspect of a successful social selling strategy. As a sales professional, you are perceived as the face of your company by your customers, which makes your personal brand a vital factor that directly impacts your customer’s relationship with your company. A research study conducted by Amoako and Okpattah in 2018 demonstrated a positive correlation between personal branding and sales performance.
To establish your personal brand, you can leverage social media profiles, personal websites, and content delivery to create a consistent and recognizable brand image. As a brand ambassador for your company, your personal brand can help you establish a unique professional identity that can set you apart from your competition and help you build lasting relationships with your customers.
As you go about your daily activities, you can gain valuable insights by interacting and exchanging knowledge with your customers. With the rise of digital media, you and your customers can now easily share information with each other, creating a two-way flow of communication.
Instead of simply pushing information to the customer, this approach pulls the customer towards you, putting you in charge of the process. This shift from a traditional one-way approach to a two-way exchange of information leads to better understanding and reduced uncertainty for both parties. In the end, it can result in mutually beneficial solutions.
Networking is a skill that has been around in sales for a long time, but social media has taken it to the next level. Through social media, you can now easily find and connect with potential customers by participating in the same online spaces as your target market. To be successful in social selling, it’s essential to identify and build the right network. Networking should be a daily habit if you want to maximize your chances of success in social selling.
Salespeople build customer trust by listening, and social listening transfers that attention to the online environment.
By monitoring what customers are saying on social media, you can gain a deeper understanding of your market. This insight may even prompt changes to your sales team’s strategies or the services offered by your company.
Benefits of Social Selling
Social selling has become a crucial part of any sales strategy in today’s business world. Here are some of the top benefits of social selling that you should know.
- Increased brand visibility
- Improved relationship building
- Enhanced lead generation
- Increased sales productivity
- Improved customer insights
Increased brand visibility
By consistently sharing relevant and valuable content, engaging with prospects, and building a strong personal brand, salespeople can increase the visibility of their company’s brand. For example, a salesperson who consistently shares thought leadership content on LinkedIn may attract new prospects who are interested in their insights.
Improved relationship building
Social media allows salespeople to connect with prospects on a more personal level, creating a more authentic and humanized sales experience. This can lead to stronger relationships and increased trust between the salesperson and the prospect. For instance, a salesperson who engages with a prospect on Twitter by commenting on their posts and sharing relevant content may establish a stronger relationship than a salesperson who only reaches out via cold email.
Enhanced lead generation
By using social media to identify and engage with potential prospects, salespeople can generate more qualified leads. For example, a salesperson who searches for relevant hashtags on Twitter and engages with users who have expressed interest in their industry may generate more leads than a salesperson who only relies on traditional lead-generation methods.
Increased sales productivity
Social selling can help salespeople streamline their sales processes and prioritize their efforts more effectively. For instance, a salesperson who uses social media to identify which prospects are most engaged with their content and most likely to convert may be able to focus their efforts on those prospects, leading to more efficient and productive sales processes.
Improved customer insights
Social media provides a wealth of information about customers and their preferences, allowing salespeople to tailor their sales pitches and offerings to better meet customer needs. For example, a salesperson who uses social listening tools to monitor customer conversations on Twitter may identify pain points that they can address in their sales pitches.
If you want to read more about social selling benefits, we strongly recommend you read the “Why social selling is the inevitable future of E-commerce marketing” article.
- Social selling is a modern approach to sales that leverages social media and online tools to build relationships and provide value to prospects.
- Traditional selling is still relevant but social selling offers a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a wider audience.
- Social selling helps establish strong relationships with customers, position companies as trusted sources of information, and increase sales and customer loyalty.
- To be successful at social selling, focus on growing your network with relevant people, providing value, being consistent, developing your brand, and monitoring and refining your strategy.
- Identify your target audience, create a plan, optimize your social media profiles, engage with your audience, and measure your results to achieve success in social selling.
- Remember that social selling is about building relationships and providing value, not just making sales. By focusing on creating a positive and helpful experience for your customers, you can build a loyal and engaged audience that will help your business thrive.
Frequently Asked Questions about Social Selling
What is Social Selling on LinkedIn?
Social selling on LinkedIn refers to the strategic approach of using the platform to build relationships, connect with prospects, and ultimately drive sales. It involves leveraging LinkedIn’s features and tools to engage with your target audience, share valuable content, and establish yourself as a trusted industry expert. By utilizing LinkedIn’s network and showcasing your expertise, you can effectively nurture leads and generate business opportunities.
How do you do social selling?
To engage in social selling, start by optimizing your LinkedIn profile to showcase your personal brand and expertise. Identify your target audience and connect with relevant individuals and businesses. Share valuable content, such as industry insights, helpful tips, and thought leadership articles, that resonate with your target audience. Actively engage with your connections by participating in discussions, responding to comments, and offering valuable insights. Consistency, building relationships, and providing value are key elements of a successful social selling strategy. You can read more in this section of the article:
6 steps of starting social selling
What is an example of social selling?
An example of social selling is a sales professional leveraging social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, to connect with prospects, build relationships, and drive sales. For instance, a salesperson might use LinkedIn to engage with potential customers by sharing relevant industry articles, offering personalized insights, and participating in industry-specific groups. By establishing themselves as a trusted resource and building rapport, they can effectively nurture leads and convert them into customers.
What are the 4 pillars of social selling?
The four pillars of social selling encompass key aspects of an effective strategy:
* Personal branding: Establishing a strong personal brand and showcasing your expertise.
* Targeted prospecting: Identifying and connecting with the right prospects who align with your ideal customer profile.
* Engaging insights: Providing valuable and relevant content to your audience that educates, inspires, and sparks conversations.
* Building relationships: Actively engaging with your network, nurturing relationships, and fostering trust with your connections.
What is a social selling strategy?
A social selling strategy is a planned approach to utilizing social media and online platforms to connect with prospects, build relationships, and drive sales. It involves identifying your target audience, establishing a strong personal brand, creating and sharing valuable content, actively engaging with prospects, and leveraging analytics to measure and refine your efforts. A social selling strategy aims to establish credibility, foster trust, and position yourself as a trusted advisor, ultimately driving conversions and business growth.
Image credit: Liubov Dronova and freepik.com