What is Social Selling?
The use and growth of social media in the last few years has had a huge impact on the way businesses and companies conduct themselves – from advertising to customer service and selling directly on those platforms, there has been a great deal to learn about and adjust to.
There are now many different terms that use ‘Social’ as a descriptor – social selling, social media management, social media advertising; and it may be tempting to try to combine these elements into one, but whilst some professional services can provide dedicated assistance with all of these issues and operate the varying practices in concert with one another, it must be understood that they are all very different jobs, with their own bespoke best practices and end goals.
What does Social Selling mean?
Social selling is not about getting that sale in and finalized – it is a vital tool which keeps your company and brand at the forefront of the consumer consciousness; it utilizes social media platforms to determine who your customer is, connect with them, understand what it is they want from you and your product (or service) and then encourages prospective buyers to come to your company.
Put simply, the social selling techniques are for relationship building and cultivating brand awareness on a more personalized level; something that is increasingly becoming more important – your customers want to feel that they are important to you, social selling gives you the tools to create customized interactions with your audience and make them feel like they are wanted and appreciated.
Why does Social Selling matter?
Companies who don’t have some sort of online presence are missing out on a huge potential market. In these times where the vast majority of the global population has access to the internet and makes purchases online getting your company name recognized and users aware of your brand is key to success.
In 2016, 97% of global online adults (aged 16 to 64) used or visited a social media site at least once per month – and an estimated 1 in every 3 minutes spent online was spent using social media – with an average daily engagement of almost 2 hours.
Companies who are not seen engaging with their audience will soon fade from the public consciousness – but whilst publicity stunts and one-off events may generate a certain ‘buzz’ it will only last until the next interesting topic arises. Having a social selling strategy allows your company to respond to current events in a manner best suited to your business, it lets potential clients see that you are active and socially aware – encouraging them to engage with you, without having to create an ‘artificial’ engagement that may actually backfire and turn your intended audience away from you.
Social Selling can essentially be broken down into four main approaches:
Creating a Strong Brand
Engaging with your customers
Focusing on your prospects.
Why Do You Need Social Selling?
Having a social media presence gets you brand recognition, allows you to build relationships (not just with potential customers, but other businesses as well), and ensure your customer service is running at optimal speed.
There are many tools available (such as Google Analytics or Hootsuite) which allow you to optimize your approach to social media, and then record a quantifiable data stream to analyze. Getting the right balance of content, approach and channel exposure may take some time – you will need to fully understand who your customer is and what they want from you, then find out which social media platforms they make the most use of (there is no point targeting your advertising at a channel that your target audience doesn’t use).
Once you have created and optimized your customer profile and begun your engagement, you can use the social selling techniques to create further recognition and trust in your brand, generating new leads and potentially new sales.
Using the data provided by the analytic sites, you will be able to see which parts of your strategy are working, which aren’t – which could do with improvement, and which need to be expanded on because they’re doing well.
Social Selling gives you the tools to show your audience that your company is active, aware and approachable, and provides you with the data to turn those connections into potential sales.