Social selling is the process of using social media to reach out and engage potential customers. It’s about building relationships with people, not just looking for a sale. LinkedIn is perfect for social selling, being the most well known and powerful networking tool for professionals with over 875 Million LinkedIn Users.
LinkedIn helped us to grow ThinkWow to what it is today, we grew our following with our personal brands which led us to work with incredible clients and grow our network massively. In this blog, we’re showing you how you can do the same!
What is the goal of social selling?
Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships with them, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. Social selling enables better lead generation and eliminates the need for cold calling.
The goal is to find ways to connect with people who are not yet customers and build relationships with them over time. Then, when they’re ready, you can introduce them to your company and help them make a purchase decision (or whatever else they need).
The idea behind social selling is that businesses can use their existing customer base as a starting point to generate leads and close sales.
In order to do this, you need to know:
- Your target audience
- Their needs and wants
Then, sell them something that solves those problems.
Want to begin your social selling journey on LinkedIn?
We might be a bit biased, but LinkedIn is the best social network for businesses to start using social selling techniques. It’s a powerful sales tool when used strategically, not just because of the sheer size of its user base, but also because it offers many opportunities for businesses to use its features in creative ways.
Social selling on LinkedIn involves building a network of potential prospects by sending connection requests and nurturing your followers with valuable content. Over time, you begin to develop a reputation for being a leader in your industry and become a recognisable figure.
How can businesses use LinkedIn for social selling?
LinkedIn is one of the most popular professional networking sites because it allows users to create profiles that showcase their skills and expertise in various areas – including customer experience!
The platform also allows businesses to create company pages where they can post job openings, lists of employees and more. You can also follow other companies and individuals on LinkedIn so that you can keep up with their latest news, updates and insights into their industry or niche area.
The social selling process step by step
Once you’ve researched your target audience and the platforms you want to start social selling on, it’s time to start your LinkedIn social selling journey:
Set up a LinkedIn Profile
The best advice for your LinkedIn profile is: Be yourself! Demonstrate your skills and experience but don’t forget that your brand is PERSONAL – so this is your space to showcase your personality and personal values too.
When it comes to personal branding, use a professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile picture (but don’t look too serious), use recognisable brand colours for your posts and make the most of your LinkedIn banner – it’s free advertising space! Over time you will develop a recognisable style. Remember: your industry doesn’t have to be boring.
Creating a personal brand will help drive traffic to your business page. This is where you can build a professional brand. Today’s world of B2B buyers are very selective and will only work with companies they can trust. If you build a strong professional brand, it shows you are an active and trustworthy participant in your industry and leads to more inquiries from prospects.
Start to develop a LinkedIn network
Developing a LinkedIn network comes with time. The best way to start doing this is looking at other people in your industry and industries that you are interested in and sending connection requests. However, a connection request is most likely going to ignored if you don’t interact with people.
Commenting on posts is going to give you exposure to more potential clients and even helps boost your content every time you post. It’s recommended to send messages to connections too (make sure these are personalised) that way you’re creating a conversation and making sure you stand out from the crowd.
LinkedIn’s filters and search functionality are the best way to find potential prospects. Using LinkedIn’s advanced search function, you can find target your prospects and join relevant LinkedIn groups too. Groups provide an easy way to connect with people who share similar interests. You can also see how you’re connected to other LinkedIn users through mutual connections and this will help you grow your network fast.
Create valuable content
Posting content on LinkedIn can feel intimidating when you first start out but everybody starts somewhere. Don’t feel overwhelmed and put off by the amount of people telling you to post 3x a day and always be consistent – it just isn’t realistic. Regularly posting high quality content is more important over posting every day and will also help attract new leads.
Start by outlining 3 content pillars, these are large topics/pieces of content that you can turn into smaller pieces of content to give you inspiration. Choose topics you feel comfortable talking about and topics you want to be known for talking about, this gives you something to always come back to.
Your content will help build up your personal brand and vice versa. Any professional content you post can include stories from your personal life with unique perspectives that only you can bring to the table. Any life lessons you’ve learnt that have helped you today or barriers you’ve overcome in your career can be turned into inspiring posts that other people can relate to.
Creating relevant content is essential for engaging your audience. Research your target market and show how you can solve their needs. Creating content that addresses their needs and pain points will attract their interest and gain their loyalty. Try to niche down your content so it isn’t too generic, you’ll gain great leads with specific, targeted content that solves problems.
What to look at when analysing your social selling success
So you now know how to start building a personal brand, building up your network and creating great content. But how do you measure your success? You need relevant insights such as:
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
The LinkedIn sales navigator can help you measure success with social selling. It’s only available as a paid feature and is available for both individuals and teams. It helps you to improve your search and expand your network. It can be a good investment for businesses as it can target more likely prospects who are interested in your services.
Social Selling Index (SSI)
The Social Selling Index (SSI) is a LinkedIn tool that measures how successful your social selling efforts are. The score ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest possible score. There are four different areas that make up the SSI:
Social media usage – How often you use social media in your job role and how many hours per week you spend using it.
Social media presence – How many people you have in your network and how many new connections you make each month.
Social selling skills – Your ability to engage with prospects and customers through effective messaging.
Personal brand strength – How well known you are as an expert in your industry.
LinkedIn analyses these and compares you to the average in your industry and in your network. What’s even better is that LinkedIn updates your score daily, so you can see your growth and see opportunities to improve!
Is social selling same as the Social Media Marketing?
A social selling strategy is NOT the same as having a social media marketing strategy. They work together. Social selling is carried out by the sales team to use social media platforms to their advantage by engaging with prospects daily. While social media marketing is used to create content that appeals to your audience and achieves the branding and marketing goals of the business.
Does social selling really work?
Yes! If you build the right strategy, nurture you audience and build strong relationships while building up your own reputation then it will work wonders!
Who created social selling?
Nigel Edelshain was the first to put the science into practice. He named it sales 2.0, after the rise of web 2.0. However, we know it as social selling today. Social selling has given us detailed analytics on customer habits, new ways to engage with potential customers, and powerful tools that help us predict trends.
How can ThinkWow help you with social selling?
LinkedIn helped us to get our business to where it is today and we wouldn’t be where we are without it. We want to help other businesses maximise their potential and use LinkedIn to their advantage, so contact us today!
With all the information in this blog, it’ll be no surprise for you to hear that:
“78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media”
It’s worth investing the time into a strategy for LinkedIn and will pay off for your business in the long run.
If you’re still confused about social media marketing and social selling, don’t worry! We have a whole blog on the differences between social media marketing and social selling here!