How to Start Social Selling - 9 Tips to Set Up Your Strategy

So, you know what social selling is and have decided that you want to use it to grow your business. Smart decision. But simply knowing what social selling is and recognizing its benefits isn’t enough to truly begin using this strategy to your advantage.

Social selling can be complicated. It requires a long-term approach and genuine communication skills that you use to develop real-world relationships with prospects. Luckily those skills can be learned. By dedicating yourself to the discipline and improving your skills over time, anyone can become an adept social seller.

But before you can really begin to gain experience in social selling, you’ll have to start from the ground up. To start social selling, you need to create a strategy that helps to keep you laser-focused,defines your social selling goals, and positions you or your team to grow genuine relationships with prospects that will work to your benefit for months and years ahead.

To put together that winning social selling strategy, you need to understand what is necessary for an effective strategy, while being able to break your strategy down into individual tasks for scheduling purposes. As you set out to get started with social selling, use the following tips to help you set up an effective strategy that positions you for success.

Tip #1) There are Two-Parts to Social Selling


Social selling is really multiple strategies wrapped up into one. Effective social selling is a combination of outbound prospecting and inbound marketing. For outbound prospecting, you identify who your prospects are and then make initial contact with them. Then, you use inbound marketing techniques to continue the relationship building process and build trust.

Prospecting involves gathering intelligence and learning as much as possible about each prospect. Being great at prospecting sets the stage for success. Without being able to identify candidates that will be a good fit for your product or services, you hamstring your whole process. If you couldlearn only one thing, it should be effective prospecting. All success flows from there.

Inbound marketing is a broader strategy, but certainly plays an integral role in social selling. An inbound marketing system is meant to attract prospects to you or your company sharing useful resources and educating them. Through this education and engaging in regular interactions with your target audience, you will ultimately make prospects come to you, instead of contacting them cold and offering your services.

Tip #2) Define Your Social Selling GoalsEffective social selling requires continuous improvement over time. To become a better social seller you have to track your experiences and learn from your mistakes. Constantly work to optimize your social selling process and identify areas for improvement.

For the purposes of improvement, it is critical that your executives, team leaders, and managers have clearly defined team goals. Know what success looks like to your company. Every strategy must be tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) that you use to gauge success and determine what is working and what isn’t. Once you have your KPIs chosen, you can then attach those KPIs to very specific goals.

For instance, key performance indicators for a social selling strategy might include things like:

  • Number of meetings booked
  • Engagement and reactions
  • Account follower growth
  • Deals closed
  • Conversations started


Deciding what is most important to your overall social selling strategy is important. Choose a metric that closely aligns with your organizational goals. Directly connect your business goal and that metric.

For instance, you might set a goal that each salesperson on your team should book at least 8 phone meetings per week. While closing deals is valuable, it is often too far down the social selling process to provide any real insights into the small optimizations you can make over time. It’s better to choose a metric that highlights your ability to identify and nurture prospects so that you can implement optimization to your processes and strategies over time.

Tip #3) Invest in Education


Education is important. Sure, you can try to go into social selling completely green, hoping to eventually make progress as you go. You might even find some success. But with a little bit of planning and education, you can position yourself to start building meaningful relationships and closing deals right out of the gate.

This is especially important for teams with multiple salespeople. Sending an entire team of rookies out there into the wild isn’t going to do you much good. The education they receive from experience is invaluable, but you can shorten the path to success by investing in basic training for your teams.

Not only will it make them more effective, but they will go into their initial conversations, knowing what they’re doing. Allowing your team to collaborate to find the best way to approach potential clients, nurture, and grow relationships creates an atmosphere where everyone benefits from the entire team’s experience.

Your initial investments in education for yourself or your team will pay dividends throughout the life of your business. While there are many social selling courses available online, it can bemost effective to bring in a consultant who works hands-on with your team, gets them up to speed and positions them for social selling success.

Tip #4) Determine Which Platform is Right for You


You can’t launch an effective strategy without identifying a platform to focus on. For B2B social sellers, that likely means that you are going to focus on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. There are upsides and downsides to each. Generally, we recommend that our clients start on LinkedIn. There’s just too much potential in the B2B arena for this platform not to be your top choice.Over time, we always recommend that social sellers grow to focus on more than one platform, but we have found that LinkedIn is a good starting point.

With that said, every situation is different and sometimes our clients prefer to stick with the platform that they are most comfortable with. Either way, once you decide on a platform you begin to plan your posts, strategies, and build out your social media calendar. Because every platform has different requirements for engagement, nothing can really be planned until you have your platform chosen.

Tip #5) Create Instructions for Prospecting


Prospecting is the ever-present elephant in the room when it comes to social selling. Great social sellers are constantly making connections with new prospects to feed their  pipeline. Depending on your chosen platform, you may have very different ways of finding your ideal clients.

For instance, if you worked primarily on Facebook, you would probably use Facebook Groups or third-party tools to find profiles of people that meet your ideal client avatar. However, on LinkedIn you would search by title, ZIP code, size of company, tenure or other criteria to narrow down your potential matches.

Whatever your platform of choice, to successfully prospect, you need a clearly defined buyer persona and a process. This ensures that the process is repeatable and can be optimized over time for better results and faster prospecting. Break down the process step-by-step so you have a resource that you can return to or use to train others.

Tip #6) Create a Framework for Engagement


With a platform chosen, you build out your engagement strategy. Your engagement framework (or flow) outlines the steps you will take when making contact with a new prospect. Now, there is always some room for interpretation here. Just because you have a framework doesn’t mean that you can’t deviate from it. Sometimes conversations will naturally lead in another direction, and that’s alright.

Sample process engaging with prospects on LinkedIn:

  1. Identify the prospect based on clearly defined target criteria
  2. Connect with the prospect, send a personalized connection request message.
  3. Interact with their posts for one week. Like them. Comment on them.
  4. Send them initial message sharing a piece of content that you believe they will find valuable.
  5. Continue interacting with their posts.
  6. Deliver second piece of valuable content.
  7. Initiate a discussion about challenges they’re currently facing
  8. Suggest high-level strategy to address their challenge
  9. Request conversation.


Giving yourself a simple roadmap like this can make interacting with prospects much easier. While conversations will veer their own way and you will often have to deviate from your framework, you can always re-enter the framework at the next logical step and continue to move the conversation toward working together.

With a well-designed process for finding and engaging you can move on to the nuts and bolts of your strategy — creating and planning the content that you will share both on your news feed and with prospects individually.

Tip #7) Create a Social Media Calendar


Social selling is built around the concept of continually delivering value to prospects until they have trust in you. To do this, you’ll need to have a well-defined plan and a list of resources ready to share both on your own feeds and with your prospects.

First, create a list of content resources that you believe your prospects would find useful. Focus on sharing pieces that you have written or have been published on your brand website. You do, after all, want to position yourself as the expert. You should also include some third-party sources as you don’t want to come off as overly self-promotional. Focus on making sure that every resource on your list is laser-targeted to a specific buyer persona and covers a topic they will find useful.

Once you have a fleshed out list of genuinely valuable resources to share, start building out your social media calendar. Depending on your chosen platform, you may have different approaches.

Typically, you should aim to share at least one resource per day on your feed. That doesn’t mean that it has to be an article. It could be a quote. A genuine thought you had. Anything that would position you as an expert in your field and a solver of problems for your ideal customers and clients.

Tip #8) Automate What You Can


While social selling will always require at least some acts to be handled manually, there are some things that can be safely automated. Doing so will allow you to free up your time and focus on your broader strategies, instead of performing repeatable, mundane tasks.

Prospecting is a good example of something that can be moderated on some platforms. There are many software solutions that can help you to sift through your LinkedIn connections, connect with new people, and find people that match specific criteria on the platform.

Additionally, posting status updates on your accounts can be automated as well. While we do recommend that our clients post by-hand, scheduling content sharing and interesting tidbits to share with your audience can free up your time to focus on the most important aspect of social selling: engaging in conversations.

Tip #9) Test, Iterate, Optimize


We can only make recommendations about what we have found to work when it comes to creating a social selling strategy. But, every audience is different. You’ll have to see what works for yourself. As you begin to roll out your social selling strategies, constantly measure, iterate, and test new ways of engaging with your target audience throughout the process. In doing so, you’ll find specific strategies that connect with your audience and put you in a position to build new relationships.

Experience Means ImprovementExperience will help you improve your social selling strategies and put you in a position for success moving forward. Using the tips in this article, you’ll be able to create a solid foundation for building your social selling strategies, while putting yourself in A position to find out what works well with your particular audience.

What do you find helps you with social selling? Leave a comment below!

 
Social Selling Metrics to Help You Improve Effectiveness

One of the biggest challenges that new social sellers face is knowing how to measure their progress. Social selling is a strategy that includes many different individual tasks and interactions, so how do you measure success?

To be an effective social seller, you have to know how to start conversations with prospects, interact in a variety of ways across your chosen social platforms, and publish and share high-value content that speaks to your prospect’s biggest concerns.

As a result, there are many ways to measure the success of your social selling campaigns. So many, in fact, that many social sellers get bogged down in the details. Which metrics are more important? Well, that depends on your individual strategies and tactics.

Choosing the right metrics to monitor is important. Ultimately the metric(s) that you decide to use for success evaluation impact the strategies that you employ. But for new social sellers, it’s more important to decide on a simple metric and start measuring in some form, rather than suffering from analysis paralysis. Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.

The good news is that all of the metrics covered in this article deliver valuable insights to social sellers. Each represents a critical aspect of any social selling operation. To optimize a metric on this list is to optimize a critical task or tactic within your broader social selling strategy.

In this article, we’ll outline the most important metrics that social sellers can use to monitor their social selling initiatives and identify opportunities for improvement. A word of caution: don’t lose the fun. Measuring your progress and success is absolutely key, but don’t obsess over it. Don’t check these metrics 5x per day. And also don’t be afraid to do something that will likely hurt one of these success metrics. Maybe you discover something new or you learn what not to do. One of the beautiful things about social media is that it’s unpredictable and that experimenting will help you develop your own style and that’s really what will shape your success. Make sense? Let’s read on...

Metric #1: LinkedIn Social Selling Index


When it comes to social selling, there aren’t many “catch-all” metrics that will give you a complete top-down view of your overall success, except maybe for... LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI). Currently, this metric is by far the quickest way to get a bird’s eye view of your social selling efforts.

LinkedIn’s SSI metric evaluates your efforts on LinkedIn only. So it won’t help you evaluate how you are doing on Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms. That said, if you crack the code on LinkedIn and you see your SSI go up, it’s unlikely that you’ll be unable to succeed on other platforms. The SSI looks at four key areas of any social selling campaign:

  • Establishing your personal brand on the platform.
  • Finding the right people and building your network.
  • Engaging with the right people and nurturing engagement from your following.
  • Building relationships with decision makers.


LinkedIn’s huge database helps them assign a value to the actions that you take on their platform every day. And SSI has become one of the most popular social selling metrics in use today. It encourages engagement and helps social sellers to focus on specific goals for improving their overall score.

With that said though, SSI isn’t everything. Particularly for those that plan to operate outside of LinkedIn and on other platforms. Still, we always recommend that our clients use LinkedIn SSI in some form. Most B2B social sellers are on LinkedIn and the metric is simply too useful to ignore.

 

Social Selling

Metric #2: Network Growth


Network growth is a simple metric that can give you a good overall view of how your social selling efforts (both inbound and outbound) help you connect with your intended audience. When you are making new connections, followers, and friends, you are casting a broader net. More people know who you are. More people will interact with your posts and engage with your content. More people will engage in conversations with you. This is the bread and butter of social selling.

All social sellers should keep track of their network growth on individual platforms and across their entire social selling strategy. A broader network means more opportunities.

Metric #3: Inbound Connections


The rate at which your network grows is important, but going on LinkedIn and spamming out connection requests to grow your network is an example of fast network growth that is unlikely to yield business results. What we are saying is that the network growth metric can be a little misleading, depending on what your strategic obejectives are.

Inbound connections are often a more useful way to measure network growth. Inbound connections come from anyone that sends you a connection request on LinkedIn, follows you on Twitter, or adds you as a friend on Facebook (or follows your page).

Inbound connections speak more to social selling success than network growth does on its own. Inbound connections mean that prospects are finding you. They may find you through mutual connections, content that you have shared on the platform, or through recommendation systems on your chosen social network.

 

Invite

Metric #4: Content Engagement Rate


When you share content, how many people are liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it with their own audiences? Providing value through high-quality content sharing is a critical aspect of social selling. You want to become a source of information for your audience. You want them to see you as an expert in your field.

You shouldn’t just share your own content, either. Sharing content from third-party sources and introducing your audience to a broad array of quality resources endears them to you.

Ultimately, your goal is to identify what is most important to your audience and share content around those topics. What are their most burning questions? What do they need to know about your product, company, and industry? What kind of content will help them to complete their goals? Measuring content engagement rates across platforms provides you with the clearest picture of whether or not you are doing a good job of these things.

Metric #5: Message Response Rate


Reaching out and establishing relationships with prospects one-on-one is critical for the success of your strategy. The rate at which people respond to the messages you’ve sent them can give you insight into how well you are engaging with new prospects.

A low message response rate can be a sign that you need to re-work your style for opening conversations with prospects. Or maybe you should evaluate how much time you invest into building familiarity with a prospect before reaching out via message. Or maybe it’s the timing when you send them messages?

Lots of ways to address and tweak this particular metric, but the message response rate is critical for determining whether or not you are doing a good job of warming the prospects before you engage with them. While some social selling strategies do involve cold email or messaging, most start with a question rather than a hard-sell.



hard-sell

Metric #6: Follower Engagement Rate


In the same way that inbound connections speak more clearly to the effectiveness of your network growth, follower engagement rate speaks more clearly to how effective your social selling strategies are. What percentage of the people that you connect with on a social platform end up engaging with your content?

This metric helps you to not only identify whether or not you are making connections with the right people. It tells you how well you are positioning yourself as someone that they would like to connect with as well.

When the people that follow you (aka your prospects) engage with the content you share, you are in the process of building relationships. That’s the basis of all social selling initiatives — genuine relationships. Follower engagement rate may be the single most important metric on this list for that reason alone.

Metric #7: Prospect Referrals


Building a reliable network of referrals is critical for long-term social selling and business success. Once you’ve built out a solid network, most social sellers opt to focus less on continuous outreach and focus more on creating referrals while letting their social networks grow more organically through the content they share. Growing to that point allows you to shift your focus toward big-picture tasks that position you for long-term success with less of a daily grind.

More than 80% of consumers purchase products based on the recommendation of someone they know. In many ways, the referral network of a social seller is their strongest asset. It enables them to continuously drum up business and scale their selling efforts. Using the referrals you generate as a metric can be telling of your success in building relationships with prospects and earning trust. Simply put: people refer others to people they trust.

Metric #8: Link Clicks


Link clicks is a metric that is effective when examining your strategies for outreach. It’s particularly effective for cold outreach initiatives but also helps you evaluate how your prospects are connecting with content during the relationship building phase.  

When you share a link to a relevant and valuable piece of content, you want your audience to click on it. Many of them won’t. Knowing the percentage of prospects that click your links can tell you a lot about how you come across in the messages leading up to the link delivery.

Link clicks show that your prospects are engaged with the content that you send them. A high link click rate shows that your audience appreciates the value of the content you’re offering.They want to read what you have to say and share. Link clicks indicate the strength of your relationships.

Metric #9: Number of Conversations Started


While social selling is a process that focuses on quality interactions, there is something to be said about quantity. So long as you don’t experience a dip in quality (which means that you’ll be dedicating more time to social selling), having more ongoing conversations leads to more opportunities. It’s more relationships. More inquiries. More sales.

Trying to hit a certain number of new conversations started on a weekly basis can be a good way to make sure that you are always keeping the wheels turning. In the beginning, until you have enough of a presence to generate sufficient inbound leads, you’ll need to actively start new conversations to build your network.

Metric #10: Revenue Generated


In the end, your goal is to make money. If your social selling efforts aren’t generating verifiable revenue, you probably won’t be keeping with it for long. Luckily, social selling revenue is easy to track. Since you are engaging in genuine conversations with your prospects, you know exactly which customers actually came through your social selling pipeline. You were there every step of the way.

Social selling needs to make sense from a revenue standpoint for any of the other metrics to matter. However, using a broad range of metrics to sharpen your strategies over time will help you increase revenue generated. As you grow your presence, more referrals and inbound leads will come into your pipeline, leading to increased revenue and a growing business.

Track, Iterate, Optimize


Like any other digital marketing or sales strategy, you can only improve what can measure. Trusting your gut about what is working and what isn’t is good and occasionally helpful. But if you can’t measure, you’ll miss out on critical opportunities for improvement. Tracking at least a handful of the metrics outlined in this article will help you to spot issues in your process and recognize when changes have a positive effect.

 

Social Selling on Facebook: Understanding Messenger Bots

It’s clear that Facebook sees Messenger, their Facebook-connected instant messaging and texting app, as playing a big role in the future of the company. Facebook itself has 2.3 billion monthly active users. Facebook Messenger has more than 1.3 billion active users. Many of those users use the platform as a primary communication channel. Between the two, Facebook can be an absolute powerhouse of a platform for social sellers.

Facebook has long been telegraphing their intent to make Messenger a bigger part of their overall platform. It was back in 2016 that the company officially announced the Facebook Messenger Platform, which gave businesses greater access to tools and automation options. Since that time, we have seen a steady ramp up in the number of companies and a wide variety of beneficial uses that the platform represents for businesses.

An open messenger platform presents a lot of potential for companies that want to further leverage social selling and social media automation within their broader marketing strategies. The announcement to open up the platform for business and marketing purposes certainly raised a few eyebrows. People worried that Facebook was exposing the app’s large user base to a system that could potentially be abused. Facebook responded to these worries by putting strict use cases and limitations on how the platform is used.

Facebook sees Messenger as a potential way to bridge the gap between businesses and customers. They hope it could become an entirely new communication channel for businesses with tech-savvy customers. With so many Messenger users already using the platform regularly and integrating it deeply into their everyday lives, it makes sense that Facebook would want to monetize the platform.

For social sellers, the benefits of Messenger are clear. When people are already using it and your target audience is hanging out there, it makes sense that social sellers would want to leverage it for connecting and building genuine relationships with prospects.

Here at SocialSellinator, we have written extensively about how to integrate automation into your processes smartly. While we don’t advocate for too much automation because we want to focus on real conversations and building genuine relationships, there are certain cases where automating processes make for a better experience for both you and your prospects.

Facebook Messenger simply has too much potential for beneficial automation for it to go overlooked. Using Messenger Bots, you can automate interactions and give your prospects access to information without having to wait for you to respond. There are many uses for Messenger bots that could potentially benefit social sellers. But before we dive into that, let’s examine what a bot actually is within this context.

What is a Bot, Anyway?


In the general sense, a “bot” is a term that is used to describe any piece of software that automates a specific task. Chatbots, in the context of Facebook Messenger, automate conversations with prospects. While it is impossible to completely automate an entire fulfilling conversation with a prospect, they can serve as an excellent way to kick off the conversation and collect a little bit of information from an interested party.

Facebook Messenger bots are created using Facebook’s Wit.ai Bot Engine system. Bots using this system are able to parse and understand typical interactions with prospects and learn from them over time. That means that any bot that you create will get “smarter” and more effective every time that it interacts with a prospect.

This usage of artificial intelligence not only makes it easy for businesses to design chatbots but also allows them to build out new functionalities over time that make them more useful. Most Messenger bots have a number of different uses and branches that a conversation can go down, depending on what the prospect needs.

We’ll dive deeper into how Messenger Bots are used a bit later. First, let’s look at how conversations with Messenger bots start.

How Do Messenger Bot Interactions Start?


When Facebook embraced bots for their Messenger app, one of the first questions that concerned parties had was how those conversations would start. If Facebook was going to allow businesses to start sending mass automated communications and conducting spam in the same way that companies do through email, many worried that Messenger would lose its favor.

However, things didn’t go that way. Facebook put some pretty strict restrictions on how conversations with companies can start through the platform. Businesses can’t just decide to start sending automated marketing messages to users. There has to be an initial interaction that grants the business permission to start sending messages. Some of the common ways that Messenger bot conversations start include:

Messenger Links

If you have a page for your business on Facebook, users can choose to contact your business through Messenger by clicking a button on your page. When they click that link a new conversation will open up in Messenger. If you are using a bot, the user will be presented with the messaging and options that you set to be your welcome message for first interactions. Messenger bots know when they have interacted with an individual through the platform previously.

Customer Matching

There is one way in which businesses can reach out to customers through Facebook Messenger without the customer taking an action, and that is through customer matching. For companies that have collected phone numbers for existing customers or prospects and have existing permission to reach out to them, you can use the customer matching feature on Facebook to reach out to those customers. When you do reach out, customers will be prompted to opt-in to the conversation at the end of your first message. Even in these examples, customers still control who they are able to receive messages from.

 

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Image Source: Facebook

Messenger Codes


Messenger codes are unique images that Facebook can use to open up conversations with prospects. If you are familiar with QR codes or Snapchat codes, the concept here is the same. The image contains visual cues that act like a barcode that can be scanned by smart devices, directly opening up the conversation. When the code is scanned, the user will be redirected to the Messenger app on the device.

 

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Image Source: Facebook

Messenger Buttons
Facebook also made it easy for companies to embed Facebook Messenger buttons on their website and other web properties to encourage conversations with the company. For social sellers, these buttons would be an extremely useful addition to your website. It’s less hassle for users to start a new Messenger conversation than it is for them to reach out through email in most cases.

 

messenger

Image Source: Facebook

In these examples, if you haven’t implemented a bot, you’ll just receive a standard Messenger message and conduct a by-hand conversation. In those cases, you will want to ensure that you continually monitor the channel for new messages. If you do have a bot, the bot can walk the prospect through the initial steps in the conversation.

What Are The Benefits of Messenger Bots?


Using Messenger chatbots can provide a number of benefits to social sellers and businesses. In many ways they are more effective than handling those interactions by hand. They allow you to automate the portions of conversations that often look the same.

  • 24/7 Availability. It’s impossible for us to be there to answer our Messenger messages all the time. Even if you employ customer service reps if they are handling new interactions by hand then there will still be delays. Chatbots are always available and able to deliver any information, collect data, or direct customers in any way that you have set up the bot.
  • Information collection. Messenger bots are excellent tools for collecting information from customers. It’s a process that social sellers always have to go through when meeting prospects and chatbots allow you to simplify the process. Using Messenger chatbots, you can prompt the customer for information and store it in your chosen database or spreadsheet using the detailed API.
  • Improve responsiveness. When a customer messages an account that uses a chatbot, the bot replies immediately. There is no delay. Prospects never have to wait hours to hear back from you. This allows you to catch them at the peak of their interest and establish a better connection. For social sellers that are focusing on delivering value to prospects, it’s hard to shy away from how much value a bot could add in that department.
  • Low maintenance costs. Chatbots don’t cost anything to maintain outside of what you pay any developers to work on the project. Once a chatbot is set up, it should then run without issue unless major changes are made to the platform. It costs nothing to continue using a chatbot once it is installed on your account.
  • Access to a huge user base. With more than 1.3 billion users, you can rest assured that your target audience is on Facebook Messenger. Access to a huge user base that uses the platform for chatting with family and friends is extremely helpful and makes for simple but impactful interactions.
  • Branches can be catered to individuals. Conversational branches can be built into chatbots based on their answers to your questions. Whether they need help with something, access to information, or would like to buy something from you — you can build it reliably into your chatbot and only take over with manual conversation when it makes sense.
  • Improve over time with optimization. Over time, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t in regard to your Messenger chatbot. You can then use that information to run split tests and optimize your strategies to improve ROI.
  • A more personal connection. Most people, even today, have had very few interactions with businesses through Facebook Messenger. The platform is typically used for chatting with family and friends. This means that the platform has high levels of engagement and there is a good chance that your messages will be read and engaged with.


There are many advantages to messenger bots for social sellers. Now that we’ve covered how they could potentially impact your business, let’s dive into some examples that show how various companies have used Messenger chatbots to their advantage.

Examples of Messenger Chatbots


It’s tough to fully envision how a chatbot could fit into your business without seeing some examples of them in action first. Chatbots, when deployed with a little creativity, can automate sales funnels, help connect customers to information, and in many ways replace sales reps.

Here are some examples of companies using chatbots in effective and interesting ways to help get the gears turning on how your business could use them:

Example #1 - Swelly

 

 

 Swelly

Swelly was one of the most popular Facebook Messenger chatbots in the early days of the program. Swelly allows users to pick one of two options and vote with the general public. The system also lets users to see what people around the world vote for.

In total, more than one million have used Swelly. The strong viral component of the bot made it a quick hit. While this isn’t a strict business example, we wanted to show it because it shows how far a little creativity can take you when it comes to chatbots. If you’d like to try it out click here.

Example #2 - 1-800-Flowers

 

Flowers

Another one of the more famous chatbots on Facebook Messenger comes from 1800Flowers. They are a flower delivery company and created a chatbot to create a full-featured engagement channel with their customers. Users are able to order flowers and have them delivered wherever they want, directly from inside the chatbot platform. Additionally, the customer can request to speak with a real human representative and are quickly redirected.

Example #3 - HealthTap

 

HealthTap

This is an excellent example for social sellers. HealthTap has utilized Facebook Messenger chatbots almost as strictly an information deliver tooly. Users are able to ask any question that they would like to the HealthTap bot, which then answers your health questions with answers from physicians around the world at no cost.

The bot allows you to browse through answers to similar questions. With over 100,000 physicians in different specialties, there is almost no answer that the bot can not deliver that relates to health. It’s a simple but effective way to deliver value to their customers and build relationships in the process.

Smart Automation Builds Relationships


Creating smart automated conversations using Facebook Messenger chatbots can help social sellers to collect more information, be more responsive, and provide a better overall experience to their prospects and customers. While you will always have to engage in genuine conversations with your prospects, a chatbot can be a huge help.

 
Social Selling on Facebook: Top 10 Tools to Use in 2019

Facebook is a powerful platform with an immesnse following. By 2017, a quarter of the world’s population was using Facebook on a monthly basis. Big is an understatement. Facebook would be better described as “colossal.”

As a social seller, to ignore Facebook is to severely limit your potential. While LinkedIn might be the home of B2B decision makers, most of the private discussions on social media platforms are taking place within Facebook Messenger and Facebook Groups.

Facebook Messenger is the top mobile app based on the number of downloads. For some, the app has replaced text messaging, instant messaging, and personal email altogether. It’s become an integral piece in the way the world communicates with one another.

But Messenger is often also the place, where conversations go after relationships are taking shape. Initially, your interactions with prospects on Facebook are likely to take place in your timeline, on pages, and in Facebook Groups - but after that, Messenger shows its true potential.

Mastering social selling on Facebook requires dedication, but represents nearly unlimited potential in your ability to connect with your ideal prospects. With that said, Facebook is a big platform. Your efforts are best focused on the proverbial ‘meat and potatoes’ of your social selling operation. Use Facebook to identify, meet and speak with your ideal prospects. Don’t focus on tasks that would be better automated.

If you’ve ever tried to keep your profile up to date with valuable content for your prospects on a daily basis, you know that it is a task easier said than done. You might plan out a few days, but most find that they quickly fall behind if they are relying on their ability to physically handle those tasks while creating conversations with ideal prospects at the same time. There’s only so many hours in a day...

In this article, we’ll cover the top ten tools that you can use to bolster your social selling on Facebook. These tools cover a wide range of tasks, including update scheduling and automation, analytics, content development, and other tool categories to help you effectively leverage the platform.

#1) Buffer

 

Buffer

Buffer is one of the most popular scheduling tools for Facebook (and other platforms). Why do we like this tool? A few reasons. First and most importantly,  It’s incredibly simple to understand, set up and use. While Buffer doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that other platforms do, it is without a doubt the easiest to use. Buffer also pioneered quality, industry-specific content recommendations for sharing built directly into their app. In just a few clicks, you can schedule posts sharing high-quality industry resources.

Another reason why we like Buffer is that they are true practitioners of social selling, both as a brand and as individuals. In their early years, Buffer was built on the back of a strong social media presence and quality content that answered the biggest questions of their customers and prospects.

Through the development of truly helpful content with the high usability of their scheduling tool, they made themselves a valuable resource for their target audience. It didn’t stop at their brand either, many senior Buffer employees maintained an active social media presence, growing the reach of the company organically. They’ve been very open about sharing their journey and offering a high level of transparency on their Buffer Open blog.

#2) Post Planner

 

Post Planner

Post Planner is Buffer on steroids. Their platform takes a great content recommendation system and makes it the centerpiece of their platform. Post Planner allows you to use their analytics system to identify the content that has the highest probability of performing with your audience, based on how it has performed when shared by similar profiles. Then, you can quickly create post copy and content around what you are sharing, and get it on your schedule.

The app also allows you to recycle previously posted content that performed well for your business. Over time, their analytics engine builds a profile that helps you determine the best times to share content with your audience.

With Post Planner, the proof is in the pudding. According to a recent study from Buffer, Post Planner drives much more engagement than other popular platforms:

 

Buffer

Source: Post Planner

The one feature that we really think makes Post Planner stand out is in its Facebook Group automation. Their basic plan allows you to schedule posts on Facebook Groups up to ten times per day. While this feature is extremely powerful, it is also important that you use it sparingly.

If you have your own groups that you administrate, you can use Post Planner to disseminate information. But if you are going to use it to publish content on public and private groups, make sure that you are following the rules of each group and sharing something that their audience will find genuinely valuable. Otherwise, you may drive people away from your group, instead of attracting them. Or, if you do this excessively in someone else’s group, you may be pushed out.

Best of all — Post Planner is cheap. Seriously cheap. For just $3 per month, you can manage up to three social accounts on their platform.

#3) CoSchedule

 

Buffer

CoSchedule is one of the most popular marketing process management systems. While the company originally started as a content marketing management system, they have grown to include tools for project management, task management, social media management, content management, and asset management. They provide a complete suite that any social seller (or team of social sellers) would find extremely useful.

CoSchedule allows you to build complete workflows within your content sharing operations. Their system not only helps you to automate tasks, but provides real-time recommendations for improving your efforts on social platforms. For instance, when you create a new post within their system, they automatically provide recommendations for the best time to post (or recycle) the content that you share on social media.

#4) Sprout Social

 

Picture

Sprout Social is the swiss army knife in the social seller’s toolbox. The tagline of their homepage is “Real people, Real brands, Real Connection.” If that doesn’t accurately convey that they are a solution that will help social sellers, we aren’t sure what will.
Sprout Social’s platform caters to enterprise, corporate, and small business applications alike. Their features include the ability to cover your entire publishing process, from drafting content to actively publishing on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Their system provides a complete social content calendar and helps you to analyze your data by providing actionable recommendations to improve your social media efforts.

#5) Likealyzer


Likealyzer

Likealyzer is the tool that you invest in if you want to truly understand your audience and optimize your social selling operations on Facebook. Their platform is built with one thing in mind — being actionable. They don’t just want to tell you how you can improve your social media efforts, they want to deliver the tools that you need to do it.

First, they grade your performance on the platform. This is done by analyzing a number of different aspects of your social presence such as your profile, pages, and social shares for engagement from your audience. Then, they allow you to benchmark your effectiveness against other industry averages. They make it easy to learn from what is helping others to succeed on the platform.

Likealyzer uses the data that they collect to provide actionable recommendations. A lot of tools say they do that, but these guys truly mean it. They recommend specific tactics that you can use to bolster your efforts on Facebook, using the millions of data points that the company collects to make those recommendations.

Likealyzer also offers in-depth reporting features that allow you to deep-dive into your social selling efforts and identify areas for improvement on your own.

#6) Social Bakers

 

Social Bakers

Social Bakers is a social media management and analytics tool that places a lot of focus on research and understanding. With their system, you can learn what your audiences truly want to see. You can see what kind of content people are engaging with across your industry and directly join in conversations from their platform.

Their system is comprehensive. You can identify social media influencers, optimize your budget, and benchmark your results for optimization and improvement. For social sellers, Social Bakers offers unparalleled insight into your industry on all major social media platforms including Facebook.

Another great feature is that Social Bakers allows you to sift through millions of conversations across social media platforms to better understand the sentiment within your audience around specific topics. This is incredibly important for social sellers because it allows you to craft content that speaks to bigger ideas and trends that are being discussed in your industry, which helps youposition yourself as a true thought leader within your market.

#7) Animoto

 

Animoto

Do you know what kind of content drives the most engagement on Facebook? Video. 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook and Youtube Videos per day. But creating video content can be hard. You don’t want to have to jump in front of a webcam every time that you want to post new video content.

Animoto takes the complexity out of video creation and editing. Using their system gives you access to high-quality stock video footage, so you can create simple but impactful Facebook videos in just minutes. Using Animoto, you can quickly divulge facts and short copy content in a format that drives engagement. With Animoto in your toolbox, you can craft a more well-rounded Facebook social selling strategy that helps you to stand out from the competition.

#8) Shortstack

 

Shortstack

Shortstack is a game-changing tool for social sellers that rely heavily on surveys, contests, giveaways, or quizzes on social media. Shortstack is an excellent tool for quickly deploying ads that feature these tactics on Facebook. Their system handles everything, from creating the content and deploying it through Facebook’s advertising system.

Their system places a strong focus on not just generating leads, but helping companies to generate true user-generated content that they can leverage in a variety of ways. For social sellers, it’s easy to realize how these types of strategies can be deployed in a personalized way to help you collect information and deepen relationships with prospects. It’s the ultimate tool for quickly growing a list of engaged and excited followers.

#9) Grytics

 

Grytics

For social sellers, there are few strategies that can have more impact on Facebook than creating your own group. Doing so allows you to connect in a deeper way with your ideal audience while establishing yourself as a leader in your industry.

But there aren’t a whole lot of tools out there for managing and understanding engagement within your group. Luckily, Grytics’ platform comes to the rescue and does the heavy lifting for you here. Their system allows you to publish automatic updates, analyze engagement based on a variety of filters, and better understand how you can foster growth within your group.

Grytics’ in-depth reporting suite takes the guesswork out of running your own Facebook Group, allowing you to hone in on strategies that provide measurable results. That way, you can put more focus on building relationships and less on page administration.

#10) Agora Pulse

 

Agora Pulse

Agora Pulse prides themselves on their ability to offer a simple solution while covering all of the major bases when it comes to social media marketing. For social sellers, their tool is incredibly valuable. Not only does it provide all of the basic social media scheduling and management features that one would need and expect, but their platform offers in-depth monitoring features as well.

Using their social listening feature, you can monitor millions of conversations happening at any given time. Their “Listen” tool makes it easy to identify opportunities for growing relationships based on search parameters that you set within their system. Additionally, their tagging system allows you to designate brand ambassadors, engaged prospects, or create custom tags that help you to filter profiles within the system.

Tools Expedite Growth


Facebook social selling tools allow you to take the guesswork out of your strategies, automate important aspects of your social publishing campaigns, and put yourself in a position to leverage more of the platform while you focus on building and growing relationships that result in business. The tools outlined in this article will put you in a position to successfully grow your reach on the platform.

Let us know with any of your favorite tools we may have missed and that we should include.

 

Social Selling on Facebook: Tips to Find and Engage with Prospects

So, you’re interested in improving your social selling skills. Naturally, you want to dedicate your limited time to a platform that is going to have the most impact on your business. This leads many to choose Facebook, the world’s largest social network.

There are many reasons why Facebook makes an excellent choice of platform for social selling. Just take a look at these stats that show how large (and engaged) Facebook users are:


While many consider Facebook to be more of a social media platform to share personal information with friends and family, there is a lot of opportunity to make connections and scout new prospects on Facebook.

However, the platform requires that you employ some unique strategies to make connections with your ideal audience. There is truth to Facebook being a personal platform first. You don’t want to continually send business communications intended for your customers but reach your family and friends.

It’s important that you go into social selling on Facebook with the right mindset and a well thought out strategy for social selling. In this article, we’ll cover some simple steps that you can take while selling socially on Facebook to increase your audience and build more connections with your ideal prospects.

Facebook — A Home To More Business Discussions Than Most Know


Yes, Facebook places its focus on your personal life. You connect with your family and friends first. Your main timeline and feed is not generally a good place to conduct business, at least at first.

Still, Facebook presents a lot of opportunity for social sellers. Facebook Groups, in particular, provide a direct avenue to the target audience of many industries. It’s particularly useful for B2B sellers, as there are many B2B Facebook groups with relevant daily discussions — providing you with the perfect opportunity to jump in and make some connections. If you want success with social selling on Facebook, it’s important that you know where to find your audience and how to interact with them. Throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t an approach that will lend itself to success on the platform.

There are tens of thousands of relevant Facebook groups that you could join. In the discussions that happen there, you will make new connections that blossom into Facebook Messenger conversations, friend requests, and the ability to begin interacting with these prospects on a deeper level.

Now we’ll dive into some direct tips that you can use to find your audience and interact with them to build meaningful relationships through social selling on Facebook:

Clean Up Your Profile


This should be common sense but is often overlooked. If you are going to be doing business on Facebook, then you need to treat your profile as a business asset. Or at least make sure that you are properly using the privacy settings to keep your business prospects from seeing your weekend party pictures, political opinions, or generally anything that you wouldn’t want to share with a business associate.

Somehow, many people overlook this step as they begin social selling on Facebook. Whether you realize it or not, the things that you share with your prospects on the platform have an impact. They form the basis for how they view you, your business, and your prospects.

Make sure that everything that possible customers can see on your profile is something that you’d like them to see. It should look like the content that you share on LinkedIn, only perhaps a bit more personal. There is nothing wrong with letting your prospects get to see you. We’re not saying that you have to hide your wedding pictures or that photo with Grandma. Just make sure that you are giving your profile a once-over and that there is nothing questionable or offensive on there.

Join Facebook Groups


For B2B social selling on Facebook, Facebook Groups are your bread and butter. They are the locations where your prospects will engage in conversations about their business, which makes it the place where you want to be as well!

Now, there are a few important considerations here. The great news is that every Facebook user is allowed to create a group. That means that there are going to be a lot of dead groups out there. When we say dead, we mean several different things. Yes, it could mean that there are groups with no (or very little) active discussion taking place. You shouldn’t ever waste your time with those. By “dead,” we are also referring to Facebook groups that aren’t good for much more than allowing people to post spam in them. If you join a good number of Facebook groups, you’re likely to find groups that are filled with people only sharing links and no active discussions taking place. Ignore these as well.

Facebook Groups can be made public or private. Each group will also have specific rules for engagement that you must follow or else you are likely to be kicked out of the group or have your posting privileges suspended.

As you look for groups to join and engage with, there are a few traits that you should be looking for:

  • Active discussions. This is the determining factor in whether or not a specific group is a good choice. If people aren’t actively chatting then there isn’t any opportunity there for you to build connections. The quality of the discussions matters here, too.
  • The right kind of discussions. Know your audience. If you are selling an advanced enterprise product, a group of small business owners that are just starting to build their business isn’t going to be the right group for you. You have a limited amount of time. Focus on engaging within the Facebook Groups that most narrowly fit what you are looking for from a client.
  • Well-moderated. It’s very easy for Facebook pages to fall apart and devolve into a spam-fest when moderation isn’t present. The best groups to join are going to be those with active moderators that care deeply about the success of the group.
  • Private groups. Private groups are always going to be more worth your time than public ones. The level of exclusivity matters here, too. Some groups will only let you join if you pay for access. Others let the general public join but require that they answer a few questions before doing so.
  • Cultural fit. What groups look the most fun to participate in? When social selling is something you actively enjoy, you’ll be more likely to dedicate more time to it and find success.


Finding Facebook Groups is simple. On the Facebook Groups Discover page, you can search for groups using keywords. This makes it easy to find groups that are narrowly focused on the markets that you serve. Be creative here. You’ll find that the audiences in similar groups tend to overlap quite a bit so you might be better off joining the best group that you can find in each category, rather than joining several groups that cover the same topic.

The Discover Page also gives you additional resources for finding Facebook groups that might be relevant to you. Their “Suggestions for You” section recommends Facebook groups to you based on the other groups that you have already joined. “Popular Near You” recommends groups that are popular with others in your local area. They also have sections that recommend groups that friends like, and listings for groups in different categories like “Business” and “Art.

 

business



Most social selling on Facebook will take place within Facebook groups. As you begin to establish connections and grow your audience, you’ll start to migrate some discussions over to Facebook Messenger. Eventually, you may add them as a friend on the platform and begin to interact with them on your news feed and throughout the Facebook website. But most connections will start in Facebook groups.

By embracing Facebook Groups as a vital component of your strategy for social selling on Facebook, you give yourself a simple and direct way to connect with your ideal prospects.

Create Your Own Facebook Group


Creating your own Facebook Group is an excellent way to increase your audience on the platform. In creating your own group, you control the moderation and can push discussions toward topics that will position you to provide insight.

We recommend creating a Facebook Group that is directly related to your products or area of expertise. For instance, a pay-per-click marketing consultant might start a group for other PPC marketing consultants. This might seem backward at first. After all, the ideal client of a PPC professional isn’t other PPC professionals, right? They would just handle it themselves.

While that is true, it does position the group founder as an expert on the topic. They can ensure that their posts are read by their audience. They can dictate what kind of discussions will take place within the group.

It’s not just PPC professionals that will join their group, either. Business owners that are looking to learn more about PPC advertising will also join the group. They may join the group, find that PPC advertising is a bit more complicated than they originally thought and decide to hire a professional. Who will they go to? The person that has shared the most knowledge within the group.

Creating your own Facebook group is easy, but creating a group with engaged participants and relevant content is a long and arduous process. In the beginning, there will be very little to no discussion taking place. Additionally, especially in the early going, the group founder must play an integral role in starting and responding to conversations. Over time, however, a Facebook Group provides you with a reliable audience on the platform that will grow organically over time.

Leverage Messenger


Don’t overlook Facebook Messenger. In fact, many social sellers would say that while Facebook Groups provide them with a simple way to meet and connect with their target audience, Messenger is actually the most powerful tool on the platform.

Facebook Messenger is the most popular mobile app based on the number of downloads that it receives. You can message anyone on Facebook that you are friends with directly. You can also message people that you are not friends with, but it requires that they accept your invite to chat.

Messenger is quickly becoming a digital marketing staple. Currently, only 31% of businesses on Facebook use Messenger in any way, but that number is quickly growing. Messenger alone has 1.3 billion active users that send more than 8 billion messages a day.

Measure and Analyze


In order to better understand what works for you when it comes to social selling on Facebook, you have to track and analyze your efforts. While there are some tools that can help you with Facebook automation, there aren’t many tools for tracking and analyzing social selling efforts, so you’ll have to do a lot of it by hand.

At the very least, make sure that you are tracking your conversations. When you have a conversation with a prospect, where did the initial engagements take place? What strategy did you employ? What was the final outcome of the discussion?

Knowing what works is critical for refining your strategies over time. If you don’t keep track, it’s easy for vital information to get lost in the shuffle.

A Wealth of Potential on Facebook


Facebook truly provides a wealth of potential for social sellers. By leveraging a combination of Facebook Groups and Facebook Messenger, you can locate, engage with, and ultimately build lasting relationships with new prospects. These relationships often result in friend requests, setting the stage for relationships that feel closer than they would have on another platform. Use the tips in this article to help you lay the foundation for your initial audience and grow it over time.

What do you think? Share your thoughts about building audiences on Facebook in the comments: