In today’s digital world, social media engagement is essential to a business’s success. Through social selling, SocialSellinator help you find prospects, drive inbound leads, build relationships and grow recognition for your brand. Our passion ensures that our clients utilize social media to its fullest potential. Our journey began with managing social media accounts only in Silicon Valley. But, to see how we stack up to competitors in our industry worldwide, we’ve joined Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews platform.
Based in Washington, D.C., Clutch offers a database of information to prospective buyers that are in search of a business partner. They evaluate companies in various industries based on certain qualifications: industry expertise, social media presence, and former client projects. We’ve stacked up well in Clutch’s analysis, and we’re proud to announce that we’ve ranked on their list of the best graphic designers in 2019.
What we’re most proud of, though, is our client reviews. A completely unique aspect to their platform, Clutch actually conducts telephone interviews with our former clients to hear how well our work has served them. The positive feedback so far has been humbling, and we’re really excited to share the first review we have on our profile:
We strive to make our process intuitive and unique for each of our clients’ needs, so we’re glad to hear our process has been achieving results that make our partners proud to work with us.
Clutch has two sister websites, The Manifest and Visual Objects, and we’ve achieved high positions on both of them. The Manifest, where we list as a top social media agency in San Jose, is a collection of industry reports, how-to lists, and agency rankings. Visual Objects, where we place as one of the top digital marketing agencies, offers visual compilations of past projects for each company on the site. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be featured so favorably on these third-party platforms, and we’re eager to see how the online visibility boosts our own brand recognition in the new year.
We’re grateful to our friends at Clutch for including us in their research, to our former clients for taking the time to share their reviews, and to all who have helped our company grow. We hope to continue providing excellent customer service and delivering social media campaigns that get our partners closer to their goals. Feel free to reach out to us today to get started on a new project!
It would be nice if B2B customers showed up fully-informed and ready to buy. Most of the time, that simply isn’t the case. Customers require some nurturing and education on their way to making a big investment in their business in buying your product or services.
The process of walking the customer through that nurturing process takes place during what is known as a “sales funnel.” A sales funnel is the way that customers move through the process of becoming aware of your product, to ultimately buying it. These funnels cover a wide range of conversations, channels, and metrics that you use to evaluate how efficiently you walk customers through that process. According to Salesforce, 68% of companies have not identified or attempted to measure their sales funnel.
But — social media doesn’t exactly lend itself well to a traditional sales funnel. The process of engaging with prospects is different than it would be if they found you through a Google search or advertisement. While the “social media marketing funnel” does share similarities to a traditional funnel, there are some key differences:
What Does a Traditional Sales Funnel Look Like?
Traditional sales funnels all have the same basic set of steps and flow. While the actual actions may differ slightly from one company to another, they still walk the prospect through a series of steps that lead toward them not only purchasing your product but becoming an advocate of your solution:
No matter what kind of product you are offering or what tasks are included in this process, the same basic formula applies to nearly every transaction you make. Prospects learn about your solution, develop an interest, engage with your brand, and buy your product. In addition, consulting companies like McKinsey have developed more refined approaches to the traditional funnel. In particular, I like the consumer decision journey by David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik, which is less linear and more complex. It reflects a multiude of influences and decision-points that a buyer/prospect is exposed to.
How Can That Be Applied to Social Media?
When it comes to a social media marketing funnel, the actual stages don’t change. However, the tasks associated with a social media marketing funnel will be unique to that channel, and may even have differences based on the platform that you are using.
Here is an example of how you can fill out a social media marketing funnel with tasks that align closely with a traditional sales funnel:
As you can see, this social media marketing funnel applies specific actions to different stages of the funnel. In the beginning, when prospects are building awareness of your product, they view and follow your business on social media. That eventually leads to more overt engagement in the way of mentions and direct messages. It shows how persistence throughout the process of familiarizing yourself with a prospect pays off. 44% of salespeople give up after just one rejection, but success in social selling relies on a constant stream of interactions to build familiarity. Giving up after just one rejection would result in a lot of lost sales for most successful social sellers.
The conversations help to set the stage of the sale and nurture your prospects through the buying process while they develop familiarity with your company and product. A 2018 survey by Hubspot revealed that only 69% of marketers feel their top priority should be converting leads into customers.
Keep it Natural with Social Selling
At its core, social selling attempts to simulate a traditional sales funnel in a social media setting. The process of building awareness, then engaging with and educating prospects are core to the prime tenants of effective social selling strategy.
Social media selling relies on a more natural, conversational process than developing sales through other channels. By mirroring a traditional sales funnel and mapping out the different tasks and associated with each phase, you can help yourself to better understand your own selling processes and optimize them as time goes on.
Are you interested in hiring a social media consultant but aren’t exactly sure what qualifications you should be looking for?
Fear not, because it’s easy to get lost when hiring a social media consultant. There are so many of them out there, each of them with a range of experience and expertise that might make them suitable for specific clients. But you don’t care about what a consultant can do for someone else as much as what they can do for you, right?
Trying to decipher which consultant will be the right choice for your business can be tough. When prospective clients come to us at SocialSellinator, there are a few criteria that we look at to determine whether or not we would be a good fit for their business. We encourage all companies that are evaluating social media consultant to evaluate these three traits first and foremost to determine fit:
1) A Track Record Filled with Positive Results
Would you trust a social media consultant that can’t seem to get their own social media ship floating? If they have fewer followers than you (or seem to get very little engagement on the platforms they are active on) that should be a huge red flag, signaling that they might not be the best person to work with.
By that same token, they should be able to provide you with a proven track record of results for their clients as well. There are a million so-called “social media experts” out there claiming that they can generate returns for their clients, but how many of them can actually prove it? So many prospective clients come to us having been burned by other consultants.
Have they been able to drive business results for their clients? How about website traffic originating from social media? Look into their published case studies. Ask for references. Ask about their experience. Make sure that they can deliver what they claim they can and can verifiably prove that they have done the same for other companies.
2) Alignment with Your Business Goals
For you to have an ideal outcome from working with a social media marketing consultant, it is important that both parties have a full understanding of what success from the engagement actually looks like. It’s important that expectations are outlined and in alignment before the engagement begins.
A good social media marketing consultant will be able to recommend different strategies for different goals. For instance — a company that is more interested in baseline sales would be more likely to need a Facebook ads service than a service that will drive organic engagement over an extended period of time. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work unless that one-size fits with your business goals perfectly. Always insist on a custom-tailored strategy.
3) An Understanding of Your Industry
It can’t be overstated how much an understanding of your industry will help a social media marketing consultant to devise a strategy that generates a return. Social media is a crowded field. Specialization gives you a leg up by ensuring that the consultant you choose to work with has a deep understanding of your customers. They should know how the industry works and how their strategy will work to your benefit, based on their experience working with companies similar to yours.
Here at SocialSellinator, we rely heavily on a wide range of different tools to help us manage social selling campaigns for our clients. As you can imagine, it becomes quite a pretty complicated task once you are managing dozens of different social accounts across many brands. In truth, what we do wouldn’t be possible without the suite of tools that we use.
Out of the more than ten different tools that we use to manage these campaigns, each tool varies in terms of importance. There are three tools that stand out above the rest, in fact. These three tools are at the forefront of every strategy that we put together, driving our campaigns and helping us to generate positive ROIs for our clients.
If you are looking to put together a stack of social selling tech that will help you manage your campaigns, connect with your most important clients, and create a reliable social presence that will generate you leads for years to come, I recommend starting with these three social selling tools:
1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the best social selling tool available today, bar none. No other tool has access to the huge amount of data that LinkedIn has on their hands. Sales Navigator is a $70 per month subscription that drastically extends the platform’s features to include a number of sales tools that help you to identify prospects, make contact with them, and make connections with your target audience.
Truth be told, social selling wouldn’t be nearly as effective for us without LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It is without a doubt the more powerful tool in our arsenal and helps us identify and reach out to clients who fit our ideal client avatar.
Hootsuite is a powerful tool when it comes to managing a range of social accounts across all of the popular platforms. It makes it easy for us to manage different brands and schedule high-impact social posts across all of our accounts. Additionally, since personal conversations are such a big part of social selling, you can use the platform to manage and monitor your conversations across accounts as well.
The deep analytics offered by HootSuite are great for tracking your efforts and seeing how different tactics are working across different social networking platforms. While there are many options out there for social media management, Hootsuite stands above the rest in my opinion.
3. HubSpot CRM
When you’re engaging in conversations with hundreds of prospects across multiple platforms, managing those relationships can become quite that task. HubSpot CRM is the perfect solution. HubSpot might be known for their inbound marketing software, but their customer relationship management tool is available for free, giving you room to grow if you decide to subscribe to the rest of their tools at a later date. HubSpot CRM is free, simple to use, and contains all of the necessary features for tracking your interactions with prospects while giving yourself room to grow in the future.
Social selling and inbound marketing go hand-in-hand. Building a social presence plays a large role in any inbound marketing plan, and combining social selling with broader social media marketing tactics can help to facilitate alignment between your sales and marketing teams.
An inbound marketing plan should have a few basic components to ensure that your plan is well-rounded, positions your company for success, and allows you to ensure that you begin your inbound marketing efforts with a solid understanding of what steps that you need to take next.
The core components of any inbound marketing plan include:
1. Buyer Personas
You can’t create an effective inbound marketing plan without understanding who you are targeting. When you think about your buyer persona you think you have it down. It’s a little bit more challenging to precisely explain it to someone else. But putting it in writing is an entirely different story. Finding the right words to describe each aspect of your buyer persona is a really good exercise, because it forces you to be exact. When you’re working with a team, conduct this exercise together and you’ll see how everyone will end up wanting to use a different word here and there. Coming together as a team and agreeing on the right words and using that definition moving forward in the prospecting process is an amazingly unifying focing-function.
A buyer persona creates a vivid picture of the type of prospects that you target. For example, a commercial insurance company that targets manufacturing companies might target owners or GMs of manufacturing companies. Their buyer persona would include information about their average age, income, hobbies, business information, goals, and typical pain points that they encounter. One of my favorite templates to create buyer personas is from Xtensio. It’s simple, intuitive, easy to fill out and incorporates the most important aspects you need to consider.
2. Buyer Journey Map
Once you have a solid understanding of who you are targeting, you can begin to map out the journey that you would like them to take on their way to becoming a customer. Mapping out the buyer’s journey helps you to create targeted content for specific points in this journey and create plans that address the four main stages of the inbound marketing process:
A buyer’s journey map ensures that each step in the process is fulfilling for your customers.
3. Goals and KPIs
For your inbound marketing efforts to be successful, you have to define what success actually looks like for your business. Outlining the KPIs that your business cares most about — whether those are sales, subscribers, recurring revenue, etc. — puts you in a position to measure whether your investment is truly paying off for your business. Any goals that you outline should follow the SMART goals system.
Because inbound marketing relies so heavily on the content creation process to be successful, it can be quite budget-heavy at first, as you build out your foundational content. It’s very important that you go into your inbound marketing strategy with a well-defined budget to stick to. This budget should take into consideration what it will cost to create all components of an effective inbound marketing system, including blog posts, lead magnets, email sequences, social media posts, graphics, and time spent managing your social media accounts.
5. Content Strategy
You can’t have inbound marketing without content. Many would say that your content strategy is the bread and butter of any inbound marketing plan. Make sure that you have a solid understanding of what your customers would like to know about your product, what keywords you would like to target, and whether or not you have the content creation resources (writers, editors, graphic designers, social media managers) on hand to effectively execute the strategy that you’ve outlined.
6. Sales and Marketing Alignment Plan
Inbound marketing is most effective when you align your sales and marketing teams. By creating content that will be useful to both teams, you position your sales team to make the most of the leads that come into your system, while giving your marketing team the tools that they need to succeed. Map out the steps that you will take to ensure that there is alignment between your teams.