For B2B social sellers one platform that is king — LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network. It boasts more than 600 million users worldwide
More than 250 million of those are logging in each month, and of those monthly active users, 40% are accessing the platform on a daily basis. In some respects, LinkedIn is one of the most reliable ways to contact and develop warm conversations with B2B prospects. Probably right up there with email and in some cases even exceeding emails effectiveness
Selling effectively on LinkedIn requires a nuanced touch. Being able to convey the right experience, level of professionalism, and deliver this information in a way that is well-received requires experience and an understanding of your prospects. The more you practice the better you will get.
However, you can’t expect to jump right into the fray and start producing results on day one. There are some steps that you need to take to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and presenting yourself in a way that will reflect well on your business and your personal brand while instilling trust in the prospects that you come into contact with.
The first of those steps is to flesh out your LinkedIn profile. This is the first place that prospects will look after coming across your status updates, receiving a message, or finding a piece of your content that has been shared.
A LinkedIn profile doubles as a virtual resume. It tells your prospects everything that they need to know about you to gain a surface level understanding of your experience and expertise. With some additional thought and flare, you can ensure that your profile conveys the right message and helps you to start new conversations off on a good foot.
So what does a well-designed LinkedIn profile for social sellers look like? Well, it’s probably more complicated than you would think. There are a lot of different aspects to a great LinkedIn profile that social sellers should be leveraging to create trust and convey the right message.
If you’re in the process of optimizing your LinkedIn profile, consider these tips to help put yourself in a position to build relationships and close sales on the platform.
Source: Jake Jorgovan
What value do your products or services bring to your clients? That is the number one thing that you want to convey to prospects that meet on LinkedIn. So, naturally, the place where we want to put our value proposition — in the place where it will be most visible to the people that we meet.
Your headline shows up all throughout the platform. It is the most visible text on your profile, located directly below your name. It is also shown whenever you engage anywhere on the platform. When you leave a comment on someone else’s status update, your headline appears directly below your name.
Commonly, people will list their organizational title here. That’s all well and good for people that aren’t trying to prospect and sell through the platform — but for social sellers the headline is prime real estate. It gives us our best opportunity to get the value that we are able to create in front of clients.
Your LinkedIn headline isn’t like any headline, but it should follow the standard best practices when it comes to writing headlines:
You don’t have to be overly clever.
Writing a compelling headline isn’t all that difficult. In fact, you can browse around LinkedIn and probably find lots of people with compelling headlines that you can use as inspiration.
Here’s a common, but effective headline template for LinkedIn:
I Help [the businesses you serve] Do [what you do, what outcomes it achieves]
So an example might look like this:
I Help Business Coaches Implement Marketing Automation Strategies that Grow Their Sales
You want to make it crystal clear who you help, what you do, and why they should care.
2) Have a Professional Headshot Taken
Our goal is to convey professionalism. Nothing screams a lack of professionalism quite like using a selfie for your professional picture does. Don’t skimp on your LinkedIn profile picture. If you have a talented friend with a camera you might be able to get away with taking something yourself, but we would suggest that you shell out the cash to have a professional headshot taken. If you work for a company, they may be willing to pay for it.
Profiles with pictures receive a 40% InMail response rate on LinkedIn. Your picture is the first real contact that your prospects will have with you as a person. When they visit your profile, it’s likely to be the first place that they look.
Strive for professionalism without being stiff. You want your professional headshot to be serious but inviting. Make sure that you use a current photo and that the image itself is high-resolution so that your prospects won’t have any reservations about doing business with your company. And most of all: make sure your photo looks like yourself. If someone meets you at an event after you first connected on LinkedIn, you want them to recognize you and not ask: “how long ago was that picture taken?”
3) Include Contact Information
As a social seller, we have to be comfortable with engaging in conversations on all social platforms. But we can’t expect that all of our prospects will be just as comfortable as us. Maybe they’ve never used the LinkedIn messaging system before, or maybe they just don’t log in enough to feel comfortable engaging in important business conversations through the platform. Somewhere on your profile, you should include your email address, phone number, and any contact information that you are comfortable sharing.
While you can list your email address on your LinkedIn profile and give your connections access to it, you don’t want to rely on them being able to locate your email address through LinkedIn. List it somewhere visible in your summary area so your prospects can always choose to take their conversations off LinkedIn if they choose.
4) A Succinct but Effective Summary
You want a summary that is short, succinct, and conveys your value well. Generally, we feel like you should shoot for about three to four paragraphs in your summary, tops. Make sure that throughout the summary you are including keywords that potential buyers might search for on LinkedIn or even Google if your profile is publicly listed.
Here is a short outline you can use to guide your summary:
An effective summary is essential. It helps to build an initial familiarity and trust in conversations and set the stage for your interaction. Following the outline laid out here will help you to keep your LinkedIn summary short, engaging, and effective.
5) Link to Helpful Content in Your Summary
If it seems relevant, you should link to it. Your summary should always include a link to your website. You have to give the people that you engage with the ability to research and get to know you on their own time. However, other links like a link to a portfolio, product demo pages, recent blog posts, or links to journalistic coverage of your business. Link to anything that you think will be helpful, provide required information, or convey social proof.
6) Share Results
An effective LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just make what you do clear to your prospects, it should also give them concrete details about how what you do helps them. If you can find a way to include them in your summary, that would be a good place to provide some featured results and links if applicable. Any experience that you have with known brands is worth its weight in gold when listed on your profile and website.
7) Flesh Out Your Experience Section
The experience section on LinkedIn is essentially the closest thing to a resume on your profile. Still, you should keep your ideal buyer in mind as you lay out your experience. List all of the professional positions that you deem relevant and include a few sentences under each to summarize the work you did in that position. Try to list three to five major job duties under each role. Keep your focus on the clients that you worked with and goals that you helped them to achieve.
8) Add Degrees & Certifications
List any degrees, certifications, and courses that you have completed. This section will mean more to some prospects than others, but it is important that you convey yourself as driven and competent. This should include any relevant online courses or certifications that you have completed, particularly if they are relevant to the offer that you will eventually make.
9) Exchange Endorsements and Recommendations Whenever Possible
We don’t have to tell you — social proof goes a long way. Those that are successful on LinkedIn are usually able to convey a lot of social proof to their clients. People interact with them and comment on their updates. They have a lot of connections and no shortage of interest whenever they jump in a conversation. But, other than the summary, there is only one direct way to include social proof on your LinkedIn profile, and that is through the “Recommendations” section. Here, other users can sign-off on skills that you have listed on your profile and leave comments about their experience working with you.
While this feature is less prominent than it used to be among most users, it still provides you with a simple and effective way to list previous experience (particularly experience as a contractor or freelancer) that is still relevant to what you are now offering.
10) Continually Add Relevant Prospects
Sure, your connections might just be a number that is listed on your profile, but it is important to understand that the number functions as another form of social proof. When you know a lot of people and have a lot of relationships within your industry, it reflects positively on your business. You should continually identify and add new prospects to your profile. LinkedIn will start displaying “500+” after you reach that number, but continually adding people to your network ensures that your profile is seen.
11) Avoid Jargon on Your Profile
You want your profile to read cleanly, with all messages conveyed clearly. For this reason, you should avoid using industry jargon throughout your profile. Say what you need to to make it clear that you have an understanding of your customer’s industry, but should avoid being overly wordy or using acronyms that might be confusing to some readers. You can get to know your clients on an individual basis and better understand how they would like your engagement with them to go.
12) Join Groups
Most LinkedIn groups aren’t well moderated or active. It’s just a sad fact of the way that the Group feature functions. Most eventually devolve into endless self-promotion and link sharing. While there are some LinkedIn groups that are active, well-moderated, and could provide considerable access to your ideal clients — that is something that you will have to make a determination about when you create your broader social media strategy.
However, the groups that you join are listed on your profile. They convey your expertise, experience, and interest in certain subjects. LinkedIn also lets people know in various places when you belong to the same group, which could make more people prioritize your conversations. Even if you don’t participate there is no reason not to at least join some of the popular groups on the platform to help you flesh out your profile.
A Solid FoundationYour LinkedIn profile serves as your home base for any prospect that wants to learn more about you. It’s important that you follow some basic best practices that help you to not only attract your ideal clients, but convey social proof, demonstrate expertise, and show what kind of results you are capable of achieving.
If I asked you what your number one growth channel for your ecommerce store was,
what would you say?
Paid ads? Try again.
Time and again, social sales prove to be the most effective growth strategy for online
stores. Read on to discover why, and what you can do to get the most out of social
sales in 2019.
It generates leads and increases site traffic
When it comes to traffic and lead generation, social media is never going to beat SEO. But if your SEO strategy is faltering and you’re struggling to make gains against your competitors, social media is a worthwhile investment.
An effective social selling strategy increases your site traffic. By sharing useful or informative content on your social platforms (think blogs, infographics, videos, and so on), you encourage your followers to click-through to your website, generating more leads as a result.
This is easier said than done though. The key to a social strategy that fosters growth is
offering content that your followers actually want.
Takeaway tip: to increase click-throughs from your social channels and boost sales,
you need to give your followers a reason to click.
Identify your customers’ questions and pain points and create valuable content that
resolves these issues. Beyond this, create downloadable content such as ebooks or
lookbooks that your customers can take away and use. These lead magnets are a
goldmine are generating traffic and sales.
It’s (virtually) free and flexible
More than any other marketing channel, social media is virtually free. Whether you’re setting up a Facebook Page or launching an Instagram account, it doesn’t cost you a cent. Even getting verified — important for boosting brand trust — is absolutely free.
In fact, the only cost of a social strategy (aside from your automation tools or plugins) is your paid social ads. This will likely be your biggest expenditure for your social strategy — but it’s worth it.
Social ads are ideal for growing your ecommerce business. Placed prominently in your customers’ social feeds, right alongside the posts of their friends and family, they’re easily seen.
And most social platforms offer a sophisticated targeting function, so you can get your ads seen by the customers most likely to convert.
Takeaway tip: get the most out of your budget by adopting a cautious approach to
your social ad strategy. Split test a small selection of ads to find the most successful.
Facebook has a built-in A/B testing tool, but there are lots of third-party apps like
Connect.io or AdEspresso that make it easy to find the ad that works.
Once you’ve identified what works, slowly increase your budget and expand your
campaign. Don’t overstretch yourself though — your social ad campaign should grow
alongside your store.
It sells where your customers are active most
One of the main reasons why social selling is so beneficial for ecommerce growth is
because it works on busy, populous platforms. Social media is essentially one huge mall, full of customers that are ready and willing to spend their hard-earned dollar.
For evidence of social sales’ efficacy, it’s worth looking at established online stores for sale. These businesses are often advertised with performance data from previous years, as well as listing their social profiles so it's easy to pick apart their strategy.
If you look at any website for sale online, the ones that are most valuable are those with developed social selling channels. These businesses have a strong follower base which, when combined with social selling features such as Instagram’s Shoppable posts, creates a sales channel that drives profits considerably.
For instance, check out Bohemian Vibes Australia. It’s a profitable DIY store for sale valued at $75,000, and regularly takes in more than $32,000 on average each month. It’s got a strong product range, great branding, and a flourishing social presence.
The brand regularly shares a variety of content on their social profiles, from discounts and special offers to competitions and humorous videos. These all regularly receive hundreds of likes and comments, indicative of a strong customer community. Combined with plenty of shoppable posts, it’s a social presence that continually drives traffic and sales.
Takeaway tip: social selling brings the mountain to you. But rather than spreading
yourself thinly across several social platforms, instead stick to two or three popular
networks. Focus on generating sales on these platforms alone and create a solid
social strategy with longevity.
It creates a strong customer community
No matter how good your products are, if you haven’t got a strong customer relationship, then your business won’t get far. Build a customer community, and you build loyal customers that return to your store time and again.
Your social strategy is the hub of your customer community. Your tone of voice, the content you share, how you interact with your customers online, and more all go towards creating a powerful rapport with your followers.
As a result, your customers will continue to engage with your business, not just because they like your product, but because they enjoy your brand personality.
Takeaway tip: your social strategy goes both ways. Just as your customers reach out
to you, so too should you reach out to them.
Eschew the generic automated responses and reply to comments in a friendly,
genuine way. And create interactive content such as polls and contests that
strengthen your relationship. It requires time and effort, but it pays dividends in the
Social selling and ecommerce go hand-in-hand. Follow the tips above, and you’ll build a social sales channel that serves your online store well into the future.
Guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra from Micro Startupswww.microstartups.org, your online destination for everything startup. Micro Startups is dedicated to spreading the word about hard-working solopreneurs and SMEs making waves in the business world. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe @getmicrostarted.
Do you find that you are dedicating a lot of time to mundane, manual tasks when it comes to social selling? Do you wish that you had some tools that could help you to spend more time focusing on the big-picture and less time wading into data entry?
Social selling is a long-term strategy that requires some commitment before results show and you’ll be able to realize ROI. On the plus side, once you have the system running, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! There are many daily social selling tasks that on their own don’t produce massive results. But in combination, they help you grow your reputation, establish relationships with your ideal customers, and establish your brand as an authority within your industry.
To get to that point, there are many different tasks that you have to complete on a regular basis to grow your following and establish a high level of awareness with your target audience. While it is possible to conduct all of these tasks by hand, this can be a time-consuming prospect. Instead, you should leverage tools that let you automate some of these tasks and free you up to engage in higher level actions that push your growth forward.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the best social selling automation tools that are available today. These tools will not only help you to jump-start your social selling strategies and make you successful in less time, but they will help you to identify more opportunities in general. It’s impossible to monitor everything happening on social media as it relates to your industry. Using tools can help you to keep a closer eye on the discussions that are happening among your customers and influencers within your industry.
If you are looking to bolster your social selling strategies and create more opportunities, automating certain aspects of your social selling strategies is a must. With that said, let’s dive right in and explore some of these amazing helpers!
#1 Prospecting: LinkedIn Sales Navigator
One of the most important tasks of any social seller to identify new prospects and engage with them on their favorite platforms. For B2B companies, that usually means (or at least involves) LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional social network with nearly 600 million users. That’s a lot of opportunity. But it can be tough to sift through. While LinkedIn’s standard search features are solid, LinkedIn Sales Navigator puts them on steroids and adds more options, ensuring that you are able to identify the perfect targets for your business.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you to target the right people and companies and better understand their desires and needs. Then, using the InMail credits that they provide (among other features), the subscription helps you engage with those prospects. Sales Navigator provides lead recommendations to help you quickly discover the decisionmakers at your target accounts. It integrates directly with your CRM and transfers all prospect data, so you have it on hand in a single click.
For B2B social sellers, there are few tools that are more powerful than Sales Navigator. It’s a staple of any serious social selling strategy. By arming yourself (or your team) with a subscription to LinkedIn’s premium plan, you put your business in a position to reach more prospects, engage with them more effectively, and ultimately close more deals.
#2 LinkedIn Automation: Orca
Orca is amazing and makes for the perfect complementary investment to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The tool is built for social selling automation, handling some of the most important social selling tasks so you can focus on revenue-boosting actions. An investment in Orca is an investment into your own time.
Orca is designed to help you scale social outreach on LinkedIn in a genuine way while scaling your operations. Their system is designed to help you create conversations with your prospects prior to engaging with them for business. You can automate and sequence a number of different tasks through the platform:
This is extremely powerful. These are the most important LinkedIn tasks for social selling and being able to free up your time lets you focus on quality engagement with your prospects and driving personal conversations. Orca’s simple drag-and-drop interface makes it a great choice for teams, who will require minimal training to use the platform. If you want to make LinkedIn a key component of your social selling strategy, Orca is one of the best tools you can pick.
#3 Content Sharing: rFactr
Providing your following with a consistent stream of high-value content is a critical component of social selling. However, constantly working to identify great content that will appeal to your ideal customers can be difficult. Content curation isn’t as easy as it looks at face value. rFactr’s product, SocialPort, combines a number of useful features that you can use to drive your social selling strategies on the most popular platforms.
First, their CRM features. This software offers deep integration with the biggest CRM platforms. Through their system, you can add leads to your CRM, attribute revenue, track social sales activities, and sync your tasks with the people that you connect with. Then, the software helps you to identify content that will be a good fit for your audience through their customer recommendations. Last, you can schedule syndication of that content on all of your social media platforms.
rFactr’s more advanced plan, SocialPort Enterprise, also includes features like prospect tracking, competitor tracking, and training modules for your teams. SocialPort is an excellent tool for social sellers and a complement to sales teams that utilize social selling strategies.
#4 Social Post Scheduling: Buffer
In social selling it’s extremely important that you are always sharing new information with your audience. You want a constant stream of insights, useful content, interesting thoughts, and general engagement coming from your account. However, nobody will be able to log into their accounts each day, identify things that you would like to share (that will actually be effective with your audience), and keep up with the fast-moving world of social media. Some automation is required to help keep your accounts active.
Buffer is the simplest solution out there today. Their software allows you to schedule your content and track the effectiveness of everything that you share across all of the popular social networks. Additionally, their system makes content recommendations based on RSS feeds and other content that you have shared, giving you a built-in resource for content curation.
Buffer lets you schedule your post for an exact date and time, then Buffer will automatically publish and track the post for you. All of your posting can be handled in one place, with manualupdates sprinkled in. Just because you use automation tools, doesn’t mean that your content stream should look robotic!
#5 Relationship Intelligence: Nudge.ai
Nudge.ai is a platform that helps social sellers build relationships with their target audience. Sales has always been about building trust, and Nudge uses that premise as the foundation for its product. The software offers some basic categories, each incredibly important to social selling:
Nudge.ai simplifies the social selling process by ensuring that you have all of your conversations and contacts across multiple platforms, accessible from one place. They pull all of your contact information from your email, phone, meetings, sales, and CRM into one database so that you can keep a bird’s eye view of your social selling operations. Then, their system reminds you to follow-up with your prospects with smart reminders.
#6 Social CRM: Nimble
Nimble is one part data repository and one part CRM for social sellers. Their system enables you to access up-to-date social media profile information, business data, and verified contact data that helps you to get into contact with the prospects that you discover.
When you install the Nimble CRM, any time that you visit a social media profile, their system populates a sidebar with all of their relevant information including their other social media accounts, email, details that are publicly available about that person, and other pertinent information that you can use to engage with them.
Nimble also offers advanced social selling features like pipeline management, sales forecasting, analytics, and intelligent email tracking. Their system integrates directly with Office 365 and G Suite, ensuring that all of your communications with prospects are tracked and taken into account when sending follow-ups or designing strategies.
#7 Social Listening: Meltwater
A big component of social selling is being able to identify trends as they develop and jump into conversations as they begin to unfold. This helps you get in front of your audience and position yourself at the forefront of your industry’s most popular conversations and topics. If you wait too long to jump in, the conversation can pass you by and it can become difficult to gain traction in these conversations, resulting in missed opportunities.
Meltwater aims to solve this problem. Their platform leverages local content partnerships and uses AI to sift through billions of documents in real-time. They cut through the noise and provide you with actionable recommendations for identifying trends, jumping into conversations early in their time trending and it ensures that you position yourself appropriately within the conversation.
Meltwater can also help you monitor your brand across all social and digital channels from one convenient dashboard. Keep an eye on what your ideal audience is talking about across the world. News scanning isn’t just limited to social media either — Meltwater monitors conversations on niche forums and discussion boards around the web so that you never miss an opportunity to engage.
#8 Twitter Analytics: FollowerWonk
Twitter is a great platform for distributing content and getting in front of your ideal audience, but its minimalist profile can make it difficult to learn more about your audience. Obviously not ideal, since you want toengage with them. Followerwonk helps you dig deeper into your following and better understand your audience with their in-depth Twitter analytics. This tool can help you to find, analyze, and optimize your social selling strategies for growth.
Followerwonk stands out from the competition with their actionable visualizations that compare your social following to that of other influencers within your niche. Then, the software generates detailed analytics and reports that can easily be shared within your company with the click of a button.
If you want to leverage Twitter in your social selling strategy but are having a difficult time understanding your following and measuring your impact, Followerwonk is the perfect choice of tool.
#9 Email Identification: Hunter
Expanding the number of channels that you engage with prospects through is critical in social selling. You want to take that short Twitter conversation and turn it into a warm relationship that spans social networks and email and blossoms into a valuable relationship asset over time.
However, sometimes, it’s just about impossible to identify a prospect’s email on your own. Sure, you could ask them for it. Or use some Google magic to find where it is listed online, but that is time-consuming and tedious.
Instead, use Hunter! This tool scrapes the web and identifies email addresses of your prospects. Using a Google Chrome extension, you can quickly identify the email of prospects and extend your relationship to a new channel. If Hunter can’t find their email, it analyzes other email addresses on the domain to give you a good shot at guessing what their email might be based on the format used with other email addresses.
#10 Custom Codeless Automation: Zapier
Zapier is a platform that is designed to extend the functionality of your apps by connecting them to other apps. By doing this, it lets you create and automate workflows between different softwares, which is extremely valuable for social sellers. You can create workflows with nearly any popular app and tie actions to actions in another app.
For instance — let’s say you want to store every incoming email to your sales team in a Google Sheet. Zapier could be used to automatically detect incoming emails and enter data on a specific Google Sheet for you, eliminating manual data entry for that task.
That’s just one example. Zapier offers connections between more than 1,000 apps at this time, making it easy for you to identify and automate workflows that take up hours of your time each and every week.
Social Selling Automation Makes You More Effective
Smart social selling automation frees up your time to focus on more important tasks, puts you in a position to identify new opportunities, and helps you to build more relationships with prospects more quickly than you would by hand. The tools mentioned in this article are some of the best tools available today for the different tasks that we have outlined in the article and some combination of these tools would be an excellent investment for any social seller.
What tools do you use to automate social selling? Tell us about some of your favorites in the comments section!
Just heard that we are recognized as a top Inbound Marketing Company on DesignRush. They are going to do a press release on ‘Top 25 DesignRush’s Inbound Marketing Companies’ in March and will feature SocialSellinator in the article. This is great validation of our market strategy as well as of our client services that help drive leads and optimize social media marketing for small and midsize businesses.
Social selling doesn’t come easy. It’s a grind. It’s a long-term strategy that requires a daily commitment before the results start to become clear and most companies don’t have the patience to see things through until they get to that point. To be clear: if you want to see social selling success, you have to expect to work consistently on engagement for 3-4 months. Not that you won’t see any change before then. But social selling is all about building relationships and that simply doesn’t happen overnight. If you want random clicks to your website, go and buy Google ads. But if you want prospects calling you, build these relationships first. So, be patient and give it time.
That’s what makes developing a reliable social selling strategy so difficult for many companies — the commitment required to fulfill your goals means a shift in mindset for most companies and sales professionals. It’s the proverbial slow-burn of sales strategies. In many ways the practice goes against a lot of the boiler-room type atmospheres that became so popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, leading to a generation of sales professionals that need to shift the way they look at the selling process to find success in social selling.
Social selling relies on developing genuine relationships to generate sales. 81% of consumers would prefer to engage with sellers that have a strong brand on social media. Well, genuine relationships don’t happen overnight. You plant a seed. Then you water that seed for weeks or months, and eventually, it grows into a mature plant that blooms. If you try to pick the flowers before they bloom, you’ll have nothing to show for it.
To get to that point, you’ll need to make a lot of small advancements within each individual relationship. Some will develop faster than others. But all relationships will require that you engage with prospects over time to develop a bond. Those small advancements on a daily basis eventually add up into a network that helps you to produce a reliable stream of sales for your company and can continually be used to your advantage for years to come.
That is where the disconnect lies for many companies that are on the fence about social selling. It’s less of a sales tactic and more of an investment in your future. For sales professionals, the relationships that they develop through social selling will last them throughout their careers, regardless of where they work. For the companies that employ the strategy, social selling helps to build awareness and creates a reliable referral network that could produce sales for years to come.
In this article, we’ll cover all of the small steps that social sellers should take every day to grow their network, develop genuine relationships with prospects, and foster a reliable lead generation network. In total, these tasks should take you 30 minutes - 1 hour to complete, depending on whether you complete every task or the number of actions you take each day. Some of these tasks can be pushed to every other day or several times per week and don’t always need to be daily activities.
#1) Find Prospects
Richardson’s yearly sales study has continually found that prospecting is one of the biggest challenges that most sales teams face. Keeping your relationship pipeline loaded with new prospects is critical. In social selling, the relationships that you develop will all be in different stages at any given time.
A few might be ready to buy at any given time. Others are getting closer but need further nurturing before they are at that point. Others will be in the very beginning stages of the relationship and still developing trust for you as a person and a brand. Occasionally, relationships will wallow and drop off as prospects lose interest or you learn that perhaps you weren’t such a good fit for each other.
You should be continually working to reach out to people and begin that process to keep your pipeline filled. Even if you just identify one new person per day, that gives you a consistent stream of new people to talk to. Finding prospects can be done through search or simply by reaching out to them.
#2) Send Personalized Connection Requests
When you find prospects that seem to be a good fit, the next step is to send them a personalized connection request. Remember — these people receive blank or automated connection requests all the time. 82% of buyers say they take meetings with people that reach out to them. Your goal is to stand out. That is why personalization is so important. They have to know that you were checking out their profile and found a real reason to connect. It’s the simplest and most immediate way to stand out from the competition.
#3) Start New Conversations
Once you connect with people, make sure you stay on top of starting conversations with them. It’s fine to start slow and take your time. But you need to make sure that you are at least starting a dialogue with everyone that you connect with, even if the conversation doesn’t seem to go anywhere at first. At the beginning of a relationship, your goal is simply to get on their radar. For many, simply asking them a question about their business will help you to stand out from the crowd and get them interested.
Social selling is all about turning cold leads into warm leads through relationship building and warm conversations. Studies have shown that cold leads close at a rate of about 1.7%, far below leads that have a bit of familiarity with your business. Putting in the time to take new leads from cold or warm is an art, but one that will pay off over time.
#4) Build Connections by Engaging in Public Conversations
Sending personalized connection requests isn’t the only way to get on people's radars. You should take time every day to engage in a public conversation on your feed, even if its a single comment that you leave about a given topic. This will help to get you in front of people that might be interested in your product or service and build awareness among your targeted audience. Try to target conversations that are started by influencers to expand your reach and get your brand in front of new people.
#5) Share High-Quality, Relevant Content
The trust that you develop with your prospects comes not only from the conversations that you have with them, but also from the expertise that you display in your public social media activities. Sharing high-quality, relevant content that speaks to their biggest questions and concerns helps to position you as a reliable source of information on the subjects that you are supposed to know about. Sharing high-quality content can be automated in your own social media posts, but you should also seek out opportunities to drop content links into conversations on the social networks that you participate in.
#6) Share Posts by Prospects
People notice when you help them extend the reach of their own social media posts. It’s a great way to signal to a person that you agree with what they are saying and find what they have shared valuable. Keep an eye out for opportunities to share posts by your prospects to help improve awareness and lay some bricks toward building of your relationship. Simple engagements can go a long way in the eyes of your prospects.
#7) Monitor Important Prospects
Some prospects are simply more worthwhile than others. If you know the 20/80 rule — which contends that 20% of your customers will drive 80% of your revenue — you know that every prospect is not made equally. Prospects that have a higher revenue ceiling warrant more attention from you. For those prospects, you should set aside a moment or two every day to monitor their social media presence and identify opportunities for engagement with them. You could join a conversation they are having, share content that is relevant to something they shared, or just “like” something that they have posted.
If you fail to monitor your most important prospects, you’ll miss important opportunities to engage with them. Those are opportunities that may never come around again. Limit your list of “important” prospects, but use it as a guide for how you spend your time on social media.
#8) Nurture Warm Prospects
While you don’t have to connect or send something to each prospect every single day, it is important to monitor the prospects that you are currently nurturing and identify opportunities to share new materials or respond to conversations.
Nurturing is a crucial aspect of social selling, particularly when we are talking about hot prospects, who will need consistent attention from you to comfortably make their way through your sales pipeline. Hot prospects in social selling can be defined as anyone that you see as a potential fit for your product or service that is showing consistent interest in what you have to say.
To nurture them, you can send them high-quality content that is relevant to the conversations that you have had with them or simply open a new dialogue about a tangentially related subject. Take the time to personalize each message. The goal is to have genuine conversations during the nurturing process, not to walk the prospect through some sales script. Nurturing should continue long after the sale as well, but only 29% of brands nurture existing customers beyond their initial purchase.
According to a study from HubSpot, improving nurturing practices is one of the biggest priorities for companies.
#9) Schedule Future Updates
While a lot of your social selling activity should be conducted by hand, there are some areas of your social presence that you can automate safely, and future posts are one of those areas. Ensuring that you are sharing content consistently is an important part of social selling. To aid you in that effort, you should automate the sharing of high-value content, insightful posts, and event-specific types of information.
Of course, you shouldn’t automate every post that you make. Doing some off-the-cuff posts allows you to react and respond to current events and keep your account looking fresh and engaged. People can tell when a social media account is completely automated, and that’s an impression that we want to avoid.
#10) Participate in Private Groups
Some of the most interesting interactions that you will ever have as a social seller will take place outside of your public feed. By joining private groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and even other platforms like Slack, you can cut down on a lot of the noise and network with people that are actively looking to connect, just like you. Identifying a handful of private groups to pay attention to and monitoring those groups for discussion opportunities can be a simple way to get started.
#11) Build Your Own Group
As a social seller, your goal is to position yourself as an expert within your field. While you can do that by sharing publicly on social networks, creating your own private group allows you to have more control over the interactions that you have with prospects. Building your own Facebook group positions you as the leader in the subject that you have chosen. Your members will come to you for advice and guidance while contributing to conversations within the group.
One important thing to understand is that building your own Facebook group takes a lot of time and dedication. Appropriately moderating a group will take more than 30 minutes of your day alone, once your group becomes active. It also takes a long time to convince people to sign up and participate. Make sure that you have the time to dedicate to that task.
#12) Find Opportunities to Engage with Influencers
Influencers will have a reach on their platform that far exceeds your own. Keeping an eye on influencers that have an audience that closely aligns with your own and monitoring their activity for opportunities to engage can be a great way to get in front of your target audience. Of course, ideally, you’d like to have an influencer mention you or engage with you directly.
49% of people on social media have purchased something based on influencer recommendations. While that’s a nice goal, it’s important to remember that they are busy people with a lot of people vying for their attention. Any conversion that can you take part in on their posts is better than not engaging at all.
#13) Work on a New Blog Post
Having a consistent stream of content that you’ve published that you can share with your prospects is extremely helpful in social selling. 53% of marketers say that blogging is their top content priority. But putting together a valuable blog post that provides true insight on a subject within your industry requires hours to put together.
Spreading out the time that you dedicate on writing to several different days can be an effective way to make the task seem less cumbersome and improve the likelihood that you finish. On slow social media days, dedicating 20-30 minutes to writing can be a great way to ensure that you make solid progress on that next piece of content to share with your following. Remember — 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. Content is critical for those initial nurturing stages.
#14) Check Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are the most effective way to sift through public discussions on any social network. By clicking on, or searching for a hashtag in the search bar, you can identify new prospects, take part in relevant discussions, and put your expertise on display for a highly targeted audience. Overlooking the importance of identifying these micro-communities and using them to your advantage is a huge mistake that many make when they first start with social selling. Those that are discussing and asking questions about the subject that you are an expert in, giving you the perfect platform for adding value and putting your experience on display.
#15) Take a Quick Look at Metrics
I try to discourage our clients from keeping an eagle eye on their metrics every single day. Keep perspective and keep the big picture in mind. Even when the numbers are pointing down for a short time, you can still be on the right track overall. It is definitely undesirable to get stuck following them every day. It can be discouraging to take a look at your numbers and not see them moving in the direction that you’d like swiftly enough. Maybe you’re experimenting with the style of content you want to use. Maybe it’s just a week full of holidays. Social media statistics are not easy to predict and can be influenced by many factors. Still, it is important to take a quick look and see that you are making progress. Don’t get too caught up in monitoring them, but make sure that you do take a look every so often.
Break Down Social Selling Tasks for Success
At its core, social selling is about completing a series of tasks like the ones laid out in this article. In the end, they all come together to help you get your product in front of your ideal customers and build fruitful relationships that help you to sell the product.
Too often, we get caught up in the overall sales that our social selling efforts have generated. Early on in the process, you’ll be hard-pressed to recognize the impact that the strategy has had on your business. By connecting your social selling goals to specific tasks, you ensure that you consistently take action on a daily basis. Using the tasks outlined in this article can help you to define those tasks and create a daily schedule for your social selling strategies.
Are there are other social selling tasks you do on a daily basis? Comment below and tell us what tasks are paying off for your business.