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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Image Source: Facebook
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.
Image Source: Facebook
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.
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.
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 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
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
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Think of copywriting, and you probably think of product descriptions, billboard advertising, and content marketing.
But copywriting is key to social selling. It’s about communication, speaking to your customers as humans rather than potential sales. Read on to discover five hacks that bring copywriting and social selling together that will get you sales.
Recommended reading: How to Start Social Selling - 7 Tips to Set up Your Strategy
Go for the emotional jugular with power wordsWhen your customers scroll through their news feed, they’re faced with a barrage of content. Consequently, it can be difficult to grab their attention.
Visuals are a great way to quickly hook a user as they scroll through Facebook. But you know what can be just as effective? Power words.
These are words that trigger an emotional reaction in the reader, eliciting a powerful response that compels a person to act. Here are just a few examples of power words that will make your followers stop in their tracks:
Different words elicit different emotions in different people. Want to inspire your customers? Use words like ‘zen’ and ‘healthy’. Or perhaps you need to appeal to your customers’ sense of greed? Try out words like ‘free’ or ‘bonus’. For a full list of power words you can use in your social selling, click here.
Curiosity killed the cat (but thrills your customers)Curiosity is a curious thing. It’s irresistible to consumers and is virtually guaranteed to drive clicks. And social media is the perfect platform for piquing people’s curiosity. It’s a place where customers are actively daily, and they are more receptive to content that grabs their attention.
Check out this example from Egyptian property developer La Vista Developments:
Super-cryptic and mighty mysterious, the ad doesn’t actually say what the developer has planned, but it piqued its followers curiosity considerably, making for stunning social selling. The comments section was full of people trying to guess what La Vista had planned, generating significant buzz for the business.
Create teaser campaigns for an upcoming product launch and drip-feed them on social. Cryptic copywriting like La Vista’s is ideal — tease your followers and leave them always wanting more. Combine this with close-up product photos that don’t reveal the full picture — your audience will scramble over themselves to try and guess what it is.
Like a good magician, don’t give it all away from the off. A prolonged campaign that builds on audience curiosity makes for great social selling that will boost your sales.
Embrace the active voice to tell, not askThe active/passive voice is an important distinction that surprisingly few know about.
Most of us automatically use the passive voice in our writing. It feels better, sounding more poetic and floral. But the passive voice lacks direction, and is more ruminative than commanding.
The active voice, on the other hand, is more imperative. It is clear and concise, and addresses the reader directly. This makes it great for compelling the reader — your customers — to act.
Let’s look at an example:
Passive voice:“You can impress your friends with this stylish unicorn tee!”
Active voice:“Impress your friends with this stylish unicorn tee!”
Can you see the difference? The passive voice is weak and noncommittal, but the active voice is commanding and direct. For a real-world example of a successful active voice at work, check out this example from webstore creator, Shopify:
Shopify could have written: “you can take your website design to the next level with our live workshop today,” but this feels less pushy and more optional. By using the active voice, Shopify literally tellsits followers to check out its live workshop, increasing engagement as a result.
Familiarize yourself with the active voice and use it in your social copy. It takes a little getting used to, and it might feel unusual at first. But get comfortable with it, and your social selling will benefit as a result.
Make customer negativity work for youLast year, Twitter users were surprised to see a number of sponsored tweets from fast food chain KFC appear on their feed. But rather than the usual promotional content, these were tweets from unhappy KFC customers, complaining about the quality of their fries.
KFC followed up these tweets by replying directly to the complainants and used the otherwise bad publicity to announce their new fries recipe.
It was a masterclass in social selling, and one made possible by their willingness to acknowledge their shortcomings. The lesson? Learn how to deal with negativity and turn it into something that benefits you.
This goes beyond KFC’s smart handling of unhappy customer complaints. Not every brand can sponsor angry tweets and turn them into sparkling marketing.
But by reaching out to dissatisfied customers on social and responding in a sincere, helpful way does wonders for your brand and will actually encourage prospective customers to shop with you in the future.
But most importantly, don’t shy away from your shortcomings — acknowledge that you dropped the ball, and actively work to be better in the future.
Place the most important message firstIn the social sphere, attention is a valuable commodity. A strong hook is vital for effective social selling, so don’t waste time setting the scene — go in for the kill.
Put your key message in the first sentence of your social post. For example, if you’re announcing a new product or a time-specific special offer, don’t beat about the bush — just say it.
While a more gradual opening to your social post might work for less conversion-driven content such as thought leadership articles, your social selling strategy should be targeted and driven.
For example, rather than saying:
“Planning that perfect summer vacation and need some new dresses? Check out our summer discount sale today!”
“Summer discount sale! Perfect for finding some summer style for your next vacation.”
It lets customers know straight away what to expect, grabbing their attention immediately.
Copywriting and social selling go hand-in-hand. Delving into the nitty-gritty of language and connecting with your customers, teasing their curiosity, and playing on their emotions will improve your social selling considerably. Follow the tips above, and enjoy the benefits of copy-driven social selling today.
Guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra from Micro Startups www.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.