Social Selling Automation: 10 Tools That Make You Successful in Less Time

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

 

#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


#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:

  • LinkedIn profile visits (show up in your prospect’s visitors list)
  • Connection requests
  • Connect messages
  • Follow-up messages


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

 

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

 

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

 

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:

  • Analytics. Relationship intelligence for social sellers. Includes automated CRM activity logging with no manual input required. Also includes buying committee coverage analytics which is incredibly valuable to account-based sales teams.
  • Insights. Nudge’s system systematically facilitates warm introductions through your network. Their system will keep you on top of your relationships by alerting you to new connections, providing notifications for required follow-ups, and integrating directly with LinkedIn messages, Gmail, and Outlook to ensure that no conversations or relationships are neglected.


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

 

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

 

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.
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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 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

 

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

 

#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!

 
Develop Brand Awareness

You see it all the time. A company or a person posts a Tweet or an Instagram post that links to a piece of content, followed by a dozen (or unbelievably, sometimes more) hashtags. If you’re at all like me there might have been a point where you wondered — “What is that really doing for them?”

Most of the time, the answer is simply: nothing. However, that isn’t meant to be a statement on the effectiveness of hashtags in general. Hashtag usage can be extremely rewarding, but only when it’s done in a smart way. Forward-thinking social sellers, digital marketers and social media managers can benefit from the audience and awareness growth that hashtag marketing brings to the table.

In this article, we’ll explain what hashtags are, why they work with audiences, and we’ll cover some of the typical strategies used in hashtag marketing to grow the reach of social updates.

Why Do Hashtags Work?


When Twitter first debuted hashtags, I’m not certain that they fully understood the magnitude of what they created and the widespread uses their feature would receive. The feature still acts as it did when it was first launched, although Twitter has bolstered up the systems around it to make hashtags easier to engage with. The feature was so popular that it was eventually adopted by other social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn — making it a key feature in the social marketing world.

Initially, hashtags were created for content tagging. When you share a piece of content, you can tag it with a relevant #hashtag, which will make it easier for people to search for this keyword on the respective platform. That is still true today, despite the ballooning number of ways that users use them.

Today, hashtags help users in a few key ways:

  • Content Tagging. The original purpose hashtags were created for. The most common use of hashtags is still for the use of signaling content categories and topics. It helps to make topics easier for users to find.
  • Community. Hashtags have become so large that communities pop up around their use. If you were to search for #MariahCarey, #JustinBieber, or any other popular musician, you’d likely see a smorgasbord of fans (and not-so-fans) discussing them on any of the popular social networks.
  • Events. Any large event can be searched for and discussed using specific hashtags on social networks.The #SuperBowl hashtag is a great place to see discussions during the big game. In a B2B sense, industry awards ceremonies and conferences are great examples of events that have hashtags pop up around them.
  • Conversational hashtags. Ever see a hashtag around a specific topic for more in-depth conversation. You see it all the time on Twitter, where discussions arise around topics that influencers push to their audience.


Studies have shown that Tweets and Facebook posts that include 1-2 hashtags typically receive more engagement than those with zero or those with 3 or more.

Facebook & Twitter

Hashtags work because they are helpful. Social networks are inherently very messy. There is a lot of noise, with thousands of users sharing their thoughts on different topics any given second. Hashtags help us to break through that noise and find our niche and the conversation we’re interested in. They give us a way to easily discuss the topics that are important to use and find that island of community in the sea of social networking.

Now let’s dive into the different hashtag marketing strategies that are most commonly used to grow the reach and presence of a social post or topic. In each section, I’ll provide examples of popular brands using each method to get the gears turning on how you might be able to integrate hashtag marketing into your own business.

Types of Hashtags to Use


Using hashtags isn’t enough. If you aren’t smart in the way that you use them, you’ll see no more engagement than your typical hashtag spammer does. Finding smart and effective ways to use hashtags will not only expand the reach of your social posts but will help to improve your brand awareness overall as you consistently appear in specific industry-related hashtags.

In this section, we’ll cover the different types of popular hashtag marketing strategies we see continually delivering results to brands.

Trending Hashtags


Trending hashtags are perhaps the most common hashtag marketing strategy and arguably the most impactful when done well. The trending hashtags that show up on Twitter and Facebook drive a lot of eyeballs to the posts that perform well and use those hashtags. For most companies, the trending hashtags will rarely align with their business or service, but keeping a close eye on them can yield creative opportunities to tie your brand to a current trending topic.

The brand exposure can be astronomical if you are in the right place at the right time. This can’t be shown any more clearly than during news events that trend, when news publications often have the most popular Tweets in the category.

Let’s look at an example


Do you remember the Pokemon Go craze? Pokemon Go was a Pokemon mobile game that allowed players to catch Pokemons out in the real world using a GPS system. The game was a huge hit and had brought in more than $1.8 billion in sales by Summer 2018, just two years after its release.

The game was trending on every social network. That fact was not lost on Warby Parker, a prescription eyeglasses company. While their business may seem wholly unrelated to the Pokemon Go trend, they found a simple way to make the most of the hashtag and use it to their advantage:


Warby ParkerNothing earth-shattering in terms of engagement, but a simple post with a few digitally-added Pokemon in their office with some of the employees caught a small wave on the trending #PokemonGo hashtag and got them noticed. This example is great because it shows a fun side of their team that customers don’t usually get to see as well.

Community Hashtags


Community hashtags can be a great way to connect with a very specific audience. Some might say that they are another version of branded hashtags because many influential brands have communities that pop up around them.

Using our earlier example, a quick search of the #JustinBieber hashtag pulls up a long list of fans celebrating the person and the music and a few voicing their dislike as well:


fans celebrating


It comes as no surprise. People are always sharing their opinions on Twitter. Let’s look at a brand example. Nike is a company with a lot of fans. At any given time, there are dozens of loyal supporters discussing Nike products, advertisements, and news on Twitter.

Supporters

These brands see genuine communities grow around their brand and products. Often, brands will use their own name as a hashtag in an attempt to get a sort of social media community growing around their brand. While this strategy will only work for companies that have passionate and loyal customers, it can be a great way to help people find information about your company regardless.

One example of a smaller company using this hashtag marketing strategy comes from West Elm, a furniture and home decor company. They tag all of their Instagram photos with the #MyWestElm hashtag and ask that their followers to do the same when sharing pictures of their furniture.


Westelm

This allows the company to showcase a variety of styles in their products and provides would-be customers with social proof that their products are loved and appreciated by their customers.

Campaign Hashtags


While the West Elm example highlights a long-term branding approach to social media, there are shorter, more focused ways to use hashtag marketing to grow your social presence. Campaign hashtags are used as part of a social media marketing campaign or contest. They typically have a start and end date — however long the company will be running a particular campaign.
Some of the common types of hashtag campaigns that we see having success socially typically promote things like:

  • Discounts
  • Holidays
  • New products
  • Giveaways
  • Contests
  • Causes

One excellent example of a company promoting a cause through a hashtag campaign comes from Divine Chocolate USA, who used the hashtag #BCorpMonth to celebrate B Corporations, which are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and legal accountability.  


Divine

While marketing hashtag campaigns have a limited lifespan, they can make a big splash in a short amount of time when they connect with your audience.

Event Hashtags


Events make for a great opportunity for hashtag marketing. They have a built-in audience of attendees, those that wish they could attend, and the rest of us that are on the outside looking in, wondering what all of the fuss is about.

For example, posting updates about popular industry conferences can be a great way to not only schedule some interesting coffee meetups during the conference, but it can help your brand to gain more visibility throughout.

Here’s a good example of using a conference hashtag to bolster brand content:


Pubcon Pro

Once Pubcon had wrapped up, the company published a detailed wrap-up of the event. Then, they promoted this content on Twitter and other social networks using hashtags that were associated with the event.

Chat Hashtags


Do you know what a Twitter chat is? A Twitter chat is essentially a public discussion that organizes itself by hashtag. Let’s say a teacher’s union wanted to take a day to discussion teaching salaries in the US. They might choose to do this under a hashtag like #TeachingPayChat or something similar. Not only does this approach help chat participants to find discussions to take part in, but it increases the visibility of the cause to users outside of their group that normally wouldn’t participate.

Here’s a an example of a few Tweets from a Twitter chat called #BlogChat:


Twitter Chat

In other words, a Twitter chat is simply a way for people (and brands) to have somewhat organized discussions around a popular topic. If you are able to find a Twitter chat that closely aligns with your brand or product, it can be a powerful opportunity to get your product in front of an ideal audience.

If you want to find Twitter chats (scheduled ones, anyway), I recommend keeping a close eye on the TweetReports Twitter Chat Schedule page.

Content Description Hashtags


Simple, but often effective. Simply tagging your updates with useful hashtags that describe your content can be an effective way to increase their visibility. For instance, if I were to promote this post on social media, I might use a content descriptor hashtag like #SocialMediaMarketing or #HashtagMarketing. This will help searchers who are interested in content around those subjects to find my post.

There are many companies that keep a close watch on hashtags that are related to their industry. They use it to find brand partners, customers, and answer questions for authority building. Appearing in content description hashtags can be a solid way to network and find like-minded companies to partner with.

Product or Service Hashtags


If you have a company that offers multiple products or services, hashtags can draw attention to the different sides of your brand. This is incredibly helpful when your products have different audiences.

These hashtags can help consumers to perform research on a product. Sifting through your catalogue can be difficult if you have a large range of products and services. A product or service hashtag makes it simple for consumers to find information about that product.

Take a look at this example from GoPro, while promoting their GoProPlus:


GoProPlus

If you hadn’t guessed already — the elephant ends up kicking the camera and damaging it. This is a fun and lighthearted way to promote new selling points for their Go Pro Plus line. The post did very well, receiving more than a whopping 100,000 likes and 600+ comments.
Hashtag Marketing ToolsNow that we’ve covered popular hashtag marketing strategies, we have to recommend a few tools that will make your life a whole lot easier. These tools will help you generate, track, and research hashtags for your social media marketing campaigns:

  • Influencer Marketing’s Instagram Hashtag Generator. Simple. You upload a photo, then build a selection of relevant hashtags that you can use when you share the image.
  • All Hashtag. Great all-in-one tool. Started out as a simple hashtag generator. Today they offer a generator, creator, and detailed hashtag analytics.
  • Ritetag. >An excellent and super-simple hashtag generator from RiteKit. Ritetag provides instant suggestions for images or text.
  • Hashtagify. A complete system that helps you to find, analyze, and grow your hashtag marketing strategy. Provides real-time data and insights about any hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
  • ExportTweet. If you don’t mind paying for great data, ExportTweet allows you to track hashtags, keywords, and accounts. It provides in-depth hashtag reports that help you to make data-based decisions in your hashtag marketing.

Those are just a few of the many hashtag-centric tools that are available today.

Use Hashtag Marketing to Grow Your Social Reach


Smart hashtag usage isn’t about spamming as many hashtags as you can into each update. It’s about finding smart, strategic ways to get your social media updates in front of your ideal audience. The strategies in this article should help you to get the gears turning on how you can implement effective hashtag strategies into your own social media presence.

What do you think? If you’ve used hashtags in a unique way or have questions about hashtag marketing, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!