Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You probably spend a lot of time on these platforms uploading vacation photos, catching up with old friends or looking into the lives of your favorite celebrities.

 

Given that most people are connected to social media sites in some way, businesses have learned how to use this web traffic to their advantage. Social selling has allowed businesses to stray away from cold calling and spamming potential customers. Instead, sellers are able to form connections with contacts that could lead to making their lives easier. About 78% of salespeople engaging in social selling are outselling their peers. Here’s where we come in.

 

Based out of San Jose, Calif., the team at SocialSellinator is dedicated to managing social media accounts in order to maximize social selling potential. We’ve been able to do some pretty great work. In fact, our success has caught the attention the of D.C.-based ratings and review platform, Clutch. We have been awarded a spot in its 2019 report among the top social media marketing companies.

 

Since 2013, Clutch has used its unique methodology to rank and rate top companies across a wide variety of industries. After conducting in-depth client interviews and analyzing industry data, the Clutch team is able to award every firm with a rating. We are excited to announce we have been given a 5.0!

 

One of our happy customers is Rainemakers, a communications consultancy firm. We were proud to be able to provide them with social media sales enablement services. As a result of our work, they saw a major increase in sales!

We love to see our clients increase their client network and selling capacity!

 

“It’s very rare that you have a company, in this social space, that truly understands social engagement, business components, and can deliver results. You very rarely get all three and these guys have all three,” said the CEO of Rainemaker.

 

Another project we loved working on was maintaining the social media presence for Virtual Support Systems, a marketing and advertising firm.

 

We were able to help this firm evaluate, strategize and execute a social media plan for one of its largest clients.

 

“Communication and commitment by SocialSellinator is exactly what I demand as a general manager and service provider. I foresee a long term relationship precisely because of this achievement” said the COO of Virtual Support Systems.

 

We are very thankful to have clients who are willing to take their valuable time to participate in our review process. Client feedback is very valuable to our company as we try to improve and expand our client network.

 

In addition to our feature on the main Clutch platform, we have earned a spot on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister sites of Clutch. Each site is capable of offering buyers a unique market research experience.

 

The Manifest, a business news outlet, has named us a leader among San Jose social media marketing agencies. Likewise, Visual Objects is designed to feature the creative work of firmsby listing a portfolio of past work along with a rating. Here, buyers can find us among top social media firms.

 

If you’re aiming to increase your selling power, consider starting a social selling campaign. Contact us today, and let’s discuss what SocialSellinator can offer your company. 

 

 

Social media is an integral part of our lives, so it’s only natural that brands are using it to their advantage. Using social media to promote your business is one of the most effective ways to extend your reach, and to form meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.

 

However, it would be best if you didn't bombard your social followers with messages, tweets, and content that's not relevant. Instead, wait for the right moment to jump in and provide a solution to a problem. That's exactly what social selling is: engagement via social media, that eventually leads to a business relationship. If you're doing social media to sell, you're probably doing it wrong. 

5 Reasons Why Brands Are Adopting Social Selling

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Below are key reasons to address your prospects’ needs at the right time, and create strong connections with them. All of these are great reasons to adopt a social media presence for your business.

 

1. Opportunities to Create Value and Promote Honesty

 

Social selling enables you to personalize and humanize your brand. You can show that you provide your audience with real value. The key is always to be honest and transparent because that's what will give you positive results.

 

If you engage with your followers on pretenses or if you're pushing your sales pitch, your audience will see right through it, and move on to someone else. For instance, if you're working with an influencer or brand ambassador, make sure they disclose their affiliation with your brand. Otherwise, readers may brand you as a spammer who's only looking to sell.

 

2. Building and Maintaining Long-Term Relationships

 

Proper social selling means engaging in friendly conversations with prospects and forming meaningful, long-term relationships. That way, you raise brand awareness and generate a lot more qualified leads.

 

Your advantage is that you can quickly increase your conversion rates because the leads you identify on social media don’t need as much persuasion as leads from other channels.

 

Don't apply pressure, as one would in cold calling – the point here is to network, support each other, and provide useful information and content. That way, your leads gain confidence in your abilities and feel much more comfortable engaging with you and your brand. Engagement and lead generation and conversion come entirely naturally.

 

3. Establishing Brands as Niche Experts

 

Consumers today want to engage with experts, but only if they're credible and trustworthy. You can establish credibility with high-quality content that's relevant to your target audience, and helps them solve their pain points. This approach is similar to always providing excellent customer service and getting positive reviews.

 

Once you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, you can effectively engage your target customers with social selling techniques. Just don’t rely only on recommending your products or services. Offer expert advice and industry insights, and show that you’re a thought leader they can trust.

 

4. Customers Are Already Using Social Media to Shop

 

According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of consumers use social media to research products. What's more, they expect brands to engage with them and offer solutions to their pain points.

 

They have already done most of their research before turning to social media to find the desired products or services. They've read the reviews, talked to friends and other people on their social networks with relevant insights. They know exactly what they want, and have narrowed down the list of companies they'd like to talk to. You want to be one of these 3-5 companies or providers they want to hear from in more detail.

 

Since they’re already on board, all you need to do to start engaging them is to monitor social media for your top keywords and jump into conversations relevant to your products or services. Social listening is the first step to social selling because it can help you understand what issues people are struggling with, what pain points you need to address, how people perceive your brand, and what needs they expect you to fulfill.

 

5. B2B Brands Have Already Paved the Way

 

According to the Forrester Consulting study on social selling, 49% of B2B brands have already started using social selling techniques to engage prospects. If you don’t follow in their footsteps, you are missing out massively on opportunities to grow your business.

Creating a Voice for Your Brand and Your Social Sellers

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Establishing a unique brand voice is crucial for standing out in the crowd. Your brand voice represents how you convey your brand values and personality to your target audience. This voice covers your customer interactions, but also your ads, social media posts, and website content.

 

However, how can you create a brand voice that’s different from all the others, and perfectly represents your brand personality? Here are some ideas on how to achieve this goal:

 

  • Reinforce Your Core Values

Do you want your customers to perceive your brand as friendly? Perhaps you want to be both helpful and funny? Or is your goal for them to see you as a trustworthy brand?

Think about your core values and then reinforce those beliefs when determining your brand voice. For instance, consumers are looking for honesty when engaging with brands. They’re also attracted to brands with friendly personalities, but trust and honesty drive them towards a purchase more than anything else.

To that end, consider your brand beliefs, and take your target customers’ expectations into account, to create the right tone and messaging for your brand.

 

  • Maintain a Clear Voice from the Start

Maintaining a clear brand voice right from the start is very important. If you demonstrate multiple personalities or approaches, you may confuse your followers. You may even annoy or upset them to that extent that they unfollow you. Consistency is key – whether you’re a person or a business.

To avoid confusing your audience, define your voice, your values, and what you want to be known for. In addition, avoid bait-and-switch techniques at all costs. Be transparent, relevant, helpful, and make sure all your interactions have a single, unified goal.

Consistency Across All Networks Provides Sellers with Leverage

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Being consistent not only across your social networks but also across all the other channels you use (website, email, ads, etc.), will help your social sellers get the most out of your presence. If your messages are not coherent, you may drive away your customers.

 

Here are the key elements to focus on when maintaining consistency across all your channels.

 

  • Visual Consistency

Visual consistency on social media is essential because the first thing that people see when encountering your social posts are visuals. Apart from making sure they’re eye-catching and relevant, you need to retain them across all the channels you’re using.

 

For instance, if you use a particular image when sharing an individual post on Facebook, use the same image for the same post with related visuals and colors on Twitter and Instagram. That way, people will instantly recognize your brand.

 

However, don't stop there. Add something unique to every visual you post. For instance, you can add motivational quotes on your images in the form of a watermark, or write those quotations underneath every visual you share. That way, people will immediately realize that the post is yours.

 

  • Emotional Consistency

Emotional consistency is just as important as visual consistency because you want your prospects and customers to feel the same about your brand on every platform. Ultimately, your goal is to evoke the same emotions on Twitter as you do on Facebook, for example.

 

Colors play a huge role when it comes to tapping into people’s emotions. Did you know that colors increase brand recognition by 80%? If you stick to the same brand colors on all channels, not only will people instantly recognize you, but you’ll also evoke those emotions they already have about your brand.

 

  • Consistent Offers and Campaigns

All your offers need to be consistent with all your marketing campaigns. This means that the style and tone of every post you share on social must be consistent with the offers on your website, your ads, and your email marketing campaigns.

 

This approach helps you become a thought leader and significantly extends your reach. It will be much easier to engage your prospects and effectively guide them further down your sales funnel.

Common Issues with Social Media Branding

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There are recurring issues that every brand comes across when trying to leverage social selling. They include:

 

  • Cutting through the noise 
  • Being original
  • Engaging prospects on an emotional level
  • Extending reach
  • Compelling people to share

You can address all of these social media branding issues by following the tips above on creating a unique brand voice and maintaining consistency across all the channels you use. The reasons for adopting social selling discussed above also contains some handy tips on making the most of social selling.

 

It all comes down to being honest, helpful, relevant, friendly, and completely transparent. That's precisely how you can show you're credible and trustworthy, which leads to higher engagement, and more leads and conversions.

Using social selling wisely means being proactive and offering a helping hand at the right moment of need. Listen to what your target audience is saying about their needs, your brand, and gain insight into their ultimate pain points regarding the products or services you offer.

 

Considering this lets you avoid common social media branding pitfalls and enables you to create a unified brand image that will supercharge your sales and ROI. It may sound a bit overwhelming now, and it may be challenging at first, but be patient, break the above steps down into small tasks, and you will experience very positive results.

 

Lead generation and conversion are some of the most important goals of nearly every business out there. The reason is simple: if you can generate qualified leads, and effectively convert them into customers, you will increase your sales and ROI, and gradually grow your business.

 

Perhaps you already know how to capture leads, but do you actually know how to achieve long-term success? You need to start by implementing lead-generation techniques into your strategy, but you also need to put the right person in charge.

 

Before diving into the essential techniques to use, check out who should be responsible for your revenue streams, and how to find the right candidate.

Who’s Leading This Show?

The person responsible for your revenue streams is a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Since a CRO is responsible for overseeing and driving revenue growth, you need to find a reliable and skilled candidate for the job.

 

Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision when hiring a CRO, or giving the position to one of your existing employees.

Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)

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To pick the best CRO, you need to fully understand the responsibilities that they will be accountable for on the job. You also need to have a clear idea of the skillset that the job requires so that your chosen CRO can truly help your business.

 

1. Responsibilities

 

Since a CRO is responsible for increasing revenue growth, they need to know how to handle sales, marketing, and customer experience. Moreover, they need to align them with one another and collaborate seamlessly with a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and a CXO (Chief Experience Officer).

 

A Chief Revenue Officer should take the following responsibilities:

 

  • Creating a client outreach strategy.
  • Coordinating the process of implementation of the client outreach strategy into marketing, sales, and client management.
  • Collaborating with the board of directors and the executive team to develop strategies for growth.
  • Developing processes for sales management: account planning, revenue pipeline, and proposals.
  • Monitoring leads and the pipeline and implementing proper changes to drive revenue growth.
  • Developing short-term and long-term strategies for growth.
  • Monitoring the strategies and the revenue cycle.
  • Training account management and sales teams.
  • Leading strategically by taking advantage of customer research.
     

2. Skillset

 

The CRO you choose needs to pack a proper skillset to help you increase leads and conversions, and boost your revenue.

 

Since the primary goal of a Chief Revenue Officer is driving revenue growth, make sure your chosen CRO is:

 

  • Passionate about completing your brand’s mission.
  • Motivated to achieve your company’s goals.
  • Able to make changes, including both executing and implementing them.
  • A leader who knows how to motivate, plan, organize and oversee all the other workers they are responsible for.
  • A critical thinker who can analyze the given data and strategize for the best outcomes.
  • Goal-oriented and knows how to achieve all your revenue goals.
  • An excellent communicator who knows how to establish credibility, form strong relationships, reach objectives, consult with teams, speak publicly, and write technical content.
  • A professional who puts ethics, morality, credibility, and integrity first.
  • An expert in their field capable of helping you achieve all your goals.

At their core, CROs are basically VPs of sales and marketing. However, the role of a CRO is actually much more than that.

 

It’s strategic because a CRO conducts strategic planning of short-term and long-term goals for an organization to achieve its revenue goals and drive sustainable growth. It’s also strategic because a CRO is responsible for risk management processes, as well as for leading sales and marketing teams, and overseeing customer success.

 

The role is also tactical, because a CRO drives sales acceleration and sales enablement, implementing processes that help sales teams improve the effectiveness of their day-to-day operations.

 

A CRO does that by teaching operational excellence, that is, by standardizing certain methods that increase sales success. Here’s what those methods are.

Help Your Sales Team Become Subject Matter Experts Through Quality Content

Rarely any buyer (be it B2B or B2C) puts their trust in salespeople nowadays. When looking to buy a product or a service, few people will trust what a salesperson says because everyone knows that their primary goal is to generate more sales and revenue. Can or should you expect an honest answer or an independent piece of information from a sales rep? Certainly not. And have you ever met a sales rep who recommended their competitor because their solution is a better fit for your needs?

 

Buyers would much rather conduct their own research when considering a brand and receive recommendations from their peers or consult with their friends or family. Most of us would rather discuss their purchasing decisions with experts on the subject matter they’re interested in or with someone they trust to give them an independent opinion that’s not tainted by personal interest.

 

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are real experts in specific areas. They pack extensive knowledge and expertise that help establish credibility and trust.

 

To generate more leads and revenue, your sales team members need to become subject matter experts. Only then will they be able to improve their efforts and enrich your sales process.

 

Provide your sales team with quality content they will use to learn about specific areas. Train them regularly, and make sure they know exactly how to reassure clients that your brand is the right choice for them.

Have Appropriate Content Formats for Your Target Audience

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Content is what will help you attract and convert leads, eventually increasing your sales and revenue. But do you know what content format will provide you with the best results?

 

There is no one right answer to this question. The thing is, no one will find only one content format that will suit them. Therefore, you should mix it up with different formats, so that you can appeal to a larger target audience.

 

Depending on your target audience, you can choose among the following content formats that deliver the best results:

 

  • Blog posts
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Presentations
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Quizzes
  • eBooks

Adding Value to Conversations

If you don’t provide your clients with real value, you won’t compel them to engage in your brand, and it’s hard to keep them coming back for more.

 

But how can you add value to your conversations? You do this by showing them the value they will experience if they put their trust in you.

 

Will you save them money? Will you make them money? Will you reduce their risks? Will you solve any burning pain points that your clients may have? Anything that is fact-based and explains how you make their business or their life better, less painful or more effective is relevant.

 

Ask about their needs, and propose a solution only you can give them. Provide them with value, and you’ll hit the bulls-eye.

Seeking Out Social Media Groups & Communities

Engaging in social media groups and communities can help you reach out to numerous leads interested in what you have to offer. To find the right groups, you should monitor social media, and really listen to what your audience is saying about you.

 

Social listening is the key to social selling, as it lets you in on consumer behavior, and helps you discover new sales opportunities.

 

Once you know in which social groups and communities your target customers are, jump into the conversations at the right time. Be proactive, offer your products or services, and showcase their value. Build trust and meaningful relationships, and you’ll effectively engage people in your brand.

Establishing a Community Around Your Brand

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Establishing a brand community isn’t about promoting your business. It’s about delivering value that gives a reason for your audience to join your community.

 

You can offer discounts now and then, but you should mostly offer useful tips and advice that help your audience solve their pain points. Don’t focus on sales pitches. Instead, start conversations.

 

Create a community that will empower your target customers, and encourage them to ask questions, share ideas, and really connect to one another. That way, you’ll connect to them as well, and engage them in your brand.

Targeting Shot Callers in B2B Situations

The best decision-makers (aka shot callers) you can target in B2B situations are:

 

  • C-level managers

C-level managers often make big decisions without consulting with someone else from their organization, so it’s always smart to reach out to them. If they discuss your brand with someone from their company, your chances of making sales would only get bigger.

 

  • Mobilizers

It’s not very easy to break through to mobilizers, as they tend to be quite skeptical, and don’t like sales pitches and various sales tactics. What they’re looking for is boosting productivity, so you need to let them know how your product or service can do it.

 

With mobilizers, forget about the bells and whistles. Be transparent and honest, and show them how you can help improve their bottom line.

 

  • Business users

Business users are the actual users of your products or services. They don’t make huge business decisions, but their opinion is definitely important.

 

As they are those who would use your services or products, they’ll actually recommend them to C-level managers and other higher-ups. You should thoroughly explain how your offer would help their business so that they discuss it with the decision-makers.

Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Through Thought Leadership

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Cross-selling and up-selling are two very useful sales techniques for converting qualified leads and increasing sales. Perhaps you already use them, but have you ever considered leveraging thought leadership to do it?

 

Establishing yourself as a thought leader means building credibility, authenticity, and trust. It means showcasing that you’re an authority in your field who can solve all your target customers’ challenges. It means having in-depth expertise and proposing innovative ideas to inspire and motivate people.

 

Therefore, when you’re a thought leader, you can inspire people to purchase complementary products or services from you (cross-selling) or encourage them to spend more (up-selling). You’ll know how to do it effectively, without ever being pushy.

Don’t Limit Yourself to the Online Environment

There are many more leads online than offline. They’re much easier to capture, and they’re more affordable to acquire. The challenge is that it’s actually harder to convert online leads, primarily because there’s quite a lot of them. As there are fewer offline leads, it’s more expensive to capture them, but it’s actually easier to convert them.

 

Don’t focus only on the online environment. Explore business opportunities in the offline world as well, as there are absolutely enough leads to help you meet your sales goals.

 

Remember that continuity is key for long-term success – in sales and any other activity. You won’t see results overnight and there’s no silver bullet to make your YouTube video go viral either. But these lead generation and conversion techniques will help you get there quicker, and significantly drive your revenue growth.

 

 

Social Listening: The First Step to Social Selling

Social buying is not only a hot topic. It’s also the future of commerce.

More than 74% of shoppers rely on social media when making purchasing decisions.

This is in big part due to the democratic nature of social networks and unbiased reviews from users and social influencers. Equally important is the all-in-one concept behind popular sites like Facebook and Instagram, which eliminates all customer effort from an average buyer’s journey.

There’s one keyword that perfectly describes a modern-day consumer:

Convenience.

Being enabled to buy whatever they want and whenever they want it with only a few clicks, without having to switch tabs and leave their favorite social network, is convenient. Receiving pre-purchase and post-purchase guidance from social media reps and chatbots - also convenient.

Having a platform for sharing their opinions on brands? You guessed it. Convenient.
So much so, in fact, that 96% of social media users won’t trouble themselves with hitting the “follow” button before discussing a brand online. Twitter users like to act all nonchalant too, with roughly 30% of all tweets that mention a brand being shared without the brand’s handle (@).

But how can you know what’s being said about you then?

The answer is social listening.

Here’s how it differs from social monitoring, why it should be an integral part of your social media analysis, which tools you need to use, what constitutes a social listening strategy, as well as how to make it work in terms of marketing, social selling, and general business growth.

Listen carefully.

What Is Social Listening?

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is not social monitoring.

The two overlapping concepts are easier explained in comparison to one another, concerning the fact that social listening includes social monitoring. However, they are not the same.

Social monitoring is about collecting data on social media.

Social listening is about using that data in a strategic way.

While monitoring allows you to keep an eye on the online mood, or social media sentiment, listening allows you to take part in the dialogue and control the narrative. Or to use the information you have in any other way that helps you improve your brand image and drive more sales.

While monitoring provides you with raw insight, listening takes a step forward into actionable data analysis. By helping you understand how people feel about your brand, niche, and industry (or how people feel in general), listening allows you to keep your selling efforts on track.

There’s plenty you can do with social listening.

Using this insight, finding patterns and trends in consumer behavior is easier than ever before. The same goes for revealing new sales opportunities, whether it comes to improving brand visibility, super-laser targeting, smart lead acquisition, building trust, or quick conversions.  

Social Listening Vs Analytics

Without combining social monitoring and social listening and fitting them together into a broader picture, you won’t be able to execute a successful social media campaign. You’ll miss more targets than you’ll hit. And at that rate, you’ll have no way of competing with other brands.

Social selling is extremely effective, but also very hard.

That said, having a data-driven strategy is vital.

There is a number of social analytics you should start measuring:

  1. Volume, which is the size of conversation about your brand, product, or campaign.
  2. Reach, which measures the spread of conversation and potential audience size.
  3. Engagement, or the number of people reacting with reshares, comments, or likes.
  4. Influence, as a way to determine how influential your supporters/critics are.
  5. Share of voice, or competitive analysis that measures you against your rivals.


A good social listening strategy can help you cover all five.

The end goal?

To gain a better view of the current market conditions, define and understand your target audience, segments, and ideal buyer personas (their needs, pain points, preferred solutions, buying patterns, and social media behavior), and collect feedback that can be used for improvement.

What Kind of Businesses Used It in the Past?

Social listening was originally popularized by communications’ departments as a crisis management technique. Marketing departments quickly noticed the immense potential of social media mentions and started sharing their insight with customer service/support representatives.

Today, the practice is used by businesses big and small.

And not only them.

1. B2B
Skype recently reintroduced its “Away” status feature and made the news public on Twitter. Using social listening, the company was able to test how their audience is feeling about the new roll-out before spending a dime on it. A similar example comes from the cloud giant, Slack.

2. B2C
A beloved ice cream company Halo Top is using social listening to engage with customers on Twitter as well. But the creamery is not doing it for testing. It simply chitchats with its fans like in this witty exchange, thus boosting its brand visibility and encouraging shares and sales.

3. Charities, Fundraisers, and Similar Organizations
Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), a non-profit organization committed to elevating the issue of early childhood education and child survival, famously used social listening to learn what people are thinking about Trump becoming the president and inform their campaigns.  

4. Governments
A recent report by GovLoop and Hootsuite analyzed the way government bodies are using social media, and why. The results showcased that 22% of respondents rely on social listening for informing their strategies, improving citizen engagement, and providing real-time support.

Long-Term Vs Short-Term Strategy Development

Long-Term Vs Short-Term Strategy Development

Every modern-day brand can benefit from social listening.

But whether or not you’ll actually invest in social listening tools depends on the social media strategy you have in mind. What is it that you want to achieve, in relation to your social selling efforts? Do you need to collect recent data, analyze trends, and create short-term opportunities?

Or do you need a long-term solution for long-term returns?

If your strategy relies on cumulative data and continual learning about your target audience, then you’ll need to plan for the long-term. Social listening is here a better option. For one-off strategy boosts and short-term solutions, stick to metrics provided by social monitoring.

3 Essential Tools

Helpful social media tools allow you to encompass your entire social media presence from one place. They track mentions using keywords, phrases, and events and send you alerts and data in real time. Your social listening toolkit should equip you for the following analytics:

  • Influencer tracking and analysis
  • Trend analysis and historical data coverage
  • Competitive benchmarking
  • Predictive analysis
  • Virality maps  


Here’s a list of 3 tools we’ve tried and loved:

1. Mention
The foundation of every social listening suite is a tool that provides social monitoring, analytics, and competitor espionage. Mention does that exceptionally well. In addition, it offers demographics and data on the accounts that mention you. Analysis-wise, that’s pretty deep.

Similar tools: Hootsuite and Sprout Social

2. If This Then That
If This Then That (IFTTT) extends your social listening efforts beyond social media. It allows you to track blogs for unapproved mentions of your brand, thus increasing your opportunities for inbound linking and SEO. With IFTTT, the ultimate goal is increased brand visibility.

Similar tools: Boardreader and HowSociable

3. Keyhole
Keyhole is great for tracking niche-specific keywords and hashtags. Say somebody wants to know this year’s hottest summer destination. As a traveling agency, you’ll use Keyhole to monitor all these keywords and provide links to your offers to potential leads and customers.

Similar tools: Hashtracking and HashTagsForLikes

4 Steps to Success

Are you ready to start listening? 

The following 4-step strategy is only a framework. You’ll need to expand on it based on your specific sales goals, but it’s a start nevertheless. Consider it a cheat sheet for success. 

1. Identify Your Goals
We’ve said that there’s a lot you can do with social listening, but that doesn’t mean that you should do it all. As with every other strategy, you need to set SMART goals, which mostly means specific. Do you need to track your brand, spy on your competitors, or find influencers?

Maybe you need to improve your customer service? 

Figure it out. 

2. Build Your Toolkit
Using our recommendations from before or based on your own research, start building your listening toolkit. Cover as many social sites as possible, including forums and blogs, and add analytical features that retrieve insight on as many different social media metrics as possible. 

3. Determine Keywords
Depending on your end goal, your social listening tool should be scanning social networks for specific keywords and phrases: 

  • Your brand name and handles, as well as common misspellings.
  • Your products and services.
  • Your branded hashtags, slogans, and official campaign names.
  • Niche and service-related words (failure, help, not working).
  • Common criticisms.
  • Your competitors’ brand names, handles, and products.
  • Industry buzzwords and the most popular hashtags.


4. Track, Analyse, Repeat
Social listening is worthless without a powerful analysis.

Use it to feel the online mood. 

We’ve already discussed key metrics that you need to add to your social media strategy. You’ll need to know the audience’s general sentiment no matter the goal, but chances are you’ll also need to measure social influence, volume fluctuations, brand reach, and share of voice.

What Data Do You Need (and How to Use It)

Options are virtually limitless with social listening.

And so are the possibilities for improvement.

The following encompasses all types of data that can drive your social selling forward. A thorough brand would collect them all, though that would take some time and money. If you’re considering social listening as a growth technique, better focus on one or two at the time:

1. Brand Intelligence

  • Sentiment research: How do people feel about your brand in general?
  • Customer experience: Good or bad? What’s more frequent, praise or complaints?
  • Campaign analysis: Which part of your strategy resonates with the audience the most?

 2. Competitive Intelligence
  • Sentiment research: How do people feel about your competitors in general?
  • Competitive analysis: Who are your biggest rivals and what makes them a threat?
  • Competitive differentiation: How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?


 3. Industry Intelligence

  • Audience and trend analysis: What does your audience want and expect from you?
  • Product and content research: What new solutions would they like to see?
  • Influencer research: Who are the people in your niche that can endorse you?

​How to Use Collected Data

​How to Use Collected Data

There’s no point to social listening if you don’t act on what you’ve heard.

Clever use cases for data collected with social listening tools are as numerous as they are innovative - everywhere you look, brands are using this technique to improve social interactions with customers. The ultimate goal is growth through sales. These are the best ways to achieve that:

  • Improving Customer Service

63% of customers expect brands to offer customer service via social media channels.

In addition to staying responsive to messages 24/7, you need to be able to address your customers’ questions, concerns, and frustrations when they are posted live without your brand’s handle. 60% of them expect you to respond to their queries
within an hour, so keep listening.

  • Identifying Influencers

Although 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective, as many as 61% of them agree that it’s challenging to find the best influencers for a campaign. You can solve this problem by tracking niche-relevant keywords as part of your broader social listening strategy.

  • Tracking Hashtags. Keywords, & Phrases

In addition to that, social listening by industry buzzwords and niche-relevant keywords allows you to predict consumer expectations. This is especially useful if your sales strategy depends on a content marketing approach. This way, you can create content that truly resonates.

  • Generating Customer Feedback

We’ve already talked about the online mood or audience sentiment analysis, which is arguably the most straightforward purpose of social listening. Most customers won’t leave feedback on your brand page. But their opinions still count, which is why you need to hear them.

And if positive, customer feedback should be reshared.

74% of consumers have greater trust in a company if they read positive reviews.

  • Creating Business Opportunities
The hottest summer destinations query is a great example of this. Whenever a potential customer goes on social to ask for possible solutions to their problem, you should be the first to provide one. This is how you generate quality leads, make quick sales, and impress the audience.

  • Informing Your Marketing Strategy
Eavesdropping on your audience and spying on competitors is a huge part of every data-based marketing strategy. Remember, social listening tools like Mention can help you gain insight into people who are talking about your brand. This is a powerful audience targeting and segmentation hack.

  • Leading Conversations & Crisis Management
60% of consumers say negative reviews turned them away.

Social listening may be the most effective way of preventing this. The faster you notice a bad review, the faster you can turn it into a positive customer experience. Approach the frustrated customer with a sincere apology, a better solution to their pain point, and a promise that you’ll improve.

  • Analyzing Past Performance
If you use a social listening tool to track your marketing campaign or product launch performance, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what resonates with the audience and what leaves them indifferent. Use past performance analysis to inform your future campaigns, and you’ll be golden.

  • Learning from Competitors
Alternatively, or additionally, you can monitor what the audience is saying about your competitors, their products, and campaigns. Learn from what they are doing right and steer clear from what they are doing wrong. Every oversight they made is a chance for you to differentiate your brand.

  • Testing for Better Product Development
Like Skype and Slack in the aforementioned examples, you can use social listening to test the waters before a new product launch or roll-out. Or, you can track consumer pain points within your niche and start working on a new product that will solve every potential problem.

  • Boosting Customer Engagement
Responding to brand mentions and resharing user-generated content with your brand’s hashtag is crucial for customer engagement on social media. Not only does this boost your brand awareness and improve your image, but it also makes you likable by humanizing your brand.  

  • Improving Online Reputation
41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported loss of both brand value and revenue. A negative comment can go viral in a matter of hours. Just remember Amazon. These are hard times for reputation managers, but social listening can help alleviate the crisis.

  • Building Trust Through Transparency

Building consumer trust will become marketing’s primary objective in the near future, according to 84% of leading marketers. And nothing builds trust better than transparency. Social listening allows you to be transparent about your mistakes, admit your wrongs, and propose solutions.

​What Are the Business Benefits?

There’s so much you can learn from just listening.

Intelligence is, therefore, the first benefit of social listening. In an oversaturated market (and that’s the situation for most marketers in today’s economy), information is the most valuable asset and the most powerful differentiating point. Without data, you don’t stand a chance.

The more you know about modern-day consumer behavior and your niche audience, the better. You’ll find it easier to predict their expectations, meet their needs, and keep them satisfied. And if they, by any chance, get disappointed, you’ll find it easier to address that too.

Earlier, we’ve talked about convenience.

90% of social media users are using social media as a way to communicate with their favorite brands, simply because it is convenient. By engaging in social listening, you’re eliminating every last bit of customer effort. Customers no longer have to address you directly to be heard.
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All this amounts to improved brand visibility and trust. Relying on these social signals to guide their purchasing decisions, social media users are one click away from turning into leads, and from there, into customers. A timely response or reshare can be a powerful conversion trick.

 

How To Do Social Selling: 8 Principles to Apply Every Single Day


“Social selling is hard.”

This statement is definitely true in some ways, but is also wrong in others. Yes, social selling is hard. At first. It requires a dedication to stick around, find out what works for you, and re-craft strategies that fit within those parameters.

In the end, social selling success is just as likely to come down to your determination as it is any particular strategy or tactic that you employ. The more determined you are and the longer you stay consistent with your efforts, the more opportunities you have to learn.

Consistency is perhaps the most important attribute that any prospective social seller can possess. Social selling is a daily commitment. You need to follow up with prospects, constantly engage with new people, and ensure that you are spreading your content far and wide across the social platforms where you want to be present. Without consistency, you’ll not get results. It’s that simple.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important social selling principles that prospective social sellers should apply to their efforts every single day. By internalizing these guidelines and ensuring that you take them into account as you build out your strategy, you’ll set yourself up for success in the long run.

Principle #1: A Genuine Approach Wins

 

Principle #1: A Genuine Approach Wins


B2B users know when they are being marketed to. It’s true. Our exposure to advertisements and marketing has made us skeptical of the messages we receive every day. That isn’t to say that traditional marketing isn’t effective anymore. It is. It’s just that those techniques are not as likely to produce results when applied to social media engagements.

Similarly, our customers know when they are being marketed to. They don’t like to have their inbox spammed with cold pitches and nonsensical marketing messages that don’t fully apply to them. Even when they do need the product, they’d rather conduct research on their own or engage in a more deliberate conversation with someone they trust.

For these reasons, social selling relies on genuine relationships and conversations with prospects. You aren’t just selling to them. You are getting to know your connections - and hopefully they’ll turn into clients at some point. But while that’s maybe the ultimate goal, it’s not what should determine how you operate.You’re getting to know what they need. When they’ll need it. How they live and think. What they care about. Anything and everything relevant. We want to build genuine relationships before we ever make a pitch to a prospective client.
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Principle #2: Valuable Content is the Cornerstone of Success


If the goal is building genuine relationships, the quickest way to do that is to actually be valuable to the people that you are speaking with. While you can always provide valuable insights during your discussions, social selling is built on the principle of delivering continuous value through content.

When we mean delivering value through content, we are talking about sharing content across your entire social selling operation. When a point comes up in conversation and you have a relevant piece of branded content published on your blog, share it with the client. When you share content on your timeline, make sure it is valuable. The same for when you are taking part in discussions on another post or in a group discussion on your chosen social platform — relevancy and genuine value trumps all.

Any good social seller must have a consistent pipeline of high-value content that they can use to attract new customers, build relationships, and boost their ability to establish that initial level of trust with their prospects. Valuable content is the cornerstone of an effective social selling campaign.

Principle #3: Generosity Establishes Connections


Social selling is about more than following a simple checklist of tasks that you need to do on a daily basis (although having a checklist is helpful, too). It’s more broadly about your ability to establish relationships with people. Yes, they may need your services. But they can might also be in a position to help you expand your presence, make referrals, or grow your audience. They can be influencers. Competitors. Other social sellers. Casting a wide net puts you in position for more opportunities.

To establish that wide net, you need to focus on a strategy of generosity. Just like you can’t withdraw from your bank account without making deposits, be willing to give advice for free. Explain to them why your product might be a good fit for their situation. . But don’t hesitate to recommend other products or services that might be a better fit for their needs. By focusing on being generous and transparently helpful, you build connections that ensure that when a prospect or someone they know needs a product like the one you offer, you will be the person they think of first.

Principle #4: Lower Volume, Higher Quality


This speaks to every aspect of social selling. No one likes to be bombarded with messages, likes, or comments. When you are too eager to engage, you create an aura of desperation that your prospects will be able to detect. It won’t help your standing.

Focus on lower volume and higher quality in everything that you do within your social selling strategy. This can refer to:

  • The conversations you strike up with prospects.
  • The posts you engage with on your timeline.
  • The groups you participate in.
  • The content you share.
  • The recommendations you make.


Anything and everything you do within social selling should be done with an eye toward quality. Being able to consistently deliver quality interactions to prospects is a big part of the trust building process. By delivering that reliable quality in the actions you take, you slowly but surely build trust for yourself, your product, and your company.

Principle #5: Questions Build Relationships


At the heart of every great conversation is a great question, idea, or insight. Learning more about our prospects is at the heart of every social selling campaign. We can’t learn what conversations they may respond to, the pains that bother them, or whether or not they are a good fit for our product until we learn more about them.

Asking questions out of the gate can get you responses. Asking the right questions is what keeps the conversation going and gets your prospect engaged. There are all sorts of questions that you can ask a prospect to kick things off.

You can ask about their company. You could ask them about their work history. Or their time in college. Or about any specific services or specializations that they have. Every company is different. Every prospect is different. Focus on learning as much as you can about each prospect without peppering them with too many questions. Let questions flow naturally from your conversation to build trust and foster engagement.

Principle #6: Use Smart Automation


Automation plays an important role in any type of today’s marketing and social selling is no different. Some companies automate their entire social media presence. Every tweet, Facebook post, and shared article is pre-planned and scheduled. While it would be nice if social sellers could enjoy that level of automation as well, we have to be more thoughtful in the way that we employ social selling automation.

Because social selling leans so heavily on genuine one-on-one conversations, it is impossible to automate the entire process. You’ll always have to jump in and manually engage with your prospects. However, being able to identify what tasks can be automated and finding smart ways to integrate them into your existing strategies can give you a leg up on the competition.

Some of the different social selling tasks that you can safelyautomate include:

  • Connection and friend requests based on specific parameters.
  • Introduction messages to establish a conversation and build rapport.
  • Sharing content with your followers.
  • Posting updates or insights.
  • Engaging with specific accounts.


However, you want all subsequent interactions to seem genuine. So even if you automate the posting of a piece of content that you wrote to your LinkedIn account, you have to make sure to be willing to jump in and engage with prospects that comment, like, or share your content.

 

 

Principle #7: Groups Broaden Your Platform

Principle #7: Groups Broaden Your Platform


Participation in Facebook or LinkedIn groups may be the most direct way to grow your platform. Instead of vying for attention from anyone and everyone, your participation in groups allows you to cater your interactions and messages to a small set of individuals. If you find a group that is full of highly relevant prospectsfor your product, spending additional time within that community is likely to be a more worthwhile use of your time than targeting random people you come across on social networks.

Finding micro-communities makes it easier to develop awareness and a reputation within the markets that matter for your offerings. While not all Facebook and LinkedIn groups are well-moderated enough to really make an impact on your business, those that are can be of tremendous value.They can allow you to meet a wide range of qualified prospects, establish your position within the market, and make yourself a trusted source of information.  

Find groups on the platform of your choice that are a home to your target audience and are well-moderated. Start to participate in those groups. Learn the rules. Know how to interact within the group. Don’t be self-promotional at all in the beginning. You want to establish a reliable presence and reputation and the worst thing that you can do is come across as overly self-promotional as you’re building out the relationship..

 

Principle #8: Make the Ask When It Makes Sense

Principle #8: Make the Ask When It Makes Sense


The biggest mistake a social seller can make is making the pitch for their product or service too early in the process. It can be hard to stop yourself from making that mistake, especially when a prospect seems to be a unique fit for what you have to offer.

It’s so critical to your ongoing success in social selling that you are able to develop patience within conversations. Almost no one is ready to buy your product on Day 1. Many aren’t on Day 5. Most aren’t on Day 15. But a good number of your prospects could be ready on Day 30. Be patient. Learn how to spot the right time to make the pitch during your social selling process. But only by making mistakes and going through the process, again and again, will you learn to when that time is.​

Social selling takes time. That’s the point that we want to drive home here. You can’t expect it to pay off right away. Expect 3-6 months of ongoing engagement before you see tangible results. Of course, you will see some results before then, but it simply takes time for prospects to get to know you and trust that you are a reliable source of information. They have to be educated and nurtured over time. It’s a very deliberate approach to establishing relationships. For those that have experience in more traditional forms of marketing and advertising, it can take some time to get used to it.

Principles to Guide You


The principles that we have outlined in this article can help you to guide your social selling strategies. These principles apply to social selling on any platform. By following them, you embrace social selling in its truest form and position yourself to establish beneficial, long-lasting relationships with prospects across your market.

Have some other ideas for important social selling principles? Share them in the comments below!