The Growing Importance of Social Selling in B2B Companies
Social selling is the act of utilizing social media (and their best practices) to engage with people to build trust, resulting in lasting relationships between your company, its employees, and your target audience. Proponents of social selling advocate focusing on your customers’ needs and providing them with the information and interaction that fits their interests on social media, instead of attempting to use the same sales tactics that are used on other platforms (such as cold calling, scripted conversations, etc.).
Your business can be successful with social selling if any portion of your audience is on social media, or your target audience regularly uses search engines to find out more about your company or its services and products. Below are some social selling strategies that can help you get integrated better into online communication between your employees and current and potential customers.
Make Your Employees Part of the Process
Whether or not a professional is self-employed or working for a major company, social media has made personal branding an important part of his or her career. Besides establishing authority in their chosen industry, personal branding can also help the companies that professionals are affiliated with.
My Find and Convert colleague Bernie Borges was right when he stated, “Start by recognizing that each employee is like a website that can be optimized in a positive way, without violating the employee’s privacy, and with the employee’s cooperation. An optimized employee’s online presence is an asset to your social business strategy.”
Instead of trying to control an employee and what they say online, companies should be embracing online activity and using it to raise their public profile as a company. After all, an employee with a great online presence serves as a conduit for their employer’s positive online image.
Besides working with employees to make sure they have the right resources to strengthen their own online presence and personal branding, companies themselves should also work on being wherever an ideal customer may find them online.
For instance employees of a software company can have more success engaging with people on LinkedIn with relevant content that establishes trust and credibility, while also building awareness for their employer’s products.
If your organization is just getting started on social media (or you know there are ways they can vastly improve), start by looking at competitors or brands that you admire. Look at how they interact with their customers and don’t copy it, but instead choose to embody the qualities that will make your audience happy.
Additionally, figure out how your target audience is using social media. Bankers on Twitter expect something totally different from Stay-at-Home dads who want more innovative diaper bags. Creating target personas can help you narrow down what your audience wants to see from you online.
Track Social Selling Efforts
Finally, once you implement your social selling strategy, be sure you are tracking everything. Utilize UTM parameter tags when possible to be as specific as possible as to where your website traffic and e-commerce sales came from.
Building custom analytics reports with Twitter or Facebook analytics (as well as Google Analytics) can help give you the best overall picture as to how your social selling strategies are doing. By leveraging data from several different sources, you get a better idea as to what is working and what isn’t. Because of the fast pace of social media (and how fast messages “disappear” as newer posts takeover feeds), it’s easy to test multiple titles, photos, and strategies to see what type of content gets the most engagement.
While this is just an overview of social selling for organizations, what’s key is to offer to train your employees in social selling best practices. Then, demonstrate trust in your employees and leverage their personal branding so that they can be a great representative of your company. In other words, it’s really important to have an organized approach to your social selling strategy. Proper planning goes a long way in your execution and results!