Doctor Digital, what is social selling, is it social commerce - I'm confused?
Doctor Digital Says
Social selling is a mild misnomer, as it sounds like a direct transaction is the result. That's more in the ballpark of social commerce (see our previous blog for that.) Social selling is using a brand’s social media channels to connect with potential customers, develop a connection with them and engage with potential leads. It is part of your early marketing funnel activities to build awareness of your brand while simultaneously getting deeper insight into the nuance of what motivates your customers to buy and what needs of theirs you are fulfilling. Social selling is not push marketing, unsolicited or hardsell, its also not spam. It has to be genuine, based in the values of looking to be in service to your customers, and organically growing your relationships with them.
The thing is, if you/your brand already have a social media profile on Facebook or Insta, Linkedin, Pinterest and or Twitter, and you are actively and strategically engaged with your customers, connect and communicate with them regularly, reach out for two-way and group conversations, ask for product feedback, share valuable consumer information with them and generally make great content that is compelling and informing, you are social selling.
Linkedin is one of the more active social media platforms to promote the powers of social selling through its Social Selling Index, which measures your score based on the above criteria. From the data it has collected since 2014, Linkedin claims that businesses that are leaders in the social selling space create 45% more sales opportunities than brands with a low social selling index; businesses that prioritize social selling are 51% more likely to reach their sales quotas and 78% of businesses that use social selling outsell businesses that don’t use social media. Some compelling numbers there to motivate you to think a little more deeply about the strategic intent of your online content.
Having a strategy, knowing your customer demographics and why they would be looking to your product is a key part of your marketing work. Social selling is the extension of this identification, as it then validates your assumptions, and continues to build momentum with an audience who are already primed to be your customers. Social selling creates opportunities to connect with new potential customers on social media, where they’re already active and engaging in conversations. That means you can reach out to an audience who already have an interest in what you’re offering and authentically connect with them, offering useful information when the time is right. Authenticity builds trust — and that, in turn, can become customer loyalty.
So how do you do this social selling thing I hear you ask? Basically, keep doing what you are doing, but do it strategically and mindfully. This is of course advice for all the time and effort you spend on socials. People are online and they are already researching and buying, it is the job of you and your brand to engage in this process, and as mentioned above, help people to genuinely understand your product, services and how it can help them to achieve their goals in life, whether that is a new lipstick, a new life, or a new sandwich filling. After all, we are never really selling, we are forming a relationship with another person, who wanted to be seen, heard and validated, we are creating trust and safety for them to purchase from us, and that is the essence of the sales process. Know who you want to talk to, and meaningfully engage. Where possible use the analytics of your preferred channels to measure how you are doing, and keep it consistent, trust builds slowly over time.