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How-To Guides Social Listening

How to Leverage Social Selling for Better Connections and Greater Sales

Drop the salesy approach! Discover the huge power social selling holds and why it should become a vital part of your sales strategy.

Andreea Udescu
Andreea Udescu
Table of Contents

These days, there’s no shortage of things you can do on social media. As a brand, leveraging social media to forge connections with your customers and build a strong sense of community is the right way to go.

Now more than ever, people are interested in social buying, so it makes sense to meet them where they are. And social selling gives companies the means to survive in today’s fiercely competitive sales climate.

Still, some brands hesitate to take it a step forward and use social selling as a way to find new prospects, then slowly but steadily win them over and turn them into clients.

So what’s the missing link here?

Read on to find out what social selling is, why it should be a part of your sales strategy and what are the most popular channels for social selling.

Social selling: what it is and how to do it right

  1. What is social selling?
  2. Which is are the pros and cons of social selling?
  3. Social selling vs social media marketing
  4. Social selling tips and best practices
  5. Most popular channels for social selling

1. What is social selling?

We’re gonna flip the script on this one, and tell you what social selling is not. Social selling is not sending out unsolicited DMs, spammy ads or cold emails to people who are not in the least interested in what you have to say or promote.

Instead, social selling takes on a less intrusive and sales-y approach. That’s the key thing to remember about this lead generation strategy.

Social selling is used mainly to improve brand awareness, nurture relationships with prospective clients and guide them all the way through the sales funnel. And it works.

According to LinkedIn, leaders who practice social selling are 51% more likely to reach quotas. What’s more, Sales for Life data suggests social selling enables companies to bring in up 40 to 50% more new business and reach 80 to 90% retention rates.

social selling definition

2. Which are the pros and cons of social selling?

The main things that social selling brings to the table are convenience and personal touch. This sets it apart from the old, traditional outreach strategies that felt out of place and deeply impersonal.

There are currently somewhere around 4.89 billion social media users worldwide in 2023, and each one of them wants to feel special. Social selling plays right into that wheelhouse.

By selling on social media (which should not feel like selling, more like pitching) you combine the power of authentic connection - which people crave - with value offered for free at the right time.

The best part about social selling?

The audience you reach out to is likely already interested in what you're offering, so you can more easily build trust, which leads to customer loyalty.

To sum up, the upsides of using social selling for your brand are:

  • Better leads
  • More closed deals which lead to revenue growth
  • Deeper, long-lasting relationships with customers
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Boosted brand reputation
  • Convenience (for both sellers and prospective buyers)

Considering all these benefits, why would someone still hesitate to make social selling a key part of their sales strategy?

In other words, what are the disadvantages of social selling for brands?

In a world where instant gratification is king, social selling can sometimes feel like a “long shot”, a long-term solution to a present need.

Why? Because people won’t automatically be open to connecting with just about anyone on social media, even if they are reaching out on behalf of a business or brand.

In fact, on the B2B market, 92% of buyers are more likely to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader.

So it might be worth it trying to build a reputation for yourself as somewhat of an expert in your field before engaging with prospects on social media.

social selling pros and cons

3. Social selling vs social media marketing

It might be easy to confuse social selling with social media marketing. While there is some overlap between the two strategies, the obvious one being the medium (social media), social selling and social media marketing are not identical.

With marketing on social media, the goal is to convert people on the spot. Ideally, the result of social media marketing is instant, or at least quick enough.

Building relationships with prospects is a nice-to-have byproduct, but it does not sit very high on the list of priorities.

Needless to say, social media marketing is extremely important. It is a major conversion driver and a powerful force that boosts revenue growth.

It’s no wonder that 97% of Fortune 500 companies rely on social media to improve their brand awareness and communication with stakeholders. Customers are also likely to spend up to 20–40% more money on brands they interacted with on social media.

Social selling and social media marketing are two sides of the same coin and they go hand in hand. Each would be weaker without the other. But they are not the same thing.

4. Social selling tips and best practices

Alright, we’ve talked about what social selling is, what pros and cons there are to using it and how it differs from social media marketing. So what’s left? Figuring out how to actually do it, of course!

If you want your social selling strategy to pay off, then you need to have a well-defined action plan. And a lot of tips and tricks to guide you along the way.

So let’s start with arguably the least practical but most important tip: be genuine and actually put in the work!

If you think your potential customers can’t detect if you’re using an automated service to engage with them on social media, you’re underestimating your audience.

That being said, here are 6 of the most widely adopted practices when it comes to social selling:

Offer value first

It’s 2023. Industries have become oversaturated with brands that sell identical products or have similar online identities. To stand out, you need to take a step in a new direction.

You need to offer value in the form of unique, data-backed shareable insights. This will help your brand earn credibility and move away from the intrusive, salesy approach that many businesses still practice.

social selling offering value

Strengthen your brand identity

To make prospects fall in love with your business, it needs to have a strong identity first. Remember: in the age of social media, you’re not only selling the product, but also the story behind it and a vision for the future.

As you engage with your leads, be sure to highlight your product’s USP (unique selling proposition) and make it memorable.

Become a storyteller

Building upon the previous point, there’s a lot of value to telling brand stories on social media. They can be stories of success or overcoming obstacles, that’s up to you. The key thing is to make them inspiring and relatable of your audience.

Instagram Stories, for example, are a great content format through which you can do so. From leveraging customer testimonials or product demos to tutorials, there are a lot of engaging Instagram Stories ideas you could try to leverage to strengthen your connection with your audience.

Be a guiding hand

Once you get prospects interested in your product, they will most likely have a bunch of questions. About you, your company and your product. They will wonder what’s in it for them, what benefits they get by using your product.

Through your social selling efforts, you should be ready to answer all these questions or better yet, anticipate them. If you do that, you’ll become a guiding hand that leads people through the sales funnel all the way to purchase.

Keep your ear to the ground

Perhaps the most time-consuming yet rewarding part of B2B social selling is the listening part. To meet your audience where they are and offer them value at the right time, you need to be present and monitor their activity.

It might help to join (or create) groups relevant to your business and use that space to foster a sense of community.

Make it a team effort

Social selling does not have to be a ‘lone wolf’ kind of activity. People will trust and respond better to social sellers with higher authority and larger decision-making power (founders, CEOs, etc.) but that doesn’t mean that other team members can’t get involved.

As a social media manager, you need to coordinate with the sales team, managers and everyone who might be able to help you, to make sure your brand’s social selling strategy is as coherent and efficient as it can be.

To sum it all up, here’s what SuperOffice advises you to do:

You ‘’warm-up’’ your prospects by engaging with them when they are active. Whether that’s by sharing their content with your network, providing advice when they ask for it or by reaching out to them and asking for their input on any questions you may have.

Some social media platforms are more optimized for social selling than others. Twitter and Instagram, for instance, make it easy for you to interact with leads and customers alike.

That makes them great for building lasting relationships with prospects, all the while keeping things light and informal.

Linkedin, on the other hand, falls in the social selling B2B category. This is an ideal platform for B2B companies looking to identify and reach business decision makers.

It even has a metric - called the social selling index (SSI) - that measures your social selling Linkedin performance and helps you figure out where you should improve.

Which one of these tips will you implement first in your social selling strategy?

Andreea Udescu

Andreea Udescu

Content writer @ Socialinsider with 7 years of experience in digital marketing. When I’m not writing, I like to go on coffee dates with friends, dabble in poetry and fill my house with flowers.

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