Cold calling is the old way of doing business. No one really responds to phone calls, and emails typically end up in Trash or Spam folders. It’s now the era where sales pros use their social profiles and some best practices to generate leads.
Sales experts want to find new ways to keep the audience connected to their brand; they typically do this by exhausting their social profiles with numerous updates. This social selling strategy eventually fizzles out. They don’t get the expected results and wonder why.
By digging deeper into the problem with some of our peers, we realized we don’t need the best strategy. We need a strategy that’s sustainable in the long run.
The key elements of a social selling strategy
To help you develop this kind of winning strategy, let’s walk through the essential elements that make a sustainably successful social selling strategy.
1. Brand’s value proposition
“Why should I choose your product or service?”
This is the first question customers ask when exploring your products and/or services. And the answer lies in the way you present your brand in front of them. For customers if you can’t express value, you can’t provide value.
Ask yourself: What should my followers know about my brand? How can I bring value to my audience through content and social engagement? Why would the audience follow or engage with me on social media?
Once you have the answers in front of you, incorporate the findings into your social selling strategy to devise the best way to put your brand’s value proposition in front of them.
2. Buyer persona and audience
Long story short, you cannot address a buyer’s demands and interests without having an idea of who they really are. Having a clear view of the target audience paves the way for you to represent yourself in a way that attracts higher conversion.
The steps are simple: begin by defining your buyer persona. Find out who makes up your ideal customers and why. Classify them in relevant groups, and identify the factors that you can target in your social selling strategy.
In short, try reading their minds. What inspires them to opt for the services and products in your niche? You may weave content around these factors and pitch accordingly.
3. Determine the social platform you’ll market on
Want sales? Be where your customers are – that’s the right social platform. However, labeling a platform as “right” or “wrong” can be a daunting task. This exercise gets even more exhausting when you have a wide range of options to choose from.
The key here is to identify how each social media platform aligns with your business goals and which one has the largest community of active ideal prospects.
For example, if you target B2B customers, you are more likely to opt for LinkedIn, because of its B2B selling potential. On the other hand, if you target Millennials, you are more likely to direct your social selling efforts to Instagram, because of its higher millennial user share.
Regular content is the linchpin of a successful social selling strategy. Commit yourself to create fresh, quality content on a consistent basis. However, with content, we don’t mean shoving sales pitches down your followers’ throats.
Instead, engage with the prospects to find a list of common questions they have and address them. Keep sharing how-tos and other types of content that not only goes along with your company’s value proposition, but also resonates with the audience. And once you are done, don’t forget to incorporate this calendar in your social selling strategy.
5. Clearly defined targets
Once you have a substantial set of information from the above four steps it’s time to determine your success parameters. While the majority of metrics available today assess social selling aptitudes such as how to improve your LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index, some companies are now adding a “social” code on deals in their customer relationship management (CRM) to know how their social selling efforts translate into sales.
Final words about the key elements of social selling strategy
Nailing the perfectly sustainable social selling strategy on the first try is an impossible task. However, once set into motion, it is like pushing a snowball down a hill: just a little bit of traction, and then it rolls down on its own while growing in size. Get yourself ready, take care of these vital elements. Remember to play it by ear at first and be ready to react – an incredible social selling strategy will fall into place.
This guest blog article was written by Milan Ruzicka, who is passionate about helping sales and marketing teams discover the opportunity of social selling. He uses his 15+ years of B2B marketing and management experience and founded ReadyForSocial together with Sander Biehn. He is passionate to keep making the Thought Horizon social selling method better and better by fact-based, data-driven improvements. He loves technology, gaming, skiing and books (non-fiction and military sci-fi as a guilty pleasure).