Social selling is no longer only something sales professionals do. Today, every professional can benefit from this sales methodology to land their dream job, a promotion or simply to be more successful in their current role.
However - social selling success doesn’t work overnight; you need to have a strategy that helps you achieve your goals.
Step 1 - Check Your Current Social Presence
What do people see when they Google your name? Which social platforms do you currently use and what type of content do you share?
All your public profiles are visible for your customers, next manager or employer. Keep in mind that if you don’t want everybody to see your content, you can set your profiles to private.
Another important part of your profile is the profile picture. Make sure you have a professional profile picture, and people will be able to recognize you in real life after seeing your picture.
If you use multiple channels like LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram for personal branding it helps to use the same profile picture. When people want to follow you on multiple channels they will recognize your picture.
Step 2 - Set Up Customer-Centric Profiles
Nobody likes to listen to people who only talk about themselves. This is the same on social media. Make sure you explain on your social media profiles how you can add value to people and why they should follow you or connect with you. (what’s in it for them?)
When you are in a sales role and you always boast about hitting your target you might come off as self-centered. For a customer, it’s more valuable to explain how you help companies to be more successful or to grow their business.
Review your profile from the eyes of your audience: are you interesting and relevant to them? Do you explain to them what they will get out of a follow or a connection with you? When you use your LinkedIn profile for personal branding, rich media can also help to make your profile customer-centric.
Consider adding a mix of rich media to keep people longer on your profile. The longer people stay on your profile, the better they get to know you, the more they will trust you. And gaining the trust of your buyer is the first step to making a sale.
Step 3 - Know What You Want to Be Known For
One of the key elements for social selling success are the relationships you build. People build relationships with people they trust. This is where thought leadership comes in.
When you position yourself as an industry expert people will be more likely to trust you.
Research by Nielsen shows “expert content,” created by credible journalists or industry experts, lifted purchase intent 38% more than branded content and 83 more than user reviews. So how do you start becoming an industry expert?
Think about what you want to be known for as an expert. You don’t want to be known for the products you sell; you want to be known because you know a lot about a specific market or industry.
Becoming a thought leader takes time but it is extremely valuable, and can define your entire career. Your personal brand will change with you during the steps you make in your career so make sure you keep your profiles up-to-date.
Step 4 - Share Relevant Content
Content is the key to positioning yourself as a thought leader. Again, the point isn’t to talk about yourself—it’s to add value to your network.
This means you must share content that is relevant and interesting. Make sure you have a nice balance between industry-related content, and content created by your marketing team.
Native video content is a great opportunity for social sellers—use it as a creative way to engage buyers and build trust.
Don’t be afraid to schedule content—this is completely fine. Just don’t forget to check in with your profiles to engage with people who interact with your content and to share some “in the moment” content. This helps to build relationships, remember, people connect with people.
Step 5 - Make Real Connections
Your network is key for digital and social success. This means quality and quantity.
Building a valuable network is not a numbers game. Take the time to build your network, invite people with a personalized note, send messages to people who want to connect with you and spend time reading the content your network shares.
Don’t send any automated messages, as this will have a negative impact on the relationship with your network, and people will see this as spam.
Social selling means understanding your audience. Use events like birthdays, promotions, new blog posts, videos or comments to reach out to people. Send personal messages to people to make the relationship with your network stronger. When ¾ buyers say they won’t even talk to a salesperson who doesn’t provide insights about their business, you can’t afford generic messaging.
Step 6 - Have Fun
Enjoy! Social selling should be fun. It is a nice way to get to know new people and to grow your knowledge and experience. It shouldn’t take up several hours of your day—once you’re set up, all it takes is 30-60 minutes. It should make your life and your sales goals, easier to achieve.