Selling, some would argue, has always been social. The quickest way to exchange business cards is through a handshake, after all.
But few would argue that social media hasn’t changed the game for sales and marketing. It’s still all about networking, but a thick rolodex seems quaint compared to a big LinkedIn network and a voracious Twitter following.
As we put together the Grande Guide to Social Selling, we realized that many folks struggle with getting started or moving from that first foray into a structured, daily process. Well, you’ll be happy to know that social selling, like traditional selling, is still about trust. But there are few keys to doing it right.
1. Know What Social Selling Is – And What it Isn’t
If you think social selling means pitching your product or service in an abbreviated tweet, think again. Selling is all about developing relationships, and the best way to do that is by delivering value. Maybe you see someone ask a question on LinkedIn so you point to a related eBook or blog post. Or maybe you curate resources for the entire market. The idea is not to talk about yourself too much or just shilling product across every social channel.
2. It Starts With Listening
You can’t know what the market wants if you don’t listen. Thankfully, social media offers more opportunities to listen in on the needs of the market than ever before. Social media monitoring tools, like Radian6 and Vocus, can provide detailed sentiment analysis. But even free tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite let the user get clued into what buyers are saying in real time. So listen in and find the relevant message or content to share before you approach new contacts.
3. A Personal Brand is Worth as Much as Corporate Brand
Working for a respected, well-known brand certainly helps establish credibility. Yet, when it comes to social media, developing a personal brand is just as valuable. Whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Q&A sites like Quora, your personal reputation, demonstrated knowledge and sound ethical principles are what get you noticed. And the goal isn’t just to get seen by buyers, but win the endorsement of the influencers they follow.
4. Marketing Plays a Big Role
Like any aspect of business, marketing can really help kick your social selling into high gear. If marketing has built up a blog or customer community, ask if you can contribute. That way, they share your content, post it to their followed corporate social accounts and get you seen. Additionally, they can provide you with feedback and guidelines. Many marketing teams might even have sales tools that can allow you to efficiently follow up to the conversations your having on the social Web, ensuring these connections get captured in your pipeline.
These are just a few of the basic points every social selling effort should pay attention to. There are plenty more tips, strategies and tools in the free Grande Guide to Social Selling. Download your copy.