How to Use Social Selling to Grow Your Small Business

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Do you want to gain more traction on social media and grow your lead list? If so, you’re in the right place.

In my experience, social selling is one of the best ways to connect with prospects and turn them into loyal customers.

Social selling involves listening to your target audience on social media, then taking what you learn and using that information to better connect with potential customers. Social selling also means highlighting your expertise through your content and presence.

In most cases, this is more subtle than direct sales. I say this because some marketers believe social selling is a quick way to boost sales immediately.

Instead, this strategy is more of a long game. You’ll spend time getting to know your audience through thoughtful, value-packed interactions instead of directly asking them to buy your product. Eventually, you’ll win over some of these people, and they will invest in your product or service.

When you consider that over 4.62 billion people use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, it’s not hard to see why this strategy is so effective. Businesses across all industries will likely find their audience on one or more of these platforms.

Now that you know a little more about social selling, let’s go over a few actionable tips you can use to grow your small business.

Update and Optimize Social Profiles

One of the first things you should do is update and optimize your social profiles. The average person spends around 2.5 hours on social media every day. If your information is inaccurate or simply not there, you will have a tough time connecting with the people who may need your product or industry advice.

Here are a few details worth keeping up to date:

  • Your website
  • Contact information
  • Links to other social accounts
  • Product mentions (are you promoting your latest product?)
  • Your brand-centric profile picture

If everything’s up to date, users will have an easier time engaging with your brand, which could open up new social listening opportunities. You’ll also have an easier time earning the trust of new users when they discover your brand for the first time.

I recommend checking your profiles monthly for general maintenance. However, if your business has a major event, like changing your domain name, that information needs to be updated immediately.

Share and Create Valuable Content

Next, let’s talk about the content you share and create on your social accounts. You’ll have a better chance of reaching your intended audience and building a solid social selling strategy if there’s top-notch content to back you up.

People are more likely to engage with your business, trust your advice, and share their problems when you have tons of high-impact, accessible content.

There are a few ways you can distribute content to your readers.

I recommend starting by sharing relevant content from your blog. Over 77% of internet users regularly read blog posts. If your content addresses user pain points and offers actionable solutions, people are more likely to turn to you for help in the future.

If you truly hope to master social selling, you should also share helpful, relevant content from other high-authority blogs. This extra step to share content that is not your own can help you build rapport with other businesses while showing visitors that your number one priority is helping them find success.

Videos are another powerful way to connect with existing followers and first-time visitors. For context, a whopping 83% of marketers say that video content helped with their lead generation efforts.

I recommend using a mix of pre-recorded videos and live streams to maximize your reach and the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy.

Practice Social Listening

Social listening plays a massive role in social selling. If you don’t spend time listening to what you audience expects from your brand, you will miss out on countless opportunities to reach new people.

Luckily, there are plenty of paid and free social listening tools you can use to tap into your audiences’ needs. For instance, you can use Google Alerts to notify you when someone says a specific chain of words connected to your product.

It’s also worth mentioning that each platform has tools that you can use to follow conversations and get notifications when your brand is mentioned. I suggest using these tools to determine what people expect from industry leaders and specific products.

For instance, take notes if people are clamoring for a feature that’s not widely available in your industry. If you include this feature in an upcoming update, shoppers are more likely to notice your brand.

Another great place to spend your time is social media groups, such as those found on LinkedIn and Facebook. A stunning 59% of online shoppers turn to social media when they are thinking of making a purchase. As a result, these people flock to relevant groups and ask the community their thoughts.

If you’re there to help during these moments, you will get noticed by the original poster and everyone else in the group. Before long, many people in these groups may turn to you if they have questions or want to hear thoughts on an emerging topic.

Use Customer Support to Build Rapport

Your social media support team can also help amplify your social selling strategy. For starters, research shows that 63% of people say they will engage with a business again if there’s an option to talk to a live agent. In other words, if your team is around to field user questions and direct potential customers to helpful content, these people are more likely to continue interacting with your brand.

There are layers to this strategy worth discussing.

Your support team is on the ground floor of your business and interacts with customers daily. Odds are, they firmly understand your audiences’ specific goals and pain points and, thus, will have more success during one-on-one conversations.

The ability to understand what someone needs, even if they don’t fully know yet, is crucial for social selling. These conversations often lead to the “aha!” moment for consumers, which could result in more engagement and sales.

I suggest sharing your research findings with your support team so they can better serve your customers. Your social media staff can make inferences based on past experiences, but that’s not always enough. If you share actionable data and analytics with your team, they will have an easier time connecting with consumers across all social media platforms.

Track Your Progress and Analytics

Speaking of analytics, the last topic I want to discuss today is tracking the progress of your social selling strategies. Social media analytics contain a wealth of information to offer, if you’re willing to look.

The data packed in your reports can help you discover what’s working and where you can improve. If you’re willing to review this information you can make smarter social selling decisions.

For example, if a marketing firm notices 90% of their engagement happens on posts about email marketing, they can infer that this is a topic that’s deeply important to their audience. With this newfound knowledge, the social media team can start scheduling similar posts and asking followers related questions.

I recommend reviewing your analytics weekly so you can quickly identify trends and meet the needs of your audience. One of the keys to successful social selling is timeliness. You have to anticipate what people will need in the future and meet their needs in real time.

Final Thoughts

Social selling and all of the practices affiliated with this strategy can help you grow your small business. In fact, research shows that 78% of salespeople say they saw more sales and engagement from social media marketing. If you hope to be a part of this group, now is the time to take action.

The strategies outlined above will help you build the framework you need for a successful social selling strategy. Once you put these practices into action, pay attention to feedback, engagement, and brand mentions. You’ll likely find opportunities to fine-tune your message and reach more potential customers.

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