How many times have you scrolled through your Instagram or Facebook feed and come across a product that catches your eye?
Maybe you paused on it and clicked to find out more. Or maybe you carried on scrolling past it but, when it popped up in your mind later, you went back on the hunt for it.
If this has happened to you at least once, you’ve been the target of social selling, an increasingly important selling technique that taps into modern-day consumer needs.
Social selling is the act of developing, nurturing, and leveraging relationships through social media to sell more products and services.
With more consumers than ever turning to social media for product recommendations and inspiration, it’s no wonder that this sales tactic is becoming increasingly common.
But if you want to see success, you have to have a strategy.
It’s not enough to put up a few posts on Twitter or Instagram pointing people towards your site. In order for social selling to work, you have to know what people are looking for on social media, tap into the social mindset, and get outside help if you need it.
This outside help usually comes in the form of social selling tools, which help you create, execute, and measure your strategy.
Read on to learn more about how these social selling tools can transform your sales.
Why You Should Be Tapping Into Social Selling
A study from LinkedIn found that social sellers are more successful than their peers. It revealed that social sellers generate 45% more sales opportunities and are 51% more likely to reach their quota, while 78% outsell their colleagues.
Social selling taps into the customer-centric buying landscape that defines consumerism today. Instead of blindly shouting about your products at every opportunity, it’s far more effective to meet your customers on platforms they’re already hanging out on and join in their conversations there.
Using Social Media for Business
The key thing to remember is that social selling isn’t just about building a following and sharing your content. You can have millions of followers and still not see success with this method if you don’t implement it in the right way.
Social media for business is a tool— and a powerful one at that.
It’s all about creating a systematic and customized strategy to make direct sales via social media in a way that your specific audience is open to.
Using social selling tools— that is, tools which help you understand where your audience are most active, what content they’re interacting the most with, and that help you post regular, sales-driven content at the right time— can help you create a strategy and, more importantly, stick to it so you can be consistent.
How Social Selling Tools Help Generate Sales
If your sales are in a slump or you simply want to get a few more orders a month, social selling can be the final piece of the puzzle.
Here’s how they can dramatically help transform your sales.
1. Know Your Buyer’s Journey
Knowing who it is you’re targeting in the first place is absolutely vital. Without this knowledge, you might end up promoting content on the wrong platform or missing the mark with your messaging.
Today, 81% of shoppers carry out online research before buying, and a whopping 74% turn to social media for product inspiration. Your social channels are now one of the most important steps in the sales cycle, and knowing how to leverage them properly can turn your sales around for the better.
Social selling tools dig deep to discover the most common journeys your buyers take to make a purchase from you. Not only can they map out a route (which will then help you optimize each step), but they can also track past purchase behaviors.
Sprinklr, a customer experience management system, put their product to the test and used a social selling tool to find out exactly who their customers were and the kind of content they wanted.
The tool helped them gather the information they needed to build a solid rapport with leads and continue to engage them in a meaningful way.
By monitoring their prospect’s feeds, they were able to find out what their audience is interested in and what their biggest challenges are, and then use these insights to explain how their solution will help.
The end result is social feeds packed full of juicy content they know their audience will love, like these short Sprinklr Coffee Club videos.
2. Optimize the Sales Funnel
Once you’ve figured out who you’re targeting and where you’re best placed to target them, social selling tools can help you identify key parts of the sales funnel where consumers regularly make decisions.
There are three main steps in the buying cycle:
- The awareness stage, where consumers become aware they have a problem that needs solving or a need for a product, but they don’t know what product they need or where to start looking for it
- The consideration stage, where consumers know what it is they need, but they’re weighing up their options about which brand or product to go for
- The decision stage, where consumers have decided what it is they want to buy, but might have some objections before they hit the buy button
Social selling tools can help you figure out what interactions customers need at each stage of the cycle.
For example, someone in the awareness stage probably isn’t going to be interested in reviews about your best-selling product because they don’t even know they need your product yet.
IBM’s “intelligent listening” program is a key example of using social selling tools to target different stages of the sales cycle.
The aim of the program was to learn what conversations around cloud computing were taking place on social media and what key trends were being discussed. IBM implemented a social selling tool to find hot topics and content that fit the context of the discussions at each and every stage of the sales funnel and shared them across social media.
The end result was 4x more orders than the same time period the year before. Simply by listening to their audience’s needs and serving them strategic content when they needed it, IBM skyrocketed their sales.
3. Measure and Tweak in One Place
If you’ve got a full social selling strategy in play, it can be difficult to keep on top of it and remember what you need to post and where you need to post it. Social selling tools help you stay on track while measuring your results so you can continue to optimize the process.
For example, if you roll out your social selling strategy and quickly discover that Instagram isn’t as fruitful as Facebook, you can shift your strategy to focus more on Facebook and minimize the time and effort you spend on Instagram.
In a similar vein, if you find that consumers respond more positively to user-generated content rather than company-crafted photos, you have the insights you need to post more of that content they’ll engage with more.
Creating a successful social selling strategy is all about finding out what works with your audience— something that will be different for every brand.
Start Social Selling Today
Social selling is becoming an increasingly important marketing tactic as consumers spend more and more time online.
Creating a strategy that generates sales over and over again can seem like an impossible task, particularly when you bear in mind just how many social platforms there are and how many different marketing tactics are talked about every day.
However, there is help at hand.
Using a social selling tool can make the process a whole lot easier and clearer. Not only do they help you plan where you need to focus your energy and who you need to focus it on, but they also help you execute your strategy and keep you on track for success with in-built insights and cold, hard data.
So, if you’re not already implementing a social selling tool to turn your social media channels into sales machines, what’s holding you back?
With the DirectScale Web Office, distributors can quickly find out updates and grab social copy and content to share with their followers. By connecting sales data to social strategies, you can give direct sellers the chance to get a top-level overview of what’s working on social media and what’s not.
Social selling tools like DirectScale and the others mentioned in this piece are specifically designed to help you stay on track while measuring your results so you can consistently and successfully optimize the social selling process. And, as a result, you’ll find that your sales shoot through the roof.
This post is sponsored by DirectScale, a cloud-based software platform that supports direct and social selling companies and their salesforce in every aspect, from selling products with social media to paying commissions. Request a free demo of DirectScale and see how it can help your company grow.