I didn’t want to write this blog, but I couldn’t help myself. Too many people still don’t know how to use social media for sales (or seemingly any worthwhile purpose). If you are reading this, I know I am #PreachingToTheChoir, but we all (the choir) have to do something to make things change.
Business leaders must understand social selling for themselves, their companies and employees. Not using social selling to promote your business is the equivalent of not having a listing in the phone book (in the “old” days) or a sign on your door. How on earth would people find you?
But, having a profile alone will not help you sell successfully on social media. If you don’t understand social media, and haven’t spent the time to learn more or hire someone who does, you may be doing dumb things online. Yes, I said dumb.
Engagement Killing Mistakes
- Sending spammy sales messages through social media to prospects
- Making generic connection requests to cold prospects and hoping they connect
- Having an incoherent and outdated online presence
Every item on this list is #WRONGWRONGWRONG — yes, I am shouting on purpose.
What To Do Instead
Engage, Interact and Convert
The key to social selling is not sending sales messages or broadcasting how great your product is. It’s not even about posting relevant, interesting content — which at least is a step in the right direction.
To use social media successfully, you must engage with people, interact with them, and build a relationship. Once you’ve established a relationship with someone, they are more likely to take an action that could lead to a sale. They might follow a link to an article or landing page, give you their email address, or in some cases, agree to a quick phone call.
Meeting people on social media is just like meeting in person. Get to know your new social media contacts and learn more about them so you can be a resource. Ultimately, you want them to get to know you, like you and trust you. Then, when they need what your company offers, they will consider buying from you. Or, they will refer you to their connections who may need what you offer. And, perhaps you will do the same for them.
Building Relationships Online
Whether you are selling, job hunting, hiring, or looking for resources on social media, a few basic principles apply:
- Your profile is only the beginning
- Offering great tips and ideas that make people think is a must — but is not enough
- Having conversations is critical
Unsure of how to have a conversation on social media? Here are my best tips.
Think of a “like” as you would a wave to someone you know who is pulling into the parking lot at the same time you are. On social media, a “like” means you see the item a friend posted, acknowledge it, and move on.
Commenting on a post is the equivalent of stopping for a moment for a quick chat. To extend the parking lot analogy, we both parked our cars at the same time, and are walking to the same building together. On social media, I see your post, I stop to read it and make a comment on it.
During our quick chat, you tell me about a great event or a new book you read. Then, I tell my friends about the information you’ve shared with me. On social media, if I like what you posted, and believe others would enjoy it too, I’ll click a button and share it with my friends.
- Like = Wave
- Comment = Quick chat
- Share = Tell others
Selling is Social
Selling has always been social. You spend time getting to know people. You have conversations. You help and recommend. You share ideas. Social media can help you leverage this fundamental human interaction via the internet. By building relationships online, you can become a resource to a wide network, and reach more people with your products and services.
If you want to learn more about how to use social media to build relationships and your business, I suggest learning from people who do it right:
To keep up with what’s new in social follow:
If you want to read more about social media and find even more great resources, read this HubSpot article.
If you are part of the choir, please share this article. Or comment below with your success stories or ideas for helping others with social selling.
Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion. Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.