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The Rise of Social Selling and Why It's Important for Your Marketing Strategy

Posted by Smith & Harroff on Nov 17, 2016

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Not so long ago, people sought advice from friends, shared opinions over cups of coffee, and sent off letters of complaint to companies whose products or services didn’t live up to their promise. The truth is, selling has always been social, but today social operates at a speed and level no one could have imagined just a few years back. While your website is the ultimate place for people to learn more about what you offer, consumers are likely also turning to other channels to get the full story about your brand. Review sites, blogs, forums, and social networks are where consumers head to get unedited, honest opinions on you and your products and services.

Make Social Selling a Sales Priority

Social selling is transforming marketing, and your company’s ability to engage customers via social media can have a profound effect on the bottom line. Some, but not nearly enough, brands are putting more focus on social selling. The latest State of Inbound survey found that only 28% of respondents listed social selling as one of their major marketing priorities for the coming year. But with LinkedIn finding that 78% of social sellers outsell their competition, it’s time for you to embrace social as a way to connect with prospects and remain relevant.

Create Authentic Connections

Social selling is similar to lead nurturing – your goal is to engage buyers on a consistent, long-term basis. The trick is to use social tools to establish real relationships, not just push your product or service. If you’re already engaging with your audience on any social media level, that is a form of social selling. Here are some ways to better incorporate social selling into your overall marketing strategy.

  • Build Better Profiles That Establish Your Brand. Building relationships starts with getting to know who your customers are. Who are you trying to reach? Assuming you’ve created your buyer personas, use your social media profiles to speak to the problems and needs your ideal customer is looking to solve. People are comfortable opening up online about their likes, dislikes, and shopping habits. Such sharing makes it easier for you to learn everything you need to know about your targeted audience.
  • Look for Opportunities to Create Incredible Content. From product demos to thought-provoking blog posts, every piece of content you create can be shared via social media channels. For example, live video is an incredible tool for educating customers. Just keep in mind that you’re not just sharing content – you’re offering a variety of relevant and useful information that also happens to be engaging and more likely to convert.
  • Become a Thought Leader. Content is already a part of your inbound marketing strategy, right? Social media gives you a bigger venue to perform in. The content you distribute on social media channels should position you as the go-to resource on the topics that matter to your target audience. Stay focused on what really matters: helping people solve their problems. Social selling is about building credibility and trust so that your brand stays top-of-mind – now is not the time for hard sell.

Take the Lead

Social selling, like all inbound marketing, is about providing value first. To succeed, you must develop a well-defined image, cultivate a loyal following, and become the industry leader people turn to. As social selling continues to rise as a marketing approach, now is the time to take advantage of all it can do for your brand. If you don’t, your competitors certainly will (if they aren’t already). The bottom line is that social selling is no longer an option – it’s a powerful strategy that will help establish credibility, engage audiences, and win customers.

Topics: social selling