Social selling is the practice of using your brand's social media accounts to connect and interact with individual prospects and customers.
Salespeople can use their branded social media pages to share valuable content with their followers, answer their queries, and interact with them in the comments section. This can help build trust and create meaningful connections with customers in a way never seen before.
According to the latest studies, there are 4.76 billion social media users worldwide. With more than half of the global population on social media and the average user online for 2.5 hours a day, social selling is an increasingly effective way to increase your customer base and boost your sales figures.
LinkedIn's Social Selling Index (SSI) is an indicator used to evaluate the efficiency of your social selling strategy. This service, which requires a subscription, allows you to view key metrics which calculate how successful your social selling efforts are.
The four elements which are calculated on the Social Selling Dashboard are -
Establishing your professional brand
Finding the right people
Engaging with insights
The index is updated daily, providing you with engaging insights for ways to improve.
With users spending more time on social media than ever, the importance of social selling is unquestionable.
Let’s take a look at some ways salespeople can use it to their benefit.
Lead generation strategies such as cold calling and email campaigns have their advantages, yet more often than not they result in unanswered calls and email unsubscriptions. With social selling, salespeople have direct access to the people who could be most interested in their product or service.
People are involved in a wide range of activities on social media sites and by keeping track of what’s being discussed at the virtual water cooler, identifying the customers who most align with your brand has never been easier. The customers you are looking for can appear in an instant through a like or a comment, allowing you to jump right in and interact with them.
Most social media sites have in-built tools that allow you to see who exactly is interacting with your content and when. This provides you with high-quality analytics that you can use to identify the right type of customers that will serve your base.
Leveraging social media is a great way to find new leads. However, it's essential to combine your social selling strategy with other prospecting tactics to ensure you always have a full pipeline.
As an outside rep, it’s crucial to plan your day in a way that best maximizes your selling potential. With a tool like Badger Maps, prospecting is much simpler. You can see all of your prospects on an interactive map, helping you to better understand your area and prioritize important customers.
On average, salespeople using Badger Maps spend 20% less time driving and sell 22% more.
The way you are perceived online is important. When looking to buy a product, consumers pay a great deal of attention to what is being said online. They read reviews, study comment sections, and watch product review videos.
Considering this, it’s important to make sure your online presence is firing on all cylinders. It’s very easy to publish a post, but what’s equally as important are the interactions you have with your followers. Remember, this is where your brand narrative is created.
By engaging in social selling tactics, you can have a say in what is being said about you online and ensure your brand is seen in a positive, attractive light.
Building authentic relationships in a virtual world can be difficult. During the sales process, consumers want to deal with someone they feel they can place their trust in. We are human beings and real-life interactions are important when it comes to relationships.
Although it can be more tricky, it is possible to create long-lasting, meaningful relationships online too. Your image and how you portray yourself online are everything. It’s the first thing people see when they seek out information from your social media page.
Through interacting with your customers online, they can get to know the real you, providing plenty of opportunities for long-standing relationships to blossom.
The online world is a cut-throat business and if your social media accounts are dormant or inactive, your more active competitors will swoop in and take over.
To stay ahead in the competitive online landscape and boost your web page traffic, you need to maintain an active presence on social media while also enhancing engagement through eye-catching social media graphics that capture the attention of your target audience.
By keeping your socials active, people will start paying closer attention to your brand and become curious to find out moreabout what you’re doing. This will lead those customers to your web page where they can discover more about you and move one step closer to making a purchase.
Now that you know the importance of social selling, the next step is to understand all about the art of selling with social media.
A staggering 81% of consumers go online to do research before purchasing a product. So when it comes to social selling, your online identity plays a massive role in determining your potential success. If a consumer checks out your socials and likes what they see, they will be more inclined to do their business with you instead of with a competitor whose social presence is more unorganized.
Having enticing imagery on your pages can be the difference in someone choosing to click on your site or not. Remember, your visitors will be a mix of people who already know you, and some who have no idea who you are. Maybe they found your page through relevant hashtags or maybe they are one of your most loyal followers. Make sure everyone is curious to find out more about your page just by a quick scan of your profile photo.
The written word you publish is also important. Be that through your posts, or even something as simple as the information you provide in your bio. The people coming to your page need to know what you’re all about. Your photos can draw them in. The information you’ve written will get them to stay and interact.
Creating a strategy to identify your ideal buyer persona is a vital step in the social selling process. By creating this buyer persona, you can discover who your customers are and implement tailor-made tactics to sell to them. Knowing exactly who you should be focusing your messaging towards will save you from wasting time chasing after cold leads.
Buyer Personas shouldn’t be created by just pulling characteristics out of thin air. They can be created through research, customer feedback, and surveys, either from existing customers or prospects. Understanding the needs and desires of your customers, along with their pain points, can help you in creating your buyer persona.
In an ideal world, all buyers would be the same. You could craft a single message around them, sit back, and watch your sales skyrocket. But this isn’t an ideal world and not all buyers are equal. So in certain cases, it may be necessary to create multiple buyer personas. This may seem like more work, but by having multiple personas, you will be able to have different messaging materials at hand when interacting with different types of customers.
Remember - no two customers are the same. As your customers' needs are fluid, make sure your personas are too!
Having established your online identity and identified your buyers, creating engaging and informative content is paramount to a successful social selling strategy. By sharing the type of content your followers are looking for, you can keep your existing customers happy while at the same time attracting new ones who are eager to learn more about your product.
They say sharing is caring but the real care is done in the direct communication you have with your followers. Social media pages can publish dozens of posts per day but very few interact with their followers. A report published in 2021 found that 77% of people will choose a brand over its competitor following a positive experience on social media.
Interacting with followers can be done in various ways including through replying to queries in the comments section, asking for feedback, addressing reviews, and sending dm’s. Having this direct line of communication with your followers allows you to personalize your relationships with them, something they will keep in mind when making that final decision of purchase.
This will also open you up to new opportunities as when others see that you are responsive to current customers, they will reach out with their own queries.
All good things must come to an end, and in order to close the sale you will have to take the conversation off social media. Having established rapport with your prospects, you can provide them with your email or phone number to discuss matters in further detail.
Chatting with your prospects through email or call can allow you to get to the heart of the matter and identify what they are really looking for. By sharing this intimacy with them, they will feel that they are being looked after and know that they can return to you with future queries.
You can do all the work in the world but if you don’t know which are the best platforms you should be using to sell on social media, your hard work will be worthless and quickly forgotten about.
By knowing which platforms best serve your needs, selling on social media can be a breeze.
Keep reading to discover how you can leverage social media platforms to reach your sales goals.
Although its growth has stalled in comparison to some of its competitors, Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform. With over 2.9 billion active users as of October 2023, It’s safe to say that your social selling reach can go a long way here!
According to eMarketer, 37% of US Facebook users made a purchase on the platform in 2023, making it an ideal social media selling platform.
With the Facebook Shops feature, you can create a free online store and focus your selling efforts here. With simple and appealing design tools, you can customize your storefront to your liking, while also having the ability to interact with your customers through other Meta products such as Messenger, Whatsapp, or Instagram Direct.
The famous Facebook comment section can be a hub of activity with users taking part in discussions under posts or in Facebook Groups. Sellers can interact with them here, updating them on queries they have and helping to resolve problems.
But make sure your customers' queries are responded to in good time. Remember, people expect fast response rates when communicating online. By reacting quickly to your customers' problems, you will gain their appreciation and help in ensuring they remain loyal to you and your brand.
Instagram, with over 2 billion active users, leads the way on ROI in 2024. As it is a visual medium, it can be a lot easier for salespeople to get their prospects’ attention on their product through attractive photos or stimulating videos.
With so many of the top brands using Instagram and regularly posting compelling content, chances are you’re going to be fighting it out with your competitors for users' attention. Publishing consistently and in a strategic manner can increase brand loyalty, ensuring that your product sticks in customers’ minds when they eventually make a purchase.
Making sure your content is fresh and exciting is crucial in a visual-centric world such as Instagram. In order to connect with users, you need to be able to sell your story and create a narrative around your page. Curating your page to a specific theme and editing your photos can help you stand out amongst the crowd.
As Instagram is owned by Meta, it has also introduced Instagram Shops, providing you with the same service you can get on Facebook.
TikTok isn’t just an app for teenagers dancing in their bedrooms anymore. While other platforms' growth has stagnated and experienced hardships, TikTok has grown to be one of the main players in the social media landscape. So much so that there are even plans to build product fulfillment centers in the US as the company looks to capitalize on its e-commerce success.
Live streaming is a feature that TikTok has successfully leveraged and it is ideal for social selling practices. Salespeople have the ability to share content and sell products on TikTok Live, bringing live selling practices previously seen on cable television to a new generation of buyers. 50% of users have reported making a purchase after watching a live stream.
In terms of engagement, TikTok is streets ahead of its competitors. Instagram’s engagement rate is 0.6%, while Facebook’s is only 0.15%. Tiktok on the other hand has an engagement rate of 4.25%. TikTok challenges have played significant role in boosting user engagement and driving viral trends. With high-levels of community participation, the platform continues to grow, giving sellers endless opportunities to increase their sales.
TikTok has also recently partnered with the popular CRM platform HubSpot, opening up new revenue streams for social sellers!
Linkedin is a bit different from the rest of the social media platforms as it’s aimed more toward working professionals. Having said that, it does boast 900 million users, so social selling on LinkedIn can definitely reap its benefits.
LinkedIn endorsements is a feature that allows users to endorse others and their products, providing interesting insights into salespeople’s different skills and qualities. This can be quite beneficial as it boosts your credibility, informing visiting users what you’re all about.
LinkedIn is great for lead generation as salespeople can discover people who may be interested in their product through the site's mutual connections feature. This is great for networking and also allows salespeople who are engaged in social selling practices to focus their efforts and engage with prospects who could benefit from their product.
There are many different strategies salespeople can use to maximize their social selling efforts. Let’s take a look at the four best ones.
Sharing customer success stories on your social media pages is an effective way to build trust with your customers. When considering whether or not to buy a particular product, people seek out reviews and compare positive experiences with negative ones before making their final decision.
By sharing this social proof on your social media pages, users can get a good idea of whether or not your product will suit their needs.
Case studies are a great method of providing social proof. You can post links to them on your social media pages and users can study the detailed information to answer any questions they have about your product.
Influencer marketing is one trend that has taken off in recent years and is a new and exciting way to offer social proof. Because influencers will be looking to partner with brands on a more ongoing basis as one of the influencer marketing trends, more and more social media users follow influencers to get the scoop and by getting them to review your product, you can significantly add to your customer base.
Hearing from customers about their positive experiences with a product can help build credibility and attract hesitant buyers who are a click away from making a purchase.
When figuring out your strategy for how to sell on social media, the type of content you share can make the difference between you being a cool trendsetter or a shoddy imitator. Your customer base knows what works and what doesn’t. Sharing content that your followers will resonate with is key to a successful social selling strategy.
People have always bought into a good story and creating a narrative through your posts is an excellent way to increase customer engagement online and get them invested in your brand. When creating these stories, it’s important to keep in mind that while Instagram and TikTok are visual mediums, Facebook and LinkedIn users will respond best to written content.
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Being consistent in your messaging will help you build a loyal following who understand what you’re all about. Maintaining a clear, well-thought-out message across all of your social media pages will ensure people can instantly recognize you and entice them to your page.
Some social media pages choose quantity over quality and flood their pages with content. This deters users from interacting with them as posting so much content can leave them annoyed by an overload of information.
According to a recent survey, scheduling your posts to specific time slots will help them reach a wider audience and increase your visibility. Although it can vary across social platforms, the best times to post are between 12 pm to 3 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm. Your posts are most effective when published at the end of the typical workweek.
So make sure you're giving your followers that Friday feeling!
Without taking the time to track and analyze the results of your social selling tactics, your future actions will be unorganized and aimless. Taking the time to learn about what works best, and what doesn’t, will help focus your efforts on what type of content you should be posting, raising its quality for your followers.
Keeping an eye on your metrics can also help you find new and interesting leads. A comment or a like under a post could open up new revenue streams that you might not have spotted the traditional way.
There is an abundance of information available to you when looking to get started selling on social media. High-quality resources such as books and podcasts from some of the leading experts in the field can help you in adding to your social selling repertoire.
Let’s take a look at some of the content that’s available to you.
Viveka von Rosen, also known as the “LinkedIn Expert,” works with B2B companies and executives helping them achieve business success with LinkedIn.
In this book, she, along with Dayna Steele, shows you can use LinkedIn to grow your professional network and succeed in your career, no matter the industry. It gives simple, actionable steps you can take today to build your path to success using LinkedIn.
Melonie Dodaro is an expert in leveraging LinkedIn for lead generation. She created the Social Selling Accelerator™ method, which quickly transforms ineffective sales teams into effective modern sellers.
This book outlines how to get high-paying leads and clients from LinkedIn and includes The LINK Method™ - a proven 5-step system for connecting with prospects and transitioning to offline conversations where you can turn them into clients.
Brynne Tillman is the LinkedIn Whisperer and CEO of Social Sales Link. She teaches entrepreneurs, sales teams, and business leaders how to leverage LinkedIn for social selling.
In this book, Brynne guides you through the business development activities that will help you gain access to stakeholders, add more opportunities to your pipeline, reduce your sales cycle, and close more deals through social selling.
The Outside Sales Talk podcast is the best sales podcast for field salespeople looking to learn more about the latest sales trends.
Featuring stellar sales thought leaders such as Tiffany Bova, Jeb Blount, John Barrows, Anthony Iannarino, and Viveka von Rosen, this podcast hosted by Steve Benson is an excellent resource to keep up with the constantly evolving sales strategies.
The Kristen Boss podcast is for the everyday entrepreneur and business owner. Kristen Boss is a business coach, best-selling author, and specializes in teaching sales, marketing, and mindset tactics.
Each week she teaches practical tips and strategies on how to succeed in today’s online space. She brings a fresh and compelling take for the entrepreneur who is looking to serve with purpose, authenticity, and service.
Courtney Kimble is a business strategist and social selling expert who teaches online coaches and creatives how to confidently and authentically sell their services online.
On this podcast, she offers tips on marketing, sales psychology, and social media that can help you build, grow and scale a profitable business online. Here you’ll find guest experts and easy step-by-step actionable strategies you can start implementing into your business today.
When implemented correctly, social selling can produce high-quality results for salespeople.
With the amount of time users spend on social media, salespeople can increase their sales numbers while at the same time building authentic relationships with customers in a way never seen before.
MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIAL SELLING
How to calculate social selling index?
Your social selling index can be calculated by subscribing to LinkedIn’s Sale Navigator. Key metrics such as how well you establish your professional brand, finding the right customers, engaging with insights, and building relationships are available to you upon subscription. The index is updated daily, providing you with effective ways to improve.
How to Post Selling Items on Facebook?
Items can be sold on Facebook Shops. They can also be sold on the Facebook Marketplace feature. Facebook Marketplace is a feature where users can discover, buy, and sell products. With over 800 million users using this feature alone, it is a highly useful tool to engage in social selling practices.
Social selling examples
Examples of successful social selling practices can be seen on any of the leading social media sites. Search for some of your favorite brands, you’ll be sure to find them engaging with their followers!
How to increase online sales through social media?
You can increase your online sales through social media by learning how to entice customers through your online identity, creating buyer personas to identify potential customers, and by engaging with customers both on social media and off it.