The global marketplace is a crowded one. Sales representatives struggle to get prospects as companies compete for the attention of the same people. Cold calls and flashy ads just aren’t enough. Social selling seeks to replace those difficult and impersonal methods of selling with the actual forging of relationships with consumers. At its heart, social selling is about going beyond social media marketing to connect on a deeper level with prospective customers. Here are three foundational strategies for using social selling techniques to build your business.
Craft Your Brand
Social selling is about education and engagement. Think about brand building as if you’re a teacher trying to inform a potential customer about why your business should be a part of their lives. This means getting the message of that product out there in a way that makes people want to invest in it. This has three major components: visual, voice and tone. Visually, the iconography of your company should employ color and layout psychology to both attract attention and get engender specific emotions in those who browse your site. Voice and tone are about carefully choosing the words that you use on your page to develop a persona for your brand that aligns with your product. An energetic and positive tone, for example, would be appropriate for a fitness company. It is absolutely vital that sales reps continue to employ this tone when speaking to customers directly.
Another key goal of branding is getting your company vision and core values across to sales prospects. This means that your company has to have a goal to accomplish for the good of the world beyond just making money. It also means that you need to live out that vision constantly in order to prove that you’re walking the walk. A company that sells solar panels, for example, can leverage its track record of environmental responsibility to send the message that yes, buying from this company is making a personal investment in a better tomorrow.
Use Targeted Social Media Strategies
Social selling emphasizes the personal. Social media may feel like the antithesis of this sometimes; after all, the whole point of social media marketing is to get as many eyes as possible on you, right? Not always. Niche marketing is replacing more widespread, generic outreach in the same way that social selling is replacing untargeted social media marketing campaigns. In fact, businesses are taking niche marketing to the next level through what’s being termed micro-niche marketing by some in the field. Certain realtors aren’t just selling houses these days, they’re selling carbon-neutral tiny houses. This form of hyper-targeted branding and selling not only allows your online presence to be more focused and clear; it helps to guarantee a loyal base of customers who have demand for exactly what you’re selling. Then the process of building mutual, personal relationships with these customers can be massively streamlined and will also be more organic, authentic and reciprocal.
Be aware that certain social media sites are already specifically targeted to niche audiences. A great example of this is Pinterest, which is geared towards using visual imagery to create social networks. It’s good for a business to have its presence spread out across multiple platforms of course; just remember to tailor that presence on each of those sites to the people you’re trying to engage.
Leverage Automation Technologies
The cutting-edge of social selling is in something called customer relationship management (CRM) implementation. This involves using AI-driven data analysis to both categorize and track relationships between a business and its customers. It’s all about using information about your customers to refine the process of outreach. The client’s history with the company can be tracked to better anticipate their personal needs. In addition, CRM software can automate certain customer service operations so that the business is dealing with customers on their own time. Your company has now become a force for convenience in your customer’s life.
Social selling is a lot more complicated than pushing a button and letting ads play. But would you really want to be a company that operated like that? The time has come for true relationship-building to take sales to the next level.