11 Tips & Tactics for Expert-Level Social Selling

Social media has provided brands and businesses with a platform to engage with their customers. But rather than just nurturing your relationships with existing customers, you can also use social media to find and convert valuable leads.

In this post, you’re going to get an extensive list of 11 tips and tactics that you can use to execute social selling like an expert.

1. Look Your Best

Your image is just as important in the digital world as it is in the real world. Online, your profile image is the first thing prospective clients will see. Make a good impression with a professional image that isn’t too stuffy, but still makes you look trustworthy and friendly.

The copy in your bio on any social network has to accomplish everything a greeting, handshake and an elevator pitch would do in person. Write every word with your prospect in mind and write in the first person, not the third. And be sure to be very clear about sharing your contact info. Share multiple avenues if there is room.

On a site like LinkedIn, where you have more real estate to expand upon in your summary section, tell a story about who you are, why you do what you do and how you can help. Remember, LinkedIn is different from a resume. Use your headline not just for your title but for a short phrase explaining how you help your clients.

paul simon linkedin

In this case, you can see the profile of Paul H. Simon, who has described himself as a Professional Editor and OLLI Manager. Important details like his location and education history are clearly highlighted. As you expand his bio, there’s a detailed description of what he does and how he helps his clients.

linkedin bio example

Make sure you also highlight your abilities and expertise by getting your colleagues, clients and employees to endorse you for all the skills you have. These skills will be featured prominently in your LinkedIn profile.

linkedin-endorsements

2. Build Your Credibility

Your company might have a solid reputation, but do you? Social networks can help you build your personal brand. With every Tweet, LinkedIn comment or Facebook post, you can grow your reputation and establish a solid foundation.

It’s a great record of your authenticity and a great place to demonstrate your understanding of your industry and potential clients. This can be achieved by sharing relevant articles about your industry, adding thoughtful insights to conversations and solving problems your prospects may have. It’s all in the name of establishing trust. When you share interesting thoughts, others will re-share them, tag you or start a conversation with you.

You can even use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to write original articles relevant to your industry. In fact, this is one of the tactics Neil Patel uses to share his marketing expertise and funnel traffic back to his website.

linkedin pulse article

Another way to build credibility and social proof on LinkedIn is to ask for recommendations or endorse others in hopes that they’ll endorse you back. Lastly, encourage your network to share and comment and get the conversation started around you.

3. Track Results of Your Existing Social Selling Efforts

The best way to get better at social selling is by learning from your existing efforts. Collect insights from your current efforts and see what’s effective as well as what isn’t. Based on this data, ask yourself what you should be doing differently and what you can do better. This can help you gain a clearer direction of how you should change and adapt your efforts to deliver even better results.

For example, maybe you’re tracking the activity of your social media referrals and you found that a majority of them leave within seconds. This might be a sign that there’s something wrong with your landing page, and you should take a closer look to see how you can improve it.

Or maybe you find that a particular segment of visitors are spending a long time on a specific service page. This will help you gain some insights into how you can frame your messaging and offering if you’re going to reach out to them. You’ll be able to know which features and benefits you should focus on in your outreach.

Although it can be challenging to understand how social media referrals are behaving on your site, tools like Leadfeeder can make a huge difference. You can use it to keep an eye on which pages your visitors from social media are viewing. It will also give you insights into the organizations those visitors belong to.

leadfeeder

This data can help you identify your warmest sales leads and which of your content interests them the most. And with this information, you’ll enhance your messaging so that it appeals to them and delivers better results.

4. Monitor Relevant Conversations to Find Prospects

The most effective tactic to understand what your prospects want and need is to listen to them. You can then customize your messaging and/or offering based on this knowledge. All you need to do is pay attention to what your prospective and current customers are saying.

Monitor relevant conversations about your brand to see what issues existing customers are experiencing. Maybe they’re venting their frustrations about your service on social media. Or they could be raving about you, but mentioning some possible areas that need improvement.

You can make use of all of this information to provide solutions to your existing customers and address their issues. So you’ll be nurturing your relationship with them to enhance their loyalty.

Social media monitoring also enables you to keep track of other relevant conversations you can use to enhance your social selling strategy. Find out what your target audience is saying about your competitors or the industry in general. Try to discover their pain points, and address them in your marketing material.

You can use all the data you’ve collected from social monitoring to customize your communication with prospects. Maybe they shared a blog post that’s relevant to you and you found it really enjoyable. Or maybe you have a shared interest. Either way, you can use all this information to create personalized messages that will set you apart from other brands or businesses.

You should also try to look for any mutual connections you might have with your prospects. And instead of reaching out to them on your own, you could get the shared contact to introduce you to the prospect.

You can use Sprout’s social media monitoring tools to track relevant conversations about your brand, your competitors, and your industry. You can even use Sprout’s engagement features to respond to or engage with the conversations that you’re interested in.

sprout social smart inbox

5. Participate & Engage in Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are an excellent source of prospects for B2B companies. All you need to do is find relevant groups, submit a request to join, and start conversing with members once you get accepted.

You can share your valuable expertise and content, ask relevant questions or engage with group members to build a relationship.

This relationship that you’ve formed with relevant prospects through LinkedIn Groups can be crucial for nurturing them as leads. You can inform them of new product launches or recommend relevant services that they seem to need based on their conversations.

You can easily search for relevant LinkedIn Groups using the right keywords. Make a list of some of the keywords relevant to your industry, service, or product. Enter these keywords in the search window and then filter the results to only show groups.

For example, if you offer services or products that would be of help to startup businesses you can use keywords like “startups” to find relevant LinkedIn Groups you can participate in.

linkedin group search

6. Find Your Prospects

Social networks are a great place to learn more about your potential clients. Pay attention: where do your potential clients turn to seek more information about problems they may have? Is it a LinkedIn group? A weekly Twitter chat? A private Facebook Group? Plant yourself there, listen to their conversations and get involved.

While LinkedIn is the place to turn for business connections, Twitter has a much better search function and has a lower barrier to entry. You can follow anyone you want, from a CEO to a celebrity, and they don’t have to accept your request as they do on LinkedIn or Facebook. They might even follow you back.

You can also use the Twitter Chat Schedule on Tweet Reports to discover upcoming and/or trending Twitter chats. Look through conversations relevant to your industry, join in on the chat, and start following the best prospects.

Check out #SproutChat, for example. The chat focuses on topics relevant to social media marketers. And you’ll be able to find industry experts in the social media community actively participating in the chat.

On Twitter, search certain industry-specific hashtags to see what your potential clients are talking about and what’s important to them. Once you’ve found some prospects, they may be able to lead you to others. For example, see who they are following and start following those people as well. On LinkedIn, some of the best conversations happen in industry-specific groups. Check the profiles of your prospects and see which groups they are a part of, and then join them.

Once you’ve found your prospects, stay organized. You can use Twitter Lists to create personalized public or private feeds, which maximize your time. Create a private Twitter List with your top 25 prospects, or create additional lists for competitors, influencers and current customers. Each time you visit the network, visit the list and you’ll get a quick snapshot into the minds of those who matter most, and you can more easily start conversations.

7. Consistently Provide Value

Don’t be like actor Christian Bale, who managed to post just two tweets in six years.

christian bale twitter

Social networks are a time commitment and this is exactly why. Once you’ve started following the right people, you must continuously provide valuable contributions. So choose your network wisely and don’t spread yourself too thin. Every Tweet, comment and post matters and you don’t want to disappear for weeks at a time. An abandoned network looks careless.

There are plenty of ways to stay active on social media:

  • Share your expertise.
  • Offer up solutions.
  • Always stay focused on the potential buyer.
  • Use relevant hashtags on Twitter to target your content more appropriately.
  • Follow industry influencers so you stay relevant and up to date.

If you don’t offer consistent value, there are repercussions. People will unfollow you, block you or hide your notifications. You don’t want to be ignored.

8. Nurture Your Prospects

You don’t necessarily have to create your own content or fill your feed with generalized tips that appeal to everyone. A crucial aspect to any social etiquette—and especially that of social selling—is to pay attention to and respond to what others are sharing and saying.

When starting a conversation or participating in a pre-existing one on a social network (like a Twitter chat) remember that it’s just that, a conversation. Be sure to listen. Every day you should be leaving comments or ‘Liking’ posts from others. More importantly, respond to people who are trying to reach out to you like Salesforce has done in the Tweet below. It’s an easy way to show that you’re listening or to offer up your expertise or insight. It’s also an easy way to find what you have in common.

You can also repost something from someone else. When sharing content from another user, be sure to tag or thank them for their initial post.

9. Earn Trust by Sharing Success Stories

Your company may boast of providing exceptional service or you may be highlighting some impressive features of your product. But these are just claims that you’re making and your prospects may not necessarily trust what you’re saying. So if you wish to earn the trust of potential customers, use social media to showcase proof that will back up your claims.

This proof would ideally be the success stories and reviews of your existing customers. You can share links to the success stories published on your site. Or you can create custom images with a photo of the customer or the brand logo and a brief summary of the results they achieved with your help. You can even do a full-fledged interview with them and share their story on your social media.

Cisco does a great job of sharing success stories on social media. In the following post, they’ve shared a picture with a link to the story of how they’ve helped the SM School District achieve their education goals.

Once your prospects see that you’ve delivered impressive results for real people, they’ll be more interested to work with you. You can even encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business on Facebook. Your star rating will be displayed prominently towards the top of your business page as shown in the screenshot below.

hello social facebook

If your prospects are interested in reading reviews they can click on this star rating section and gain access to all the reviews your existing customers have left about your business.

hello social facebook reviews

10. Be Responsive to Customer Complaints

Social selling isn’t just about aggressively promoting your business on social media. Rather, it’s the way you directly and indirectly promote your business through your social media behavior. And this includes your ability to respond to and resolve customer complaints submitted on social media. You’ll be selling your brand name through exceptional customer service.

This is crucial because according to the Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, the average consumer expects brands to reply within four hours. Unfortunately, the average response time is 10 hours.

peoples wait time expectation vs brand response time on social

Not only will this help you retain existing customers, but the way you handle complaints can help you win over potential customers as well. Responsiveness and great social customer service are great selling points for new customers.

For example, JetBlue uses Twitter to interact with their customers, answer their questions, offer resolutions to their issues and respond to general social media mentions. For example, in the screenshot below, JetBlue provides an explanation as to why a certain passenger’s flight was delayed.

JetBlue even took the time to respond to respond to a passenger who posted an image of a stuffed toy, all strapped in for a flight. This shows the passenger and other followers that the company is paying attention to customers. And it’s likely that many potential customers may feel more comfortable traveling with the airline.

11. Get Offline

If you can convert your social media followers to email list subscribers, that’s a great first step. But what you really want to do is convert these digital friends into real life connections. Social media is a great way to establish that warm connection.

Once you’ve established a back-and-forth conversation with someone on social, it’s easier to suggest a phone call or coffee date via a Tweet or email. Think about it: an email with a subject line referencing your Twitter conversation may be more likely to get opened. Now it’s up to you to make sure your real-life persona is just as great as your digital one.

Conclusion

These 11 tips can help you promote your brand effectively through social media, ultimately resulting in loyal customers and increased conversions. When implemented together, these tactics can make a significant difference in your social media performance. Now you just have to develop a comprehensive social selling strategy that will help you make the most of these ideas.

This post 11 Tips & Tactics for Expert-Level Social Selling originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

#SproutChat Recap: Managing Online Communities

Building, engaging and growing an online community helps businesses in the long run. Forming communities of your brand’s most tuned in and engaged fans are what ultimately help to inform products and procedures.

This week at #SproutChat we chatted with Sprout All Star, Meagan DeMenna, Community Manager of ClearVoice, about best practices for managing your online communities and the benefit they provide your brand.

Communities Come Together Around a Topic

Digital communities allow folks to gather around topics or issues they care about and connect. This can happen organically or could be a space created by a business to allow followers to congregate around their brand. Conversations and connections that happen in these online communities instill a real sense of value.

Create Goals First

If you’re just starting to launch a community, think about the platform this will live on (website, forum, Slack, social) and where your community might take to. Additionally, be thoughtful of the purpose of your community. Will it be focused on technical support or advocacy? Mapping out these details ahead of time will and giving members a clearer sense of purpose to start will effectively encourage engagement.

Align Community With Business Goals

When planning your community think about how this will serve the brand overall. If you’re trying to set up a support focused community think of ways this can help deter support tickets and drive down costs associated there. Goals will look different for communities across the board, but think of identifying goals that align with overall business objectives.

Content Is Fuel

When setting up new communities, it’s important to make sure that you’re planning out content with your members in mind. Conversation may already be happening organically, but scheduled content can help encourage further conversation. Small things like this can help make sure that engagement is activated. Remember to have a two way relationship with community members and interact.

Be sure to join us at #SproutChat next Wednesday, at 2 p.m. CT, to chat with Sprout All Star Elite, Marek Cornett of Koch Communications about integrating PR and Social Media strategies. Until then, be sure to join our Facebook community to keep the conversation going.

This post #SproutChat Recap: Managing Online Communities originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

#SocialSkim: Facebook’s Big Swipe at LinkedIn; Instagram Polls: 10 Stories This Week

Facebook takes on LinkedIn via ZipRecruiter integration; Instagram polling via Stories; Bumble’s new professional networking and mentorship feature; Messenger Lite enters US market; Shopify makes it easy to buy on Instagram; Facebook Ads monetize your email list; much more! Read the full article at MarketingProfs
MarketingProfs Daily: Content

Data & Business Impact with Feras Alhlou

Google Analytics Stuido

A few months ago I had the opportunity to chat with my friend and work partner Feras Alhlou, Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at E-Nor & Co-Author of Google Analytics Breakthrough. Feras and I have known each other for almost 10 years, and it is always great to hear more about the work that he and his first-class team are doing.

Here are the questions we discussed, checkout the answers in the video below. I have also added some of my favorite highlights from the interview after the video.

  1. [01:05] What’s the process that you use to make sense out of data?
  2. [02:41]During this process, what do you actually do when you start working with data?
  3. [04:07]When analyzing data, how can we make sure that we are looking at the context to understand what is happening around us?
  4. [07:24]How can Data Studio and better data visualizations help companies make more data-driven decisions?

We believe analytics is a business process. We start with an audit, both from the business side and the technical side – we want to engage the stakeholders to understand how to measure what matters most to the business. Once we have the data in place, we go to the reporting layer – how do we report on this data? Then, we start to be able to analyze the data and find some actionable insights. Last, we can move to testing and personalization – that’s when you really can have an impact on the business. Read more about E-Nor’s Optimization Framework

There’s a whole lot of data these days, right? Life used to be simple for marketers: one device, a few channels – now there’s data everywhere, mobile, social, web, and of course backend data. I think one of the first things we need to do is to understand the context around that data, focusing on the following:

  • The integrity of the data: is it clean, was it collected properly, is it raw or aggregated? Understand the data collection, how the data was put together.
  • Having a set of meta data, information about the data: if you’re looking at Google Analytics metrics, knowing more about the user. For example, if you have a subscription based model: Is it a premium user? Is it a standard user? Having that additional data gives a whole lot of context, to the person who’s consuming that data.

I would definitely advice to have a data road map. Start with what you own, web and mobile analytics data. Then, start augmenting reports with basic social data, maybe you can get a little bit into the qualitative aspect with that. And last but not least, a great product that was recently introduced by Google as the Surveys product. There are surveys we can do on our own properties to understand the voice of the customer. But also use it to do market research – it used to be expensive and cumbersome to do it, but now you can easily run a Google survey and do a lot targeting.

And here is Feras and me having fun in the Google Analytics studio!

Daniel Waisberg and Feras Alhlou

image 
Daniel Waisberg and Feras Alhlou


Online Behavior – Marketing Measurement & Optimization

How to Think About Email Capture Forms Like a Customer

What keeps customers from filling out one of your email capture forms? Is it because they don’t believe you will deliver what you say? Is it because it’s too long? Too short?

In this clip from an in-person training session at 2016’s NIO Summit hosted by NextAfter at MECLABS, Austin McCraw talks about the two essential factors that we can influence to produce more leads through our capture forms.

The post How to Think About Email Capture Forms Like a Customer appeared first on MarketingExperiments.


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