5 Steps for Boosting Sales with Social Selling

Branding - Posted: Monday, 11 July, 2016 - 09:04

You've got a good number of fans on social media. You regularly post interesting content and you respond to online questions. Good job!! Now it's time to stimulate direct sales via social media and add social selling to your traditional sales model. Social selling becomes easy as pie with these 5 steps!

Many companies use social media for branding and online customer service, but not yet for lead generation. Whereas direct sales on social media can be easily stimulated with social selling.

"Social selling is interacting with (potential) customers via social media in the right moment with the right message".

Impressive effect on sales target

Everyone agrees, questions on social media are to be answered quickly. Not only marketing, communication and service studies show this, but InsideSales research shows that answers to questions of prospect customers that are sent within 5 minutes have a nine times higher conversion rate. The biggest requisite for social selling is thus being able to respond fast to content downloads or online questions.

Liz Gelb-O’Çonnor shows in her study that organisations who use social selling have a 50% more chance to reach their sales targets. A study about the state of Social Selling 2016 shows that 63.4% of social sellers experience an increase in company revenue.

Social selling to consumers and businesses

The social selling process within B2C companies and B2B companies isn't very similar. B2B people use for instance the LinkedIn Sales Navigator for lead generation. Because the network is business oriented and not consumer oriented, it isn't a platform in which many B2C marketing professionals are interested in. For them, social selling opportunities lie in Pinterest, Instagram and forums. I'll explain how both environments can make use of social selling in 5 steps:

Step 1: Analysis

The first step in the social selling process is finding out on which online channels prospect customers are active. It's important to analyse your target group's messages on these specific channels: how active is the target group on the platform, what's the correct tone-of-voice and which elements should I use in my messages? In an ideal situation, you can build several buyer personas based on your target group and their behaviour on their biggest social media platforms. 

Step 2: Objectives

To interpret and evaluate your social selling results you need to write down your objectives. What do you want to accomplish with social selling? Formulate your objectives in the SMART way. Are you working in B2B? Then distinguish between marketing qualified leads (MQL) and sales qualified leads (SQL). An MQL is a lead that has a big chance to become a customer, but isn't ready to be approached with a sales message. An SQL lead is found to be approachable by sales support or via automatic lead scoring. It's important to distinguish, because you need to take the customer journey very much into account during social selling. In the early customer journey, a sales message can be easily interpreted as too aggressive. 

Step 3: Applications

Social selling can be applied in several different ways, such as LinkedIn sales, monitoring, engagement and content marketing. Find out which ones are applicable in your company. Prospects only buy in case of trust, so try to win trust through publishing knowledgeable content. Make sure your content is always relevant to your target group. This will lead to conversations in which you can engage as a company. With monitoring software such as Coosto, you can easily monitor discussions and purchase intentions, Is your target group active on LinkedIn? If yes, than make use of LinkedIn as a sales channel, especially when your working in B2B.

Step 4: Engagement

When you know where to find your target group and which type of messages they are interested in, you can adjust your online content to the different stages in the customer journey. (Online) marketeers often use the see-think-do-care framework. This framework can be perfectly used for grouping social selling activities.

see think do care

Prospects in the See stage may be interested to buy from you in the future. Purpose is to promote your organisation, brand or product name to these people. For instance, when you are selling a specific shoe brand, you can do this by writing a blog about the latest sneaker fashion trends, in which of course you mention your own shoe brand. Of course you'll publish the blog on the right platforms for reaching your target group. 

coosto example social selling

Prospect in the Think stage are considering to buy from you in the future. These prospects already know what they want to buy, but are comparing brands, products or services to see which one best fits their needs. In this stage, your goal is to have your prospects choose for your product or service. Many companies use Coosto to monitor online messages in which their brand or product is mentioned. In addition, you can set up a special feed to monitor online messages in which your brand is mentioned ánd which include a buy intent using a special search operator. Now you can easily answer questions about the pros and cons of your product or service or even proactively provide information that you think these prospects needs. 

coosto example social selling 2

The Do stage is all about the sales: lead generation and selling products.These are the prospects who have already decided what they want to buy. They don't have questions, but sometimes they do have wishes. Your social selling goals could be to delight people who express their buying intention, or to stimulate them to buy 'faster' a.k.a. in the moment they are mentioning it on social media. In this way, you can seize every sales opportunity.

example social selling 3

Consumers in the Care stage are customers that have purchased your company's product or service. They are sometimes looking for additional products or services or have questions using the bought products. Great opportunities for upselling! An example: 

example social selling 4

Always try to engage with people in the Care stage. Try to use a human voice in the conversation and try to help your customers in the best way possible. Become a follower of your customer, it can invite him or her to do the same. They can become a real fan and loyal customer by being exposed to your brand's messages later.

The biggest advantage of a big and relevant online community is that customers will talk to others about your product or service. They will look for solutions to problems together and give each other helpful tips. Your customers will then sell your products and services via social media for you. It also presents business insights, for instance what isn't optimal about your product or service and why. 

Step 5: Integration

You now know where to find your prospects, your goals are SMART and you know how to recognise different grades of buy intent within the customer journey. Now it's time to integrate social selling into your organisation's activities. Consider multiple ways to make social selling a main theme for your sales or marketing activities. Have sales and marketing cooperate for creating killer content and social campaigns. Inform your customer service team on how they should engage with or respond to messages mentioning purchase intentions. Start with giving your online prospects advice, create fans and boost your sales! 

Do your want to start with social selling, but you don't have social media software for monitoring, publishing and engaging with online messages? With the all-in-one tool Coosto you can easily and efficiently respond to the online messages that are relevant to you. Request a free online demo here!