The B2B sales process has changed, and digitalization has rendered traditional in-person sales methods (such as door-to-door and cold calling) outdated. This digital shift has welcomed a new era in sales: social selling.
If you want to compel buyers online, social selling is a new sales approach that allows you to cut through digital noise and harness buyer attention. With 78% of businesses that use social selling outperforming businesses that don’t, you can’t afford to miss out on this strategy.
However, since social selling is a relatively new concept, few sales teams manage to get it right. To avoid common pitfalls and excel in social selling, we’ve listed the key social selling mistakes to steer away from and shared some best practices for success.
Social Selling: a Round-up of Everything You Need to Know
Social selling is a sales approach focusing on building relationships with potential customers and increasing leads in the sales pipeline through social networks – particularly employees’ networks.
Rather than limiting social media to corporate profiles, this strategy involves sales teams utilizing their personal accounts to reach new prospects, share insights, and engage in meaningful conversations.
With sales reps only having 5% of a customer’s time during their B2B buying journey, they have no choice but to pull out all the stops to get customers’ attention. And if going door-to-door is obsolete (and legally questionable) – why not show up on their social feeds every morning of every day instead? Through social selling, sales reps can engage prospective buyers and build brand credibility by appearing organically on their feeds during solution searches.
5 benefits of social selling:
- Enhanced trust: By offering value, insights, and personal interactions (from individual accounts) on social media, you can build a relationship of trust with potential customers.
- Expanded reach: People follow people rather than companies. Social selling broadens your business’s reach, connecting you with a diverse audience through your employees’ combined networks.
- Direct lead generation: Social media platforms offer a direct channel for lead generation, identifying prospects through their online activity.
- Cost-effectiveness: Social selling tools bring significant lead generation and conversion results with minimal financial investment, it’s particularly advantageous for B2B businesses with painfully long sales cycles. This is also an entirely organic approach, as your employees post and share company content manually (no paid ads involved).
- Increased sales: The end goal of any marketing strategy – social selling brings you stronger leads who are genuinely interested in your product and are more likely to convert, helping your team reach their targets.
Top Social Selling Examples: and Mistakes to Steer Clear of
Here are the top social selling mistakes you need to avoid to maximize the impact of your social selling strategy:
1. Spammy posts
While you may believe your company is the best, constantly posting company content and spamming your customers’ timelines won’t bring positive results. Excessive posting risks sounding repetitive and sharing irrelevant content, potentially deterring your audience from seeing your brand as credible.
Instead, position yourself as an industry thought leader and strengthen your digital brand strategy by offering a range of industry-related trends, personal content, company-related updates, and relevant articles and resources while inserting your unique insights and expertise. Make sure to diversify your posts, addressing your target audience’s interests and challenges rather than solely promoting your company and its solutions.
This brings us to our top tip: do employee advocacy, but do it right.
If you’re part of an employee advocacy program, ensure your content stands out. A common mistake is sharing messages that are too similar to your teammates’ content, making your posts seem more generic. Unless industry regulations impose content restrictions, adding your personality to your posts will create a more authentic and engaging social selling strategy to stand out as a thought leader.
2. Pushing your sales agenda
Social media posts are not elevator sales pitches. If you were selling in person, you wouldn’t walk up to someone and start pitching your product before introducing yourself, would you?
You need to build trust on social media before you expect results. Buyers no longer trust faceless brands – they trust people, friends, and experts. The solution is simple: talk like a human and not a brand.
People buy into people’s stories, experiences, and insights – if someone trusts you, they will trust the business you represent. Humanize your brand by engaging with your audience through comments, meaningful conversations in direct messages, and joining discussions on your feed.
3. Driving your audience to gated material
Gated content used to be a common tactic to contact your prospects, grab their email details in exchange for a shiny PDF or on-demand webinar, and get them into email nurture streams. However, nowadays, this strategy may drive your audience away from your brand.
You must show that you’re providing value without an alternative agenda. Offering high-quality content, including tips and how-to resources, shows your commitment to educating and assisting your audience in finding solutions. This will attract your audience to your brand and content, integrating them into your marketing ecosystem. Focus on long-term relationship building rather than immediate sales: don’t try and sell straight off the bat, because it won’t work.
4. Not tracking analytics and ROI
If you’re not tracking the analytics and ROI from your social selling posts, how are you supposed to understand what’s effective and what isn’t for your strategy?
Informing your strategy with social media analytics and ROI results is crucial for a solid social selling strategy. Social media provides real-time, accurate, and actionable insights to gauge post effectiveness, identify high-engagement topics, and assess their impact on your sales pipeline.
By matching your social engagement data with prospect profiles in your CRM, you can see the impact social media has on the buyer journey and understand what content is performing better (a.k.a. pushing more leads down the funnel). You can do this by connecting your social media automation platform with your CRM platform – allowing you to view the entire lead journey all in one place. This will enable you to fully leverage social media to create hyper-personalized content that you know works for your leads.
5. Targeting the wrong audience in the wrong place
There’s no point in taking part in social selling initiatives if you build an audience with no interest in your brand, no need for your product, and no intention to engage with you.
The key takeaway here is to be where your audience is. For B2B buyers, they’re likely to be on LinkedIn primarily. But this doesn’t mean you should neglect other social media platforms. Instead, allocate your efforts based on their online preferences. While doing so, ensure you’re connecting with and building a following – and ultimately relationships – with the right prospects for your brand.
Then, you can target the right prospects. Social media is your secret weapon for sourcing and contacting prospects without waiting for their contact information, so use it wisely. Once you target the right audience in the right place, you’ll nurture relationships with qualified leads and build up your sales pipeline.
6. Generic messages
We all know when we’re sent a generic message with our name pasted in – and everyone rolls their eyes when they receive one. There’s a reason these untailored messages have a low response rate and are unlikely to produce any results. We all want to feel special, and receiving the same message as countless other prospects on your sales list won’t do the trick.
To improve your response rate, personalize your outreach. So, if your prospect recently spoke as a guest on a webinar, begin your outreach by sharing insights and takeaways you gained from it. Your prospects will feel like you invested time reaching out to them, increasing the likelihood that they’ll see your product as a suitable solution. The creative options are endless, and your response rate will pay off.
7. Neglecting the impact of professional profiles
When prospects encounter your posts or messages, their first step is checking your profile. If your profile looks amateur, no one will take you seriously. Your profile is your modern-day business card, so make sure you optimize it.
Customize your professional profile to suit your industry and enhance your business’s credibility. Attract your target audience with a professional headshot, include relevant keywords in your headline and summary, and pin featured content showcasing your expertise and thought leadership. Your profile alone can potentially establish trust and reliability with your audience.
Master Social Selling with Confidence
The key takeaway from the shift in sales culture is that social selling is not a trend but the future of B2B sales. It may take some time to see results, but it should be an integral part of your sales strategy. By establishing a strong presence online, you will eventually boost your capacity to engage, influence, and convert leads into loyal customers.
Oktopost’s employee advocacy tool lets you (and your team) effortlessly share social selling content in just one click. You can also customize your content, access analytics, and use leadership boards to keep everyone motivated. The right social selling tools streamline processes and empower your team to leverage their social networks, boosting engagement and helping you close more deals. Contact us today to explore social selling and how employee advocacy can boost your sales.