Strategies and statistics for thriving in the social media arena.
Social media platforms continue to evolve as natural tools for direct sellers to increase their network and attract customers by building genuine relationships.
Social selling is not about the short-term, one-time sell. Rather, it’s about building relationships for the long-term. It requires more than “liking” someone else’s online content. It takes time to make a genuine connection.
You ‘warm-up’ your prospects by engaging with them when they are active. Whether that’s by sharing their content with your network, providing advice when they ask for it, or by reaching out to them and asking for their input on any questions you may have.
According to a social selling study by LinkedIn, people on social media are much more likely to welcome input from industry experts. In the study, 92 percent of buyers said they are willing to engage with an industry thought leader. The focus of many direct sales professionals successfully using social media platforms is to teach, answer questions and bring value around their product or service. They position themselves as an expert willing to share advice as opposed to trying to sell.
Referrals are still a highly valued source of business, pointing to a Nielsen study that shows more than 80 percent of consumers purchase a product based on recommendations from someone they know. This is why spending more time building a deeper connection on social media is so important. It builds trust. Those who trust you are much more confident referring others to you. Sharing your mistakes goes a long way in building trust. Sharing the lessons you have learned to help prevent others from making the same mistakes is seen as authentic and transparent.
Another study by CSO Insights and Seismic asked professionals about the primary benefits of social selling, and they said the following.
39% REDUCED CONTACT TIME
33% INCREASED NUMBER OF LEADS
31% DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS
24% IMPROVED LEAD CONVERSION RATE
14% SHORTER SALES CYCLES
A recent HOOTSUITE.COM article listed these four critical social selling practices:
1 SHOW UP Don’t use automated posting services. Be real. Be present.
2 LISTEN STRATEGICALLY to identify leads. Your target audience is online telling you exactly what they want and need. Pay attention.
3 PROVIDE VALUE Don’t pitch. Provide valuable insight to the right prospects at the right time.
4 BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS Pay attention to the content your contacts are posting. Engage from time to time with meaningful responses.