Digital marketing has become a standard in business in recent years. Since most of the people have the internet at their fingertips, this method of marketing has proven to be very effective.
One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is that it allows companies to connect with their ideal customers on a more personal level. Social selling is a special technique that helps sellers connect directly with potential customers.
In this post we will discuss the specifics of social selling. We’re going to discuss some reasons why you should incorporate social selling into your digital marketing strategy and some actionable steps to get started.
Finally, we will discuss B2B sales on Alibaba.com. We’re going to touch on some of the tools that make Alibaba.com so popular for building meaningful relationships with customers and growing your business.
What is social selling?
Social selling is a type of digital marketing that uses social media messaging systems to build relationships with potential customers. Both B2B and B2C salespeople use this tactic.
The key to successful social selling is building and using trusting relationships. Some companies use social selling to connect with previous customers and others use it to connect with new prospects.
It is important to note that social selling is not your traditional selling tactic. It’s almost more wrong on the marketing side. Social Selling uses branding to lay the foundation for selling across the board.
Rather than reaching out to the recipients, the idea is to spark a conversation that opens the door to a more substantial relationship. In many companies, especially in B2B wholesale, relationships are everything.
Marketers can use the private messaging functionality on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Because your profile is easily accessible for every message you send, recipients can see exactly who is contacting them.
Social selling could be an alternative to cold calling or cold pitching. With so many incoming spam calls, cold calls may not be as effective at reaching new prospects. However, with social selling, you don’t have to worry as much about hooking the person on the other end. All you have to do is start a conversation instead of forcing an overly “selling” presentation.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Social Selling
There are many reasons a company should consider social selling to connect with prospects and generate more sales.
Here are some of the key benefits of social selling for B2B wholesalers.
1. It works
The main reason for social selling is that it works. It helps you build trust and credibility with your target audience. Building a reputation as a trusted brand makes selling easier.
Maintaining relationships can help turn prospects into warm leads who will help you meet your sales goals. After all, working with warm leads often streamlines the sales process. This is a plus for sellers.
2. It is community oriented
Many brands see great results from building an active online community. In this sense, community building goes beyond building a social media follower.
Building personal relationships with your followers and contacts can help increase engagement on your social media posts. This will help boost your other social media marketing efforts as consistent engagement will appeal to most of the algorithms on social media platforms.
It’s important to note that building a community around your professional brand takes time and consistency. Social Selling is a game that is suitable for brands that are involved in the long term.
3. Your competitors are doing it
In the perfect case, you have an advantage over your competitors. You want to have a competitive advantage that sets you apart. At the very least, you want to at least be up to date on what other B2B vendors are doing. Since others in your industry are using social selling, you should try it too.
It can be difficult to get any insight into your direct competitors’ strategies because the action is done through private messaging channels. However, it is worth chatting to other business owners and operators who have audiences similar to yours to get an idea of what worked for them.
4. Buyers are familiar and open-minded
Social selling is growing in popularity so buyers are pretty familiar with the technology. That means people shouldn’t be surprised if your messages appear in their inbox.
Since social selling is not as “salesy” as cold pitching or cold calling, buyers are more receptive. After all, you’re not asking them to buy something right away, you are simply trying to build a relationship.
5. It’s flexible
Another advantage of social selling is that it is very flexible. Social sellers can adjust their strategy to understand their unique offering and target audience.
For example, a B2B seller like you may be successful using a LinkedIn profile for social selling, while a B2C seller may have better luck on social platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
5 steps to get started with social selling
Social selling is pretty straightforward, especially when broken down into five simple steps. Let’s see how your sales team can create and launch a successful social selling campaign.
Before you start social selling, it is important to do some research. Aside from understanding what social selling is, it’s time to research how this tactic can be applied to your audience.
Strive for a thorough understanding of your ideal customer and the types of interactions they would appreciate and connect with.
2. Create a strategy
As you create your strategy, generate criteria for the people you want to reach and determine what type of icebreakers you will be using to grab the attention of your recipients.
Make a list of people you want to reach out to. This should include decision makers from companies you plan to sell to.
It is also wise to devise a specific sales strategy that you will use after warming up the lead.
3. Optimize your profiles
Now that you’ve chosen which social media networks to use in your social selling strategy, you need to set up profiles. If your brand doesn’t already have profiles on your intended platform, you’ll need to create an account.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping your existing accounts, you need to make sure your profiles are optimized to connect with your ideal customers.
Put your profile picture on top of your logo or other branding picture. Use strategically crafted copy to convey what your brand is doing and who it serves. Consider adding testimonials, reviews, and other content to prove your credibility.
Assume that your prospects will check your profile as soon as they see your message request. Give them enough materials to show that your brand is both valuable and legitimate.
4. Start messages
Once your profiles have been curated to represent your brand and you’ve established your strategy, it’s time to start messaging.
Depending on the size of your brand, you can opt for an automated messaging system or have this task done by a member of your team. Large companies that are simply trying to cover more ground can automate this process. However, if you want to build more real relationships, it is a better idea to have a member of your sales team chat with your prospects.
Either way, it’s a good idea to create templates for your general icebreaker message that can be quickly changed for each company you send. This could address common interests and weaknesses of your target audience. Include questions that require an answer that could start a valuable conversation.
If you want to add a more personal touch to your messages, we recommend checking out each prospect’s brand and finding something unique. Pick something to either compliment or ask. You’ll be flattered that you took the time to “get to know” them before you land in their inbox.
5. Track your results
One of the most important steps in this process is to track your results so that you can further tweak your strategy for better results.
Take a look at what kind of language works and what doesn’t. Also, keep track of things to make sure you’re targeting the right prospects.
Tips for success in social selling
Social selling can be a valuable marketing technique if done right. Here are some of our top social selling tips and recommendations.
Choose prospects wisely
As discussed earlier, you should be aware of every message you send.
Don’t send messages to random people. Your offer is not suitable for everyone. So don’t waste your time notifying every single account you find. Research your target audiences to make sure they are potentially interested in your offer.
A big gaffe with social selling is trying to build relationships with someone who is doing the same thing as you to showcase a product, service, or offer. This shows that you haven’t researched and come across as pretty lazy.
However, it is advisable to develop organic relationships with competitors with a view to possible cooperation.
Don’t be spammy
If a prospect isn’t responding to your message or showing no interest, leave them alone. Sending spam messages could damage your brand and cause people to report or block your profile.
Keep things tasteful and learn to take “no” for an answer.
Social selling should simply be part of your digital marketing strategy. In addition to social selling, consider other marketing tactics.
Some examples of great marketing techniques include sharing content on social networks, creating blog content, creating video content, hosting live events, and more.
The tactics you use depend on your individual target group. Test different approaches and combinations of tactics and see what is most effective for your brand.
Whichever approaches you use, be sure to post valuable and relevant content to engage your audience and generate new sales opportunities.
Sell on Alibaba.com
Alibaba.com is a great platform for B2B wholesalers looking to start, grow, or scale their business. It is packed with many professional features that support B2B trading, including demand forecasting, advertising, lead generation, smart analytics, and secure transactions.
The Alibaba.com platform is also great for companies looking to export and reach international customers. Some of the specifics geared towards cross-border commerce, including automatic translations and automatic conversions.
Ready to sell on Alibaba.com? Create an account today and select “Seller” as your trading role. With our intelligent listing tools and additional support, you can get your digital shop window up and running in no time at all.