Social media isn't exclusive to our personal lives. It's become a fact of professional life as well — particularly in the sales world. In fact, 56% of sales professionals use social media to find new prospects.
As a result, social selling skills are transitioning from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have for sales professionals, but developing that kind of expertise is much easier said than done.
So to help you up your social selling game, we reached out to a few HubSpot experts for some key tips and tricks you can apply to better leverage your social media presence to connect with prospects and make hard sales.
Let's dive in.
Social Selling Tips
- Leverage information on social media to connect with prospects.
- Diversify your platforms.
- Demonstrate interest by interacting with your prospects' content.
- Be yourself, and be sincere.
- Build credibility with LinkedIn recommendations.
- Use data to inform your social selling strategy.
- Stay consistent.
1. Leverage information on social media to connect with prospects.
When we reached out to Sarina Kowaguchi, former Senior Growth Specialist at HubSpot, she stressed the importance of leveraging social media to find common ground and build rapport with prospects.
She says, "I've found that social selling can be truly impactful when you can leverage information on social media — such as LinkedIn — to connect with a prospect on mutual experiences, interests, or connections."
For example, you could congratulate a prospect on a professional milestone or "win," or send a personalized message from time to time.
2. Diversify your platforms.
Dan Tyre, executive at HubSpot, emphasizes the value of maintaining an active social media presence across various platforms.
He says, "Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin are my jam. Part of being an inbound executive is to make sure you are optimizing multiple platforms to make it easy for people to find you and reinforce your brand."
Kowaguchi echos a similar sentiment, telling me: "While email and phone calls will remain a large part of my day-to-day prospecting, I diversify my efforts across other channels of selling as well, and I've found that social media messages can cut through the noise that emails often present."
3. Demonstrate interest by interacting with your prospects' content.
Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to social selling. Tyre underlines this point, telling me: "I find that prospects and customers appreciate it when you share pertinent information and help expand their reach."
By engaging online, it also sends the message that you're familiar with the prospect and their work. As Tyre observes, "If I am going to target an account, I always follow them on Twitter and have some interaction before I call or email so that they know I did my research and I want to help them get more business."
4. Be yourself, and be sincere.
Kathleen Rush, Sales Manager at HubSpot, suggests that sales reps stay true to themselves through their social selling efforts. According to her, "I live by this mantra in person and on social media — be yourself, and be sincere. And your audience will naturally grow as a result."
She adds, "When you affirm how you genuinely feel about a client or a product, you build authenticity as a helpful resource. Once that trust is established, the conversations can really begin! Watch those views and shares grow!"
5. Build credibility with LinkedIn recommendations.
When we touched base with Marlon De Assis-Fernandez, Principal Account Executive at HubSpot, he had this to say: "When I think about social selling, I think about how I can use my social media to build social proof."
For De Assis-Fernandez, a great way to do this is by building (and then leveraging) your LinkedIn recommendations.
He told me, "Having a slew of recommendations can help showcase your integrity. For those that I haven't worked with, I like to point them in the direction of my recommendations on LinkedIn to hear straight from other customers I've worked with. The key is being genuine."
He adds, "If you do a great job solving for the customer, they'll always be keen to provide feedback — and the more you solve for them, the more positive that feedback will be. It's a great habit to get feedback after a sales process and even better to have that feedback displayed in the form of a LinkedIn recommendation."
6. Use data to inform your social selling strategy.
For business leader and author Melonie Dodaro, a good social selling strategy is backed by data.
In her own words, "To improve your social selling strategy on LinkedIn, it’s important to regularly analyze your data and adjust your approach based on your findings."
There are several key performance indicators (KPIs) worth tracking, like profile views, connection requests, and leads generated.
Of course, you need to define your goals so you have something to measure for. For instance, maybe you want to increase your network by 20% — or generate X-number of leads via LinkedIn each month. Then, you can determine which tactics are helping you move closer to your goal.
7. Stay consistent.
Building relationships with prospects takes time. This is why consistency is such a key ingredient for any sales strategy — online or not.
For instance, Tyre recommends sales reps post at least weekly on LinkedIn, along with individual follow-ups with prospects who engage with your content.
He told me, "Generally, the key is to have three or four interactions within 10-12 days, which shows professional persistence without overwhelming your prospect."
Back to You
Developing strong social selling skills is easier said than done — still, sales reps stand to gain a lot from making that development a priority.
Social media isn't going anywhere, and when properly navigated, it can be a powerful resource for understanding, connecting with, and ultimately making deals with prospects.