Do you want to get better at attracting new customers and keep existing ones coming back for more? Of course you do. In the digital era, door knocking and cold calling is dead. ‘Social selling’ is increasingly where it’s at in the business-to-business market-place.
The term refers to the use of social media platforms to identify and connect with business prospects by sharing content, interacting online and building a relationship until they’re ready to engage your services.
It’s a subtle approach and can be a long game – the polar opposite of the old hard sell where potential customers are subjected to constant pressure until an on-the-spot purchase is made. Think on how many emails you receive from over-seas detailers touting for work.
From electronic business card to powerful tool
For many small businesses and business owners, their professional presence online remains sporadic – the seldom-updated profile or company blog that was forgotten after the initial enthusiasm ran out of puff.
While that may have sufficed when social media platforms like LinkedIn were in their infancy, the last 10 years have seen exponential expansion in online, commercial relationships and so have the ways businesses engage with their audience.
Today, social media is a dynamic global forum where people share ideas and information, foster business relationships and market their product offerings.
If you’re a business owner, exploiting it to the full involves using social media as more than just an electronic CV for yourself or an online brochure for your company.
Serious about social selling
Successful social selling takes time and concerted effort – ideally every day, not on an ad hoc basis when all the other tasks on your ‘To Do list’ are done.
Getting your personal and business profile in order with quality photos or images and a few succinct paragraphs about yourself, and populating your company page with relevant content – case studies, white papers, blogs, vlogs and articles about your industry – are the first steps.
Keep it clean and make it professional. Remember, Linked-in is not Facebook.
After that, it’s about systematically boosting your brand by connecting with and following customers and potential customers, ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’ on their posts and sharing interesting content, accompanied by your own commentary.
It shouldn’t be all about the boss, either. Historically, many businesses have been wary about allowing their employees to let loose on social platforms, but encouraging your people to share company content with their own networks can amplify your reach exponentially.
Increasing your sales pipeline is the ultimate goal. By understanding the needs and wants of your customers and engaging regularly with the decision-makers who’ll one day be in the market for your product offerings is an excellent place to start.
Many businesses in engineering and construction have the process down pat, while others are only just beginning to explore the possibilities.
Quality will always outweigh quantity on social media, no matter what network you are using. Whilst some businesses may approach Twitter of Facebook and constantly share, share and over share. LinkedIn is a professional network, and whilst building a network is important, adding people you do not know isn’t worth your time
Are you looking to start or get more involved in LinkedIn for Business? Below is a list of 20 Do’s and Dont’s of LinkedIn Etiquette. In general, the golden rule of LinkedIn etiquette and social media marketing is to always provide undeniable value that speaks to the exact type of person with whom you are trying to connect with. You don’t want to write just for the sake of writing; you want to entice your audience to keep coming back for more helpful information.
- Personalize connection requests. Tell them your reason for connecting.
- Have a profile picture so people can see whom they are connecting with.
- Personalize your recommendation requests and offer to reciprocate (if appropriate).
- Keep it professional and only share information relevant to business.
- Turn off notifications when updating your profile.
- Send a nice welcome message that provides value.
- Regularly nurture relationships. Building relationships is not a numbers game!
- Make your contact list open to your connections.
- Offer to introduce your connections to others in your network.
- Respond promptly to messages (1-2 days).
- Don’t send spam messages to your connections. Slow down the sale to speed it up.
- Don’t over post—once a day is good.
- Don’t ask people you don’t know for LinkedIn recommendations.
- Don’t criticize or comment negatively on posts in groups.
- Do not post self-serving content in groups that holds no value to members.
- Don’t send messages to multiple people without unchecking the option “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.”
- Don’t ask people to like your Facebook. Instead push them to the valuable information you have to offer on Facebook.
- Don’t ask new connections or people you don’t know to endorse you.
- Don’t send messages starting with, “I see you viewed my profile…” It is not professional
- Don’t treat LinkedIn like Facebook or Twitter – it is more professional.
*Courtesy of TopDogSocialMedia.com
The time is now
Do you think of yourself as an analogue kind of person and wondering whether avoiding the social selling scene is an option? You’ll do your business and your professional profile no favours if you don’t start rubbing shoulders with prospects in cyberspace – and soon.
This is how potential customers can find you and research whether or not you’re a business they want to engage with. Not having an active presence could leave you at the bottom of the pack, in 2020 and beyond.