Social selling, specifically during the pandemic, has evolved to become one of the most effective ways to create awareness and drive traffic to your business. Direct sales companies specifically can benefit from social selling and the use of social media. As more companies begin to focus on social selling as a model for their business, it’s extremely beneficial to you join in as a way of keeping up with your competitors.
If you want to be a leader in your industry, then it is important that you utilize the tools offered by social selling to continue growing revenue and publicity. Because social media is such a huge presence in our world today, it is vital that you learn how to use it to benefit your business. If you’re thinking of having your company focus on social selling, here are some important things that you should know about the practice.
What Exactly Is Social Selling?
Social selling is a relatively new approach to selling that gives direct sellers the opportunity to target their prospects and establish rapport through existing connections by using social media platforms. Network marketing can be done through utilizing social selling to build relationships. It involves the practice of utilizing social media channels to connect with prospective customers and engage with potential leads, allowing your business to reach its sales targets.
Social selling is not the same as simply bombarding strangers online with information about your company and your products, and it is not solely about getting new contacts. With social selling, you can make the interactions that you have with prospective clients meaningful, and can show that your brand is trustworthy and loyal.
How Social Selling Has Evolved
Social selling has evolved over time as people worked to figure out ways to utilize social media for their direct selling companies. Those who adopted social selling early on flooded their market contacts with a variety of social media posts in an attempt to make social selling work.
As the practice has continued to evolve over time, a wide variety of approaches for social selling has become available aside from the typical social media posts. Some examples of these approaches include companies doing Live Sales when they’re selling on-hand inventory or unboxing products on social media. Anything that gets the audience interested and engaged and that drives traffic to your company can be considered social selling.
The Social Selling Index, Or SSI
The social selling index, introduced by LinkedIn in 2014, is a metric that is used to measure the impact of a brand’s social selling. There are four components to establishing this score. The score looks at whether you are:
- Establishing a professional brand with a well-managed LinkedIn profile.
- Finding the right people on the platform.
- Sharing relevant and interesting content.
- Building, maintaining, and strengthening relationships.
If you are using LinkedIn for your business, you can find this score by navigating to your Social Selling Index dashboard. This will help you understand how your score could be improved and ways to make it better.
Make it Easy for Your Customers to Participate, Engage, and Shop
There are approaches to social selling that you should be taking to ensure that your sales remain steady and continue to grow. The first one of these approaches is selling drop ship inventory, which is the most common focus of social selling. This allows your company to drive customers to replicated websites and shopping carts to complete their purchases.
Make sure your e-commerce site is like any other shopping site. It should have ratings and reviews, the option to use wish lists, the ability to search products by name and categories, and suggestions for other products the customer may like based on what they buy.
The other approach to social selling is selling on-hand inventory. The Sales Consultant would be selling inventory directly to the customer, collecting the payment, and shipping the product. This is a practice that has evolved over recent years. If your company is focusing on this model, make sure that you are considering the following questions:
- How is awareness being created for the social event?
- How is an item being claimed or sold through the live event?
- How is the item paid for after being sold?
- How are the items shipped to the end customer?
- How does corporate maintain visibility on these sales?
Make sure that you continue to assess the customer experience to make the best experience for future shoppers. Consider attending one of these live events yourself as a customer so that you can understand what they think and feel about your company and the events that you host.
Use Attraction Marketing
With social selling, you want to attract people who want to socialize with your company. Using the power of attraction in your social media presence is an important aspect of social selling. Some ways that you can use attraction marketing with social selling for your direct sales business include:
- Making sure that your social media profiles are optimized and completed across all platforms, not just some.
- Making it simple for your audience to connect with, and interact with you by following you on all platforms.
- Using attractive and compelling imagery in your profile and posts.
- Being real and authentic, but still professional.
- Giving glimpses into your business and private life to allow your audience to build a level of trust with you.
- Letting your personality show through your posts so that your audience can feel like they know you.
- Using storytelling in your social media posts to help draw your followers and readers in and to attract new followers.
- Speaking to your audience like they are your friend. You want to establish a relationship with them, so being friendly is crucial.
Why Should My Business Care About Social Selling?
There are many reasons why you should care about social selling. If you are still unaware of the value that social selling has to offer, here are some of the best reasons why you should begin the practice:
- Social selling works. LinkedIn found that businesses who are leaders in the social selling space created 45% more sales than brands who are not leaders in the social selling space. Businesses that prioritize social selling were also 51% more likely to reach their sales quota. 78% of businesses that use social selling outsell businesses that do not use social media in any capacity.
- Social selling can help your business build real relationships. Because of the pandemic, a large number of business events had to be cancelled or postponed. Networking has largely shifted to being online, so it is important that your business adapts to this new change. Social selling gives you the chance to connect with prospective customers without having to meet them face to face. Engage potential customers on social media, and use social selling to reach out to audiences who are already interested in what you are offering. Build an authentic connection with this audience–this will turn into loyalty.
- Your customers and prospective customers are already interested in social buying. Within the last six months of 2020, 25% of Americans aged 18 to 34 made a purchase through social media platforms. Because so many people use social media, it is by far one of the best ways to market your products and generate sales.
- Your competitors are already doing it. If you want to keep up with the competition, you should definitely get started on social selling. Using social selling means that you are staying competitive and keeping your name relevant.
Integrating Social Selling With Back-Office Tools Available to You
Depending on whether you use a drop-shipped versus consultant fulfilled approach to social selling, there will be some different tools and technologies that you should be leveraging. As you begin to identify these tools and implement them, you should be making it easy for your Consultants to access these tools–no matter if they are tech-savvy or not. Make it as easy as you possibly can for people in your field to know the tools to use and the selling processes to follow.
Make Sure Social Promotion Marketing Content is Readily Available and Easy-to-Use
It is important that you implement easy-to-use ways for your field to share consistent social content with customers. As companies begin to evolve, there is a growing desire to implement a stand-alone app that simplifies sharing content. When you are getting started, you should include simple ways to share and promote your content. Make sure that your sales team and marketing team is collaborating so that you can have sustained adoption and growth.
How Does Social Selling Ultimately Benefit the Company?
Social selling benefits the company in many ways. The most important of these ways being:
- Increasing brand visibility. By having more employees sharing content and optimizing their social profiles, their networks are able to click and engage. Oftentimes, people who are not familiar with the company will be able to discover it through social selling.
- Drives more leads, and higher quality ones. The quality of your leads will increase as brand visibility increases. Having a team of social sellers ready to work for your business gives them the opportunity to educate their social connections.
- It boosts web traffic. As brand visibility continues to increase, more people will be inclined to search for information on your company.
- It boosts sales results. Social selling is a good way to increase deal sizes and drive better win rates, resulting in better revenue for your company.
The Importance of Communicating With Your Field
Make sure that while you are mapping out your social selling strategies and evaluating your tools, you are also tapping into your field Consultants to get a better idea of their needs and concerns. Follow these stages of adoption:
- Discovery. Engage with your field to help you identify the tools you need and to figure out what Consultants are seeing in the field.
- Pre-launch. As you begin to use and integrate solutions into your social selling model, involve some influential Consultants into the beta testing phase. These people will help you drive the new tools’ utilization.
- Launch. Create training documentation with your Field Advisory Board’s input and hold training webinars to help showcase these tools and demonstrate how to use them.
- Post-launch. Continue to encourage use of social selling by providing tips and success stories, and establish a process for Consultants to share feedback.
Understand Financial and Resource Investments Required for Launching Social Selling Tools
When you are evaluating solutions, look at the overall costs from a corporate perspective. Consider what tools are needed by your field, what you are paying monthly to run your business, and if there is a more unified solution. Make sure that there is an aligned focus from corporate upon implementation from every part of your business.
Social Selling Allows for Better Customer Service
It is important that, when you are operating your direct selling business, you are keeping up with good customer service. Even after you make the sale, you should be working to provide your customer with the best service possible.
You want to be able to retain customers after you have made the sale, and this starts with good customer service. 68 percent of customers leave companies when they feel that the company does not care about their business anymore. Social selling makes it easy to communicate with your customers and improve your customer service. Put in the effort to make your buyer happy and to help them solve their issues.
Social selling is becoming increasingly more important to the success of businesses, and can make or break your company. It is important that you understand all of the ins and outs of social selling so that you can maximize profit and get your business out there. By following these tips and understanding social selling, you can make sure that your business is fostering relationships with new and returning customers.
You don’t know where to start, Schedule a Free Strategy Session today and let’s work together to create a unique strategy for your business.