According to LinkedIn, “78% of [salespeople] outsell peers who don’t use social media.” A compelling statistic for sure, but you may be wondering exactly what is B2B social selling?
Social selling is all about interacting and engaging. It means a person – not a brand – is establishing a dialogue with current contacts, potential customers, industry leaders and influencers – not with a hard sell about your products or services, but by sharing valuable information and thoughtfully responding to questions and comments. Social selling, by design, is meant to feel personal and genuine.
Social Selling Vs. Social Media Marketing
Social selling differentiates itself from overall social media marketing by the mere fact that it brings “social” to the forefront. But most importantly, social selling enables sales professionals to leverage their personal networks and channels to grow their lead pipeline and eventually make sales.
Social media marketing utilizes the platforms to promote your company’s products or services, but overall serves other KPIs others than sales – think awareness building, follower growth and/or views. Social media marketing is also brand centric – coming from the brand itself, vs. from a salesperson or leader within the organization.
For our agency’s clients, the goal of B2B social selling is visibility, development of long-term relationships and trust building. Consider these recent statistics from B2B buyers:
• 84% use social media when making a purchasing decision
• 76% have increased expectations around personalized solutions to their specific needs
• 53% agree that vendor reputation is key to standing out in the B2B industry
A thoughtful social media strategy, including social selling tactics for your sales and leadership teams, can help raise brand awareness, establish credibility in the marketplace and increase sales. If you need help developing a B2B social selling strategy, drop us a line. As a full-service B2B marketing agency, our team is ready to help.
LinkedIn is a Great B2B Sales’ Team Resource
When it comes to the business-to-business space, LinkedIn® stands out with its detailed professional data and robust information. While omni-channel B2B social selling can and should take place across multiple channels, LinkedIn itself is designed directly for business networking. As a sales professional, if you’re leaning into B2B social selling, LinkedIn is likely the place to start engaging in meaningful dialogue with prospects.
An added bonus: LinkedIn provides a quantifiable way to measure the effectiveness of your B2B social selling efforts called the Social Selling Index (SSI). The SSI measures four factors to produce a score between 1 and 100:
1. Your professional brand – optimize your LinkedIn profile by updating each profile section (don’t forget that professional photo), publish meaningful posts and actively engage with content.
2. Find the right people – think of this as finding not just prospects, but the right prospects. Utilizing LinkedIn’s tools, hashtags and good old-fashioned research are key. Some tools are available only through LinkedIn Premium, but even those without paid resources can filter searches by people, companies, jobs, services, and more to help narrow the focus.
3. Engage with insights – saw a relevant industry article that you found insightful? Share it with your thoughts to demonstrate that you are keeping up with news and trends. Or comment on another thought-leader’s post and pose a question to encourage dialogue. LinkedIn looks at these types of engagement activities favorably when it comes to the SSI.
4. Build relationships – like we noted above, social selling is about making genuine connections, establishing trust and growing credibility. Here are a few ideas to consider if you are looking to increase your contacts:
- Look at your 1st connections and ask for introductions and referrals to people in their networks
- Drop a personalized message to connect with a 2nd or 3rd degree network prospect and comment on their posts
- Follow industry leaders and decision makers (studies show that a single B2B sale can involve up to 10 decision makers)
- Stay active on social channels – Consistent engagement with value-added content, not direct sales pitches is key
LinkedIn notes that 51% of social selling leaders are more likely to meet their quota. If you have key performance indicators you need to meet, then utilizing the SSI to evaluate your personal score and following some of the tips above and below may be just the trick to increase you and your team’s leadgen opportunities.
More Tips to Help You Excel at B2B Social Selling
In addition to the insights listed above, here are some further best practices to improve your B2B social selling skills:
- Take advantage of LinkedIn’s articles section. Consider this section like a blog you can use to share longer form content and then share the link in comments when conversing with prospects (if relevant to your potential customer of course)
- Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups an actively participate in dialogue and activities, including live events
- Consider your channels and identify where your customers may be. Based on demographics and usership, you may find an audience on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or platforms beyond LinkedIn
- Search for and utilize relevant industry hashtags, including your business’ name, to engage in social listening
- Utilize private messaging. Yes, it’s okay to slide in a few of those DMs but remember to personalize the message and not blanket a cold sales pitch within the message
- Follow individuals as well as companies and trade news organizations to stay up to date on relevant news
Think about your customer first. From your social media profiles to the way you engage in comments, include information that resonates with your target, rather than making it just about you and what you are selling. Your prospect wants to feel heard and understood. That starts with listening and reacting accordingly.
Let’s Power Up Your Social Marketing Strategy
With 84% of B2B decision-makers and buyers looking at social media during their purchasing journey, the importance of social media as part of a strategic marketing plan can’t be understated. You can find more helpful insights on our blog, including “B2B Social Media Best Practices” and “The Power of Hashtags for B2B Social Media.”
Actively engaging in purposeful social selling helps connect you to the right prospects in the right place at the right time. Stifel Marcin understands the unique needs and challenges of B2B organizations. Whether you need to build a comprehensive social media strategy, or pay-per-click social media marketing to increase traffic, conversions and brand loyalty, our experts are here to help.
If you would like to discuss how we can help your team with a B2B social selling strategy, contact us to set up a time to connect.
Stifel Marcin – The B2B Marketing Agency
Unlike many advertising and marketing agencies, B2B isn’t just something that we do, it’s all we do. We’ll work to help your brand achieve its goals through the strategic combination of creativity, communication and technology. Our focused client intake processes give us the ability to thoroughly understand your business, products and objectives, working to identify the competitive advantages and opportunities that will grow awareness, leads and sales. We develop innovative marketing plans with strategic, data-driven processes, presenting complex ideas and compelling messages that position your business ahead of the competition. As your cooperative partner, our integrated B2B marketing agency is dedicated to your success. If you have questions about B2B social selling or are looking to create a social media strategy for your organization, let’s talk.