Ask five people what they mean by “social selling” and you’ll get twelve different answers. At Vsnap, it’s not just a buzzword, it’s a series of specific tactics that our team practices daily. Generally we break down social selling in three parts: listen, create and engage. Each step influences the one that follows. And when executed properly, they help salespeople build relationships that turn prospects into buyers.
A salesperson is first and foremost a good listener. It’s the most effective way to personalize your engagement with prospects and start building a relationship. The challenge, however, is to hear clearly amidst all the noise inherent on social media. On Twitter, you can remedy this issue by creating lists of your prospects to quickly check on their activity. On LinkedIn, you can filter your connections’ most interesting updates by clicking the All Updates button on the top right corner of your feed and changing it to Recent or Shares.
Other tools to consider: check out HootSuite or Tweetdeck to easily visualize multiple social media feeds/lists. Google Alerts is also great to keep track of specific keywords related to you, your prospects or competitors.
Now that you’ve got your ear to the ground, use the information you’ve gathered to create content. That’s how you’ll establish your reputation with your tribe. Obviously, blog posts are the most substantive but they can be a time sink. A good alternative is to answer questions from your community on Quora — it’s amazing how often major influencers do so. The easiest way to contribute is probably Twitter. Even 15-20 minutes each day will go a long way to let others know what you believe in, whether you’re tweeting your own thoughts or sharing articles by others.
You know the word around the campfire. You’ve created content. Now’s the time to engage prospects directly. LinkedIn direct messages can be a good alternative to email since they won’t get buried in an inbox. In our case, we reach out via Vsnap. It works. It’s personal, concise and grabs people’s attention in a way that email simply can’t. But no matter which outbound medium you use, the most important thing is to track that activity through your CRM. This is especially important for larger sales organizations. To that end we use ecquire, which automatically creates records in SFDC for any LinkedIn or Twitter contacts.
Other tools to consider: Buffer can help optimize your social media engagement by scheduling shares during the most productive times of the day.
Over to you Vsnappers — how do you define social selling? Are there any other tools you’d throw into the mix? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or drop us a note on Twitter @Vsnap!
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