Social Selling: fad or cash cow?

Written by Simone Zanetti

Simone Zanetti: a 30-year marketing veteran, AI pioneer, diverse content creator, and global entrepreneur. Former CEO of multinational companies, he's now educating the digital world through various platforms.

And what is “Social Selling” in the first place? Can we really generate more leads and sales with it? Well, yes you can and you will after you read this article or watch the following video.

No time to read? Watch the video above.

The traditional sales process

The old way of selling (traditional one) involves phone calls, meetings, introductions, sales pitches, etc. If you think about it, what we tried to do (in traditional sales) was to establish a relationship with our potential client, with the intent of exchanging some value (our product or service) for money.

The new way

Well, today, relationships are a little bit different. We spend more time on social platforms than we do on the phone, honestly. Getting clients’ attention in the real world is harder than ever. After all, selling with new tools is not new to salespeople. We went from phone to fax to email; so, social selling is just the evolution of this is the leap forward in selling.

If clients are more in social media, so should we, right? To sell, at least.

With social media, you have the tools to reach people and find potential prospects, with surgical precision.

You can follow conversations in groups that are relevant to your industry or product where you can provide the right information at the right time. But the conversation and the narrative in the digital world is different from the real world.

In social media, people don’t like to be spam or have sales links dropped; instead, people want to see value or entertainment. And value or entertainment is what we should provide. Or maybe both.

Let me explain; traditionally, the salesperson is like a hunter, performing proactive actions: hustle-hustle! Well, nowadays in social media is the other way around: we attract the client, we make the client come to us. The way that it works is that we provide value out there in social media, and we get people to like, share, follow, and we create an audience that comes to us. In this way, we extended this audience to people that can reach us.

So we created a larger potential client base. When people start seeing more and more of your content, they feel like they know you better, they grow familiarity and trust with you. Eventually, your audience will see you as an authority in your field. Chances are that they will reach out to you when they need products or services in your industry.

<<< To know more about “how to build a brand that attracts clients” watch this video.

2 Social Selling Strategies

There are two types of social selling strategies that you can adopt. Actually, it would be best if you implemented both. One is the paid one, and one is the organic one. The organic one is the one that I’ve just described: you put valuable content in front of your target audience to attract them. The second one is the one where you pay for ads to reach that potential audience. If you only push a product with ads, then it’s simply digital marketing. But if you use ads to boost your organic reach, then you boost social selling engine.

Social Selling – Strategy 1: Organic

Let me explain. Let’s say that you are an insurance company and you publish, in terms of value, a number of clips about “how to make your household safer”. Responsible homeowners will follow you because they are interested in that subject matter. Eventually, they get familiar with you, they trust your brand, and some of them will buy from you. Straightforward.

Social Selling – Strategy 2: Paid Ads

So where do the paid ads come in? You can use the digital ads to target in social media that specific audience that you’re trying to get as clients (the homeowners). You show them an attractive clip (15 seconds, powerful, sexy, slick) that has the sole purpose of making people interested in your social channels, your content. They start following your brand because of the useful clips you publish periodically, and once they get there and start following you, your social selling machine kicks-off.

Brand is now “personal”

Another important aspect to consider, when you do social selling, is that “brand” is now personal. What do I mean by that? People prefer to follow people rather than brands. Take Elon Musk, for example, much bigger popularity in social media than Tesla.

A personal brand, a “persona”, a single person gets at least five times more visibility than just a company. Ideally you want to build one “persona”, one “personal brand”, for every product that you want to push. If you can’t do many “personas” right now, my suggestion is that you start at least a with one.

Build one “persona” in social media and just compare the “person-brand” against the company brand. The positive results will encourage you to build more “personas”. Secondly, you should involve everybody in your organization to push your brand or this “persona” that you are trying to get out there in social media.

You can be as small, medium or large organization and having from a few employees to thousands of employees, it doesn’t matter.

Every single one of us has got hundreds of connections. So, multiply every person four hundreds, and that’s the kind of reach that you can get if everybody is involved sharing your content.

When I sit with clients, I find out often that they have on one side a wealth of information, that would be a great catalyst online to attract clients. And on the other side, this client has got a lot of employees that could organically reach millions of prospects.

All of us knows hundreds of people. Getting a change management campaign or a policy that will involve everybody in the company to share your content, at least on LinkedIn, can reach a tremendous amount of leads.

Don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of what you already have in-house. This approach can make you can increase your sales by at least 50%. In fact, I’ve got a report last month from one of my clients: 68% increase in sales in three months since we started managing their digital campaigns and social selling tactics. It really works!

And it’s great to see these success unfolding and companies celebrating.

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