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Boost Your Sales with Social Selling: Top Tips, Tools, and Techniques

By: Soumya Gupta, MBA | 8 mins read |

Author: Soumya Gupta

Are you ready to unlock the secret weapon that could catapult your sales strategy to the stratosphere? Meet social selling – a way to connect with prospects, establish enduring relationships, and ultimately, secure more deals by leveraging the power of social networks.

Keep in mind that social selling is NOT a standalone strategy. Instead, it serves as an integral part of a broader strategy we've been examining – employee advocacy. This article is a follow-up to our in-depth guide to employee advocacy, where we’ll illustrate how social selling can transform your employees into dynamic brand ambassadors. So let’s jump into it and discover how social selling can revolutionize your sales landscape and uncover some of the best tools, techniques, and solutions.

What is Social Selling?

Social selling is more than a buzzword; it's a strategic approach to finding, connecting, and nurturing relationships with prospects on social media platforms. It's about leveraging the power of social networks and the attention economy to drive sales and build stronger, more personal connections with your potential customers.

By shifting away from traditional sales tactics (such as cold calling or impersonal email blasts), social selling emphasizes unique, personalized interactions on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It's a more organic and efficient way of engaging with customers that replaces one-size-fits-all messaging with meaningful, tailored conversations.

This contemporary sales approach is a win-win – sales professionals find the process more engaging, while potential customers enjoy a more personalized and less intrusive experience. In essence, social selling is about adapting to new digital platforms to drive customer behavior in this ever-evolving sales landscape.

Why is social selling important?

The importance of social selling cannot be overstated as it aligns with modern buyer behavior when it comes to conducting research and making purchasing decisions. When social sellers are 51% more likely to achieve sales quotas, it's clear that this approach carries significant benefits for businesses.

Among the reasons why social selling is so important are:

  • Greater engagement: Social selling allows sales reps to engage with prospects in a targeted and personalized way, leading to better rapport and trust.
  • Shorter Sales Cycles: With access to real-time information on prospects, social selling speeds up the sales cycle by allowing sales reps to identify and connect with them at the right moment.
  • Better customer relationships: Social selling enables sales reps to keep in touch with their customers beyond the initial sale, nurturing deep and lasting relationships.
  • Competitive advantage: According to LinkedIn, 78% of businesses that use social selling outperform those that don't, making it a critical part of any successful sales strategy.

Social selling in 4 easy steps

Social selling can seem like a lot to take on, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Luckily, we’ve broken it down into four easy steps. If you’re already familiar with the process, feel free to skip ahead to the next section, “The technology and solutions used for social selling”, or keep reading for a condensed refresher on the ins and outs.

1. Research: Understand your audience

The foundation of any successful social selling strategy is a deep understanding of your target audience. Usually, it begins by developing ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas because creating them will help you better understand the pain points, goals, and motivations of the people and companies you're trying to engage with on social media.

While ICPs and buyer personas may sound similar, they’re not the same. Think of ICPs as the ideal companies you want to target, which contain information such as company size, industry, and budget, whereas buyer personas are hypothetical representations of individuals (who could even work at one of your ICPs) who would love to buy and use your product.

Here’s an example of a buyer persona:

  • Sarah, a 35-year-old marketing manager working for a mid-sized technology company. 
  • She's responsible for making purchasing decisions for marketing software and is active on LinkedIn, seeking industry tips and advice. 
  • Sarah values recommendations from her network, looks for thought leadership content, and connects with industry experts.

The important thing to remember is that this is only a starting point which can later be expanded to include specific persona details such as pain points specific to the solution or product you are selling. 

2. Listen: Monitor social media conversations

Social listening goes beyond understanding your target audience. It involves actively monitoring the conversations happening on social media around your industry, competitors, and target accounts. Social monitoring solutions such as Viral Nation_Secure™ tracks important keywords, hashtags, and mentions related to your audience or sector.

For example, let’s say you’re a sales rep working in the cybersecurity industry selling software solutions. You could set up alerts for phrases like "cybersecurity challenges," "data breaches," and "protecting sensitive data." This could end up leading you to a LinkedIn group discussion where IT managers are sharing their experiences with recent cyberattacks. Now, as a sales rep, not only can you empathize with the situation, but it’s also a great opportunity to glean valuable insights into their challenges and pain points to better address their cybersecurity concerns.

This creates a feedback loop where you can use this information to fine-tune your social selling strategy and create even more compelling content that will resonate deeply with prospects because you’re speaking to them in their own words.

3. Participate: Engage with your audience

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience and what’s important to them, it's time to actively participate in these discussions. Use social media to nurture social communities by sharing valuable content, such as blog posts, podcasts, and infographics, that addresses your prospects' pain points and interests. Engaging in relevant groups and forums is also a great way to showcase your industry expertise and build your online presence.

Beyond content sharing, engage directly with your prospects by commenting on their posts, answering their questions, and celebrating their achievements. Remember, your goal is to build trust and credibility with your audience, so always be authentic and respectful in your interactions.

4. Measure: Track success and adjust strategy

To make sure your social selling efforts are actually paying off, it's essential to track and measure your successes and adjust your strategy accordingly. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) such as leads generated, conversion rates, and revenue impact to assess your progress.

Social media analytics tools can help monitor your engagement and reach, and will provide valuable insights into which content and tactics resonate with your audience, helping you identify areas for improvement and growth.

The technology and solutions used for social selling

To maximize the effectiveness of your social selling efforts, incorporating the right tools and platforms into your strategy is key. Let’s take a closer look at some top platforms and solutions that can help you up your social selling game:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Social Selling Index

LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets you tap into the power of LinkedIn for social selling by providing advanced search options, personalized lead recommendations, and insights about your target accounts. The platform also measures your social selling success with the Social Selling Index (SSI), a score that reflects your performance in four key areas: 

  • Establishing your professional brand
  • Finding the right people
  • Engaging with insights
  • Building relationships

The SSI (social selling index) dashboard in LinkedIn.

To get started, simply log in to your account and navigate to the Sales Navigator homepage. From there, you can use the advanced search feature to filter down to specific prospects, industries, or companies. 

Follow leads and accounts to stay updated on their activities and spot relevant conversation-starters. Utilize the recommended leads feature, which uses LinkedIn's algorithms to suggest potential prospects that match your search criteria. Regularly gauge your Social Selling Index score to track your success and identify areas for improvement.

Viral Nation_Empower™

Viral Nation_Empower™ dashboard showing active challenges, top posts, and learning paths for the employee.

Viral Nation_Empower™ is an enterprise solution that aims to revolutionize employee advocacy and social selling by incentivizing employees to become brand advocates at scale while empowering them to be creators. The platform provides education, alignment, and incentives, which not only improves engagement but also streamlines any brand’s buyer journey by building trust and social proof. Viral Nation_Empower™ incorporates social media IP, learning paths, and generative AI to align employees with the brand while nurturing their social selling skills. At the same time, Viral Nation_Empower™ humanizes your brand through authentic advocacy, which in turn boosts sales and revenue. 

ZoomInfo ReachOut

ZoomInfo ReachOut is a browser extension that provides direct access to valuable contact and company information, right from the social profiles of your prospects. With this tool, you can quickly access up-to-date contact data and easily save prospects to targeted lists in your CRM, streamlining your prospecting process.

Best practices for social selling

Now that you know the processes behind social selling, here are some tips to take it further. Keep in mind that social selling isn’t only for employees, as managers and even company leadership can establish a stronger online presence, build trust with their audience, and drive sales by following these social selling best practices.

Create a professional, personal brand

Your online presence is your calling card in the world of social selling, so make sure it's polished and professional. It’s important that everyone on your team optimizes their social media profiles by using high-quality images, writing compelling bios, and showcasing their expertise through content and endorsements.

In this example you can see Ashley has a personalized LinkedIn headline, background image, and posts consistently about specific topics related to B2B Marketing.

Build relationships with the right prospects

Focus your social selling efforts on engaging with decision-makers who are genuinely interested in your product or service. Use the tools at your disposal, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, to zero in on high-value prospects and build meaningful relationships with them.

Be authentic in your social selling

Authenticity is a critical part of social selling as it builds trust with your prospects. Avoid bombarding your audience with sales pitches or overly promotional content. Instead, focus on providing valuable insights and resources, engaging in genuine conversations, and showcasing your human side.

An example of this in action could look like this: 

A sales rep notices a LinkedIn post from a prospect discussing the challenges of remote team collaboration. Instead of pushing their product immediately, the sales rep comments, "I can relate to your struggles with managing remote teams. I recently read an insightful article on improving remote collaboration – it offered some helpful tips that might be useful for you, too. [Link to article] Let me know if it helps or if you'd like to chat about other solutions that have worked for me and my clients. Best of luck!"

This approach shows genuine empathy and adds value to the conversation without coming across as overly promotional.

Stay informed and consistent

To position your team as thought leaders in your industry and maintain a strong online presence, regularly share relevant, informative content on social media. Dedicate time each day to engage with your audience, respond to comments, and support their content when appropriate.

Especially in the beginning, consistency is key, so we highly recommend creating a schedule and sticking to it. You can start small and then gradually scale up as you build your audience and reputation as a reliable source of information and insight.

Final thoughts

Social selling has undoubtedly emerged as an essential component of modern sales strategies. By leveraging the power of social media platforms, sales professionals can engage with their prospects in meaningful ways and build the trust necessary to drive sales. With the top tips, tools, and techniques discussed in this post, you can become a social selling pro, connecting with your audience on a deeper level and closing more deals than ever before. 
So why wait? Embrace the power of social selling, employee-generated content, and employee advocacy today and watch your sales success soar.

_About the author
Soumya Gupta, MBA

Soumya Gupta, MBA