What is Social Selling? A 2024 Guide on How to Sell Through Social Media

What is social selling? Discover how salespeople can leverage this powerful strategy to win over new customers

Rory Sadler
August 24, 2023
March 13, 2024
What is social selling? Discover how salespeople can leverage this powerful strategy to win over new customers
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In our hyper-connected world, over 58.4% of the global population have turned to social media, dedicating an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes daily to these platforms.

If you've been tuning into this digital symphony, you'd realize that businesses are orchestrating their marketing campaigns across these channels, but the incessant bombardment of ads and product placements can often lead to consumer fatigue.

Amidst this cacophony, a harmonious note rings out – Social Selling. This modern sales technique is not about relentlessly pitching your products, but about fostering genuine relationships with potential customers on their preferred social platforms, thereby naturally guiding them down the sales funnel.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the ins and outs of social selling, from understanding its essence to learning how to effectively leverage it on various social media platforms.

Understanding Social Selling

Social Selling is not your traditional sales strategy. It goes beyond the customary practices of cold calling or cold emailing, and dwells in the realm of relationship-building.

The essence of social selling lies in its approach - it's about engaging with your potential customers, establishing trust, and fostering brand loyalty before even thinking about making a sales pitch. To put it simply, it's about being 'social' before 'selling'.

So, if you're planning to use social selling as an excuse to mass blast your sales pitch, hold your horses! Building relationships should be your primary focus, and any sales that happen are a natural byproduct of these relationships.

The Unique Facets of Social Selling

Social selling stands out from the traditional sales strategies because of its focus on building digital relationships rather than just selling. According to a LinkedIn study, 87% of B2B buyers are open to interacting with salespeople on professional networks, and 72% of salespeople using social selling outperform their peers.

The convenience and personalized touch of social selling make it a preferred choice for many buyers. It offers a one-on-one interaction with potential buyers, helping to build trust and credibility over time, which can often lead to more sales.

Resolving Sales Dilemmas with Social Selling

Social selling can be the answer to several challenges faced by traditional sales strategies. It allows salespeople to build relationships and define their online reputation in a non-invasive manner.

The digital nature of social selling allows for a wider reach, and the value-oriented approach helps to build brand awareness and strengthen your reputation. In fact, during the pandemic-era when in-person networking events were no longer feasible, social selling emerged as a lifesaver for many businesses, helping them maintain their sales volume.

Tracking Your Social Selling Success

To measure your effectiveness in social selling, LinkedIn came up with a Social Selling Index (SSI) in 2014. This metric evaluates your performance based on:

  1. Your professional brand and profile management
  2. Your ability to find the right people
  3. Your content sharing strategy
  4. Your relationship-building skills

The SSI dashboard can be found on LinkedIn's Sales Navigator. It provides a comprehensive view of your social selling performance and helps you identify areas of improvement.

Is Social Selling Right for Your Team?

While social selling has proven effective for many businesses, it may not necessarily be the best fit for all companies. To determine whether it's a good fit for you, consider the social media habits of your target audience. If they are frequent users of social media, and if you can pinpoint the platforms they primarily use, social selling could be a potent strategy for your business.

The Cardinal Rule of Social Selling

As you embark on your social selling journey, remember this cardinal rule: social selling is not about pushing your sales agenda onto your connections. It's about creating meaningful interactions that organically lead to sales opportunities.

Mastering Social Selling on LinkedIn

LinkedIn, with its professional networking environment, is a prime platform for social selling. Properly leveraging LinkedIn involves creating a professional and value-oriented profile, expanding your network, and regularly posting valuable content.

Once your profile is well-established, you can start reaching out and initiating meaningful conversations. Remember to maintain your existing connections by regularly sharing valuable insights related to your product or service.

Exploring Social Selling on Facebook

Facebook, with its vast user base, is another excellent platform for social selling. It enables you to leverage Facebook groups to establish your authority within your industry and create valuable, shareable content that professionals will want to interact with.

Venturing into Social Selling on Twitter

Twitter offers a unique approach to social selling. It involves creating Twitter lists to track information shared by your customers, competitors, and prospects.

Twitter also allows you to analyze your competitors' engagement strategies and to establish relationships with decision-makers within potential client companies.

Real-world Social Selling Examples

Here are a few examples of how you can initiate a social selling relationship on LinkedIn:

  • Offer to add a new connection to an industry-specific Facebook group:
  • Hey Bob,
  • I noticed you're a marketing director for a consumer goods company. I'm part of a few Facebook groups where industry professionals share insights. Would you like me to add you to these groups? It could be a great networking opportunity.
  • Share a blog post relevant to a discussion raised by a potential customer:
  • Hi [First Name], I noticed your post about [topic]. I recently wrote a blog post on a similar subject. Thought you might find it interesting!

The Future of Sales: Social Selling

Social selling is redefining the future of sales. By forging meaningful relationships with customers, it has the potential to enhance customer loyalty and create new business opportunities. Try out social selling for your business and watch your sales numbers soar.