We recently shared the challenges with social selling – most of them centered around inadequate training and strategies. As with inbound marketing, social selling isn’t simply providing a means of engagement, it’s also leaving the necessary information for the prospect to do their own research. Social selling incorporates three specific elements – your profile, social validation and recognition from peers, and the ability to share and engage ongoing with your prospects
- Social Profile – Just as a brochure site is central to your business’ online presence, your social profile (especially on LinkedIn) must provide a foundation to your sales personnel’s ability to build authority and trust with prospects online.
- Social Validation – An impressive profile and recognition from peers are essential. This infographic from HubSpot details all the key characteristics of an optimized social selling profile on LinkedIn.
- Social Sharing – Aside from the profile and recognition, ongoing activity and interaction are critical to maintaining momentum, increasing visibility, gaining trust, and – ultimately – being a social selling resource to your network.
Notice that I didn’t actually say anything about selling in the elements? Well, that’s because selling is largely seen as spamming when you’ve provided permission to connect with one another via a social network. That’s not to say that you’ll never sell, but your strategy shouldn’t be like that of a cold call. Your goal should be providing value to the network you’re creating, building trust with them, getting shared by them, and ultimately having people seek you out for assistance.
Just as you wouldn’t run into an event screaming about what you can sell to others, you should be as discreet online. As people learn that you’re an invaluable resource to them, they’ll come to you for assistance.