As the world becomes more digital and enriched with new and better ways to communicate, it can become difficult to match what we want to demonstrate with the actual use of the tools at hand. Relatively simple applications, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, are now very robust ecosystems, with their own unique voicing and content. Put simply, you have to learn how you speak to all of these audiences differently to be effective. In Q4, where sales pressures and end-of-year budgets make it critical to hit number and leads aggressively, social can be the trump card.
Selling, largely, has been the slowest part of the business in adapting to how customers and prospects communicate today. Social media, in any form, is generally looked at by sales as a “marketing only” effort, and in the worst cases, is seen as a gimmick with little ROI. Yet, our goal as marketers and sales executives is alignment, reaching prospects in as many ways as possible during the sales process. There has to be better cohesion, a “command of the space” on all levels that Hubspot prompts.
Enter social selling. When a prospect (of any size) is interested in your product, they no longer just read your blog, visit your website, or perhaps download an ebook. Instead, they dig deeper, seeing how you communicate and interact with customers or leads, how your team positions itself online, and ultimately how much you are embracing the digital front as a company and as individuals. The gist is that all members of your company and organization need to have clearly defined social presences, sharing content on profiles that all speak to the same story. While enforcing cohesion may not work, sharing the benefits and goals of social selling will encourage team members to join in.
Social selling is not hard, but it does take alignment and work.
LinkedIn, believe it or not, is the most important network for business – this is where prospects evaluate your team and it serves almost as a secondary website. Your sales team already uses it for prospecting, but if you focus on it only as a tool to find information, then you are missing out on leads. Focus on how you describe the company and product not only on the company page (that you should be updating!) but also on individual team member profiles.
The mix of role-specific information and a summary of the company helps show strong cohesion.
- Use the same concise, effective copy you use on your website to describe your company on your LinkedIn company page.
- Create a core, one paragraph message to describe your company and product. Have every team member not only update their LinkedIn profile with their current role and functions but also include this paragraph within the actual role. This way, a prospect inspecting your CEO’s credentials, for example, sees strong cohesion, legitimacy, and purpose. All of this adds up to the creation of a strong impression.
- Pictures are vital. Keep headshots up to date and make your profile inviting and complete. The details truly matter!
Much of the short, constant flow of business-related conversation happens on Twitter. The medium offers companies and team members a perfect chance to share constantly and warm leads, and should already be a large part of your marketing strategy. Yet, as with LinkedIn, the same methodology of social selling can be used to do much more on the platform.
A well-designed team member bio, from CommercialTribe cofounder, Jonathan Palay.
- Include a company Twitter handle and possibly website link in employee bios. That way, their contacts or a prospect can easily get to the company feed.
- Prompt employees to share company updates, new content, or pictures occasionally on their own feeds. Not only does this increase the reach and buzz of the company, but can also boost hiring efforts, warm more leads, or attract new sectors of attention.
- Interact with your prospects. The sales team, in particular, can benefit from lightly sharing and interacting with key prospects on Twitter. While the strategy is not likely to truly convert a lead, it will humanize the selling experience and keep your company’s name firmly in a prospect’s mind.
Facebook is often overlooked for B2B efforts, and for good reason: it tends to be more personal and blocked in many corporate environments! However, it does play a role in culture and content. Rather than interacting with prospects, the goal here is to push out the best content through your employees. Find the content that is accessible, high quality, and useful for both companies and employees, and encourage your team to share it. A great example is the type of content shared by Hubspot – inviting, multi-functional, and designed to be browsed easily.