What is Social Selling

Social Media Marketing has evolved tremendously, promising a global penetration of 45%. It has gradually moved from paid ads and sponsored posts to influencer marketing and inbound social selling. Inbound social selling has proved to be more effective than most other conventional social media marketing techniques.

Organizations and social media marketers must understand why and how inbound social selling works. But before everything, let’s know what is social selling the inbound way.

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What is Social Selling the Inbound Way?

Social selling is executing sales of products and services through social media channels. Inbound means that the prospects come to the social media channel themselves. For instance: a lead asking a question on social media, a prospect executing sales of products and services through social media channels. Inbound means that the prospects come to the social media channel themselves.

For instance: a lead asking a question on social media, a prospect frequently engaging with your channel and its content, or a potential customer commenting or replying to LinkedIn and Twitter posts are all inbound customers.

Social selling the inbound way might sound like a dream, but this is possible. People visit your social media channels for several constructive purposes. Looking for answers to their questions, communicating with like-minded people, making recommendations, and identifying products/services that address their needs top the list of these purposes.

Inbound social sellers need to engage with the prospects on a human level and deliver content that satisfies their concerns. They need to convey all the relevant messages at the right time and establish themselves as knowledgeable and authoritative sources about a specific topic. As social media is a widely accessible and easy-to-use medium, it fosters these engagements.

In a nutshell, inbound social selling makes your prospects come to you, like you, trust you, and eventually buy from you.

Top 5 Tips for Selling on Social

Selling on social is not a cakewalk, and brands and their social media marketers must follow a robust strategy to make it happen. The top 5 tips and tactics are:

1. Establish Social Media Presence

More than a strategy, this is the first step to inbound social selling. Brands must set up accounts on the social media channels, especially those on which the niche audience is most active. This will depend on the industry, but Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are good.

Your profile must be strong, professional, and as detailed as possible. Relevant photos, bio, and lots of engaging human content are a must for these social media profiles.

2. Make Way for Quality Content

Once you have established the social media profiles, the next big thing to bother about is content. As social media marketers trying to sell in an inbound way, content is your most potent weapon. You need to share helpful and relevant content continually. About 20% of the total content you create and curate should be your own because that will establish you as a thought leader.

Not all of this content will be promotional either. Brands must share non-product-related posts that can include accomplishments, industry insights and updates, and blogs and articles that are relevant and worth sharing. You can also share customer stories, eBooks, Whitepapers, case studies, etc., from time to time.

3. Engage to the Maximum Possible Extent

With social media marketing and eventually inbound selling, identifying the right groups where your audience is most active is crucial. Join and chime in these groups and participate in the discussions. Answer questions that the prospective customers ask because this is your chance to establish the brand as a thought leader while also engaging directly with the audience.

Organizations can also host live streaming sessions with their audience on the live streaming platforms or Facebook and YouTube. This will enable engagement in real-time and show a human side, which is not all about selling products.

Followers or audiences are usually more receptive to the products and services of a brand when the latter makes an effort to communicate with them.

Social selling has a consultative approach where helping and winning people's trust comes before selling.

4. Listen, Listen and Listen

Inbound social selling is the opposite of selling by pushing out as many sales pitches as possible. With inbound selling, the focus should be on listening to the audiences. An inbound social sales representative’s primary aim is to be a guide to the prospective customers, helping them resolve problems by answering questions and guiding them towards the best purchase decision.

As inbound selling is more about being a friendly advisor than a cold sales representative, listening to your audience is a fundamental strategy.

5. Stay Authentic

Building a distinct personality associated with the brand is essential for inbound social selling to be successful. When you are selling socially, you can choose to be helpful, funny, and witty but make sure that it stands out as authentic.

People tend to notice when you try to be something or someone else that you are not. It is, therefore, essential to communicate with people just the way you would talk to them in real life.

Apart from being authentic with a distinct voice, it would be best if you avoided opinionated discussions as part of your inbound social selling strategy. It is OK to engage with people who have concerns and complaints about a brand’s products and services but do so carefully. A customer care team in place would make this easy.

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Industry Examples of Successful Social Media Selling

There are several brands that not only have a thriving online presence but are also driving inbound social sales. Let’s look at some of the best industry examples:

Nike

With 33.3 million Facebook followers, 93.3 million Instagram followers, and 7.95 million Twitter followers, Nike is a brand that makes excellent use of social media and inbound selling strategies.

Nike focuses on its sports and athletes' teams instead of its products. In doing so, it draws the attention of its audience towards the people who make the brand.

The brand uses Facebook for extensive campaigns with hashtags like #justdoit, and their Instagram page is where the fans and followers go for inspiration. High-quality images and videos of athletes and fitness enthusiasts in action are among the popular posts they share.

Nike uses Twitter to answer the concerns of their prospective customers or address their concerns. The brand even has a separate handle for customer service on Twitter.

Wayfair

Wayfair is a home décor company that realized the power of social media and used it amazingly well to showcase and sell its products online.

The brand’s Instagram page is a treat for fans. It provides tips, promotions, and inspiration. An example of this is content that upholds beautiful furniture arrangements in captivating shades. There are tips on improving the look of a room, remodeling a kitchen, and many more.

Wayfair has also made it highly seamless for the customers to purchase the products online. They publish posts that come with an ‘in this photo’ feature. Here, users can view the list of items displayed in the image and the prices. Once the customers select an item, they are directed to a page where they can click on ‘View on website’ and enjoy a smooth shopping experience.

Thus, the brand maintains aesthetics and ensures a convenient purchasing experience for the customers.

Starbucks

If a particular brand knows how to trigger interactions, it has to be Starbucks.

Their Facebook page is designed to share information and contains many attention-grabbing photos and videos of the drinks. The account has separate tabs for store locations and job opportunities as well.

On Twitter, Starbucks connects with its followers on a personal level to build relationships and enhance audience engagement. The brand responds to as many followers as straightforwardly as possible, which is the basis of its success at engagement. On the other hand, the Instagram page brings together aesthetically pleasing images and videos of their popular products.

Inbound social selling becomes evident with a robust social media presence and deep engagement model.

Why Selling on Social Media Works?

Despite the success of inbound social selling by some brands, many social media marketers have doubts regarding why selling on social media works. This is because prospects are usually never fond of salespersons trying to sell them something directly.

On the other hand, inbound social selling works because the focus is not on executing as many sales as possible in the least amount of time but on establishing yourself as an influencer and thought leader within a particular niche. Inbound social sellers continually engage in social discussions, assisting people in the search instead of trying to push a product or service toward them.

As inbound social sellers produce quality, meaningful and helpful content, people view them as influencers rather than traditional salespeople.

What is Social Selling the Inbound Way Takeaways

Inbound selling is moving beyond sales and steadily turning out to be standard practice across various departments of an organization. Companies encourage employees to embrace social because social selling impacts sales, brand, marketing, and communication. Using the right strategies ensures that your organization’s social is steering ahead in the right direction.

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