Social Media Sales Best Practices

BY Jessica Helinski
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Social media sales should now be a part of all reps’ strategies. This channel may be intimidating, but it presents so many valuable opportunities for salespeople, from prospecting to growing your professional network. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media brands are now a part of the buyer’s journey. According to Gartner, 46% of B2B buyers turn to social media at the very beginning of their buying journeys. It’s up to you to be there when they start. 

Gartner’s Rupal Bhandari discusses the topic of social media sales and the best practices that reps should follow.

Social Media Sales Should Focus On Products/​Services

Through its own research, Gartner discovered that buyers are using social media in the following ways during their buying journey:

  • 46% of B2B buyers use social media for early-​stage sales cycle tasks (like learning about the different solutions available for solving their unique problem or need)
  • 40% use it for middle-​stage tasks, such as comparing different solutions
  • 35% use it for late-​stage tasks such as identifying need-​to-​know information regarding potential solutions before finally making a purchase

As this data shows, your potential prospects are heading to social networks seeking solutions and information to influence their purchase decisions. Many reps’ social media sales posts aren’t aligned with these actions. “This means a B2B business’s social media content need not be centered on the brand but on the products or services being sold,” Bhandari explains. “Effective social media content should focus on thought leadership from industry experts, customer-​generated content and content around ratings and reviews.” This content will relate to what sellers seek, making your social media sales posts valuable.

Not sure how to do so in an interesting way? Bhandari has a couple of tips:

  • Create posts that showcase how a current or past customer is using your product or service. Buyers will get to see what you sell being used successfully, as well as social proof that lends to your credibility. 
  • Use social media to showcase your knowledge by posting helpful resources and expertise on the industries you serve. 
  • Highlight your own company in social media sales posts. “Look to employee stories, company milestones and common customer support queries to fill out the social content and engagement strategy,” he suggests. Help buyers learn more about you and your own business which can create an instant connection and build trust.

Keep Social Media Posts “Social”

A recent guest on the Manage Smarter podcast points out that sellers need to remember to not focus only on themselves and making a sale. “Remember, it’s social,” Lea Woodford, CEO and founder of SmartFem​.com and SmartFem TV, tells sellers. “A lot of people go right into pitch zone; don't do that. [Social media] allows you to have conversations and get to know people and it has to be a mutually beneficial relationship. I think so many people, just the minute they connect, they start pitching.”

She goes on to remind reps that social media sales should, more often than not, spotlight buyers. “It's not about you,” Woodford adds. Use social media to “start networking and building other people. When you help other people, it always comes back to you.”

Keep At It

Once you implement these best practices, keep posting while also monitoring trends. As social media evolves, so should your own posts. As Bhandari explains, “Social tools and platforms evolve rapidly, and a strategy or approach that works today may not work six months from now.” As long as you keep up on current best practices and tailor them to your own target customer, your social media sales will keep up.

Photo by Hello I'm Nik