In short: yes. Social selling can be used very well for sales in both the B2B and B2C sectors. Nevertheless, the two areas are usually structured differently because the respective customer journeys are also different.
In B2B, there are usually multiple decision makers, the investment is higher, and the sales process takes longer. Here, it is also usually the sales people and sales employees who are responsible for social selling.
In the case of B2C, purchasing decisions are usually made very personally and quickly, there is no need for major coordination, and expenditure is often kept within manageable limits. This is often where marketing and customer service, as well as brand ambassadors, come in.
Exactly how social selling is implemented in individual companies and certain industries varies from company to company and depends on the corporate philosophy and internal structures.
Why is social selling important?
The Internet has subjected marketing and sales to massive change. Customers can get information, research basics and compare products with just one click. For companies, this means that they have to know their potential customers really well and accompany them throughout the entire customer journey. Simply “slamming” in the supposedly suitable offer is not enough.
Social media make it possible for us to better identify and understand the problems and challenges of our target group. In this way, we can then provide the necessary assistance and thus openly demonstrate our competence. In addition, other experts and colleagues can be contacted via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to reinforce our authentic commitment to providing sustainable assistance. Plus: The Internet enables communication in real time. No sooner is the question asked than the first answers start pouring in. The question companies should ask themselves here is whether any of their employees are one of those first responders.
It is no longer a secret that opinions are primarily formed online. This is where social networks play a crucial role, especially when it comes to sharing experiences – an important factor in many purchasing decisions! So it makes perfect sense for companies to intensify their social listening and focus on social selling.
Which networks are suitable for social selling?
The networks where your customers are on the move are always suitable for social selling. This can be Twitter and Facebook just as much as LinkedIn or the Internet forums that seem a bit dusty these days.
Today, there are an almost unmanageable number of social networks and every industry or niche has its focus. The “usual suspects” are quickly found, but you should also take a look at Reddit, Discord, Twitch or WeChat. Maybe that’s exactly where you’ll find the right people to talk to.
One social network in particular excels at social selling: LinkedIn. LinkedIn introduced the Social Selling Index (SSI) in 2014, a metric that measures the success of social selling activities. Four areas are used for this evaluation:
- How strong is your brand presence on LinkedIn? Do you have a meaningful profile?
- Can you find the right people?
- Do you engage in content-rich discussions and share valuable content yourself?
- Do you build and maintain sustainable relationships? To calculate your personal SSI score, simply log in to your LinkedIn account and go to the Social Selling Index dashboard. You can now consider this score as a starting point for your actions and efforts.
What challenges do you face with social selling?
As with all other measures aimed at business success, we can also encounter challenges with social selling. The beauty of these challenges is that they are the same in many areas of the company, or in other words, they are not unknown:
- Without strategy, no focus
- Without focus, no goal achievement
- Without clear goals, no measurement of success
- Without precise target group analysis, no suitable social media network
- Without sufficient target group knowledge, no suitable content and offers
- Without sufficient time and effort, no feedback and interactions
In summary, this means that for success in social selling we need not only sufficient time, but also a formulated strategy with clear goals and descriptions of the people we want to reach (in all their diversity and complexity). I am deliberately avoiding the word target group here. If you don’t work out these basics in advance, you will put a lot of energy into unnecessary measures and ultimately only reap frustration.
The best tips for your social selling
Now that you’ve read a lot about social selling at this point, here are a few more concrete tips for implementing it in your everyday life.
- Establish a daily routine for social media engagement.
- Listen to the conversations of potential customers in the networks and then use their expressions and language
- Be really (!) helpful, inspiring or funny, in any case find your own style
- Focus on dialogue instead of selling and not wanting to sell on pressure
- Be attentive and mindful, because everyone likes to feel special – including potential business partners.
- Maintain relationships on a sustained and ongoing basis. When it has to be sold, it is too late.
Whether you’re doing social selling in B2B or B2C, we’d like to finish by sharing three trends to ensure efforts get the right amount of attention: Diversity, creativity and video content are currently high on the agenda! If these approaches can be brought in a personal way, social selling is bound to be a success.