Social selling is an important strategy for the modern sales professional. A LinkedIn case study showed that “engaged social sellers generated 38% more opportunities than traditional sellers”. An impressive statistic for sure, but there’s a keyword in that statistic that should not be ignored: “engaged.” Social selling is not a quick shortcut to sales success; if you want to see results you need a fulsome strategy. All too often, sales reps don’t see a great ROI for their social selling efforts. Why? They make these common social selling mistakes. Here’s what to avoid if you want to be a social selling superstar.
Lack of Strategy and Goals
To be frank, going into social selling without a plan is a waste of time. There’s a reason why there are so many targets in the sales profession: its because goal setting works. If you don’t set quantifiable goals for your time spent on social media, you’ll be unable to measure your success and see what’s working...or not. Once you have goals and metrics in mind - for example: how many prospects do you want to identify through social media each week? - you’ll be able to figure out the social selling strategies that are most beneficial.
Not Engaging With the Platforms
Until recently, social media was predominately used for personal reasons. Because of this, many reps will have a personal profile and a business profile. While this makes sense, it can lead to business profiles becoming stale and unused. If you have a business Twitter account or Facebook profile that you only use sporadically to push sales messages, you are not truly engaging with the platforms and you’ll unlikely see success. To reap the potential rewards of social selling, you need to be active. Employ social listening to discover what your prospects and customers are interested in and then share relevant content and engage with them on those topics.
Coming Across as *Just Another* Salesperson
Ok, so you ARE a salesperson and that’s a great thing! But you don’t want your prospects to view you as an annoying online spammer. And that’s exactly how you’ll be perceived if everytime you make a post or send a message it’s a sales pitch. While providing a solution to your online prospects and pitching it to them is the ultimate goal of social selling, it shouldn’t be the first, second or even third step. Take the time to build a relationship with your prospects online, either through public conversations on posts / in groups / through tweets or in private messages, then work your way up to talking about the solutions you can provide.
Being Boring Or Predictable
You need to give your prospects a REASON to want to engage with you. In your public posts, make sure you present a unique and interesting voice; don’t hide your personality! Humour is important in social selling as are knowledgeable opinions. You should always be adding something valuable to the conversations that mean something to your customers. In doing so, you’ll not only get more followers/likes/comments/shares, you’ll be more likely to win the confidence of your prospects as a trusted adviser and ally. Follow this same advice in private online correspondence. Every InMail or DM should be tailored to your lead and be interesting enough that they want to respond!
Not Being Where Your Prospects Are
The final mistake is using the wrong platform for your target customers - how can you engage with them if they aren’t on the same channel? Do your research. Where are your prospects hanging out online? This will vary by industry/product. As outlined above, a successful social selling strategy takes time and effort; don’t waste yours putting energy into the wrong platforms!