Selling on social media has become to many sales people something very complicated and “magical.” Many think social media is the place where customers just flood to you and ask to buy whatever you’re selling. There are a lot of misconceptions concerning the use of social media in sales. I would like to help eliminate some of the common myths about social media selling. And I would also like to discuss how platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn DO fit into the sales process.
Here is a very simple definition of social media selling which will help your thinking on the subject: Social media selling is selling on social media! It’s not magical. It’s not the automated machine learning algorithm. Examine your method of selling. You probably begin by collecting data and finding people to whom you can sell – qualified prospects. How would you begin selling on social media? Surprisingly, you begin by finding qualified prospects.
LinkedIn is a great social media platform to do prospecting. Use the advanced people search. Look for people in your geographic area who have titles such as “owner” or “founder.” Rather than normal prospecting in the field or buying a list, you are simply finding people and gathering information on social media. Social media prospecting is very beneficial in that you can get more data. Once you find prospects, look them up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to see if there is more information available.
After finding qualified prospects, your next step in selling is to introduce yourself. So, guess what you do next in social media selling? Here are three ways to introduce yourself on social media:
- An inmail message on LinkedIn. Inmail messages cost money, but they are not very expensive relative to the benefits you get. You must pay to inmail message an individual unless you already have a first degree connection with that person. If there is no reply, you get your money back.
- Send a Twitter video. If a small or midsize business has a Twitter account, the owner is probably monitoring the account. The owner will get email alerts when the account gets an @ reply. Learn by researching Twitter or find a YouTube video to teach you how to use Twitter if you don’t know. If you have your own Twitter account, you can actually include a short video in an @ reply. I believe the limit is under thirty seconds. I do this very often by making a video on my phone. I would say, “Hey, my name is James Shepherd. I love your Twitter profile. I’d really like to connect with you guys. I’m local here in the area. Let’s get together. I’ll be out in the area next week. Let me know what your schedule looks like.” After making your video, say (for example), @Tony’s Pizza Shop, “I made a video just for you.” Perhaps you would prefer to begin with something more personalized, “I love your pizza. My wife and I eat there all the time. I wanted to stop by and introduce myself.” That’s social media selling!
- Send Instagram messages. Open the Instagram app. Find the three little dots in the upper right-hand corner and click on that to send a message to anyone with an account. That is an introduction via social media selling.
After introducing yourself, the next step in sales is to collect information from prospects. In my opinion, traditional sales techniques are much more effective than social media at this point of the sales process. Once you’ve closed a deal, you can again revert to social media to get referrals and stay up-to-date with customers.
One of my own favorite social media selling tactics is on LinkedIn. I can set up a search which will provide a weekly email showing any new people on my network who are first or second degree connections and who have the word “owner” or “founder” in their profile. This supplies many leads every week who are referrals on whom I can follow up. However, collecting information and closing the deal still needs personal interaction. Doing that over the internet is very difficult.
Social media selling is quite simple. It is hard work just like any other kind of selling. It requires skill just like any other kind of selling. It requires action from you just like any other kind of selling. So, please don’t get hung up with social media selling like it is something from outer space. It’s selling on social media!
I hope this helps you today.
My name is James Shepherd. Thanks for reading.