Social selling is an essential part of any modern-day sales and marketing plan. It fuses the power and global reach of social media marketing with the personable approach of direct sales, giving you the best of both worlds.

Plus, the results are there too. A recent study conducted by Sales for Life shows that for every $1 invested in social selling, the return is a whopping $5! This is a 500% ROI, making it by far one of the best sales and marketing tactics you can invest in.

In this article, we’ll take you full-circle on social selling. We’ll start with an explainer on what exactly social selling is, and then dive deep and look at how your brand can do social selling right with social listening!

Let’s dive in!

First, what is social selling?

In short, social selling is the process of finding and nurturing sales leads through social media. More likely than not, you may already be doing this to an extent.

How you ask? Well, one of the most basic forms of social selling is simply looking through your LinkedIn contacts and finding people who work for a company that you’d like to sell to.

While that’s a great start, it’s important to note that you’re limited to the people in your personal network. Have no fear though: you can take social selling a step further with social listening.

In the context of sales, social listening is when you and your sales team monitor keywords on social media to find people that are interested in a specific product or service. And don’t worry—you don’t have to do this manually (more on that shortly).

Then, once you’ve recognized these leads, you can interact with them, establish a relationship, and begin the sales process (e.g. setting up a 15-minute phone call, sending a sales email, or otherwise reaching out).”

Why are social listening and social selling so important?

There are a couple of reasons why social listening is such an important part of modern day social selling. The first is that social media is a huge place where billions of people post their complaints, desires, and feedback on a daily basis.

If you can monitor these wants and needs, you can find and pitch to people that are already looking for your products or services—even if they’re outside of your existing network.

This also helps you filter out people that have no interest in purchasing your products or services, so you’ll never waste time on the phone with someone that isn’t a qualified lead.

Cold calls are getting harder, too

The truth is, no one really liked cold calls (on the sending or receiving end) in the first place, and with phone spam on the rise, you’re more likely than ever to get sent straight to voicemail.

Plus, cold calls are largely impersonal and may be considered intrusive by your leads. As a result, those leads may end up with a negative opinion of your company.

Of course, there are some leads that would love to hear from a company representative. These types of leads are likely to provide their phone number, which allows calls to be scheduled and the sales conversation to begin with a mutual understanding.

Social selling helps further line up and facilitate these types of conversation. Since you’re reaching out to your leads online, you can foster a professional relationship before you reach out to them with a sales pitch, making the pitch a heck of a lot easier (and less awkward).

So next time you notice a lead engaging with your company’s social media, it’s a good idea from a sales perspective to reply and interact. So next time you notice a lead engaging with your company’s social media, it’s a good idea from a sales perspective to reply and interact.

This is how to start social selling with social listening

Like we mentioned earlier, you need to start social selling with social listening. To do this, you’ll need a solid social media listening tool to run ongoing searches for keywords or hashtags of your choice.

But before you dive into the actual searches, you need to find some keywords to search for first. Thankfully, you don’t have to think too hard about these—just brainstorm 5-10 solid keywords or hashtags related to your product or industry.

For example, at Agency Vista we might search for people voicing frustration on finding agency partners to multiple networks. We’d search for things like “top marketing agencies”, “best marketing agencies in New York”, and “digital marketing firms”.  

You can also monitor your main competitor’s @replies. Look for people that are annoyed with a particular feature or service, or people that have voiced that they’re looking for a better alternative.

Let your search run for a couple days, look through the search results, and create a list of leads that may be a good fit for your product. Take down their names, social channels, and any other readily available info.

Then, vet this list of leads and pick out the ones you think are the best fit for your products and services. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, start the process of adding the leads to your network by actively engaging with them.

Generally, you’ll find the most success by building a relationship on LinkedIn. This is where people go to find and make professional connections, so your leads will likely be more open to accepting a connection request from someone they don’t already know.

Alternatively, you can try interacting with your new lead on the network where you found them, or on the network that they’re most active on.

After liking and commenting on a few of your lead’s posts, you’ll want to send your first pitch. This doesn’t have to be a super formal message—just reach out and ask if they have 10 minutes to discuss your product and how it might fit in with their marketing plan.

Bottom line

And that’s all there is to it! Social selling is a surprisingly simple way of finding new leads and selling your products and services, and if executed properly, it can yield huge results.

So, ready to take your company’s social selling to the next level? 

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