B2C selling has dominated social media for the last 10-plus years. Customers do their research, ask questions, and even address customer service issues on social channels.
But that doesn’t mean B2B has to miss out on all the fun. B2B social selling is an important and viable channel for B2B marketers and sales professionals.
B2B professionals are using social media in the same way that B2C consumers are using it: they’re doing research, educating themselves, and establishing relationships with vendors who can help them.
In today’s post we’re diving into what social selling is, why it’s important to B2B sellers, and how to use it in your sales strategies.
What is B2B Social Selling?
B2B social selling is the process where salespeople use social media to connect with prospects. You can use social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram to find your best prospects, form relationships with them, and build trust.
After all, people buy from people they like and trust, and you can either do this with a month of lunch meetings and phone calls, or you can do it a few minutes at a time with social media.
The most effective way to use B2B social selling is to create thought-leading content like blog articles (like this one), videos, and podcasts, and then share them to your social networks. This will establish you as an industry expert and tell your prospects that you’re the one who likely has the solution to their problems.
What B2B Social Selling is Not
It’s not advertising. And it’s not blasting people with your special offers and links to your website. It’s not even you following hundreds of thousands of people in the hopes that someone will see your message and call you.
Nobody likes advertising, and people look for ways to avoid it. That means bombarding people with commercial message after commercial message is annoying — people will ignore and even block you. So don’t treat this like an advertising channel.
Have conversations, share important information, and treat people like actual people, not sales targets.
Why is Social Selling Important?
Organizations understand that prospects are conducting more research in potential vendors, including Ziff Davis which recently did a survey on B2B social selling.
To put modern B2B social selling into perspective, here are a few important statistics to know about:
- As a part of their sales process, 73% of salespeople use social selling to outperform their sales peers.
- Salespeople who mix social selling into their sales process exceeded quota 23% more often.
- Spending an average of 6 hours per week, 96% of sales professionals use LinkedIn at least once a week.
- By using social selling techniques, 79% of salespeople achieve their quotas.
- For professionally relevant content, 91% of executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice.
Check out our infographic for selling success – The Ultimate Guide to Sales Outreach
How Can You Use B2B Social Selling?
If you’re already well-versed in social media from chatting with friends, sharing photos, posting status updates, and so on, then you know how to do social selling. You just may not know it yet.
So here are a couple of tips to help you boost your social selling game and start reaching prospects:
Set up a listening post.
Since people love using hashtags in their social updates, you can “listen” for those. For example, set up a column on Twitter’s Tweetdeck application.
Create columns for terms related to your specific industry — ZoomInfo’s would be #salesintelligence and #saas, for example. Whenever someone posts something that you could help with, whether it’s a question or an article they wrote, help them out. Answer their questions and share their articles with your own networks. This creates a relationship with that person and you become a trusted resource.
You can also follow hashtags on Instagram, as well as search for hashtags on LinkedIn. Pay attention to those as well, and have the same kinds of conversations with people.
Create your own content.
You presumably have some knowledge and expertise about your industry, so share it! Don’t just wait for selling opportunities.
- Write blog articles that help people solve a particular problem.
- Post photos of your solution in action.
- Hold webinars that teach people about a particular issue.
- If you have a podcast, bring potential customers on as guests and ask them to share their own expertise.
If you create enough content, you’ll eventually establish your credibility and build up your reputation, which can help you on your sales calls.
B2B social selling helps you establish your expertise so you don’t need to demonstrate it whenever you meet new prospects. If they called you because of your social content, then the proof portion of the sales process is done.
They know what you can do, and they have self-qualified to enter your sales funnel.
Sell Like a B2C Champ with B2B Social Selling
Social selling is an easy way for marketers and salespeople to reach a targeted audience more effectively and for a lower price than any advertisement, you can do. You can measure your results and continue to create great content that people will want to hear about.