These 3 social media tactics are a must within your engagement strategy to grow your relationships and sales on social media.
The marketplace has reinvented the buyer journey as a buyer-led process. Millennials and Gen Z’ers account for 40% of the workforce. As their influence grows, so do their desired channels for communication. Over the last 20 years cold calling and emailing have been the go-to ways to start conversations with sales prospects. According to a Market Transformations study, 73% of buyers will not answer a cold sales call. While I am not claiming that emails and phone calls will evaporate from the sales process, I am claiming that those mediums of communication will become less of a focal point when identifying and engaging buyers.
Modern customers value two things: privacy and time. Social media is an ideal channel to begin sales engagement because it is a less private and more accessible channel to start conversations. Phone numbers and personal emails are private information, and if the prospect has not given you permission to communicate with them through those channels, sales engagement using that information can start the relationship off on a bad foot.
Amid the whirlwind of trap door questions, expiring offers and the pitch fest that is LinkedIn direct messages, there lies a glimmer of hope in how we can leverage modern sales engagement as a means to build quality sales pipeline: Genuine human interaction… delivered through a digital extension of yourself (your social media profile).
As of late, sales engagement on social media has lacked the human element. People often assume that the number of direct messages that they send directly correlates with the amount of sales they make. This is an inversely correlated relationship. As you send more salesy correspondence with no positive response back you will begin to develop a reputation for exploiting the use of direct messages both in the algorithm’s eyes and the eyes of your prospects. We have all had that friend on Facebook who equated all of their friendships online into possible customer relationships. By marginalizing your connections into a shot at a quick sale, you will damage relationships and actually lose quality connections.
Social media is not a “law of averages” game; it runs parallel to how we interact with each other face to face. In-person interactions are not scalable, but they are the bedrock of relationships. For some reason, most social sellers seem to miss the point that in order to create real meaningful relationships on social media, you must emulate how you interact with people face to face.
Your social media engagements carry weight because they are oftentimes coupled by an inspection of your profile. Your prospect can’t do that with a cold call; you are simply an anonymous phone number calling at an inconvenient time.
Your posts, stories, bio, pronouns, engaged content, number of followers, engagement rate and many other variables are all a part of a 5-10 second examination of your social media profile. These are factors that allow modern buyers to build an opinion about you.
Avid social media users have inspected hundreds of profiles each week for years making their instincts extremely sophisticated. They can spot inauthenticity from a mile away. This period of due diligence will either convince them to trust you and spend more time with you or simply leave you on “read” and never come back again.
We use a framework called ‘relationship equity’ to estimate the likelihood of creating a quality connection on social media. We understand that you need to ‘credit’ your account in the relationship through meaningful and consistent engagement.
Your engagement efforts begin to compound like interest. Over time you build enough relationship equity to make a sizable debit to your account. This debit usually comes in the form of a direct message with a call to action. This isn’t the place for a long sales pitch, life story, or homework assignment. It is the place for an honest message with a clear reason presented for reaching out and a clear future set for what you want the prospect to do next.
In our experience managing hundreds of accounts this message often comes in the form of a question pertaining to subject matter that the person you are messaging cares about. A quick inspection on their profile will show you what they value and topics that might warrant a response.
With DM inboxes across social adding more functionality like video messages, audio messages, gifs and more, there is ample room for creativity in how you stand out from the crowd when ‘debiting’ your relationship equity account.
Every engagement does not have to be a heartfelt paragraph comment on a post, though. Combining short personalized comments, story replies and mentions with more basic engagements such as profile visits, reactions and likes can help to classically condition your prospect into familiarity with your brand and reciprocating an interest in you.
If you have done your due diligence and credited your account via engagements such as meaningful comments and reactions prior to making your withdrawal, then your direct message will have a much higher likelihood of getting a response.
With people spending over 2 hours per day on social media it is safe to say that there is a new sales engagement path that modern buyers prefer: their most active social media channel. Understanding which channel that is will be critical to the overall success of your sales engagement.
I am not suggesting that email, phone calls and texting have no place in the sales engagement process, however, starting with building trust on social media usually unlocks a natural path to phone calls, emails and text message exchanges that isn’t forced or lined with a blatant sales agenda.
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We liken the modern sales engagement ladder to an onion:
Find the place where your ideal prospects spend meaningful time, pursue curiosities, hate unread notifications, and let their guard down. Depending on their job role, industry and age this channel will vary. Their precocious nature or child-like state on social media paired with your unique ability to identify and connect with your prospect directly provides a strong opportunity to personalize sales engagement.
It is crucial to make it easy for your prospect to schedule time for a video call or phone call. Using tools like calendly can make this process more simple. Video chat or phone call (with the exception of a short email string in some cases) is viewed as the place where business is done. This is where your social media sales engagement should lead. Buyers have granted you permission to enter into a formal setting to present them with an offer now that you have established trust through your personal brand on social media.
Pushing the deal over the finish line usually involves some combination of phone calls, emails, and text messages. Buyers perceive communications here as their home turf where they can control the speed and direction of the dialogue. Although these traditional channels of communication are valuable at this layer, often buyers will avoid dialogue on these channels without prior trust built.
At Social Cycle we are dedicated to helping sellers manage their top of funnel sales strategy on social media. We are dedicated to quantifying the outcomes of outbound social media sales engagement. We are dedicated to improving the efficiency of personalized sales engagement.
Solely posting content on social media and expecting sales is equivalent to saying “If I build it, they will come.” Relying on Linkedin Sales Navigator to magically push business to the finish line will leave you disappointed. There is an opportunity to leverage social media the way it was meant to be used: To build relationships. Use social media intentionally and your sales efforts will blossom.
Welcome to the age of social selling.
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Creating a sales outreach strategy is a crucial part of business, which is why engagement on social media has never been more important.