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Social Cycle - Social media selling tool built for coaches and agencies. | Product Hunt

Social Selling Definition: Using Social Media to Sell

Answers to the 6 Most Common Social Selling Questions

Author: Chaz Van de Motter - Chief Executive Officer

Social Selling on Linkedin

Social selling definition: What is it? 

Social selling is the process of applying a sales process to contacts on social media as opposed to reaching out via cold call, email or text message.


Unfortunately, according to EveryoneSocial 93% of sales executives have received no formal social selling training. This blog post is meant to help you start your social selling journey off on the right foot. 


Does social selling actually work?

With preferences changing and millennials and generation z’ers becoming a larger part of the workforce, more consumers are starting to want to be communicated with by businesses differently. 



According to Ring Lead, over 80% of cold calls go to voicemail, not to mention that over 60% of sales reps cite that cold calling is the worst part of their job. Additionally according to Campaign monitor the average email open rate in 2020 was just 18%. If you needed more proof that sales engagement is changing, Baylor University’s Keller Center for Research reports that the success rate of cold calls to appointments stands at only 0.3%.  


So if the success rate is so low and it requires hours of strenuous work, why are we not innovating methods of sales outreach? We think that if you always do what you have always done, that you will always get what you have always gotten. 


78% of sales representatives who use social media report that researching prospects on social networks helps them perform better on the job. We think that salespeople should be doubling down on social media. After all, 54% of sales agents using social media are able to track their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. And in case you needed just a bit more proof that social selling works, it was reported by Linkedin that sales agents with high social network activity achieve 45% more sales opportunities and are 51% more likely to hit their sales targets.


 Let’s be real, why not reach out to people on a platform that they are already engaged on where you are more than just a random phone number or faceless email address? Why not leverage your Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter profile to help convince your customer that you are worth responding to? 

80% of companies believe their salesforce would be more productive if they had a greater social selling definition, but two-thirds of companies have no social media strategy for their sales organization. It is time to change that!

What is the best social selling strategy?

80% of companies believe their salesforce would be more productive if they had a greater social selling definition, but two-thirds of companies have no social media strategy for their sales organization. It is time to change that!


The key to a successful social selling strategy is to make sure that you have a system for managing engagement in place. This can be a simple spreadsheet or something more robust such as Social Cycle. 


Having the ability to track connection requests, engagements such as likes and comments, and direct messages sent and responded to allow social sellers the ability to create processes and benchmarks on social media. Without processes or basic reporting such as connection back and message response rates, social selling will be time consuming and ineffective. 


The reason email and cold calling have been primary sales mechanisms for so long are because they have metrics, templates, and productivity features that keep salespeople nimble in their outreach. Furthermore traditional sales motions require that reps re-engage dormant leads, follow up on conversations that haven’t received a response, and focus on the prospects in the pipeline who are most likely to buy. Through campaigns and workflow inside of Social Cycle, we are creating infrastructure that is missing from social media outreach that will allow it to come into the forefront as something everyone selling a product or service can utilize. 


What is the best platform to apply my social selling strategy? 

The short answer is that it depends. 

It depends on where your primary buyer(s) live online. For investors, try Twitter. For exercise coaches, instagram is a great spot, and for CIO’s head to Linkedin. The list goes on.


Depending on your buyer the platform you should reach out on will vary. What won’t vary is that outreach must be non-transactional and focused on what your prospect cares about. Figuring out what they care about is easy through a quick inspection of their profile. 


With almost 4 billion active social media accounts, over half of the world’s population is engaged in some form of social media across Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter. If you are curious, here is a list of the top social media channels by user base to help you narrow your search.


By simply searching relevant keywords to your persona such as “Financial planner” either in your platform of choice’s native search bar or inside of Social Cycle search you can start to get an understanding of which platform is most relevant for your social selling efforts. 

How do I pick who to social sell to? 

If you have applied the answer to the previous question, then you have already selected the proper channel to find your prospects. Here are some additional criteria for finding prospects on social media: 

Finding prospects for your social selling strategy 

Here are a few tips for checking to see if you should add a prospect to your social selling campaign:

  • Check to see how recently the prospect has posted. It is a red flag if there is not any activity on the account. If the prospect has not posted in the last 12 months, consider passing on adding them to your social selling campaign
  • Take a look at the prospect’s engagement on posts and total audience size. The larger their audience and more engagement they have, the longer the sales cycle will be for getting in touch with them. Don’t let their numbers deter you from reaching out, just understand that the smaller a prospect’s engaged audience is on a platform, the more likely your social selling strategy will be noticed
  • Examine the prospect’s bio, posts, previous engagements, and follows for a point of parity. This can either be something you have in common with your prospect (such as a mutual friend or similar hobby),however, what works even better is finding something that your prospect cares out and showing an interest in that subject whether it be a project they are working on, piece of content they have published or an industry that they are interested in 


Here are two more bonus tips if you are looking to get even more creative in your social selling definition strategy:

  1. Check the ‘similar to’ and ‘suggested’ followers once you have found an ideal prospect that fits the above criteria. This native feature built into all social networking apps will help you to find more relevant prospects once you have found one that fits your criteria
  2. Examine a qualified prospect’s mentions on Twitter, engaged content on Linkedin, or people tagged in posts on Facebook or Instagram. This is another way to identify similar accounts or creators that might also fit the bill to become a qualified prospect on social media
  3. Shameless plug, but a final way to prospect is by using Social Cycle’s social search tool. You can find prospects based on keywords in bio, types of content posted through hashtags used, and even by engaged audiences of similar creators. Furthermore you can add qualified prospects from your search results directly into your social selling campaigns. Just sayin’. 

Generate More Targeted Leads on Social Media.

Measure their engagement to determine which ones are most likely to convert.

How do I track my social selling definition?

If your social media sales strategy has been thoughtful and organized, you will start to ask the question, “how do I measure the effectiveness of social selling strategy?”


There are many tools available that can help you measure your social media such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Falcon.io and more. The problem is that they predominantly measure your audience growth and engagement on your posts. This information can be especially valuable and ROI positive for creators because they use these numbers to put a price tag on paid promotions. 


Although these statistics can be valuable to influencers, as a salesperson what is more valuable is analytics on if your connection requests are leading to relationships with prospects and if your direct messages are being positively responded to. 


There is no easy way to measure these numbers without some excel magic and elbow grease. The pain of a lack of understanding if social selling is leading to an increase in sales leaves sales leaders looking to email and phone calls as the way to sell because they can track it and measure it (even if the numbers are crazy low). 


At Social Cycle we don’t think that the social selling status quo is good enough. That is why Social Cycle has created patent pending technology to bring sales analytics to social media. Our workflow cards are equipped with triggers to help social sellers to be efficient while tracking the sentiment of prospects as well as their reciprocation of engagement. Additionally our chrome extension automatically advances lead status from cold to warm to hot when a prospect connects back and when they respond to a direct message. 


Although you came for the social selling definition, hopefully you left with an understanding of the landscape of social selling and how you can make a social selling strategy work for you without too much legwork. 


Changing the stereotypes around social selling takes a strategy focused on finding quality prospects and naturally engaging with them in a thoughtful way. Until now, social selling has been a law of averages game that exploits the terms of service of the social media platforms. Not anymore. 

Welcome to the age of social selling done right. Welcome to Social Cycle. 

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