Not long ago, sales and marketing teams had two distinct roles. Marketing generated awareness for a company and its products and sales managed the selling process for prospective buyers. Social media fundamentally changed that model.
Most companies today leverage social media for brand awareness. For marketers, social media is a channel to drive engagement with marketing content. But this comes at a cost, literally. Companies that reach their target audience on social media, typically do so through paid and or sponsored content. Paid social media can expand reach, but it may not increase buyer engagement.
In response, many organizations have taken an organic approach to amplify content. In theory, employee engagement programs increase brand reach by having individual contributors share corporate marketing content. But activating your employees with the same content on the same day comes across as inauthentic to potential buyers.
Social selling offers an alternative to employee engagement programs. Sellers are enabled with third-party content that helps them build their brand while elevating the corporate brand. When sellers become the human face of the brand, they build trust with buyers and increase the impact of corporate content.
Modern buyers expect personalized, authentic, and meaningful engagement. Here’s how your social selling program can deliver on that expectation.
Understand that less is more
Let’s step into the buyer’s shoes for a moment. Their newsfeeds are littered with corporate content that, more often than not, doesn’t resonate. Most buyers continue to scroll because they don’t want to be sold a product. Before “buyers” are ready to become customers, they want to educate themselves and many times this happens through social.
Sales reps can’t rely exclusively on corporate content to build relationships. Corporate content has its time and place, but first, your sales reps need to establish themselves as being human, trustworthy, and thought leaders. Sellers are best equipped to build their brand when they share content that most reflects who they are and that is relevant to their followers. Third-party content enables sales reps to do just that.
When sellers move beyond posting company and product-specific content, they begin to provide more value to their audience. This becomes a win-win for corporate marketing, as engagement rates increase when sellers diversify their posts.
Help sellers show off their human side
The best sellers have always been those who create personal connections with their buyers. Before joining Seismic’s Customer Success organization, I trained financial advisors in social selling. I always started my training sessions with a short reminder: you are in the relationship business, not the business of selling financial products for our company.
The concept of sharing your human side is critical to finding success in social selling. Today’s buyers know more about your company and the products/services you offer than ever before. Many sales reps overlook this when planning the content they share on social media. Sellers who are successful on social media, build their personal brand by showcasing their interests, such as being a sports fan, wine aficionado, or BBQ enthusiast. These human elements get lost when sellers exclusively share corporate content.
Find the right balance of content
Just like an Olympic gymnast competing on the beam, finding balance is critical. As sellers strike the right balance, they build credibility with buyers and help extend the reach of the corporate content they share on social media.
Social selling is more about strengthening relationships with buyers than it is actual selling. Encourage your sellers and advisors to share their human side, as well as their interests outside their 9-to-5. As human relationships grow, business conversations will follow.