While “social selling” is a new buzzword within the marketing industry, there’s not a lot of agreement about what exactly it means for B2B sales. Just about the only thing that people agree on is that it’s a way for people doing the selling to interact directly with people doing the buying via social media.
In this social selling model, the line between “salesperson” and “social acquaintance” blurs, and so does the “social context.” One reason why social selling works is because it doesn’t require cold calls and hard sells. Social media makes those cold calls a little bit warmer and the hard sells a little bit softer. Often, it doesn’t even feel like a sales call, it just feels like an online conversation.
Instead of calling someone up and asking them if they’d like to buy your products, you engage with them over social media and let them experience your product or service on the Internet. You can see this happening on social media all the time. Take, Twitter, for example. If you’re an influencer in an industry, people are trying to direct message (DM) you all the time with news of their new product launches, white papers and reports. They are re-tweeting your tweets, hoping that you’ll notice them.
Some B2B companies are already using this social selling concept in interesting new ways to help move product. They are taking dollars away from traditional advertising and moving them to digital advertising – or just plunking down all the cash on social media advertising campaigns.
In many ways, content marketing is also a social selling concept. Brands create lots of blog posts, YouTube videos and podcasts, all with the intention of interacting with passionate and engaged fans. If the content is good enough, it “pulls” customers over to them, without having to invest in expensive advertising. And if it’s done in an authentic way, a prospect no longer feels that he or she is being sold to – it’s more of an educational and informational process. They want to buy your products – or at least, take them for a test run.
Video is one platform that’s extraordinarily successful for B2B marketers and can be used as part of a social selling strategy. Using a video platform like uStudio, for example, it’s possible to create the type of engaging videos that can draw in influencers and attract people who might be interested in your products. And those videos can be repurposed for just about any part of a marketing campaign, no matter where the prospect is on the customer journey. UStudio refers to this as the “video lifecycle.”
It’s easy to see that social selling has a lot to offer marketers. It’s a way to engage with people in a way that doesn’t seem like it’s selling. And now that Facebook and other social media platforms have become so ubiquitous these days, social selling is hardly intrusive in the same way that a phone call might be. Nobody expects you to read everything on social media, so there’s no pressure to follow up if you don’t want to. So let the social selling begin!
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