5 Ways to Start Social Selling

4 min read
February 9, 2017

Social selling isn't magic, according to HubSpot's Social Media Marketing Manager, Chelsea Hunersen.

Really, it should be a part of your regular sales strategy, she stated during her presentation for the Twin Cities HubSpot User Group gathering yesterday.

If it isn't magic, what exactly is social selling?

Hunersen describes social selling as leveraging your professional brand to enable sales. She further defined social selling by describing what bad versus good social selling looks like.

Bad social selling consists of:
  • a hard sell
  • spam
  • trying to sell on Facebook (which may change in the future)
  • selling without a previous connection

The bottom line – bad social selling is creepy. Don't be creepy.

Good social selling consists of:
  • providing good content
  • reaching out at the appropriate times
  • leveraging the proper networks

The bottom line – good social selling is helpful. Be helpful.

Why should you use (or encourage) social selling?

  • According to Hunersen, salespeople who incorporate social selling into their regular routine, on average, have a 66% higher quota than those who don't.
  • More and more decision makers at companies – older generations – are gathering and interacting on social media at a higher clip than in the past.

The bottom line – sales reps need to adapt their practices or be replaced. Don't get replaced.

Another large "why" Hunersen touched on included the psychology around social media and social selling.

She reiterated that sharing information is a form of social currency – and that people trust social proof and want to gain a reputation as being helpful.

Hunersen also stated that people want to be heard, have a tendency to be reciprocal, and enjoy learning. In essence, "reputation, relationships, and resources matter," she said.

And getting started with social selling is easier than you think.

5 Ways to Start Social Selling

1. Update Your Profiles

A completed profile on LinkedIn is 40 times more likely to appear in a search.

Completed profiles on LinkedIn have (at least):

  • a professional picture
  • an optimized headline
  • contact information
  • content

Completed profiles on Twitter have (at least):

  • a professional picture
  • a mention of your company and a goal in the bio
  • a link to a personal website
  • content

"Once you have a good profile, keep it updated with good content," explained Hunersen.

Action items for updating your profile:

  • Update your profile, and keep optimizing it
  • Post 1-2 pieces of good content (helpful information at the right times) daily

Pro Tip: Instagram is rising in the ranks of social selling, especially in the realm of ecommerce.

2. Monitor Prospects on Twitter

Hunersen described twitter as "a natural place to have conversations." Essentially, it the lowest hanging fruit in terms of starting a discussion.

Her recommendations include monitoring:

  • questions
  • pain points
  • new information and announcements
  • connection opportunities

The resulting replies might include:

  • helpful articles
  • answers to specific questions
  • new solutions

Action items for monitoring prospects on Twitter:

  • set up monitoring streams in HubSpot
  • answer questions with thoughtful responses
  • retweet others occasionally to engage in discussions

Pro Tip: Keep a list of content for sales folks to share. Ask your sales team which pieces of content they use on a regular basis and what would help them further their social selling.

3. Participate in Conversations

Part of creating relationships on social, said Hunersen, requires participating in conversations with the right networks at the right times.

Action items for participating in conversations:

  • scan prospects activities online and respond when appropriate
  • follow prospects who comment on your content
  • like tweets or comments from your prospects

Pro Tip: Get in on Twitter chats by following industry-specific hashtags.

4. Use LinkedIn for More than Messaging

People are using LinkedIn for more than simply networking and career advancement. The key is to leverage the platform beyond prospecting.

Action items for maximizing LinkedIn:

  • post helpful information
  • participate in groups
  • start connecting with people after they engage with your content

Pro Tip: Hunersen suggested using LinkedIn's free tool – Social Selling Index – to get a sense of the health of your profile.

5. Use LinkedIn Insights

Under LinkedIn's premium package, you can gain valuable information regarding what is happening with companies in terms of growth and structure.

Action items for using Insights:

  • determine the right time to contact a company
  • find new people to chat with
  • look for referrals
  • find new content

Pro Tip: "Look for signals of growth," suggested Hunersen – such as new hires, notable alumni, and job openings.

Hunersen wrapped up the tips for getting started in social selling by stating the best sales reps out there have already developed social selling as part of their daily routine. The process of finding content, scheduling content, connecting with people, and following up with both prospects and leads on social media is in tune with their overall sales strategy.

Wondering how you can get involved with the Twin Cities HubSpot User Group? Follow Twin Cities HUG on Facebook, LinkedIn, and by using the hashtag #TCHUG on Twitter. The next meetup is scheduled for May. Look for the details here.

State of Inbound 2017 Survey

As a reminder to Twin Cities HUG members, every year HubSpot releases the State of Inbound Report, which benchmarks the goals, challenges, and priorities of marketers around the world. The report has invaluable insights on current inbound marketing trends.

This year, the survey is more forward thinking and asks about new channels that marketers will tackle (Facebook Live, anyone?) and what marketers think will disrupt their day-to-day jobs.

So if you’ve got an opinion on where marketing is going, take HubSpot’s State of Inbound survey today! It’ll take just 10 - 15 minutes to complete and is totally anonymous. Best of all, you’ll get the report before it’s released to the general public!