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What You Need to Know About ‘Social Selling’

How to fuse the sales funnel with your social media strategies.​​​​​​​

February 7, 2019

Using social media to promote specific branding and listings isn’t anything new. The term social selling, however, is a relatively fresh concept—this is when salespeople leverage online platforms to interact directly with prospective clients and share thoughtful content, all meant to drive sales.

But how is this any different from social media marketing? Most agents have some kind of online marketing campaign already in place, but now it’s time to implement your social selling skills for higher sales earnings and stronger client connections. 

What’s the difference?

The most significant distinction between these two concepts is the goal. Social media marketing typically has a goal of brand building or brand awareness. Social selling, on the other hand, aims to increase sales and revenue.

For example, an agent writes a blog post about things to keep in mind when buying a house. The agent then puts the post on their LinkedIn page—this is social media marketing. The agent will employ best practices on LinkedIn, such as tagging companies or using hashtags, so that more people see the post. And once potential clients start finding the LinkedIn post, they may decide to go to the agent’s blog and read it and will hopefully contact the agent for help with their homebuying needs. But securing a client isn’t always this simple, and the process usually requires more steps.

This is where social selling steps in to help. The agent’s LinkedIn post is getting views, likes, and comments, which means it was a well-written piece that was posted at the right time—all part of social media marketing. Then, let’s say someone leaves a quick comment on the post that reads, “Wow, interesting post.” Here is where social selling takes over.

The agent then connects with the commenter to send them another related, helpful article through LinkedIn. This could be an article about buying a home in a specific neighborhood. At this point, if the person is being responsive, the agent could then start to discuss their homebuying needs over LinkedIn. They can ask if the potential client is actively looking, if they have any specific needs, or where they need the most help in their search process, for example. And if the person continues to respond, the agent could set up a call or a meeting to become their agent. This is the magic of social selling.

How is this different than traditional sales?

The biggest difference is that social selling takes place on social media. Let’s think about the LinkedIn example again.

Some agents may see a comment on their LinkedIn post and do nothing. Some agents might hope that the person clicks over to their website and fills out a contact form. Some may comment back with a sales pitch right away. All of these moves are wrong.

Ignoring a person who comments risks losing an opportunity. And making the sales pitch or giving a hard sell right away is too forward. Social selling offers a way to maintain and grow the relationship without being overly pushy.

Can I use social selling with traditional leads?

So what about leads that come in from your email marketing campaign? Can you employ social selling in that context? The answer is yes.

Let’s say an agent sends out an email blast telling people to read their latest blog post. Someone that receives the email clicks on the link, reads the post, and fills out a contact form. In the traditional selling world, the agent would put this prospect into the CRM, email them a few more times, and maybe even call the person. Social selling offers another way to connect with people who could be your clients.

Instead of crowding their inbox, the agent can interact directly with a client through social media. This can be especially helpful when a prospect goes cold. The agent could ask them to like their page or follow them on another platform to move the conversation into social media territory. Instead of pushing the client down the funnel using traditional sales tactics, the agent uses social media as a driving touch point instead.

The benefits rely on the sales funnel

Social selling is all about lead nurturing on social media channels. Agents have to apply their sales funnel to social media, adjusting their tactics and best practices to fit online etiquette.

One major advantage to social selling is the insights into prospective clients. Agents can see what a person posts, what they like, and what they share on their networks—all providing useful information about the client. This helps agents take a more personalized approach, catering to individual needs. For example, agents may find that a person has kids based on their online presence and can then send them articles about local schools.

Instead of an email newsletter, social selling leverages engagement in the form of comments, likes, or posts about a certain topic on social media. For example, if a buyer or seller tweets about the struggles of moving, an agent can send tips or helpful facts to get them through.

Remember: All of this activity is done on social media platforms, only taking the conversation offline when further down the funnel. Social selling is a blend of social media and traditional sales practices. And since social selling is a form of sales, it’s important to use a CRM to keep track of all points of interaction.