There have been quite a few studies published in the last couple years that show the effectiveness of social selling. One from Forbes and Jim Keenan found that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers. Another from OgilvyOne shows that 65% of the most successful salespeople believe social media is integral to their sales success. Whatever the number, it’s clear that more salespeople should be embracing the power of social selling. In this post we’ll debunk 6 myths that sales teams may face when deciding how much time to spend on social media.
#1. An online presence is not important in selling
Let’s start with the absurd idea that selling online just isn’t that important to a modern day business. It’s safe to say that anyone who honestly believes this just hasn’t been paying much attention lately. According to a study by Pew Internet Research, 87% of American adults are online. Stats from HubSpot state that 61% of Internet users research products online before buying, which means sellers are missing out on a huge portion of potential customers by not embracing online selling. Those statistics jump even higher when talking about the percentage of Internet users that are on social media. It’s quickly becoming a selling resource that can no longer be ignored.
#2. It takes a long time to build a social media presence
While you can’t expect your branded social media presence to reach scale overnight, you can certainly start growing your personal social community immediately. Once you create an account you can instantly begin making connections and seeking out interesting and engaging potential leads to bring into your network. Your social selling network must be built brick-by-brick, lead-by-lead, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t establish your presence quickly. It only means that you need to focus on finding the right prospects to surround yourself with. Lead generating tools like Socedo can help you filter through the sea of users faster, and find the quality leads you want to connect with.
#3. You need to engage with as many people as possible
When trying to sell on social media, it can be instinctual to want to follow and reach out to as many people as possible in order to increase your chances of making a sale. But it’s important to remember that in effective social selling, it’s about quality not quantity. Engaging with too many people can leave you overwhelmed and scrambling to find the real leads that are ready to get on the phone. Instead, try to focus your efforts on finding and lightly engaging users that are actively talking about your industry and who have expressed genuine interest in what you have to offer. Then spend more time on the prospects who engage back. This will help qualify where you should be spending your time and will ensure you are having warm conversations.
#4. Being responsive on social media is enough
Engagement on social media is more than just being responsive. While you should definitely be answering any questions your prospects have for you and be a reference to those in your network, there’s more to it than that. Social selling involves proactively reaching out to leads, starting conversations and becoming an ambassador to your product and your industry. This kind of engagement will increase your visibility and reputation online, and will make users much more willing to listen to what you have to say.
For example, joining a LinkedIn group and initiating a discussion is a great way to plant yourself and your brand in the middle of interesting conversations. That kind of exposure will do wonders for your reputation and social selling effectiveness in the long run.
#5. Tweeting is not as effective as cold calling
Cold calling has been a go-to practice in sales for years now. And the Tweet has come to be viewed in some ways as a digital cold call for social sellers, only not as effective. Simply put, this just is flat out untrue. From what we’ve seen of social selling on Twitter so far, Tweeting can be immensely helpful when trying to generate leads. People buy from people, and Tweeting or Retweeting other users is a great way to humanize your brand online. It lets prospects know that you are interested in what they have to say and that they can have a personal connection with your business. Once this is established and they trust the repertoire you’ve built, they’ll be much more open to what you’re selling. In fact, we’ve also found that direct messages on Twitter are ten times more effective than email!
#6. Social selling is only for your sales team
Your salespeople may be responsible for the bulk of your business’s lead generation, but that’s no reason to bench the rest of your team from the social selling game. Many of your most influential social media brand reps may be outside of your sales team, so it’s important to have all of your employees promoting on their own accounts. These individuals may not be making any actual sales or conversions, but the overall brand exposure will make selling in these spaces a lot easier. And let’s face it, most of your employees are active on social media anyways, you might as well utilize the clout that they’ve accumulated to reach more prospects and then pass them off to the appropriate sales rep.
While these are just a few of the misconceptions out there, we hope that clearing these up will help bring you a step closer to making the most out of all that social selling can do for your business. Social media is a resource too valuable to be passed up, so don’t let the hype keep you from getting in on the action!