1. What is Social Selling?
Social Selling is rising as we can see on this Google Trends graph but what is it exactly? That’s what we’ll answer in this social selling guide.
Social Selling is a way of selling with the use of social media. Social Selling goes against traditional sales prospecting methods like cold calling or cold emailing with the use of likes & comments on social media as well as Direct Messages (DMs) to build relationships with B2B prospects and potential strategic partners.
Components of Social Selling from observing the sales space
From my personal experience with social selling, these are the components of social selling:
- sales prospecting on social media (eg. LinkedIn prospecting, Twitter prospecting, etc).
- engaging with people to build long-lasting B2B relationships (eg. like & comments under LinkedIn posts)
- scheduling content marketing on social media.
- growing a personal brand and / or a company brand (eg. Justin Welsh on LinkedIn)
- being active in an existing online community or creating your own (eg. RevGenius sales community)
As you can see, my approach to define the components of social selling is very actionable. To sum it up, social selling is:
- sales prospecting without pitch slapping (being sales pushy)
- building relationships online
- growing a brand that give you an audience to build a community
The 4 components of Social Selling according to LinkedIn SSI
LinkedIn's approach to Social Selling is pretty similar to mine but they used more theoretical principles. LinkedIn is the pioneer in social selling by nature with their B2B social media platform. They also popularized the term social selling with their tool called Social Selling Index (SSI).
The LinkedIn SSI is a score that measures your social selling performance on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, there are 4 criteria that make you a good social seller:
- building relationships
- engaging with insights
- being able to find quality leads
- being able to build a good looking profile (in LinkedIn’s case filling your LinkedIn profile and having recommendations).
Each component can gives you up to 25 points each which will make a score out of 100.
If you want to learn more about the social selling index, I talked more about it in this article.
Who coined the term ‘Social Selling’?
The term ‘Social Selling’ was coined by Nigel Edelshain who initiated the movement with the idea of sales 2.0.
On a short note, credits to the University of British Columbia who first noticed the rise the 'social selling science'.
What type of people do Social Selling?
Right now, the most active social sellers are sales reps like:
- Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
- Business Development Representatives (BDRs)
- Sales Managers / Head of Sales
- B2B influencers
One form of social selling is posting sales content
However, initially social sellers were mostly regular people that had a one-person business. Social selling truly started with the rise of internet by building relationships in forums and online communities in general.
2. Why should you care about Social Selling?
It’s easy to think that social selling is just a trend and to not care about it. However, fastest growing businesses care about this way more than you can imagine because they’ve witnessed the benefits of it with successful examples backed by data.
Benefits of social selling
If people are shifting from traditional sales prospecting techniques to social selling ones, it means that there are many benefits.
Example of a perfect social selling approach I received
Social selling can reduce your sales cycle time between 20% to +50%
In a world where sales cycles are longer and longer, social selling helps you stay afloat and close deals faster.
Social selling can double your sales pipeline
Another social selling message I received on Twitter this time
Social selling is all about building relationships. No wonder why salespeople reach their quota faster by doing it.
Social selling is key for brand awareness, customer experience & inbound leads generation
Customers don’t expect to talk to sales reps anymore until they are at least half through their customer journey. The sales buying process has changed, people expect self-serve products or services and make their opinion on social media before buying. By doing social selling, you go toward that direct as well.
Some social selling statistics
Social selling statistics don’t lie, a shift in traditional sales prospecting is happening. Here a few stats that might interest you from LinkedIn:
"78% of social sellers outsell peers who don't use social media".
"Social selling leaders 51% more likely to reach sales quota."
If you want to read more social selling statistics, I wrote a piece about it here.
Social Selling successful examples
People start caring more about social selling because they see successful examples all over the internet. Already talked about it in-depth with my social selling examples case study (with very actionable tips) so I will just give you two quick examples here.
Social selling example 1: Arnaud Belinga (Myself)
I’ve first witnessed the power of social selling when I went viral on LinkedIn and reached more than 1,000,000 people in 48 hours. Then my real experience with social selling started when I launched my sales prospecting software, now a social selling one: Breakcold.
How I branded myself for my social selling
Basically, with social selling, I’ve been able to:
- grow a personal brand from 0 to 8,500 followers in less than 6 months
- generate thousands of website visitors by building relationships with B2B influencers and paying customers that are active in online communities
- generate $20,000 (profit) in 3 days for my software
- growing my social selling software monthly recurring revenue in the thousands in less than 3 months (still growing)
All of that was due to: building relationships over and over, with potential customers, paying customers, potential distributors, B2B influencers and what I call ‘online friends’ that have a similar journey to yours but operate in a different industry.
I have different engagement lists to build B2B relationships
All of this was possible thanks to non-traditional sales prospecting techniques. Don’t get me wrong though, I do sales prospecting a lot, I sent thousands of cold emails and DMs (it’s half of my business) but all my success in sales prospecting come from the work I’ve done with relevant social selling techniques.
Social selling example 2: Lavender.ai
Lavender.ai is an AI email assistant. I must admit that I’m a fan of what they’ve accomplished with their social selling strategy on LinkedIn.
With a mix of LinkedIn & Email prospecting, personal branding and explosive content marketing, the Lavender.ai team achieved a stellar growth for a young bootstrapped startup company.
Another example with the Trumpet sales pod team on LinkedIn
My point with this example is to show that companies too (through their founders and employees) can do wonders to grow revenues because social selling is not a fad, it does pay the bills and it pays them well.
3. How to do Social Selling?
How I do it with Breakcold
This is my quick process to do social selling with Breakcold:
- create a list where you will import your leads
- find leads on LinkedIn Sales Navigator that posted in the last 30 days
- import them in your list with Breakcold LinkedIn Sales Navigator Scraper
- engage prospects where they are in their sales pipeline
- use company news and prospect's news to craft a hyper-personalized DM or cold email
- repeat step 1 to 5
How to do Social Selling with LinkedIn
LinkedIn prospecting is the heart of B2B lead generation, yet LinkedIn automation tools annoy people a lot, be careful.
A way to find prospects that are active on LinkedIn
This is a quick process to do social selling with LinkedIn:
- find prospects and B2B influencers that are active on LinkedIn
- use a LinkedIn engagement tool to build engagement lists
- use Breakcold social selling feed to engage with leads
- send a LinkedIn invite requests without a note
- don’t send a message straight away once people accept your invite request
- meanwhile, publish 1 LinkedIn post per day
- send them a hyper-personalize LinkedIn message
- engage with people’s posts to stay top of mind and closing the deal ultimately
- times to times, use lead magnet posts to boost inbound leads
- store all your interactions in a Social CRM
How to do Social Selling with Twitter
There is something called ‘Money Twitter’ on the platform. It basically represents a large group of SMBs owners that are pros at social selling with Twitter. This is the quick process they use.
Many tweets that got me inbound leads
From 0 to 100 followers
- follow for follow people in your industry
- use Breakcold, TweetDeck or Twitter List to build you a Twitter engagement list
- send Twitter messages only if you interacted with the tweets of your recipient prior
From 101 to 1000 followers
- start tweeting **3 times a day **
- engage with your followers before tweeting
From 1000 followers to +5000
- start sending cold messages without interacting with tweets of your recipient before
- write multiple threads per week to grow your inbound leads base
- Build prospecting lists with a Twitter email extractor
- Store all your interactions in a Social CRM
How to do Social Selling with Tik Tok
Tik Tok is the social selling platform of Gen Z, it’s very video content based but you can still drive B2B business from it. Especially that similarly to YouTube, it becomes a search engine of its own.
This is a quick process to do social selling with Tik Tok:
- Create a Tik Tok account
- Brand the account, pick a niche and stick to it
- Repurpose your LinkedIn posts & Tweets into Tik Tok
- Add clear CTAs in each video and video bio to promote your product or service
How to do Social Selling with Facebook
Small businesses (SMBs) and agencies in particular love Facebook, it’s their social selling homeland, like literally.
This is a quick process to do social selling with Facebook (Meta):
- create a secondary Facebook (Meta) account
- join FB groups in your industry
- once accepted, add as many people as you can in your network
- meanwhile, engage in the communities you got accepted into
- send personalized cold DMs to people who posted in the community that could be your customers
- send cold DMs to people who accepted your connection request
- post in the Facebook (Meta) feed every day to expose people to your content
- step by step, invite people to join your own community
- repeat step 1 to 8 for exponential growth
- store all your interactions in a Social CRM
How to do Social Selling with YouTube
People forget YouTube as a social selling channel. It’s a shame because it’s the 2nd most powerful search engine after Google. It’s the new TV to me, don’t miss out on this opportunity. Barriers to entry for this social selling channel is high as video takes time to make and to look good.
This is a quick process to do social selling with YouTube:
- create a YouTube account
- brand your YouTube account
- use vidQ to find relevant keywords for what you sell
- make videos about the keywords you found
- name the videos according to the keywords you found
- promote your product or service with CTAs throughout each video
- once you hit publish, promote your video on Quora, Reddit and other platforms that can get you passive traffic and long term backlinks
- repeat step 1 to 7 for exponential growth
When we first started Breakcold, I was super focus on making a well-established sales prospecting software with amazing cold email features. Along the way, I realized that social selling is the new way of making sales, that’s why we adapted our software and it worked super well for us ever since!
Social selling will continue to grow in both the B2C and B2B space, I’m really exciting to see how it goes! Are you?