Originally posted by Natalie Nathanson on Magnetude Consulting’s blog, May 16, 2018.
As social media’s reach and relevance continue to grow, B2B buyers are using social networks more than ever to gather information before making a purchase. In fact, according to an internal study conducted by LinkedIn, half of all users are likely to buy from companies they engage with on their platform. If you put the right strategy in place, your B2B business can see increases in website referral traffic of more than 500%, get new leads, and drive traffic back to your company website. Just based on this information alone, it is clear that neglecting social channels can be a significant missed opportunity.
Magnetude Consulting recently published a social selling checklist detailing some very basic steps to start building your presence on LinkedIn. As you now know, used correctly, social media can be a quick and effective channel for visibility, a resource for market and competitor information, and a powerful prospecting tool. Additionally, updates coming from an executive’s account notoriously have better reach, as they carry a level of authority and personalization. A great example of this is from one of our current clients. When the CEO became active on LinkedIn’s blogging platform as part of our social program expansion, his first two posts received a combined 3,400 impressions, 475 likes, 23 comments and 75 shares. That’s quite an argument in favor of the effort being worth the return!
For those who need a refresher on B2B social media basics, please review the checklist.
Completing the checklist, building up your connections and getting active on your personal LinkedIn account are great steps toward maximizing the potential of this platform as a sales tool, but there is more to be done. This is where you need to lean on your marketing team to extend your reach. While you are striving to stay active on your personal profile, your marketing team should be cultivating an active and relevant company page. These efforts should largely mirror what we have already laid out above. In addition, your company page should feature events the company is sponsoring or attending, glimpses into your office space and what it’s like to work for your company and even charity work that your company is involved in supporting. We also recommend that you and your marketing team encourage employees to add their current position within your company to their personal LinkedIn profiles and share relevant company posts with their connections. This helps to increase the reach and visibility of each post.
Studies show that sales-focused leaders who are engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who are not using this strategy by nearly 80%. With that in mind, let’s dive into some more targeted social selling tips to help your company gain better visibility with your prospects:
- Use website analytics to help drive your social selling strategy: As you likely already know, website analytics can show you which companies are visiting your website. Based on this visitor information, you can implement a targeted outreach campaign to these companies. This campaign can be in the form of LinkedIn advertising and can also include interacting with them organically on social media by tagging them in relevant posts and interacting with their posts. Since they visited your website, you’re already on their radar, to some degree. This is a way to stay in front of them to begin nurturing a conversation. Utilizing an inbound selling approach will also dictate that these accounts are ripe for proactive sales outreach.
- Engage with influencers and potential partners: Start engaging with influencers and potential partners on social media to build up a referral relationship with them. These efforts can begin by mirroring what we mentioned above, interacting organically on social media to get on their radar. Over time, you can start to research whether or not you can do some co-marketing, with the goal of getting in front of their audience and gaining credibility within their circles. Remember that in doing this, you want to be sure that your content would add value for their readers as well, so do your research before reaching out. This should be an exercise in quality, not quantity.
- Event outreach: If you’re attending an upcoming event, try to find out which of your prospects will be in attendance and start engaging with them as the event approaches. For example, if they’re a speaker, share on social media that you are excited to hear them speak and tag them in the post. If they have a booth at the event, find out where it is and let them know you’ll look forward to stopping by. Follow through by making your best attempt to interact with them in person at the event, and then continue to stay in touch following the event.
According to HootSuite, 71% of all sales professionals – and 90% of top salespeople – are currently using social selling tools as a major part of their sales and marketing strategy. Therefore, if you want to be part of the choice set you’ve got to have a presence on these platforms to get—and stay—on your prospects’ radar. The steps necessary to get started can seem like an overwhelming time investment, so it is critical to lean on your marketing team to build your company’s voice and stay in front of the right audiences.
For more information about how Magnetude Consulting can guide and support your social selling and overall marketing efforts, contact them here.