No doubt this statement will bring the wrath of those “social selling” experts who have arisen over the last few years.
Don’t get me wrong – there is an incredibly powerful and commercially viable way of selling by leveraging social platforms, so let me explain.
First, I have a problem with the phrase “social selling”, mostly because it gives the impression that if you jump onto a social media platform, you will immediately be able to sell something. You won’t, at least not straight away. Using social platforms as an additional channel requires a strategy and one that teaches you to move from a day trader to a long term investor and builder of relationships. Yes you may be stumble upon an update that says ” I need to buy [your product], please contact me” but this is an exception and not the rule.
I also struggle with calling a sales person a “social seller”. Does this individual now only sell on social platforms, or more importantly are they a seller who not only utilises the traditional methods of selling but also blends in the benefits of using social tools to add tremendous value to those traditional face to face and telephone meetings?
Social selling does not work when detached from traditional sales methods. I want to share a strategy that will enhance those traditional methods and if done correctly may even negate the need for cold calling.
Now that I have sorted out the jargon lets look at how the commercially viable Social Sales teams do it. The rule is; create the social wrap.
Below is a suggested approach to blending your traditional methods of selling to enable or influence a purchase decision. Here are my five tips:
1: Build your brand.
2: Contribute to discussions.
4: Provide relevance through thought leadership.
5: Practice the law of reciprocity, always.
Build your brand.
Building your brand is key and should be the foundation of any great sales person. You are researching your clients and gaining insights to their personality, interests and business synergies. It would be naive to think that your clients are not similarly checking you out. Right now the strongest platform to convey and market your expertise is LinkedIn, but that platform may not be the only one! Yes you are in marketing now, the marketing of your value and credibility.
Contribute to discussions
Participating in discussions is not just about listening to what your clients are saying or understanding what they are listening to. It is about adding your point of view to the conversation. Don’t sell your product; instead offer advice, strategies, coaching on things to consider, how to guides. Add value to a discussion, and in so doing become the authentic helper.
Network and connect with people. Whether you met face to face or virtually, if you feel that reciprocal value can be achieved then invite them to be part of your network. Top tip; always personalise the invite, because not doing so shows a lack of professionalism and integrity.
Utilise your network. Earn social credit by connecting people to others that will add value and benefit them. By doing so you will increase your network in size.
Also use your network to influence, for instance Twitter is business networking on steroids. Surround your self with people you want to influence and provide them great content, relevance and value.
Provide relevance through thought leadership
You need to understand your network. Two important question you could ask yourself are: What types of information would they benefit from? Where and when are they seeking it? This will help you ascertain which platforms will benefit you the most. Consider blogging, as this will become a huge asset to your branding and thought leadership. As your network increases in size so will the diversity and quantity of your content.
Practice the law of reciprocity
Trading favours is a huge part of doing business in the social world. If you are already utilising your network and introducing people to others, you are already practicing this law. Read more at Wikipedia
So those are my top five tips for creating a social wrap.
It is all about building a brand, sharing your expertise, offering your helpfulness and building relationships and influence that will enable you to sell more using social media.
Share your best practices and tips below on how you are using social tools to help sales. And don’t forget to practice the law of reciprocity now
Guest Post by Julio Viskovich
Social selling involves using social media to stay relevant with your buyer, to listen for buying trigger events and to target the right message, at the right time, to the right person. For a more robust definition of social selling check out the post What is Social Selling and How Will it Increase Sales? Once teams and individuals understand the concept of social selling, and understand the benefits, the next step is to master the best practices. Let’s have a look at the Dos and Don’ts of social selling which will help to move your team from social selling laggards to leaders.
…Be a Trusted Advisor. In today’s modern era, helping is selling. Try to add value and build trust within your buying community. They’ll turn to you when the time is right.
…Do Research. When I take sales calls and the person on the other end hasn’t done their research, I start looking at my watch. You have the data. Use it. With a combination of social monitoring and intelligence, find out what interests buyers before engaging.
…Be Authentic. Don’t be fake or sneaky. Social media has no governing body. Instead the users rule social and they’ll do everything to create a “safe” place to engage. Authenticity is a big deal in social. Violators of this rule are unwelcome.
…Nurture Prospects and Clients. Social allows you to stay in the hearts and minds of your buying community without having to do the dreaded “check in” call or send a thousand emails. Buyers will follow people that add value.
…Talk About Yourself All the Time. Bragging on yourself or your company all the time is a turn off. Talk about, and share, other’s content – not just yours.
…Over Push Product. You can’t be a trusted advisor if you can’t hold a conversation without pitching. Social communities don’t want people pitching their products unless asked to. Being pitchy is unwelcome.
…Bombard Leads. You want to be where your leads are, but don’t immediately message them on every platform begging to give a demo or to visit your site. Build a relationship first.
…Be Nasty. Social media is not the place to bad mouth competitors. It’s not about ragging on the competition, but sharing how you can help followers succeed. Stay classy.
What other tips would you add? Drop by and say hello below.
Do you care about your influence? What tools do you use?
Connect with me on Twitter: Ben Martin
An fantastic video highlighting key mobile statistics and trends today and the potential impact on how technology will be used in the future.
What is the first thing you reach for in the morning?
48 million people used their mobile device to access maps!
Source: Vodafone Global Enterprise
What did you think? Drop by and say hello below.
The biggest issue is that we tend to confuse audience with influence. Having a lot of Twitter followers doesn’t give you the power to drive action, it gives you the power to drive awareness. Those are different abilities with unequal degrees of usefulness, just like the power to fly (Superman) is better than the power to swim fast and talk to fish (Aquaman).
There is a great deal of interest and many different answers to the age old “what is the ROI of social media?”. To date I have not seen a definitive answer to this.
The other question I hear is “How do we measure success”, then – “what is the definition of success?” Let me ask you this, do you measure the success of using email, instant messaging or the phone?
Why is there this obsession to measure social media when in essence its just another tool, another form of communication that, lets face it, is meteroic.
Yesterday Brian Solis, Principal Analyst from Altimeter released a report – The Rise of Digital Influence. A fasinating read if you have time. Link is further down.
Here are some of the highlights, I found interesting.
The are many tools that you can use to measure influence. Before we take a look at what they are and what they measure, lets first take a look what defines influence. Brian mentions there are three pillars:
Pillar 1: Reach: A measure of popularity, affinity and potential impact
Pillar 2: Relevance: The measure of authority, trust and affinty
Pillar 3: Resonance: The sum of the above, frequency, period and amplitude.
Now lets take a look at an action plan.
1) Benchmark: Understand where you are now so that you can track progress caputring sentiment, behaviour and awareness.
2) Audience: Who are they, where do they hang out, how are they connected and what information do they value
3) Strategy: Develop a strategy that connects the dots between you, connected consumers, and their communities.
Thats a rather brief synopsis of Brian’s full report which can be found here. The Rise of Digital Influence
So your ready …..
Lets take a look at the tools on offer:
Pillar 1: Reach
TwitterGrader compares Twitter profiles to millions of other users already indexed to establish a score between 1–100.
Using the following elements:
o Number of followers
o Power of followers
o Number of updates (the higher the better)
o Update recency (the sooner the better)
o Follower/Following ratio
o Engagement (retweets and responses to an individual account)
Use Case: TwitterGrader is a performance metric for handles in comparison to other accounts. It’s ideal for quick one-to-one analysis when new, potentially influential individuals are identified using other services.
TweetLevel was developed by Edelman for communications professionals. It measures
40 different elements to quantify the varying importance of individuals using Twitter based on the context of their online activity.
TweetLevel’s measures of influence include the following attributes and output a number between 1–100:
o Buzz around specific topics
o Who the most relevant and influential users are
o The context of relevant topics
o What else people talk about and to whom
o What web links are most frequently shared
o Idea Starter metrics: does the individual generate new thoughts and content or merely amplify others
o Broadcast to Engagement ratio: assesses level of providing interesting and relevant content vs. engaging with others
Use Case: These services are purpose-built tools for the PR and marketing teams that give actionable insight into which people are influential within the right context in the right platform. PR teams can use the export feature to embed influence lists into their campaigns. These tools also offer insights into influential voices during crisis management.
TweetReach provides insight into the reach and exposure of a tweet or Twitter campaign. The service tracks any topic on Twitter and measures its exposure, activity, and contributors to identify trends and surface topical influencers.
Use Case: TweetReach offers data on the relevance, reach, and resonance of everyday conversations. Studying this information provides organizations with the ability to benchmark activity, benchmark against competitive activity, and also monitor the experiences of relevant individuals for later engagement.
EmpireAvenue.com is a virtual stock market that trades on the social capital of personal brands and real-world brands alike.
Use Case: Companies including Audi, Intel, Ford, and AT&T were among the brands that invested time and resources in EmpireAvenue. As businesses connect multiple branded channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc., they push newcontent into the EmpireAvenue stream. Investors will see this activity in their news feed and ,as such, engage, invest, and recommend the stock. Businesses claim to see
increased engagement within EmpireAvenue, as well as in their specific channels directly.
Pillar 2: Relevance
Kred calculates dual metrics for Influence and Outreach by analyzing a person’s ability
to inspire action and level of interaction with others. Influence, scored on a normalized
1,000-point scale, measures the ability to inspire action or influence others in the form of
retweets, replies, likes, new follows, and other actions.
Use Case: Gathering intelligence around communities of focus and interest graphs. Using the self-service dashboard, businesses can learn more about the people and their earned social capital related to key topics. It offers a glimpse of reach and authority based on individual activity and the related activity of those around them.
PeerIndex provides an overview of an individual’s stature, relevance, and reach within social networks based on cumulative activity. Sources include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and blogs. PeerIndex consists of four components: resonance, authority, activity, and audience.
o AME (Arts, Media, and Entertainment)
o TEC (Technology and the Internet)
o SCI (Science and Environment)
o MED (Health and Medical)
o LIF (Leisure and Lifestyle)
o SPO (Sports)
o POL (News, Politics, and Society)
o BIZ (Finance, Business, and Economics)
Use Case: The PeerPerks program is a marketing program that delivers scalable word of mouth and rewards programs. It does so by characterizing what makes a likely socialadvocate for a brand and then helping brands reach and engage many thousands of those advocates at a time. PeerIndex also provides enhanced tools for behavioralprofiling and integration into a range of social platforms for select clients.
mPACT is developed by mBlast and is designed for marketing professionals in companies and agencies with an emphasis on identifying the specific individuals who are the established authorities on any given subject.
Use Case: Because mPACT’s strength is on topical relevance, the ability to identify connected individuals who matter to your market is revealing and insightful. Running a search by the keywords that define your industry will introduce you to the most relevant people who are already talking about your space, with or without you.
Traackr positions itself as an influencer discovery and monitoring platform. It uses a proprietary search engine and scoring algorithm to convert any keyword query into a list of top influencers ranked on the Reach, Resonance, and Relevance of each person discovered in the search.
Use Case: Traackr is dedicated to influencer identification and engagement. Focusing on communications rather than rewards, Traacker will help businesses create and manage ambassador programs and also shape influencer relations campaigns. Users can also track mentions and engagement metrics.
Radian6 developed an Influencer widget as part of its listening and engagement platform, which helps brands identify important individuals related to their markets across a myriad of social platforms, including blogs and Twitter.
Use Case: Radian6 provides social media monitoring, analysis, and engagement for all types and sizes of organizations. For communications professionals who focus on influencer engagement, it offers a deep and clickable path to better understand why someone is potentially influential and why he or she is important to the business. The Radian6 widget is ideal
Appinions is an influencer management platform, which is the result of over a decade of technology development at Cornell University. The platform is based on two key pillars: technology and access.
Use Case: Intended for agencies and brands, Appinions is designed to identify relevant influencers for intelligence gathering and engagement and is used by social out-reach, PR, strategy, and research teams.
Pillar 3: Resonance
Klout uses over 50 variables to measure what it calls the “standard for influence.” Its public-facing service presents the social capital and capacity for an individual’s ability to influence behavior and outcomes in social networks. Klout’s algorithm involves three separate stages of semantic calculation: True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Value.
Use Case: Klout offers a free search tool to identify individual ranking by username. To use this tool effectively, brands must first have an idea of who they would like to learn more about and then use the search function to analyze their social capital. Additionally, organizations can partner with Klout through its paid Perks program to target influencers by Reach, Relevance, and/or Relevance.
Twitalyzer evaluates Twitter activity based on a deep set of factors to assess signal-tonoise ratio, generosity, velocity, and also clout.
Use Case: Twitalyzer offers a detailed Benchmark report that provides brands with ranked lists of Twitter users based on their stated location and the tags that have been applied to their profile. Reviewing this list of potential influencers and analyzing their activity provides brands with insight into the nature of the dialogue, as well as opportunities to engage influencers.
PROskore focuses its influence analysis on professional reputation. It scores and ranks individuals based on professional background and experience, peer validation, popularity, and engagement in social networks, as well as within the PROskore community. PROskore’s algorithm places emphasis specifically on LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, Twitter, and blogs. The end result is a score that is designed to help professionals network with partners and prospects to “generate business.”
Use Case: Whereas other influence vendors focus on helping brands connect to influential people in digital word-of-mouth marketing applications, PROskore assists businesses by introducing hiring managers to ideal employment candidates. PROskore also brings to light the notion of internal influence. By tapping personal brands as company stakeholders, the right influencer can spark important dialog from within and ultimately impact external conversations and actions. Although PROskore can help hiring managers and employment candidates, it also helps businesses identify leads and
eCairn’s Conversation platform was developed to help marketing professionals identify influential communities and the influencers who drive relevant market conversations.
Use Case: eCairn is an influencer relationship management solution designed to help brands find and engage with topical influencers and experts.