Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the overall sales process using common social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. While there are numerous relationship-building tactics used throughout the entire sales process, social media can be an especially effective platform to engage with prospects during the early stages of the customer journey.
However, it’s important to remember that content used in social selling needs to be compelling and not loaded with self-serving, marketing messages. There’s a difference between effective social selling and simply pushing an advertisement. An effective way to make your messaging impactful is to utilize media coverage as a touchpoint with your target audience. Using media coverage works in social selling because it not only provides more opportunities to leverage and fully exhaust a campaign but also showcases your business and thought leaders’ industry expertise or product know-how through third-party validation.
Tips for drafting better posts for social selling
What else can you do to completely optimize social selling? Here are five tips to consider when drafting social posts and developing a long-term social selling strategy:
#1 Keep hashtags relevant
#Pancake is a great hashtag if you’re sharing an article about a breakfast cafe, but probably not an article about artificial intelligence. While this is an extreme case, the point is clear: make sure that the hashtags being used are relevant to the overall message being shared. Any media coverage used in social selling should include topical hashtags that are relevant to the theme of the article in order to provide a social post and the coverage itself with increased visibility.
#2 Make it unbranded
A rule of thumb in social selling is at least 70 percent of all content shared should be unbranded. This means the company name should not be mentioned in either the copy or metadata displayed. It’s easy to forget this concept, especially if the coverage includes mentions of the company or is a high profile article that the organization is very excited to leverage. Sharing content that is in the format of an industry roundup including your business has a higher likelihood of being perceived as unbranded. However, if your businesses social media feed becomes too promotional and self-centric, prospects may be turned off during the early stages of the sales process.
#3 Be engaging
It’s one thing to post media coverage or business-specific content to social media platforms, but did you know that engaging with others can also help enhance social selling efforts? For example, sharing/retweeting posts from industry influencers, or even specific journalists and publications in the space that may include media coverage about your business can help bolster your credibility with prospects. When a business has mentions and articles that show up in search engine results pages, a reputation of expertise is established and initial relationships are fostered with media contacts and publications. Carrying that idea over to social media platforms, and engaging with influencer content can further lay this foundation and establish and active media strategy. Many times, businesses can locate these mentions from industry influencers through the use of social analytics tools or by simply searching for the media coverage URL on Twitter.
#4 Don’t forget to tag
“Give credit where credit is due.” Remember this saying when developing a social selling strategy and you’ll likely find more success. Tagging the analyst, influencer or editor who wrote the article – and also including the media outlet handle in each tweet or post – will help encourage engagement from these individuals. This provides the link and media coverage additional credibility as well as visibility to your industry’s relevant audience.
#5 Share more than once
Don’t be afraid to share the same piece of media coverage more than once. By sharing the same article multiple times, you create an extended life for the article and more content to promote. Don’t share the exact same message in the tweet or post, look for ways to change the copy and highlight different aspects of the media coverage each time.
Want more tips for how to properly use media coverage in social selling? Check out our sales and marketing workbook to help properly align your SaaS sales and marketing efforts.