How social selling can increase your ROI
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The end of the year is near, which means it’s that time of year when companies focus even more on their Return on Investment. What investment brought the expected outcome? What needs to be cut? And is social selling really worth the hype?
Our new blog series will shed light on the ROI of social selling and how your company can make the most of a professional and successful social media appearance.
What is social selling exactly?
Social selling is the art of leveraging social media platforms to connect, engage, and build relationships with potential customers. It uses online networks to understand and address prospects’ needs beyond traditional sales approaches.
But there is more to it! Social selling means that salespeople are active on social media to influence their buyers’ decision-making process. The sellers leverage their social networks to interact with prospects and share relevant content, building relationships and trust.
Companies can harness the power of social selling by creating a program that mobilizes
Whether your goal is to build trust and authority, explore new business opportunities, or start new sales conversations, social selling is the way to go – if you know how to do it correctly.
Let’s look at some social selling numbers:
Many B2B brands have embraced social selling as a part of their digital marketing strategy. Yet, there are significant differences between industries. While tech and IT companies have been early adopters and taken the lead in social selling, other sectors are still behind.
Industries such as manufacturing, banking, insurance, and government still see lower adoption rates. While some of these sectors have to play within given restrictions, there are still many opportunities for social selling and influencing opinions despite, for instance, regulations.
Surprisingly, less than 10% of sales professionals regularly share content, a proxy for active social selling,
Even more fascinating is our research’s insights on the demographics of salespeople participating in social selling. Our numbers show that salespeople across all industries are more active in Europe than in the US.
Social selling and your ROI
The concept and practices of social selling aren’t new anymore. Still, many companies remain skeptical about it, especially when the planning process includes budget talk. And we get it – no one wants to waste money.
That’s why it’s only natural to set clear expectations for your ROI when considering incorporating social selling into your marketing strategy. Getting an adequate ROI motivates business decisions, and social selling is no different. But how do you structure your expectations? Check out our tips and pointers below.
- Define clear objectives: Clearly outline your goals.
- Target the right audience: Identify and engage with your target audience on social media platforms where they are most active. Clearly define what sales reps should look for when researching prospects on social media.
- Empower your sales team: Provide comprehensive training to your sales team, emphasizing the importance of personal branding and thought leadership. Give them the permission and the tools needed to improve their personal branding and empower them to establish themselves as industry thought leaders by sharing original and third-party content with authority.
- Encourage consistent engagement: Foster regular interaction on social media, encouraging your team to share relevant content, engage with prospects, and build meaningful connections. Make this easy for them! Their online persona is a direct reflection of your company, so this step is critical to the success of your social selling program.
- Leverage analytics: Regularly analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) like engagement rates, lead generation, and conversions. Use these insights to refine and optimize your strategy.
- Align with overall marketing strategy: Ensure that your social selling efforts align with your broader marketing strategy, creating a cohesive and integrated approach.
- Continuous improvement: Stay agile and adapt your strategy based on performance metrics and changes in the social media landscape. Regularly reassess and refine your approach to maximize effectiveness.
An organized social selling program sets you up for success.
After looking at the key components of a successful social selling approach, you probably realized that planning, training, and consistency are critical. Almost half of the world’s population is active on social media, but your business can’t benefit from this fact if your sales team doesn’t know how to engage with people online. So invest some time and effort into showing them the ropes.
Your salespeople must interact with prospects on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to improve how they present offerings, increase outreach, and grow revenue streams. Especially in saturated markets filled with similar products and services, you want your sales reps to connect with customers on a personal level and maintain those relationships through every stage of the sales funnel. The process takes more effort than closing a one-time deal, but the time invested in an ongoing relationship can generate many leads for your company.
Measure social selling success. Learn from an expert:
Success depends on your objectives, and social selling is no different. Here are some general starters and guidelines that apply to most social selling programs. Milan Ruzicka, co-founder of ReadyForSocial, focuses on crafting top-notch analytics for clients in the social selling sphere.
In a Straight to Business interview, he shares insights for effective social selling programs. Start with clear objectives for measurable results, such as projecting leadership and initiating conversations. Ruzicka also suggests tracking outcomes and offers a benchmark for realistic numbers when setting expectations for your program, mentioning to aim for 40-60% participation in your sales force if you have an active user base.
He emphasizes adjusting the program for maximum relevant engagement, measured through likes, comments, shares, and clicks leading to your website. After all, the main focus of any social selling program should be to create content that engages the audience. Relevant engagement comes from your target audience. The rule of thumb Ruzicka uses at ReadyForSocial is that two or more interactions per post are key to success.
Four ways to track relevant engagement
Relevant engagements are from the audience you are trying to sell to. Tracking their interactions with your company is a must. Here are four ways to measure their engagement:
- CRM integration: The most solid, reliable, and scalable solution is a CRM integration between the main social network, LinkedIn, and your company. Running one of the systems LinkedIn has deemed as worthy of this integration, namely Microsoft D
- Human review: This approach involves a more hands-on process. Either someone on your staff or a third-party agency reviews the content, examines who engaged with it, and provides overviews. Human reviews include identifying individuals from target accounts and offering valuable insights through a qualitative analysis of posts.
- Surveys: Conducting surveys among your salespeople can provide insights into the reactions they observe from their target accounts. While survey results are approximations, they can still yield valuable information, especially when you’re starting and want to demonstrate initial results from your social selling program.
- Landing page traffic: As content typically leads to your landing page, tracking the incoming traffic and authenticating it with some degree of precision is another method. This procedure helps gauge the effectiveness of your social selling efforts in generating new traffic and initiating the customer journey on your digital property.
Establishing your ROI expectations:
If your business is just beginning with social selling or collecting data for more detailed ROI documentation, tracking familiar KPIs, including content, engagements, and increased conversations, is a great start. With growing expertise, gather additional data to assess how social selling aligns with your broader marketing strategies.
Much like anything in life, the effort you invest determines the outcomes. For sustained success, having an expert on your team deciphering data becomes invaluable. Their analysis and understanding of the synergy between social selling and ROI unveil opportunities for program enhancement.
If you are still trying to figure out how to start with social selling, look out for our blog article next week, which will explain how social selling can help you reach your goals in 2024 and beyond.