Recently I was asked to share how I approach social selling. While I don’t consider myself an expert, I do appreciate reading about strategies and testing out things to improve my craft. My intent here is to share a few tactics I employ as well as a few things I’d like to do if I had more time.
Social selling is essentially about connecting people with information, so with this in mind, I try to do three things:
I love Google, so I research companies and people. A person’s LinkedIn profile and connections represents a wealth of information. This often leads to the person’s Twitter handle where one can find a less formal but still intriguing supply of information. I’ve found that a single piece of information can take a conversation from cold to warm very quickly.
Engage and connect.
Twitter makes it very easy to follow someone and to engage with them in real time. LinkedIn is the ultimate networking tool, but I use it more to research connections of folks with whom I’ve worked or had meaningful interactions. It is a privilege to have such a resource, and I don’t want to screw it up.
. In a world with a never-ending stream of content on virtually every topic, I try to share only information that truly interests me. Usually that’s information about marketing or disruptive technology, as well as about my favorite sports teams. I try to share my own company’s content, too, because it’s often informative and relevant to what I do.
If I had more time, here are a few things I’d focus on.
- More actively engaging in the myriad social chats that happen any given day of the week on Twitter or LinkedIn. You can find these by following thought leaders in the space and checking out their hashtags.
- Reading and curating more great content from industry and vertical-specific publications. Essentially, going where the buyers go and getting the information they want to share first.
- Using tools like IFTTT to automate processes.
- Putting in the legwork to understand how my connections can lead to referrals. Growing my network with the right people who can put in a good word for me or my company with prospects is key. This is the epitome of social selling.
- Pioneering new ways of using social, like my old boss Don Beeson of MedaPoint, who tastefully uses Pinterest to share relevant b2b content.
Social selling evangelist and pioneer Jill Rowley declared at Dreamforce last year that the “phone isn’t dead, but cold calling is,” which is so true. The other day, HubSpot followed up with a study that the phone is too. In other words, people feel less threatened when they’re approached in a more passive way (ie. social) or with a common interest in mind.
To me, doing your homework using social media tools is not only a helpful tactic; it has become a necessary courtesy of doing business.