Social selling is a hot topic in the digital marketing world, but it’s one that many digital marketers are still unaware of.
What does B2B social selling look like? What are the benefits? And how can you get started?
The first step? Understanding what B2B social selling is.
What is B2B Social Selling?
B2B social selling is a term that is often used interchangeably with social media marketing. However, the two are very different in practice. Social media marketing focuses solely on building brand awareness and building relationships with your audience. B2B social selling focuses on generating leads and converting those leads into customers.
B2B social selling is the use of social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to connect with potential clients. It is a way for salespeople to build relationships with potential buyers and establish a dialogue with them. It is not a way to spam your audience with information about your product or service, but instead to provide value and engage in meaningful conversation.
The way in which consumers shop is changing. In fact, when it comes to the B2B buyer journey, 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers use social media in their decision-making processes.
Social selling helps to bridge the gap between the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. The awareness stage is where your potential clients are just becoming aware of your brand and its products or services. The consideration stage is where your potential clients actively seek solutions to a problem and actively compare your brand against others.
How Can B2B Sales Benefit from Social Selling?
The potential for using social media to generate leads is high. And salespeople have the ability to engage with prospects in a way that was never possible before. Research shows that businesses that have partaken in social selling have reported:
- An increase in the number of leads (39% of respondents)
- A deeper relationship with their clients (31% of respondents)
- Improved lead conversion rates (24% of respondents)
Studies even show that 89% of top-performing sales individuals believe that social networking platforms are essential parts of their sales strategy.
While those numbers are promising, some of the most beneficial aspects of B2B social selling include:
Puts You Where Your Audience is Most Active
Social media has become a go-to source for information and entertainment. That means that your audience is spending a great deal of time on social media, making social media platforms an excellent place to reach your audience.
Facebook boasts over 2.8 billion active users and is the second most popular website in the world. Twitter has over 300 million monthly active users, and LinkedIn has over 722 million registered users.
These platforms give you the ability to connect with your potential clients in a way that you could never have imagined before.
Allows You to Build Deeper Relationship with Your Audience
The core of B2B social selling is building a relationship with your customers. Social media allows you to build deeper relationships with your audience. It allows you to engage in meaningful conversations and build trust with your audience. It is a great way to get to know your potential clients and identify their pain points.
Generates Higher-Quality Leads
Typically, the sales process begins with a lead. The lead is someone who has shown an interest in your product or service but has not yet taken the next step in the sales process.
The best leads come from referrals. When your potential customers trust you and know that you’re a reliable source for information, they are more likely to refer you to their colleagues. Social media is the ideal place for referrals and reviews, which are vital because 45% of B2B buyers say they use these materials during their decision-making process.
Reduces Contact Time Between the Awareness and Purchase Stages
The gap between the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey is shrinking. This is due in part to the speed at which information travels and the ease with which people can compare products.
Social media has reduced the amount of time between the awareness and consideration stages. By the time B2B buyers have resorted to using social media as part of their research, they are already aware of your brand and what you have to offer.
This means that they are much further along in the buying process than they would have been in previous years. At this point, they are looking for reviews or for someone to direct them in the next step of the sales process.
Which Social Media Platforms are Best for B2B Selling?
Each social media platform offers unique benefits when it comes to B2B social selling. It is vital that you choose the platform that best fits your business goals and your target audience.
For instance, studies have shown that in the U.S., approximately 18.3% of adults have used Facebook to make a purchase.
However, when it comes to B2B buyers, you want to research carefully which platforms are best suited to your sales efforts. LinkedIn, for example, is an excellent option if you are trying to reach B2B buyers, with LinkedIn ad exposure increasing purchase intent by nearly 33%. However, Facebook and Instagram have also proven beneficial as well.
Before deciding which social media platform is best for your B2B social selling strategy, you need to understand who your audience is, where they’re finding you, and how they are currently interacting with your brand. Once you have those details, you can decide where best to start your B2B social selling.
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