11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Social Selling

Jun 10, 2014, by Brittany Allyn, Happiness Officer

Koka Sexton, a leading visionary on Social Selling (and the Global Senior Manager of Social Marketing at LinkedIn), sat down with our team to share tips on why social selling is important, and rather crucial, to sales.  

Definition of Social Selling:

Leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.

Why it's really important: 

Social selling helps you be proactive vs. reactive in your selling process. It helps you bring more passion to your work. Instead of being “salesy” Koka says,

”Social selling helps you influence your buyers and come across as credible, authentic, accurate, information rich, and service oriented.”


Here are 11 social selling tips that you probably don't know: 

1. Social Sellers are more likely to hit their quota

Salespeople that use social selling to increase their pipeline actually see better results. In a study by LinkedIn, the C-level and VP buyers (your decision makers) are using social media to make 84% of their purchase decisions. 

Key takeaway: When DM’s have more information, “they feel more confident about the buying decision and are willing to spend more.” Social buyers make 61% more purchases. Make sure your social media is teaching rather selling.

2. Social Media is kind of like Outside Sales.

This was my ‘A-ha!’ moment and I think this is a great way to look at social media. Since salespeople don’t always get the opportunity to meet prospects in person, think of social media as being the door to their office. It opens up a whole new world for making a personal conversation.

Key takeaway: “As an inside salesperson, I didn't have the opportunity to go into their office to see pictures of their kids, plaques on the wall, memorabilia from their vacations, and find personal talking points.” By doing research on social media, “You can understand where people are in their lives based on their presence on social media” Don’t be creepy about it, but find something interesting to talk about.

3. Don’t sell like a LION.

LION (LinkedIn Open Network) is a connection philosophy. Meaning, you're a LION if you push accept on anyone and everyone that asks to be your connection on social media. While some people find this useful for building a large network, other’s want to build more personal relationships. 

Key takeaway: Pick a connection philosophy, but make sure the person you’re accepting can add value. Koka’s filter for accepting invites is, “If I can add value and you can add value to me; I’ll connect with you.”

4. Always send a personal message when connecting

I can't reiterate enough how important personalization is in emails. Take the same mentality when using social media. That extra minute it takes to write a quick note when connecting will make your relationship that much stronger. Don’t get lazy.

Key takeaway: “A good connection request is relatively short (2 paragraphs) and shows that they actually understand me in some way.” Koka always tries to reply to personal messages. “If you write a personal message when connecting, 99% of the time they will write back. How cool is that? These are your buyers talking to YOU!”

Super simple example:

5. You don’t always have to talk about your company

It’s important to MIX up what you talk about on social media. Unless someone is a devout customer, they might not love hearing about your company as much as you do. Instead, take an influencer approach and share the latest and relevant sales content.

Key takeaway: "Make sure you talk about relevant sales content like: the world of email, why analytics are so important, an occasional sales meme, industry news, etc.” Because you're always doing something new, people will keep on coming back if you're giving enough helpful information.

6. You’re a part-time CEO

One of my favorite lines Koka said was, “You are the CEO of ME Inc.” At the end of the day, it’s about you. A good brand, “conveys some kind of emotion.” So make sure “your” company looks good on social media.

Key takeaway: Think about what that is for yourself. Make sure you tell your story for how you got there, things you’re dealing with, things that interest you. Be a little more authentic and “channel fun things like birthdays and events to add a level of entertainment and authenticity.”

7. It’s great to shoutout to your customers via status updates

Koka uses a trick to promote his network in his status updates. By saying a simple, “Happy Monday to my favorite connections…(and listing a few), you’ll get the attention of your network and show appreciation.

Key takeaway: When you make shoutouts to your current customers or social media followers, you do two things. “One, you build and strengthen the relationship with that person. And two, you increase the visibility of your posts and personal brand.” In other words, their friends will also see your post and you'll gain more visibility.

8. Everyone messes it up at one point.

Everyone make a bad post or says something they shouldn’t have, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn how to not take things so personally.

Key takeaway: “One time I tweeted something that went too far into my personal world, and so I took it down. People were upset that I was taking tweets down and got angry. I fired back and took things way too personally.” Instead he says, “Take the criticism and let it go to your logic brain as opposed to emotional brain.”

9. WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know (Tags)

Companies are making social selling a qualifier these days; as opposed to an option.

Key takeaway: Make sure to tag people into groups on your social media accounts so you have quick access to finding the right people. By tagging groups like “all Sales Managers in SF,” you’ll be more organized with your potential leads or customers.

10. Stop thinking about your LinkedIn profile as your online resume

Don’t just copy and paste your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. It's meant to be used for more. 

Key takeaway: “Make sure you use your online social media profiles to build your reputation and include things about your industry.” What does this do? “By having rich media on your profile, your page becomes a go-to resource! 

11. It’s okay to change your title

It’s okay to have a different title on your LinkedIn profile. Change your title to describe what kind of seller you are along with your company name.

Key takeaway: It’s an added bonus that gives your buyer more information and *sparkle* about you.

*What else would you like to know about Sales? Ask us here!


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