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You've heard the term social selling by now, but are you entirely sure what it means? This sales technique is the art of leveraging your social networks to find the right prospects, building trusted relationships, generating inbound leads and ultimately, reaching your sales quota.

No doubt about it, social selling is a buzzword. Nevertheless, it's also an important tool in the successful sales professional’s toolbox, just as much so as phone or email. Today, B2B buyers are very selective and won’t take a meeting with you unless they trust you and the brand you represent. Social media is a great venue to position yourself as an expert on any topic by sharing valuable industry content and insights.  

Social selling is about developing relationships as part of the sales process, often via social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Salespeople who’ve incorporated the method of social selling into their standard sales process outperform their less social savvy peers. According to a survey made by LinkedIn, salespeople who work actively with social selling are 51% more likely to hit quota than those who are stuck in the pre-social funnel. Social selling is not a magic wand that instantly gives results; quite the opposite, building thought leadership and strong connections both online and offline takes time and hard work, the method has to be used continuously to become a driver of success.

Equally as important to explaining what social selling means is to explain what social selling isn’t. It’s not about spamming your network with sale content from your company or about clicking the like button on everything that shows up in your newsfeed on LinkedIn, nor is it about bombarding strangers with unsolicited Tweets and private messages.

Social selling is not about spamming your network with sales content from your company.  

Now that you understand what social selling is all about, here are 10 tried-and-tested tips that help you master this sales technique.

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10 fundamental social selling tips 

1. Get your profiles in good shape 

Your online profiles will create the first impression of you for many important connections. Complete your profile with a professional photo and thoughtful bio on Twitter and LinkedIn etc. Well-written profiles with a costumer-centric story enhance your brand.

2. Decide on who you’re targeting

Are you a recruiter trying to attract talent or are you a sales professional trying to drive sales? Decide who you want to engage with on social and adjust your messages and content accordingly.

3. Engage with insights

Engage with thought leaders within your area of expertise and share your knowledge with prospects and other key connections in your network. A strong comment means so much more than a thumbs up.  

4. Build trusted relationships

Focus on genuine conversations first, selling second. Share your perspectives and help provide relevant information to common pain points and build trust with prospects as a result.

5. Think quality over quantity

When sharing a link on social that you think your network will find valuable, add a few lines of text with it. Share your opinion, a key takeaways from the article or encourage your network to engage with your post by asking a relevant question. Follow your post and reply quickly when someone comments on it.

6. Create a content piece

Better than proving your knowledge by providing additional insights to someone else’s content on social, is to create your own content piece. Record a quick video or write a blog post. Publish the content both on your or your company’s website and/or directly on LinkedIn.

7. Schedule a meeting through social

Capitalize on the connections you make online and schedule a meeting with someone whom you’ve had a fruitful discussion with in social media.

8. Be active in online communities

Rate the company you work for on Glassdoor, participates in discussions on Quora and Reddit and join relevant LinkedIn groups. Being active in online communities helps you grow your network and spread your message further.  

9. Don’t just share your own content

Social selling is about taking part in dialogue online; it’s not about having a monologue where you bombard your network with articles created by you and/or your company. Share relevant content from other thought leaders within your industry too.

10. Measure your results 

Keep track on which posts worked well and which didn’t. Do you get better engagement on your share if you included a question? Measure the result of your presence on social and do more of what works well.

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