Simply put, social selling is a personal approach to online marketing and sales. Since the role of social media is increasingly important in consumer purchases, it is more crucial than ever to use this media effectively. However, everyone uses social media, so you must be distinctive and choose a smart approach. That is where social selling comes in: instead of the traditional approach of “cold calling” and ads aimed at a general audience, social selling is about personal branding. Use social media to share the knowledge and skills your company has to offer as an expert and so-called “thought leader”. With social selling, cold acquisition is a thing of the past.
Benefits of social selling
The heart, and biggest advantage, of social selling is the development of a personal connection with your customers. Especially in the present impersonal digital world, people need to connect with real people. When your sales staff use social media for personal communication with your customers, they generate confidence in the expertise of your company. Through this type of interaction, you can create a bond that might bring in many loyal customers.
Personal contact makes it a lot easier for sales employees to figure out the specific needs of customers. Let your company anticipate this, and in the long run your revenue will increase considerably.
LinkedIn studied the impact of social selling, finding that sales employees have a 51% higher chance of achieving their targets using this methodology. Read more
How can employee advocacy contribute to social selling?
In traditional sales, only the marketing and sales department is employed to develop an appealing social selling strategy. But why not engage more employees? Your other employees have a lot of expertise and creativity too. Benefit from their skills and use them in your social selling strategy. In other words, take advantage of the opportunities of employee advocacy.
Employee advocacy is about giving employees an active role as brand ambassadors. This means you not only share the knowledge and skills your company has to offer through corporate social media channels, but also through the personal social media of your employees. By doing so, not only will your reach increase, thanks to the large and relevant network your employees probably have, but it also generates more customer confidence.
Through this, you introduce potential customers to the people behind your organisation. Thereby, you increase the accessibility and credibility of your business. This might ultimately inspire people to think of your company as the place of choice for advice and the best products.
How can you use employees for social selling through employee advocacy?
First of all, it is important that you know what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, and what you have to offer. So, start with determining your goals, target group, and proposition. Only then can you take full advantage of the possibilities of social selling. Use the concept of employee advocacy: how are you going to implement this in your social selling strategy? With the 3 tips below, you will get the idea.
3 tips for an optimal social selling strategy
Tip 1. Use the personal channels of your employees
Ask your employees to share content from and about your business through their personal channels. As brand ambassadors, they are a personal brand, and together they form a network that helps you spread your message. Your employees are the representatives of your company and accessible to customers, and therefore can inspire confidence. Moreover, they make your online content more personal and “real”, and that is especially important for contemporary consumers.
Besides, the network of your employees offers opportunities: their followers are former colleagues, friends, and family members with similar interests. Through employee advocacy, you will ultimately reach many more potential customers than through your corporate channels only.
Tip 2. Use authentic content
This tip partly builds on the importance of the “real”, personal content your employees provide. Therefore, they are not only important for sharing corporate content, but their own stories as well. Online, you will find various tools to help you out; for example, Apostle, which allows employees to submit photos, videos, and texts that you can use to generate the brand expressions you desire. Through the linked profiles of your brand ambassadors, you will be able to distribute these posts to various social channels.
Tip 3. Listen to your employees
Presumably, your employees are the ultimate link between your organization and the rest of the world. Through their network, they know what is going on, what is needed, and how your company can use that to its advantage. So, listen carefully to them, respond to their suggestions in your marketing and sales activities, and use this knowledge to serve your customers to the best of your ability. By using this bottom-up strategy, you will largely increase the chances of success with your social selling strategy.
Social selling: achieving online success through employee advocacy
Especially in this time of COVID-19, it is quite a challenge for a company to stand out online. But often, in times of crisis the best ideas arise. And one of those ideas might be the use of your employees as brand ambassadors in your social selling strategy. Through employee advocacy, you let them participate in the online brand expressions of your company. And, with the right tools, this challenge is feasible for every employee. Use our 3 tips, and let the world know what your company has to offer!
Get in touch with expert Koen Jordaans to discuss the options within your organization!