Reach B2B customers before they make their buying decisions by leveraging social selling strategies that combine high-quality content and social media engagement.
Sharing informative, industry-related content on social media can be an excellent way for your business to connect with potential customers.
If you can provide helpful online content that positions you as a credible source of information in your industry, you have a much better chance of doing business with your audience. This relationship-building approach is called social selling and it can be enhanced with the right selection of content.
The strategy is effective because we already know a customer’s buying decision begins long before they reach out to your company. B2B buyers are already 57 to 70 per cent through their buying research before contacting a sales department, according to Worldwide Business Research. People aren’t just using quick Google searches to find solutions. In fact, 84 per cent of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions.
Social selling with high-quality content is a powerful way to drive sales for your organization. You just need to understand why it works and how to implement your own marketing strategy.
What is social selling?
Social selling effectively allows businesses to leverage their social media channels to attract and engage a network of potential customers. LinkedIn is a social media giant that understands the power of social selling. Its own data shows that 78 per cent of companies that use this strategy outperform those who don’t.
The practice is more nuanced than running ad campaigns that just sell your products or services directly to high-intent buyers. Instead, social selling is about sparking interest, nurturing connections, and establishing your company as a trusted voice in relevant spaces.
You may have a team that can crank out high-quality marketing materials, but social selling is more about building relationships with the right audiences.
Why is content an essential element in social selling?
Sharing valuable content and positioning your business as a welcome source of information helps attract prospects to your channels.
When you balance information about your offerings with other helpful industry information, you’re likely to build and engage healthy networks that are happy to follow your channels.
Try to frame social selling as a conversation with key networks to answer their questions about your company. For example, most B2B audiences want to know if you understand their challenges, have deep expertise in their industry, and how your solutions can help people like them.
Content creation vs content curation
Offering the right mix of content in your social selling is imperative, as most B2B audiences aren’t interested in seeing a barrage of product promotions from your feed.
Try a combination of content creation and curation to keep fresh, engaging, and valuable content moving through your social channels.
A good rule of thumb is the 5:3:2 social media rule, which recommends posting 50 per cent curated content, 30 per cent of your own content, and 20 per cent fun content.
Tip: share other content that a) doesn’t detract from your brand messaging and b) uplifts others in your industry or adjacent sectors without directly promoting competitors.
Creating new content gives you a critical opportunity to get your messaging and expertise in front of potential customers. You can showcase what you sell, share how your products help people solve problems, and share insights from within the industry.
Here are a few types of content you can create and share:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- White papers
For other ideas, follow competitor accounts in your industry, so you can see more social media content from other businesses. Be sure not to carbon copy other people’s ideas. Just try to look for patterns across multiple posts. What prompts active discussions? What seems to drive the most engagement?
Curating content from other sources can help boost your activity and increase your engagement on social channels by giving you more information to share. This approach diversifies your feed, so you’re not always in sell mode.
How do you choose the best content to share with your network? Look for industry experts and resources that produce valuable insights to your audience. You can also look for companies in the same sector—maybe those that are not in your local market but have interesting perspectives to share.
The occasional funny or human-interest post can also be welcome if it aligns with generally accepted professional standards in your industry.
How to effectively implement social selling with content
Social media marketing often sounds like it should be about catchy slogans and viral videos, but when working to reach B2B audiences, try to keep a sales-focused vision for your social media activity.
Remember your goal is to engage prospects, attract buyers, and position yourself as a trusted advisor for potential clients. As a result, you’ll win more long-term relationships with high-quality content that helps your customers by providing solutions to their problems.
Here are a few ways to support social selling via your social media channels:
Consult your sales team
While your marketing team may handle most social media content creation, also encourage collaboration between your marketing and sales teams.
While you don’t want to sell to your network with every post, the idea of social selling is to create and share content that supports sales. Ask your sales team what they hear from customers. For example, what questions and objectives are commonly raised? Then, you can develop content that helps your sales team overcome these hurdles.
Work from a content strategy
Social media engagement doesn’t happen without planning. Rare do you find companies driving stellar results by posting only when it feels natural and convenient.
Instead, ensure part of your marketing plan includes a content strategy that plots out the audience you’re trying to reach, the goals you’re trying to achieve and the topics you’d like to cover.
From this strategy, flesh out a content calendar to map out when you’ll share different types of content to ensure coverage across vital topics. Now you can organize the production of content that helps show your understanding and insights in these areas and curate related content from other sources.
Tip: You can also review other B2B companies that target similar audiences, even if they sell something completely different. Watching how your audience responds to other social media content can help inspire new ideas for your own.
Focus on connection
Social selling is a conversation that should help connect you to your audiences. Compare it to representing your company at a networking event. While everyone in attendance understands they’re there for business purposes, and most people have something to promote, there’s more to the conversations than just sales pitches.
Be helpful, answer questions, offer your perspective, and provide information on what you sell when it feels relevant and useful. You’ll find B2B audiences more receptive to selling when combined with genuine help for their business.
Measure and adjust
Most social media platforms have robust analytics features that collect and parse data for you to understand how people respond to different posts. These metrics tell you how many people see your posts, which have the most engagement, and what actions people took as a result of your posts.
Once you understand the type of content that generates the traction with potential prospects, you can adjust your planning to replicate that success.
Customers rely on the information they find online to make buying decisions and will often proactively research vendors via social media. A robust content strategy can help you build trust and credibility within targeted networks and engage with potential customers with social media activity that drives sales. Ready to explore the benefits of social selling using content? Reach out to a Postmedia expert for a consultation, or download our content planning template.