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The Art of Social Selling

Free Content

The B2B Marketer’s Guide To Social Selling

Sales is a concept as old as time. 

From the bartering system to cold calling and digital advertising, B2B sales has evolved over the years, simplifying the process of attracting and turning prospects into paying customers. 

While many marketers still rely on digital ads, B2B social selling is fast becoming a more efficient way to nurture leads and grow your sales pipeline. That’s because more B2B executives use social media to make buying decisions. 

For example, 4 in 5 LinkedIn users drive business decisions. These decision-makers also self-educate on other social platforms before buying. That means your company’s website or blog shouldn’t be the only channels you’re investing in. Instead, you should repurpose blog posts into native social content to reach, engage, and convert prospects. That’s where social selling comes in super handy. 

This guide breaks down how to use social selling to grow your business, reduce ad spend, and get more ROI from content marketing. As a B2B content marketer, you’ll learn how to do social selling right and hit your marketing goals. 

Ready to use social selling to get more results while marketing in a downturn? Let’s dive right in! 

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What B2B Social Selling Is and Why You Should Care

Social selling for B2B brands means using social media channels to find and connect with prospects, build trust, strengthen relationships, and ultimately sell more. Employees can also do the same with their networks. 

The result? 

More prospects in your network, increased trust, shorter sales cycles, more customers, and new revenue opportunities. 

Some marketers confuse social selling with social media marketing. While both concepts seem alike at first glance, they differ in many ways. 

Social media marketing is mostly about building brand awareness and educating your audience. You share content your audience will find relevant to capture their interest. Social selling is a more direct approach that involves prospecting and outreach. You target ideal customers with content that directly addresses their pain points. 

While social media marketing promises increased brand awareness and more traffic, social selling offers this and more. 

Here are 5 benefits of social selling you should know:

Dreamdata’s LinkedIn strategy is a good example of social selling in action. 

What started as a simple experiment among six employees resulted in closed deals, thousands of dollars saved on LinkedIn ad spend, and new revenue opportunities. Here’s what Dreamdata’s social selling scorecard looks like: 

All in 91 days! But it all started with a single LinkedIn post from an account executive at Dreamdata, Laura Erdem. Laura’s post broke down a recent win she had experienced and some key takeaways. The post generated over 40,000 views, and Dreamdata’s website recorded an all-time high number of visitors and MQLs as a result. 

Source: Dreamdata

Cofounders Steffen Hedebrandt and Lars Grønnegaard Hansen and four other team members saw potential in the win and decided to conduct an intentional experiment with social selling this time. The team set a goal, defined the ground rules, swung into action, and the results were massive:

✅ More organic traffic and brand awareness

✅ Closed more deals, including those they had tried to close outbound before the social selling experiment

✅ Positioned the brand as an authority for all things B2B attribution 

✅ Boosted each participant’s profile, positing them as reliable industry experts who influence prospects via their personal accounts 

Pretty impressive, right? 

It’s amazing how social selling not only elevates your brand but strengthens employees’’ voices, who in turn use their influence to reach those in their network. 

You, too, can achieve even more results and hit your goals before the quarter is over by using the right strategies. Here are five ways to do social selling right. 

How to Do Social Selling the Right Way: 4 Tips

1. Set a Goal and Get Employee Buy-in 

Goal setting isn’t new to the marketing industry, however, it’s greatly underutilized. Some marketers set goals but fail to meet them because they don’t know how to align and get other team members excited about them.

The Dreamdata employees succeeded because they were aligned on the goals and had a way to stay motivated. The goal was clear and simple: generate 300,000 views on LinkedIn from all six accounts in Q2.

Source: Dreamdata

Notice that the goal was specific, measurable, and time-bound. You can easily track progress and tell when you’re hitting the mark. You should keep this in mind while setting a goal for social selling. 

Next, all six members put an incentive to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize—a dinner when the goal was reached. Rewards are a great morale booster when it comes to getting team-wide buy-in. When you know there’s something in it for you; you’re more likely to dig the work to achieve the goal than when there’s no reward for your efforts. 

You want to get employees excited about the goal by offering a reward. It doesn’t have to be dinner. It could be a gift card, a bonus, extra company gear, or anything that shows you recognize and acknowledge your team’s efforts. That’s how to get buy-in. 

2. Define Your Strategy

Your strategy determines how you’re going to reach prospects on social media. 

For Dreamdata, the strategy was posting high-quality content frequently on all things B2B attribution. The team didn’t just want to generate random traffic. They wanted to reach prospects by positioning themselves as the B2B attribution experts. That meant sharing consistent content often. 

Adopting this strategy attracted huge attention as the team focused on sharing content prospects would find helpful. They also leveraged each other’s strengths. That meant everyone wasn’t obligated to create text or video-only content. “Use the content form that works for you but make it customer-centric” was the rule of the game. 

One of the top-performing pieces was a meme that shared a valuable takeaway on B2B attribution, with no direct mention of the product. 

The post resonated with over 300 people. Apparently, the meme and the benefits-driven message resonated more with customers in an educating and entertaining way. 

The secret here is to make your product’s value proposition a key piece of your strategy. That means focusing on establishing authority around your value proposition. Let people associate that topic with you. You should be the authority they think of first, not your competitors. 

Here are some tips to get started with your team: 

  • Define your value proposition and make a plan to build authority on the topic
  • Create and share high-quality content. Repurpose relevant existing posts 
  • Embrace conversational storytelling. That means speaking directly to your target audience and avoiding ambiguous words. 
  • Establish a posting cadence. It should be more than once a week. 
  • Leverage everyone’s content superpower. Foundationite Hannah is the meme expert, and we can count on Kanaar for all things video. Of course, we would leverage their superpowers on LinkedIn if we’re taking Dreamdata’s approach to social selling. 
  • Avoid making the majority of your posts product-centric. Instead, educate your audience in an insightful and insightful entertaining way. 

3. Identify Simple Ways to Stand Out

A big part of breaking through the noise on social media is finding simple ways to stand out. Dreamdata isn’t the only brand that does this. Gong excels at doing this as well. 

Let’s steal two tactics from Gong’s social selling playbook:

Using Gong’s Colors on Employees’ Cover Photo and Profile Picture

What do you see when you look at these headshots:

We see the purple color used as the background. 

Flying your company’s colors on an individual profile might seem like an overstretch, but it’s a good first step in showing a united front on social media. It doesn’t directly impact revenue, but it’s nice to see unity shine. Plus, it’s a great brand recognition strategy you should leverage. 

Funneling Blog Traffic to Primary Social Media

According to SimilarWeb, almost 80% of Gong’s social traffic comes from LinkedIn:

That’s because Gong’s blog posts used to have a “follow us on LinkedIn” CTA:

“Follow us on LinkedIn” is not your typical SaaS blog CTA but Gong took the unconventional approach to nurture leads via LinkedIn instead of email. This strategy resulted in over 160,000 followers on the platform. That’s over five times more than its competitor, Chorus. 

Gong also keeps a pretty consistent posting cadence, sharing somewhere between 10-15 posts each week. That’s way more than many B2B brands post annually. The team shares a combination of videos, data-driven posts, text posts, memes, and other content that resonates with its audience. 

Like Gong, find simple ways to break through the noise and stand apart from the crowd. You can also embrace a consistent type of imagery. Gong pairs emotion-driven imagery with its posts. 

4. Leverage Employee’s Personal Brands

Employee personal brands are another solid way to social sell. That’s because some employees already have an audience that trusts and acts on their advice. 

Your employees’ networks have 10x more connections than your company’s followers on LinkedIn. Their content can also generate 5x more website traffic and 25% more leads. A fraction of their audience might be your target audience, and the best way to find out is to let employees build their personal brands on social media before you need it. That means not seeing their personal brands as a threat but as an ally. 

At Foundation, one of our core values is “elevate culture,” and many of our team members show up on social media every week to do this using their profiles. 

Beyond making random posts that include a shout-out to Foundation, we use the #shapeculture hashtag to educate our individual audience on all things content marketing, content distribution, content strategy, remote work, and more. 

In-depth Twitter threads are also another way we show up on LinkedIn. Ross takes the lead on this one, with most of his threads leading to revenue conversations and brand partnerships. 

The key takeaway from this point is to give employees room to share content on their accounts. The benefits here are two-fold. First, your brand gets free publicity and more recognition. Also, you stand a better chance of reaching prospects in your employees’ network, especially those who already trust your employee’s voice. That’s why employees should have the creative freedom to run their own social platforms how they see fit. 

Like Dreamdata and Foundation, come up with creative ways to engage employees and attach a reward to boost morale. You’ll be amazed at the impact of this move. 

Use Social Selling To Grow Your Pipeline

With social selling, you can find and connect with prospects on social media, build trust, strengthen relationships, and ultimately sell more. Doing this will result in increased trust, a shorter sales cycle, more customers, and new revenue opportunities.

The secret to succeeding with social selling is to:

  • Set a goal and get employee buy-in like Dreamdata
  • Make your product’s value proposition a key piece of your strategy. That means focusing on establishing authority around your value proposition. 
  • Find simple ways to stand out like Gong
  • Leverage employee’s personal brands

Do these and see your sales pipeline become red hot. 

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