18 Plays for Winning at Social Selling

Reading time: 7 min

Ah, Super Bowl season.

Whether you are a lover of football or simply enjoy watching the spectacle for the commercials and halftime show, the Super Bowl is hard to ignore.

We thought we’d help you get into the Super Bowl spirit by writing a post chock-full of plays. Just as quarterbacks have their favorite plays for winning games, social sellers have their favorite plays for winning at social selling.

So, without further ado, here are 18 plays you can start using today.

LinkedIn Plays

1. Use alumni search

Your fellow alumni can be a fantastic resource. If you want to see if any of your former classmates are in your territory, use LinkedIn’s free alumni search tool.

By reconnecting with former classmates while researching target companies, you might just get the “in” you need at a particular company.

2. Look at the “People Also Viewed” section

Nowadays, the typical deal involves 6.8 stakeholders. Don’t you wish that you could easily find more stakeholders at key companies? Well, you can!

Head over to the profile of one of your prospects where the “People Also Viewed” section will show other users similar to him or her, many of which are stakeholders at the same organization.

3. Avoid cold pitches, especially on InMail

Focus on adding value instead. Help your buyer. If you are solely talking about your product, social selling will not work for you.

4. Request introductions

It’s often easier to connect with a stranger if you have a connection in common. As you search for leads on LinkedIn, look for “second-degree connections.”

Once you’ve located a second-degree connection, ask your mutual colleague for an introduction. You can see your mutual connections in the sidebar of a LinkedIn page (below the “People Also Viewed” section).

5. Be purposeful with content sharing

Some people share content just to share content. But that “strategy” will not result in stronger relationships. Content sharing needs to be purposeful. Ask yourself:

  • Why am I sharing this piece of content?
  • Will it help my buyers?
  • Will it entertain them?
  • Is this something my audience has not seen?
  • Am I providing context as I share this piece of content?

Don’t just share a URL without typing a few words of commentary. Your buyers won’t see what you see. Having a point of view will help you stand out in the LinkedIn newsfeed.

6. Look at who has commented on your prospect’s posts

Use the comments section wisely. It can help you:

Identify more stakeholders: Many times, a connection’s co-workers will comment on their posts. See what they are talking about and try to glean information about the relationship between the poster and the commenter–the person could be a key stakeholder at your account.

Look for potential prospects: Chances are your customers and prospects are connected to other people in their industry, so many of the people who interact with your prospects and customers could be a good fit for your product.

Add value: Comments are the perfect springboard for engagement. Think about how you can respond and add value.

7. Write a buyer-focused profile

After your photo and headline on LinkedIn, your summary (i.e. your bio) is the most commonly viewed portion of your profile. If you’re in sales, your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t read like a resume for a hiring manager. Rather, tell your story to a potential customer.

Not sure of the difference? Here’s an example:

Don’t like this template? HubSpot has created three additional templates you can check out.

Twitter plays

8. Master the hashtag

Identifying the right hashtags is critical for social selling success. Hashtags allow you to eavesdrop on conversations, join already existing conversations, and start new conversations.

By monitoring conversations, you can learn about your industry and prospects, and by adding value to conversations, you can start to build relationships that could end in a business transaction.

9. Listen to buyers

Before you engage your buyers on the phone, on email, in person, or on social, you need to listen. Listening will help you have more productive conversations.

Twitter lists allow you to organize a specific subset of people and follow their tweet activity. By creating lists you can group people together and pare down the number of tweets you see at one time.

Some reps organize their lists according to prospect temperature. Other reps choose to group Twitter users based on accounts. Below, you can see a Twitter list for Trapit employees.

Note: You can create private Twitter lists so no one else can see your list of prospects.

10. Learn how to use advanced search

Twitter has two search tools on its web-based application. There’s the search option in the navigation bar at the top of the page, which looks like this:

And then there’s the advanced search feature, which gives you more options for searching tweets and its users. You can find it here.

For instance, you can use Twitter search to find your competitors’ disgruntled customers, allowing you to swoop in and steal business. Use the “Mentioning these accounts” and the frowny face in the “Other” section to find those tweets – like this:

11. Sprinkle in tidbits of your personal life

Unlike LinkedIn, which is a buttoned-up social network, Twitter is more amenable to personal tweets. In fact, mixing personal and professional tweets will make you seem more human and approachable.

12. Use the 80/20 rule

Social selling experts suggest that 80% of the content shared by sales reps is sourced from third parties (other people’s blogs, news, research reports, etc.). The other 20% should come from the rep’s company.

Why? If you share only your company’s content, you lose credibility with your buyers. By sharing other people’s content, you project expertise–not just blind loyalty.

13. Use the Quote Tweet Feature

Retweeting amplifies a message. But it doesn’t add anything of substance.

Believe it or not, there’s a better way to retweet. It’s called “quote tweeting.” Quote tweeting allows you to give more context. Let’s take a look at this quote tweet:

By quote tweeting, you are able to summarize what you like about this article. Plus, you are able to add another hashtag to the discussion, making the tweet more discoverable for Twitter users. Also, the original Tweeter will be notified you have commented on their content, making them more likely to engage with you.

Program management plays

14. Align with marketing around the customer

For any social program to work, it needs to be aligned to the customer. Marketing needs to provide guidance on who the target customers are and how those customers use digital channels. As sellers interact with buyers in the field, they need to report back on what they’re witnessing so marketers have the opportunity to listen, learn, and challenge their assumptions about buyers.

15. Align with marketing on content

The key to social selling is education. A seller’s instinct is to pitch and push the product, but that turns off the modern buyer. Instead, reps need to think about helping customers and becoming a go-to resource of information. That’s why 67% of marketers almost always or frequently support social selling with content (Forrester). Content is a proven way to educate and engage modern buyers.

16. Get executive buy-in

This person will be your social selling champion, particularly in the beginning stages if you don’t have the data to show the true ROI of your sales team’s efforts on social. Find someone who can relay social selling success up the ladder to an executive, while also establishing credibility and authority to the sales reps. The goal is to get buy-in at the top so it doesn’t feel like an uphill battle every time you mention your program. At the same time, you must get buy-in from the reps themselves. Otherwise, you won’t see results.

17. Formalize your program with training

Training is mandatory. Without training, you will have Sales Rep A doing one thing, and Sales Rep B doing another. Ongoing social sales education helps create uniformity among your team and increases the chances of success. A good training program should integrate “How to” and “Best Practices” in the context of sales activities.

18. Invest in the right technology

It’s important to choose tools that your teams can easily use to accomplish their key goals.

A complete social selling platform will help marketing and sales teams:

  • Build a social content library
  • Research market trends, competitors, target companies, and prospective customers on the web and on social
  • Attract and engage new buyers
  • Build long-term customer relationships
  • Increase revenue
  • Measure and optimize social engagement

The right social selling solution empowers marketing and sales teams to do all this, serving as the backbone for sales reps’ interactions with prospective and existing customers, across digital channels. What’s more, a best-of-breed social selling platform is easy to use. No one wants to waste time and money on software users hate or–even worse–bypass altogether.

Want to learn more about Trapit’s best-of-breed social selling platform, and how it can help you empower your sales team? Speak to a strategist today!

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