The internet represents a fundamental change in the way the many businesses are now selling their products or services. Today, social media has become a very large part of the marketing process and has warped traditional methods of selling even on the internet.
Social selling has now become one of the most prominent strategies for all types of businesses when it comes to reaching their customers. For many small online companies and entrepreneurs, it is a vital way of creating repeat business.
What is Social Selling?
Actually, social selling has been around long before the internet was even started. By definition, social selling is a technique that is indirect in nature and commonly associated with the “soft” sell. A “hard” sell is typified by a pitchman telling you all the attributes of a particular product with the emphasis on buying now. Actively generating positive online reviews for your business can be described as a form of social selling due to the fact that they can generate targeted traffic for a particular business on ratings and review websites.
However, a “soft” sell uses an indirect approach which emphasizes the importance of the product or service, but there is no pressure to buy. This particular technique is best used to guide people into believing that they need the product, this is where social selling comes into play.
In many social media sites, this type of selling is commonplace because the business, product or service is what people are naturally interested in and making the purchase feels like a natural step.
The Issues with Traditional Marketing Techniques
While some traditional marketing techniques still have value, there are certain forms that are clearly going out of style. Unsolicited emails for example are not only old hat as they are actually frowned upon as a way of getting through to potential customers.
Another traditional advertising technique is cold calling which has fallen out of favor for many different types of sales. While it is still effective in certain cases, for the most part people are shying away from this technique because it is becoming harder to make the sale.
Cold calling and unsolicited emails are definitely on the out, particularly when techniques such as social selling are on the rise. This is especially true with social sites such as LinkedIn which creates a very strong social setting for sales to take place.
How to Make Social Selling Work on Social Networks Such as LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers many distinctive advantages over most of the other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn really emphasizes the personal activities, employment and skills of the individual. Understanding how to reach them through effective social selling can reap many sales for your business.
- Building Relationships: This is the core of social selling on LinkedIn with the idea being that your primary goal is to establish a relationship with the potential customer or client in the case of business to business (B2B) selling. Making the connection through common interests is the first step in the social selling process.
- Establish Authority: This is another common, but excellent way to induce a sale is by establishing your business as an authority in your industry. So, if you sell socks for example it is important to provide frequent information on the best socks around.
Social selling on LinkedIn and other platforms has worked wonders in terms of establishing long term customers. Using this marketing method to your advantage will help bring in the sales as well.