What are the main differences between social selling and social marketing? What strategies can we adopt to win more business?
There are various definitions, but in my mind, social marketing is part of the marketing strategy. Its purpose is to help us, as a company, build up brand awareness online and to let our partners and prospects know who we are and what problems we can uniquely solve. The objective of social marketing is to build up connections with prospects and educate them, so when they have a need, they know who to come to for a solution. It is about building up trust and putting out regular and accurate content that your partners and prospects value. It goes hand in hand with PR, helping you to drip-feed information to build your company’s reputation as a thought leader and a ‘go-to’ company for specific expertise.
The problem that most marketers have with social marketing is that it is difficult to measure success as the endgame is not direct leads and orders but a well-known and trusted brand name. This also takes years to build and can be destroyed in seconds online.
Social selling focusses on prospecting online. You need to maintain visibility of your brand, but the endgame is leads and orders. The challenge that most people have with this is that it is a slow game that takes months of identifying the next ideal prospect, researching the company and all major contacts, connecting with them, and sending them relevant and useful information that will result in a successful sale.
It is not advisable to go straight in with who you work for and what you are selling. You need to think about what you can send them that will make them think of you as an expert in your field and someone they can go to with a problem that you can uniquely solve.
It takes lots of activity and time, which most salespeople do not have when there are much more direct routes to hitting their targets. Many people invest in software to help shortcut the process and identify key posts to comment on or like and set up alerts to respond to; others are fed by their marketing departments.
Each approach needs to be targeted; for example, when you are trying to sell something to me, you need to understand what my challenges may be right now. To do this, you may start with our website, blogs, and social posts and then look at what my colleagues and peers are posting and sharing. You need to put yourself in my position and send me something that I would find interesting and relevant, which may provoke a question, leading to a conversation, a demo, and maybe even a sale. You also need to time your approach right.
The endgame is always to get the right messaging to the right person at the right time.
However you choose to do this, reporting is key. With this information, improvements can be made.