Social media is like the Force: it connects us, binds us, and holds our (relative) universes together. No matter how we use it, though, we're selling. Whether it's to craft the "perfect" life, hire new talent, or promote our companies, social media is the new form of the cold call.
Creatively called "social selling," the practice rapidly blurs the lines between sales and marketing. Traditional reps scoff and say, "Twitter? That's not my job!"
So what is social selling? Social selling involves both marketing and sales to listen to, engage with, and collaborate with potential buyers digitally. It's using social networks to conduct buyer research, build relationships, and drive revenue, customer value, and advocacy.
For sales, this means transitioning the online interaction or touchpoint into a human one as soon as possible, allowing them to search, pursue, and connect prospects to the business.
But, as Daniel Pink argues in his latest book, it's no longer a seller's market. The information renaissance flips this traditional model. Think back to the last time you bought a car. Rather than take the salesman's word for granted, you googled the price.
Hubspot dubs this inbound sales. Social media allows you to be found by potential buyers, to be relevant by connecting them directly to services, and to be more authentic. We still have negative perceptions of what a "sales guy" is--you're imagining Alec Baldwin as we speak--but relinquishing your power to the buyer ultimately builds your credibility, authenticity, and drives the sale.
Jill Rowley, social selling guru, describes the social phases as 5 pillars:
Both marketers and salespeople need to evaluate their use of social media. Are you shouting into a crowded room or directly connecting with the people who care about what you have to say?
If you're curious about social selling and want to learn more, I'd recommend attending one of Jill Rowley's webinars or catching up on her blog.