There’s already plenty of data to suggest companies with strong social sellers thrive. A study by Altimeter & LinkedIn, for example, said those with strong engagement on social media are 57 per cent more likely to see growth in sales leads. Research on Social Media Today, meanwhile, said content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Want more proof? A story on Forbes suggests sales reps using social media as part of their sales techniques outsell 78 per cent of their peers.
Even once sales reps are on social media, though, the tricky part is figuring out which articles, blog posts, white papers, webinars and other content they should share with their followers, and how. These 10 tips should make that job a little bit easier.
1. Revisit Your Keyword Strategy (Or Start One)
If you’ve invested in making it easy for your web site to be found on Google, you may already be familiar with search engine optimization (SEO), which often starts by doing some research on the terms that relate to your products and services. It’s a good idea for web pages to have commonly searched-for keywords woven into the content in order to get ranked. The good news is, those same keywords could be a good discovery mechanism for reps to use as they monitor Google News and other sources for new articles, blog posts and reports that might interest their customers. If you’re a B2B firm helping small businesses build or host web sites, for instance, try news searches related to “slow website causes” and look for tips and insights that help educate potential prospects.
2. Look For Adjacent Marketing Activities
Companies whose sales and marketing teams work closely together tend to drive more revenue, and that collaboration works in social media, too. What kind of e-mail blasts will your company be sending out within the next month or quarter? What local events will you host or participate in this year? What products are you launching? Having these milestone items well-organized will make it easier for sales teams to spot relevant content online they can share with their followers, helping to amplify the efforts marketing departments will be making in more traditional channels.
3. Hang Onto Your Industry Influencers’ Coattails
In every sector, there are at least a few stars. These experts might be well-respected journalists, popular bloggers, industry analysts or representative members of your target customer who happen to be good at using social media already. Look for what they’re sharing and, where appropriate, re-share it to your own followers, explaining briefly why you did. “[Influencer] always finds the best stats,” for example, is the kind of hat-tip that may prompt the guru in question to follow you back if they haven’t already, and to promote some of your posts to their followers.
4. Look For Pictures As Well As Words
Twitter and Facebook started as largely text-driven social services, but they’ve learned from the popularity of Snapchat and Pinterest and have started emphasizing social posts that share content with strong images attached. Consider prioritizing content that shows as well as tells, or uses data in an interesting way through infographics or even event photos that showcase the highlights of major industry gatherings.
5. Consider The Source(s)
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on social media is sharing something you haven’t first reviewed yourself. Not all sites are reputable, and in some cases information isn’t properly attributed to the original source as it should be. Do your due diligence on what you share just as you would any information you’d send directly to a customer or prospect via e-mail, where they might respond back with uneasy questions. You don’t want those kind of questions to come back at you publicly on social media.
6. How Evergreen Is This Content?
It makes sense to jump on some news stories or blog posts quickly and share them as quickly as possible with your followers, but in some cases the content may have a longer shelf life and can be re-shared several times. Space these shares out over the course of days or weeks so you don’t look like you’re spamming your followers, and consider tweaking the headline or title you’re pushing out if you keep on sharing it to reflect different takeaways they may find useful.
7. Where Should You Share?
Facebook tends to be a great platform for consumer content, LinkedIn is better for B2B. That’s the conventional wisdom, but don’t be hemmed in by that thinking. Effective sharing on social media is all about looking for channels where you think customers and prospects may be talking about a particular topic or theme, and contributing to the conversation with something relevant. If you want to share on LinkedIn, for instance, look for LinkedIn Groups that pertain to your industry and paste URLs of interesting articles to prompt a discussion thread.
8. When Should You Share?
Think about the habits you’ve learned from talking to customers face-to-face or even via e-mail. Do they gripe about long commutes? That means it may be better to share content early in the morning or after rush hour when they’re likely to be online. Is there a major industry conference you’re attending that customers may have to skip? You could do them a service by live-tweeting comments from keynote speakers, or sharing the best news articles that cover the event for them during lunch hour. Experiment and change up your sharing patterns occasionally to see what works and what gets re-shared or liked.
9. What Value Can You Add?
If you’re sharing content as a sales rep, it’s usually for a reason, and it’s always a good idea to explain why. “Great advice for people dealing with budget issues,” is a simple example of context you can put in a post on Twitter or LinkedIn before you share the URL of a thoughtful news story or blog post that could help your customers. Another idea: save customers time by reading long list-based articles and letting them know which points stood out to you.
10. Show Your Passion And Empathy By What You Share
Using social media professionally doesn’t mean you have to act like a robot. If you see a funny opinion piece, or a customer story that makes you smile, that might be as important as sharing a white paper or other piece of research. We come to social media for the same reasons we approach each other in person: to not only be educated and informed, but inspired.
Choosing on social media is always a little subjective, but that’s the point. Your choices should reflect who you are, what you understand about your audience and what you think they can’t afford to miss.
Learn more about the anatomy of a successful social selling strategy here as well as in Saleforce’s free eBook: