Did you know that, as of 2020, the average person spends 145 minutes (nearly two and a half hours) per day on social media? With so many eyes on social media, you’d be right to think these platforms have caught the attention of sales and marketing professionals. Social selling is now a crucial part of sales strategy for most businesses, as younger users increasingly turn to social media before making a purchase — 50% of 16-24 year olds research products on social networks before buying. 

All this focus on social media has resulted in a highly-competitive landscape. 93% of marketers agree that social media has accelerated competition within their industry. Social networks are full of paid and organic content from individuals, influencers, and brands of all kinds. So how can you create a social selling strategy that stands out from the rest?

Read on to learn more about social selling, what it is, how you can implement it in your business, and what tools are available to help you. 

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What is social selling?


Social selling is about using social media to generate leads and make sales. It sometimes involves reaching out directly to prospects on social media.

However, it also includes more “indirect” activities, like posting content to introduce your products, demonstrating expertise, building a community, and answering questions.

Although these activities may traditionally be thought of as marketing, they are also highly relevant to sales, as they can help you attract inbound leads and customers on social media. Social selling may therefore involve both marketing and sales teams.   

Today, social selling has become an increasingly important activity for sales professionals. Data from LinkedIn show that 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media, and social selling leaders are 51% more likely to reach their sales quotas. 

4 Social Selling Tips and Best Practices


1. Build Up Your Profile


To gain credibility online, you’ll first need to have enough information on your social media profiles to let people know who you are. When creating a company page on social media, you should:

  • Add a profile picture that represents your company (like your logo)
  • Add a professional cover graphic using your brand colors
  • Fill in all relevant information about your company, including opening hours (if applicable), location, official website, and a short description

Individual sales reps, marketing staff, and executives may also need to use their personal profiles as part of your company’s social selling outreach efforts (for example, when using LinkedIn). In that case, they’ll  want to make sure their LinkedIn profiles are professional, appropriate, and completely filled out. 

Encourage all client-facing staff to:

  • Add a headshot with neutral background, clear photo quality, and professional attire
  • Add a background image that represents your company or industry
  • Fill out their headline, summary, and contact information
  • List their skills and ask for recommendations from clients and colleagues

2. Share Valuable Information


If you consistently post valuable content, this will help your social selling efforts by attracting your ideal prospects to your social media profiles. You’ll want to post content that is engaging, genuine, and relevant. This means addressing your customers’ concerns, using the same type of language they use, and positioning yourself as an industry expert.

Two excellent examples of social media content creation come from Wendy's (B2C):



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And from Mailchimp (B2B):


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As you can see, Wendy’s uses a casual and humorous tone when posting on Twitter, while Mailchimp takes a knowledgeable and helpful approach on LinkedIn. These brands’ social selling strategies are very different, as each one has tailored their message to reach the target audience.

As you can see, Wendy’s uses a casual and humorous tone when posting on Twitter, while Mailchimp takes a knowledgeable and helpful approach on LinkedIn. These brands’ social selling strategies are very different, as each one has tailored their message to reach the target audience.


3. Build a Relationship with Prospects

You can grow your audience and draw attention to your offer by building a relationship with your prospects on social networks. This could mean:

  • Participating in industry-related groups and forums
  • Holding contests and giveaways
  • Liking and commenting on others’ posts
  • Engaging your followers with relevant questions, tips, and advice

4. Choose the Right Social Media Platform


If you’ve done some customer segmentation and created audience personas, you can use this information to decide which platforms to focus on. Different social media sites attract different demographics — for example, most US TikTok users are 18-24, while 60% of worldwide Pinterest users are female. While most brands are active on more than one social media platform, understanding the demographics of your customers can help you decide what kind of social selling campaigns to run, and where you should be investing the most time and energy.

Social Selling Maturity Model


Stage 1: Social Selling Beginner

Social selling beginners are completely new to the idea of social selling. Your company might be at Stage One if you:

  • Only sell via traditional channels like direct mail or cold calling
  • Don’t have any company social media pages (or don’t use your pages)
  • Don’t have any social selling strategies or policies in place


Stage 2: Social Selling Novice

At Stage Two, you may have a company page or individual social media profiles set up, but you haven’t created a plan for social selling. Sales reps or marketing staff might be acting individually, but not in a coordinated way. Perhaps you’re struggling with consistent posting, your social profiles may not be completely filled out, or you may still not be reaching your target audience.

You might be a social selling novice if you:

  • Only post occasionally on your company pages
  • Aren’t seeing many results from your social media efforts
  • Struggle to gain followers or interactions on social media
  • Have a team of salespeople sending out social media messages at random, without a coordinated strategy


Stage 3: Social Selling Competent

At Stage Three, you’ve set up an organized social selling strategy. Your team has worked together to craft an overarching vision for social selling, and you’ve  created policies to leverage the sales potential of social media. However, you still don’t feel like you’ve reached your full potential, and are hoping to achieve even better results.

You might be at Stage Three if you:

  • Have a clear plan for social selling
  • Have your social media profiles fully set up
  • Are starting to get some engagement and traction from your posts
  • Are beginning to get some measurable results (leads and sales) from your efforts
  • May still need to provide some additional training to sales and marketing staff
  • May still need to experiment to find out which platforms and techniques work best for your company


Stage 4: Social Selling Expert

Social selling experts have a clear, scalable plan for social selling and are already seeing the results they want. Your company is at Stage Four if you:

  • Work in a coordinated way to execute your social selling strategy across departments
  • Have identified the social media platforms you should be focusing on
  • Are successfully reaching your target audience on social media and generating significant engagement
  • Have a steady pipeline of leads and sales coming from social media

Social Selling Examples


B2B Social Selling Example: Digital Marketing Agency

Imagine you run a digital marketing agency, selling services like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) ad management. To succeed with social selling, you could have your team:

  • Post helpful content about SEO and PPC on LinkedIn and Twitter, establishing your company as an expert in these fields

  • Keep up with industry trends, leaving comments on blogs and social media to get your brand in front of more eyes

  • Have sales reps reach out directly to decision-makers on LinkedIn

B2C Social Selling Example: Makeup Company

Now imagine you run a company selling luxury skincare products and makeup. In this case, your social selling strategy will look quite a bit different. You could have your team:

  • Build up an audience on Instagram and TikTok through influencer promotions

  • Engage with users who are talking about your products, and re-share their content on your account

  • Run contests and giveaways exclusively for your social media followers

  • Use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to showcase new products and share discount codes

Social Selling: Short-Term Hack, or Long-Term Strategy?

What’s the difference between a short-term social selling hack and a long-term social selling strategy? The key is consistency and focus. Certain content types (like inspirational stories or funny videos) are very popular, and can help anyone go viral in the short term. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll bring in qualified leads over time.

While going viral on social media can certainly generate leads, it’s not the be-all and end-all of social selling. Remember, your aim is to establish yourself as an expert in your field and to reach people in your target audience. To get the best results from your long-term social selling strategy, focus on posting content that’s highly relevant to your business and will attract your ideal prospects. 

What Are the Best Platforms for Social Selling?



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1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the top social selling platforms. Since LinkedIn is a business-focused social network, users are expecting to see sales and marketing content. With nearly 800 million members in 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a crucial sales tool that gives B2B companies direct access to decision-makers. 

2. Facebook

Facebook is another important platform for social selling. The most notable thing about Facebook is its sheer reach — the platform has nearly 3 billion active users (that’s almost 40% of the world’s population!) With so many people on Facebook, it’s clear that both organic activity on the platform and paid Facebook ads are key for many B2C brands. 

3. Twitter

Twitter is popular with a highly-educated Millennial audience, particularly within the US. Most Tweets are created by a small group of users (10% of Twitter users create 80% of tweets among US adults). The majority of this group are women and focused on politics. With Twitter users being younger, more highly-educated, and wealthier than the US general public, this network is useful for social selling targeting these demographics. 

4. Instagram

A 2020 survey showed that 11.1% of US adults made a purchase on Instagram within the past year, surpassing any other social media platform besides Facebook. Instagram’s image-heavy format makes it a particularly important social selling tool for B2C brands, especially in visually-focused industries like fashion and beauty. 

How to Integrate Social Selling Strategies into Your Sales Process

To succeed with social selling, you’ll need to make it a cornerstone of your company’s sales strategy. Here’s how you can get started:


1. Evaluate Your Current Process

What does your current sales process look like? Before you kick off your social selling plan, think about what’s currently working and what isn’t. Ask yourself:

  • What sales methods are currently used at our company?
  • Which channels produce the best results? Are there some that consistently work better than others?
  • What are our sales goals?
  • Who is our target audience?
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2. Create a Plan

The next step is to craft a roadmap for social selling at your company. This is where you’ll brainstorm a plan to boost your sales using social media. If you’re completely new to social selling, don’t worry if you’re unsure of where to start. As your teams try new things, you’ll be able to refine your plan and hone in on the strategies that work best.

You can use the information gathered in Step One to create your plan. Identify the social media platform(s) where you’re likely to find your target audience. Then think about the types of content they’d most like to see, and the outreach they’ll be most likely to respond to. 

3. Train Sales and Marketing Teams

Once you’ve developed a plan, you’ll need to train your teams to execute it. Social selling is a combined marketing and sales activity, so both departments should work together cross-functionally for best results.

It’s key here to make sure everyone has the same information. If sales reps misunderstand your offer or aren’t up-to-date with what marketing is doing, you may end up confusing your leads and losing business.

With a centralized CRM system, you can keep your teams working in a synchronized way, ensuring no customer falls through the cracks.

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Check Your Results

While executing on your social selling plan, you’ll need to regularly keep track of results to make sure things are working the way they should. If sales reps are struggling to make quota, perhaps you need to pivot to a different type of social selling strategy. Ask yourself:

  • Are we successfully reaching our audience?
  • Are we creating positive buzz around our brand on social media?
  • Are we generating inbound leads and building relationships with potential prospects?

Use Your Insights to Move Forward


Finally, use what you’ve learned during this process to fine-tune your social selling methods and find a strategy that works. You may need to A/B test different types of organic posts or paid ads to find out which type of content resonates most with your audience. As you develop new insights and your strategy evolves, remember to keep your teams up-to-date on the changes.

How to Measure Social Selling to Improve ROI

The Social Selling Index (SSI) is a metric developed by LinkedIn to help you measure success in social selling. SSI scores range from 0-100, with 0 being the lowest and 100 the highest. 

SSI scores are calculated based on the following factors:


1. Warm Conversations

Another simple way to measure social selling success is through the number of warm conversations your sales reps are having with prospects. Is your social selling strategy successfully producing inbound leads? Are outbound leads typically responsive, and are your reps succeeding in building those relationships?


2. Second-Degree Connections 

Social selling is all about building a network, and professional platforms like LinkedIn make that easier than ever. With the ability to view second-degree connections, sales reps you can reach out directly to their your contacts and ask to be introduced to a prospect.


3. Referrals

Are your current customers referring their friends and colleagues? Is there a way you can make an offer (like a referral bonus) that incentivizes them to share on social media? Referrals can lead to exponential growth, making this a potentially fruitful addition to your social selling strategy.


4. Content Engagement Metrics

To understand how your company’s content is performing, look at metrics such as the number of likes, shares, or followers you have on your social media pages. Ideally, you should be growing your audience over time. However, don’t forget to consider the quality of engagement, not just quantity — are people having meaningful discussions on your page? Are they leaving positive comments about your products? Are your posts reaching the right people?


Top Social Selling Tools for Sales Reps



1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn is one of the top networks out there for social selling, giving you instant access to decision-makers in almost every field. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool is designed to help individual sales reps find leads, build relationships and gain insights. It can also help teams work together to track engagement on their content, and get the best results.


2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a popular social media management platform. It allows social media professionals to easily schedule posts, keep track of messages, monitor social media for mentions of their business, advertise, and understand performance. 


3. Buffer

Buffer is another social media marketing tool that’s commonly used for social selling. With Buffer, you can easily publish posts and get access to insights, monitor engagement, and build custom landing pages. 


4. Freshsales and Freshmarketer

Finally, you can use Freshsales and Freshmarketer to help take your company’s social selling strategy to the next level.
Freshsales is a sales automation software designed to help you accelerate revenue.

  • With a 360° view of your customer interactions, you’ll be able to close deals faster, improve sales rep effectiveness, and reduce costs by using an all-in-one solution. Freshmarketer is designed for marketing automation.
  • Use it to understand customer intent, test, and build more successful, personalized marketing campaigns.  
  • By combining these two tools, you’ll be fully equipped to build customer relationships and keep track of customer interactions, deliver a consistent experience across both sales and marketing departments, and close more leads. 

How to Create a Social Selling Strategy that Works


Social media offers enormous potential for sales leaders. If you haven’t yet explored the possibilities of social selling, there’s no better time to get started. With millions of people around the world using social networks, social selling is an essential way to reach people, capture their attention, and present them with your offer.

Want to learn more about creating a winning sales strategy? 


Check our detailed guide