Statistics show that social selling and virtual sales networking is a must in today’s market. According to LinkedIn, 78% of companies that use social selling outsell their competitors who don't use social media. They have 45% more sales opportunities, and they are 51% more likely to meet sales quotas.
The best way to gain a social media following is to be worth following. Offer content that is informative and fits the tone of your brand and the platform. Stay up to date with the latest developments and news in your industry. Information about your products or services should be balanced with information your customers will find valuable.
B2B businesses may have more success on Twitter, with 67% of B2B businesses using it as a marketing platform. Seventy-seven percent of Twitter users have a more favorable opinion of companies who reply to tweets, so engagement is important.
Below are four things you must to do see success with virtual networking and social selling.
1. Share Your Accomplishments
Make sure your profile is complete and up to date—and don’t be shy about including extracurricular when relevant. Your school, professional associations, volunteer experience, or a hobby or cause you’re passionate about—everything you’d talk about with someone in the same room should be included here. The more detail you include the more opportunities you’ll have to connect with people who share your interest or experience.
You may find that platforms for online and social networking limit the information you’re able to share, or don’t effectively highlight the areas where you really shine. Create a simple website or digital portfolio to better showcase your work, credentials, personal interests, writing chops, recommendations, or anything else that you’re proud of.
2. Set an Achievable Goal
At the start, try to commit to connecting with one new person a week. Or you could try focusing on keeping your current connections fresh and relevant. Reach out to former colleagues and see how the other is doing. (Too often the focus is on bringing in new prospects rather than maintaining those we already have.)
3. Put in the Time Before Sliding Into Their DM
Once you find a valuable prospect, make sure you know your stuff before reaching out. Whether it’s a college friend, a friend of a friend, or a thought leader in your field, do your research before you send that first message. You never know when you may be taken up on your invitation to connect, so you’ll want to be ready with some background information to get the conversation started. And always take the time to craft something original and well thought-out that specifically speaks to why you’re sending the message.
4. Always Provide Value
Take this chance to hone your voice, provide something of value to your network in the way of resources or op-ed style posts, and support others who are creating content on a regular basis by linking and commenting on their pages and posts. By proudly featuring resources and content, and freely offering feedback and comments, you’re giving your network plenty of reasons to reach out to you for more.
In working to keep in touch with your network, the goal should be to lay the groundwork for any future opportunities that may come up, as well as to demonstrate to your connections that you’re a willing and able connector. The last thing you want is to become known as the contact who only reaches out for favors or recommendations.
Keep Engagement Ongoing
Nothing will hurt your online reputation more than engaging with connections on a regular basis, then disappearing without warning. You’ll be labeled as unreliable. If something has come up that makes it difficult to be active on social media, you have options. Consider using a marketing automation platform to plan and schedule your social media posts in advance. This will keep your audience engaged without tying you down to your social media account.
Want more ways to keep your team sharp and relevant to their followers? Check out our blog chock-full of invaluable sales training resources.