6 Social Selling Tips: For Sellers In Manufacturing

Facebook? Check. Twitter? Check. LinkedIn? Check.

If you’ve already put in the work of building out profiles on these major social media platforms and have gained some followers, you’re off to a great start. But even more important than gaining followers, of course, is gaining customers — and simply having a social media presence isn’t enough to reliably convert connections into leads.

Below, we’ve outlined six tips to remember when developing and optimizing your social media marketing strategy. These tips will help you to better leverage your professional online brand to create more relationships with buyers through social media interactions — the process known as social selling. Here's how you can keep your social selling on point.

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1. Project The Right Image

With social selling, image is important because visuals are front and center. To attract the right leads, it’s critical to project a polished, professional image, which means posting high-quality photos and useful, informative content relevant to your brand.

Simply put — make sure your social media posts (and profile!) are aligned to your content marketing plan. If you begin your social selling initiative with an out of date, unbranded profile, you won't achieve favorable results. Update your social media profiles to be more than just about your company. Emphasize the problems you solve and how your products produce value to customers. 

Projecting the right image includes ensuring your website is up to date as well. Customers and prospects will research you online. If you're sending them a LinkedIn connection, it's almost a guarantee they will check out your company website. If your website is out of date, it's going to make your customers less comfortable working with you. Customers are going to want to research your company to verify the claims you're selling them and seek out additional details not available on your social media sites. If they can't do these things, you could risk the relationship and losing the sale.

Here are 6 signs you need to update your industrial website.

2. Stay Active

Simply putting up a social media profile page isn’t going to turn connections into customers. Sure, you might get some followers at first, but the number will quickly plateau. To expand your following, and therefore increase the chances of customer conversions, it’s critical to remain active and post regularly. For example, would you welcome someone into your shop and leave them there without showing them around? A key to keeping your audience engaged is to encourage conversation. 

Download: Which key accounts should you follow to build your social media community

Establish a posting schedule and stick to it. Respond when people post on your profile or message you. If somebody follows you, follow them back. If you receive positive feedback, send a thank you note. If a prospect gives you constructive negative feedback, thank them for it and try to learn from it.

Staying active will improve the value of your social media profiles for existing followers and increase the rate at which you get new followers. And the more followers you have, the more chances for conversions.

3. Build Your Credibility

To successfully convert followers into customers, you need to be viewed as a knowledgeable player in your industry. To build your credibility on social media, showcase your expertise by sharing unique, helpful information — even though this is social media, please write quality content. Everyone loves social media hashtags, but make sure you're not overdoing it and you're actually using ones that are relevant and will increase your visibility.

Some sales reps are more inclined to create their own original content. While we absolutely agree that original content attracts prospects, please make sure your posts are aligned to the messaging of your company. Check with your marketing team to confirm. A wrong statistic or an unclear offer will not only decrease your own credibility, but your business's reputation as well.

4. Be Helpful, But Don't Push Too Hard

If someone asks a question, answer it as well as you can. If you can’t answer a question, provide a relevant resource or redirect the user to someone who can help. Assisting followers in this way helps to build your thought leadership and leaves a lasting impression.

You must remember that not all people you help will turn into leads. Some will still take their business elsewhere. But many more will remember that you took the time to assist them and, when these people are ready to buy, will think of your company first.

Learn more: How To Make The Industrial Buyer's Shortlist

A key difference between social selling and traditional selling is that you are nurturing your relationship with a buyer through comments, likes, and sharing prospects' posts — instead of hard closing tactics. Simply connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn and following up with a pitch will not get you results. 

5. Be Where Your Customers Are

If your primary social media channel is Facebook, for instance, but the bulk of user activity is happening on LinkedIn, shift your focus to that platform instead.

Determining who is active where and figuring out how many users are engaging on what platforms can take some legwork, but this will allow for much more effective user targeting and is well worth the effort.

Create your free Thomasnet profile where the most active network of B2B buyers are.

6. Aim To Convert

All of these tips are meaningless, however, if you don’t aim to convert. Move leads down the funnel with content. (Click here to read more about the industrial b2b buying behavior.) Don’t be shy about linking to your landing pages in order to gather users’ contact information for email marketing purposes. Without traffic to your landing pages, you’re doing a lot of work for nothing.

On the other side of the coin, be sure not to overlink to landing pages. This can be off-putting to users and may actually drive leads away. So switch up the sources your sharing and link to to other people's content too.

Successfully selling on social media can take up a lot of valuable time and labor (it more closely resembles lead nurturing) making it difficult for many small- and medium-sized businesses to get going. While it doesn't involve quick wins, using social media effectively can definitely still help you convert leads when combined with other online efforts. 

"With Thomas running our lead generation efforts and marketing, our sales increased by 60% in just one year. Thomas maximized our company exposure, drove a record number of qualified leads, and helped us turn these opportunities directly into sales dollars." - CJ Winter

Contact us today to learn how we can create a social media program tailored to your unique needs.

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