Social Selling and Storytelling: Muddy, Uncharted Waters

We have entered the uncharted waters of a world filled to the brim with social selling.

What is social selling, you may ask? It’s just as it sounds. Social selling is simply using social media to market and sell something. That something is a product – most likely, social selling refers to salespeople or companies offering content, answering questions, and providing insight through social media throughout the buying process. The product being offered ranges from personal branding, to creative video, to shoes or little scrapers that take the chewed gum right off the sole of your shoe.

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When you think about it, social media has changed the manner of so many aspects of daily life – how we portray ourselves and how we connect with friends, for example. But in the marketing and sales world, social media has completely and utterly annihilated what was there before and replaced it with something new. Sales is no longer a world of sleazy guys in cheap suits knocking on every door in the neighborhood, trying to get YOU to buy their globe for only $50. Social selling has brought on an era of nuanced, creative content that engages and educates potential buyers on whatever the product is that is being offered. And those products could be anything imaginable.

 

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Now, sellers have the opportunity to provide value at each stage of the buying process – not taking advantage of us humans on the end of B2H (Business-to-human) selling, but intriguing and educating about their product. This now takes place mostly on social media. Selling in the world today has concentrated marketing, sales, business, and branding onto just a few platforms. If you have a product, whether it is music or food or software, it will be hard to get anywhere without successful social selling.

Take Business-to-Business sales, for example. 90 percent of B2B clients who pick up a cold call from a salesperson will not buy their product. 94 percent of B2B buyers do some sort of research online, usually on the business’ social media, before making the decision whether to purchase. 91 percent of B2B buyers are active and involved on social media, 84 percent of senior executives directly use social media to make purchases, and 75 percent of B2B buyers are significantly influenced by social media. What do all these percentages tell us? Without social media, it will be extremely hard for your business to gain any sort of ground on competition. Without educational, creative, and aesthetic content on social media, it will be even harder. Social media has blessed us with the ability to turn branding into art. People who do so get rewarded with a real following. It’s time to double-down on the social and creative end.

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Your business requires a unique social media presence that connects and intrigues to thrive in today’s world. It has to bring in followers and provide value. Whether you hire a social media expert, make your own educational content, or hire an outside agency to create content for you and engage your business in a brand campaign, social selling needs to be at the focal point of your marketing, sales, and branding objectives.

You may have heard of this figure regarding social selling: for every $1 invested in social selling, the return on investment is $5. Now, this is true, but it doesn’t mean you should start throwing out Facebook and Instagram ads with reckless abandon. The content that you promote and advertise has to serve a purpose – whether that purpose is to intrigue viewers, draw them to a new product or website, educate them on the virtues of your product, or attract them to your social media page. Define your purpose, define the purpose of your content, and investment in social selling will pay off immediately.

Whether you are an individual marketing your creative talents, business, or organization, social selling is fundamental to your growth and success. You can lead a horse to water (that’s the promotion part) but you can’t make him drink (this is the good content part). Promote good content, and people will come.