No matter how much enablement content and program support you provide, a large percentage of your Channel Partners’ business still comes from word-of-mouth or in-person networking events. And with live events being canceled left-and-right this year, Partners are losing the opportunities they typically rely on to engage prospects and customers.
So what better time than now to educate Partners to drive demand in creative new ways that align with buyers’ behaviors and proves value without a single handshake?
Enter, social selling.
Social selling is the practice of leveraging social media to identify, attract, engage, and nurture sales prospects without bombarding them. Just like in-person sales interactions, the goal of social selling is to educate prospective customers and position yourself as a trusted advisor so that you’re top of mind when prospects are making decisions about a solution or business outcome.
On the bright side, Channel Partners have become quite digitally-savvy, and are more comfortable working with social media than ever before. Partners also understand the ways in which today’s prospects research options and make decisions online. It’s a recipe for social selling success!
Here are some things you’ll want to consider when launching a social selling strategy:
Optimize Your Social Profiles:
Before you begin posting content and adding connections, you’ll want to ensure that your social profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), are inviting and compelling. Start by uploading your headshot and a profile banner image. Your headshot should be clear, recognizable and consistent across all profiles. Then, build out your social profiles by adding a headline, professional summary, and work experience. Your headline, summary and work history should include keywords that are relevant to your industry or personal brand. This is also a great place to demonstrate your value proposition and summarize your professional achievements and accomplishments.
On LinkedIn, you’ll also want to create a custom and public profile URL. Make sure that your profile URL is easily searchable and that your profile is set to ‘public’ so that you appear in search results and can be easily found.
Pro tip! Include your social profile URLs in your email signature for more exposure.
Add and Nurture Connections:
Once your profiles are in tiptop shape, it’s time to start adding connections and nurturing your audience of potential prospects. On LinkedIn, you can add your existing contacts by uploading your email list(s) under “My Network” and continue to add connections using the ‘People you may know’ feature. When reaching out, make sure to include a personal message to strengthen the connection, for example:
“Hi, I see you are attending/sponsoring XYZ event. I hope we can connect live, but in the meantime, let’s connect here.”
As you gain more connections and your audience grows, you’ll want to nurture and engage with contacts by posting content, asking questions, or congratulating connections on new jobs, promotions, anniversaries, birthdays. We suggest:
Sharing status updates at least 1x/week, engage your network with relevant content, follow 70/30 split
Joining group(s) to find and connect with potential customers and participate as a thought leader and industry expert
Writing Long Form Posts to engage your network, showcase knowledge and create a personal and professional brand all at once!
Social networks, especially LinkedIn, can be incredibly useful for target mapping. To begin, research people/companies who are good prospective customers for your business. Once you’ve identified who you want to connect with (this is the Target), pull up their LinkedIn profile and see what connections you have in common. From there:
Send those common connections a message via LinkedIn, such as “Hi Name, I hope you are doing well. I was going to reach out to [Target], which made me think of you. It’d be great to find some time to catch up.”
Follow both the company and the target contact on LinkedIn/Twitter.
When appropriate, share or comment on the posts they make. Do this for a couple of weeks to showcase your engagement and interest.
Then ask to connect with the target with a personal message.
Nurture the target following the steps above.
Interested in learning more about leveraging social selling in lieu of cancelled events? That’s what we’re here for! Contact us anytime!