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Marketing 16 min read June 5, 2018

How To Sell On Social Media: A Guide For B2B And B2C Marketers

How To Sell On Social Media: A Guide For B2B And B2C Marketers

Digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on Influencer Marketing in the last 5 years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions.
Gone are the days when a salesperson could depend on cold calls to generate leads for their company. Now a major part of the process takes place through social selling. Marketers are moving to social media to generate leads because the old ways are more time-consuming and require more effort. They have also become much less effective in qualifying leads.
Social selling involves a number of steps through which marketers try to impact the purchasing decisions of their target audience. These steps include answering their queries, replying to comments and providing high-quality content throughout the process, until the prospect is prepared to purchase.

This post briefly discusses all the important aspects of social selling, and how you can use them to your advantage.

The difference in social selling strategies of B2B and B2C sellers

It is important to understand the strategy differences between these two types of businesses in order to maximize and improve your own social selling methods. The primary purpose behind social selling is to utilize social media platforms to create brand awareness, engage your target audience, and generate leads.

The approaches taken by B2B and B2C companies are different from one another because they target different audiences. While B2C companies play to the emotional aspects of the consumers, B2B ones focus on projecting themselves as market leaders by using infographics, statistics, and other measurable data to prove the point.
#1

The content

For B2B social selling, the content needs to be lengthier, and also much more detailed. This is because customers are seeking out solutions for their companies and are more serious and directed about what they are looking for.

As a result, they demand more detailed information about products and services, and require specific proof regarding the efficacy of the products. Generally, B2B buyers are not individual buyers, rather they make purchases on behalf of a team or company.

Therefore, B2B social selling strategies need to be such that they appeal to all members of the team concerned with the purchase. As you can see in the example below, IBM's content, although an Instagram post, is not your run-of-the-mill content. It is meant for niche audiences who have been encouraged to check out the content link on their bio for details.
B2C sellers, on the other hand, create content that is light-hearted, and fun and engaging at the same time. This is mainly because their prospects are usually in a more casual, cheerful mood when they are looking for specific items or services. They prefer content that is entertaining and engaging at the same time, as opposed to business-like, nothing-but-the-facts based content.
#2

The purpose

Since social selling means selling through social media, B2B and B2C marketers are striving to dominate different social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. B2B sellers' main aim is to build awareness and increase levels of engagement so that they can drive more traffic to their websites. To do this, they strive to create content that can go viral. They also engage in conversations about their brands in different online forums.

For B2C marketers, driving traffic to their websites often results in increased sales. And the decision-making process for B2C buyers takes just fraction of the time taken by B2B buyers. B2C marketers mainly target social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

As you can see in the example below, CLUSE, a B2C brand that sells watches, leveraged the occasion of Mother's Day to sell online. They encouraged their followers to gift a watch to the women in their lives who are mothers. And, they even included the incentive of featuring their followers who do so in their Stories.
On the other hand, see how LinkedIn focuses more on building awareness and engagement using content, rather than just selling. For B2B brands, selling is not so simple. It has to come through massive brand awareness and engagement. The more people talk about a brand in their circles, the greater are the brand's chances of conversions.
The decision-making process for a B2B buyer is lengthier. The following platforms are the most effective when it comes to engaging them on social media:

  • LinkedIn – 97% of B2B marketers said that they use LinkedIn for marketing and 78% find it to be the most effective.
  • Twitter – 87% of B2B marketers use Twitter for marketing and 48% find it truly effective.
  • Facebook – 86% of B2B marketers use Facebook for marketing and 42% find it effective.
B2B marketers can share content such as ebooks, podcasts, guides, and webinars, and even promote events through these channels. Platforms like Facebook also provide direct subscribe buttons on their pages. So it is also possible to find new leads through them.

The most successful B2C companies, however, find Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to be the most effective.
You can share a variety of content on these platforms, not only to increase engagement but also to boost sales. For example, you can add links to your product pages on your Facebook or Twitter posts and encourage audiences to buy.

On Instagram, you can link to your website on your bio and use your posts to encourage followers to click it. If you have more than 10K followers on Instagram, you can even direct them to your website directly from Stories.

Things you should consider to sell more on social media

Whether it's a B2B company or a B2C company, there are a few basic things you need to keep in mind to improve sales on social media, irrespective of the platform. These are only a few basic adjustments that you need to make to optimize your social selling efforts and thereby stay ahead of your competition.
#1

Determine the social platforms frequented by your customers

There are certain platforms that work better for B2B companies than B2C. So, before you start planning your social selling strategy, you need to find out which social media platforms your target audience prefers the most. You should also identify which social networking platforms have the highest conversion rate when users visit your site via a social link.

For example, suppose you sell cosmetics for women in the age groups of 18 to 35. Think about the platforms where your target audiences are most likely to spend their time online. Facebook perhaps, but how can you be sure? Check for the user demographics of the platforms in question.

According to the latest research, 13% of women aged 25 to 34 and 9% of women aged 18 to 24 are on Facebook. So clearly you need to focus on Facebook for your social media marketing.
Also, there are different social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite, Sparkcentral, SproutSocial, etc. These tools can be used to track and engage in conversations about your brand, as well as other conversations relevant to your niche throughout different social media channels.

Regular social media monitoring will help you identify the social networks where your target audience is most active. It is a good way to stay up-to-date on everything being talked about related to your brand, whether the company is mentioned in the conversations or not, and as a way to better engage with prospects.
#2

Make purchasing simple with CTAs

Over-complicating the purchase process means losing customers. No one is willing to go through a long and complicated journey to buy something they just happened to like. In fact, a customer is more likely to recommend a product if their buying journey was quick and easy.

A prospect should be able to easily navigate from social networks to the landing page. The content you create for social selling should be able to direct your audience to what they are seeking. So, your social copy should be as straightforward as possible with a strong CTA.

Social networking sites provide plenty of CTA options to choose from. For example, on Facebook you can choose from 11 different CTAs to add to your business page.
The Shop Now button, for example, is great for B2C brands promoting their products. Or, if they're promoting their services, Book Now, Learn More, or Contact Us can also be used.
For B2B brands, Learn More, Watch More, Download, Request Time, or Book Now are great for generating leads.
Instagram offers 8 CTA choices for video or image advertisements that you post. By adding the Instagram Shop Now function to what you share on your page enables people who like those products to buy them.

Besides Instagram's visualizing capacity to raise interest about your products among prospective customers on its platform, the "Shop Now" function helps you to sell those items to your prospects by directing them to your website.

Whichever social media platforms you use, you need to ensure that the right CTAs are in place. Not only do these serve to guide your customers through their purchasing journeys, but they also increase urgency.

Here are the characteristics of an effective call-to-action:

  • Create a compelling copy to go along with your CTA. Just the button is not good enough unless you're properly encouraging users to click on it.
  • Make sure that your CTA copy is clearly visible. For example, Instagram truncates long captions on posts so that only a part of it is visible in the feed. You need to make sure that your CTA appears within that space.
#3

Optimize your site for mobile devices

The number of social media users who are active primarily on a mobile-phone or tablet is considerably high and growing. As a marketer you need to optimize your site for mobile users so that they don't have any difficulties when visiting your site.

Examine the performance of your site for use on mobile devices, such as the time taken to load the page. This one aspect is very essential in determining site performance. You can assess the page speed of your site for mobile devices and desktops with the help of tools like Google Page Speed. You can also check whether or not your site is mobile-friendly using the same tool.

You will lose potential buyers if their first experience when using a mobile device to visit your site is complicated and not user-friendly. Keep in mind the bottom line of selling on social media is to ensure the ease of use for customers so that there aren't any complications getting from A to B.
#4

Gain as many customer reviews as possible

Conversations about your brand or products on social media and customer reviews essential for engaging and building relationships with your audience. A study by the Pew Centre Research showed that 40% of consumers in the US said that they read online reviews before buying anything online.

Perhaps the best way of getting reviews to positively impact your brand perception is to collaborate with influencers. This holds true for both B2C as well as B2C brands.

Because influencer recommendations are trusted by their followers and even actioned upon, use them well. In fact, tweets from influencers are known to increase purchase intent by 5.2X when coupled with tweets from brands.

If you're a B2C brand, it is relatively easier to find influencers in your niche with whom you can collaborate. Ask them to try your products and share their honest reviews on social media. You can use platforms like Grin to connect with influencers who are authentic, relevant, and relatable.
For B2B brands, finding relevant influencers is slightly more difficult but not impossible. You can share reviews about your products from industry experts on your social networks. You can even leverage customer testimonials from clients who are considered to be industry leaders.
Track online conversations where your brand is mentioned and capture the comments (both positive and negative) that customers are posting. Use a social monitoring tool to streamline this process.

If you come across negative reviews, don't be disheartened or defensive. Evaluate whether there is any truth to such criticism and respond to such comments regardless. Try to quickly move the conversation politely to offline mediums such as phone or email. Most importantly, be polite and personal, and acknowledge the issue, then offer to resolve it at the earliest.

Responding to reviews is critical to building relationships with your customers. Therefore, whether they are saying good things about your products or services or bad, you must make the effort to respond on a regular basis.
#5

Tools you can use to support your social selling efforts

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook opened its platform to buyers and sellers in October last year after it noticed that a lot of people were buying and selling products using its platform.

This particular section on Facebook's mobile app is called "Marketplace," and this Craiglist-styled section allows page-owners and brands to post things for sale.
However, the Marketplace is only a platform that helps sellers meet buyers. It doesn't get involved in any kind of financial transactions between the two parties or in the delivery of the products from sellers to buyers.

The Facebook Marketplace is suitable for those looking for buyers or sellers in a particular geographic area.

Shopial

Social selling is essential for your business and you know it, but you don't have the time required to advertise on every social media platform. Shopial provides the perfect solution to this problem. You simply need to connect your Facebook or Pinterest accounts to the app and leave the rest to Shopial.

It will import your products and then design, target, and optimize the ads to help you promote your products freely on social media platforms. The reporting function of Shopial enables users to monitor its performance.

Conclusion

The virtual world created by social media has a large number of users checking out products or services that they are interested in around the clock. Moreover, the rising demand for retailers to respond quickly to a customer's query or complaint means that your team needs to be prepared to handle such incoming messages throughout all social media networks.

Social selling can boost your sales by leaps and bounds if you know how to implement and follow the most successfully proven ways.
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