Social Selling Tactics for Marketers

Social Selling Tactics for Marketers - #TwitterSmarter chat with Nick Martin on March 5, 2020

If there’s one thing that both marketers and sales people strive for, it’s identifying more prospects. That’s what social selling is all about. It brings together two different roles for the common good. That said, social selling also sounds more like a shiny buzzword than a real thing. What is it all about? We asked Nick Martin, the social media marketer at Hootsuite, to help us demystify the process of social selling and best practices for marketers.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Nick Martin
Topic: Marketing Tactics for Marketers
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: How do you define social selling?

Social selling is selling, except it’s everything but typical selling. Like our guest explained, the process is about engaging with your audience on social channels, genuinely so that you develop relationships over time. Think about it like using social media for the fun and communal aspect of it instead of trying too hard to derive monetary benefits from it.

A1. Social selling, to put it simply, is the act of building and maintaining relationships through social media. Every time you engage with someone, like their post, retweet them, you are performing social selling.

Social selling is a lot similar to networking, except that it’s ingrained in your sales process as well. So not only should your marketing team be involved in social media activities, but like Brittany pointed out, your sales representatives should too.

With all that said, you might, like Jeremy, wonder if the ultimate motive of social selling is subtle advertising. But as Nick clarified, it’s not. When you’re engaged in social selling, you become a representative of your brand, yes, but you’re not only that. You’re also showcasing yourself as a person with sincere interest in the industry and helping people with what you know.

Q2: What are some common misconceptions about social selling?

The obvious misconception? That it’s only about selling.

In reality, though, it’s not about going for the hard sell at all. It’s about being understanding and humane and all the things you almost never associate with sales reps on a tight target.

And of course, as Janette said, you can’t expect instant success with social selling. It’s hard work and it takes a lot more effort and time than you might expect.

Sure, you’ll see some people gaining thousands of followers in one day, loads of engagement, and seemingly-successful activity, however, remember that a lot of people on social media generate fake engagement as well. Though Twitter’s taking severe measures to prune such accounts and promos, they’re still at large. Something to keep in mind while you go about your daily social selling activities.

Some other myths about social selling?

  • Followers = number of sales. Nope. And the same goes for influencers. Just because you work with a ton of influential accounts doesn’t mean they’ll bring you that many sales.
  • You should be everywhere. Face it, you can’t be on every social media channel at the same time. It’ll only drive you insane. Besides, if you’re on every platform you aren’t focussing where your actual audience is.
  • Social selling doesn’t work. Well, it might look like that for a long time, but that’s natural. As we established earlier, you won’t get instant success.
  • It’s a 9 to 5 job. Wake up, buddy. Sales and marketing aren’t typical 9 to 5 jobs at all. And when you’re on social media, there’s no such thing as timezones. You’re constantly monitoring, engaging, and making valuable connections.
  • Some industries don’t need social media. Er—no. Some industries may not need Twitter or Facebook, yes. But they certainly need another social media. Of course, which social channel you need depends on the industry and the demographic of your audience. If you’re only on TikTok, trying to speak to a bunch of logistics businesspeople in their late fifties, you’re on a losing track.

Q3: Which social networks are best for social selling? Why?

In the previous question, we said every business needs social media. However, if you’re looking to set up a social selling process with people dedicated to it, then some channels are better than others.

Nike vouches for LinkedIn and Twitter.

It makes sense too, if you think about it. LinkedIn is the most professional social network out there. Every business feels obliged to have a LinkedIn page. Like a website, it’s almost a necessity. Use that to your advantage and make connections there.

Of course, not everyone is as active on LinkedIn as they would be on other social media, but that can be a good thing too. When people take a day or two away from LinkedIn, it gives them the opportunity to think more deeply about the people and the brands they engage with. So you can be sure that every interaction is deliberate.

Twitter, on the other hand, is instantaneous. It creates a sense of urgency while also giving you a lot of information. And since it requires far less effort to respond to a tweet or a direct message as compared to other social media, you end up making a lot of connections. Twitter’s transparency also helps.

That said, it’s also important that you are where you audience is. To do that, follow Glenda’s suggestion. See that your content is tailored to the platform and the audience. That way, you can communicate more effectively.

Q4: Does social selling stop once a sale is complete? Why or why not?

Nope. The idea that social selling ends after the sale is such a salesy notion. The point of social selling is to be a person your audience would go to, not just for pricing information, but also for suggestions and help about the industry in general. When you’re creating such a brand for yourself, you can’t pull the plug all of a sudden.

Like Nick said, you have more chances of developing the relationship after the sale. You become the support person, and that’s a great pathway to helping them become an advocate for your business.

Also, as Mike reminded us, social selling prioritizes on providing value. When you do that, you open up avenues for word to spread. That never ends.

Even if you’re selling a one-time product that doesn’t involve recurring payments or renewals, you still need to keep in touch with your customers. As Sabrina said, the more positive social interactions you have on with your audience, the better your chances are of getting referrals, new opportunities, and more connections.

Really, though, I think Rachel summed it up pretty well. If you just drop off after a sale, it’s like giving someone a piece of electronic equipment without giving them an instruction manual. It just renders the whole thing pointless. Without constant and consistent support, sales can never be successful.

Q5: What are some social selling tactics that everyone can start right now?

The first step is to make sure your prospects can reach out to you when they need. So as soon as you finish a call with a prospective customer, connect with them on LinkedIn. Sure, they already have your business email and phone number, but there’s something more simple and laid back about being connected on social media. What’s more, it also gives them the opportunity to get to know you as a person, as someone more than a voice on the phone.

Once you’ve done that, fix your bios so that people know who you are and what you offer when they land on your profile. If you’ve got links to your website and other published material, that’ll help your audience resonate with you a little easier.

As Chris said, another easy way to get started on your social selling is to use Twitter Lists. Make a list of influencers in your industry or prospects, and engage with their posts and questions. Lists are such a great way to find new connections as well. In fact, we had an entire chat last week about using Twitter Lists. Check out the summary for expert advice.

Speaking of chats, as Trudy said, Twitter chats are, of course, an excellent way for you to meet new prospects. There’re countless business and marketing related chats you can jump into.

Q6: Where do people typically go wrong with social selling?

Forgetting the essence of social selling.

That’s what Nick said too—people tend to jump way too quickly into selling. You shouldn’t go into a conversation (or relationship) with sales figures on the top of your mind. That’s what makes audiences wary of sales reps. A lot of people are doubtful when a salesperson tries to help them, because it’s not that common. They almost always expect you to pitch your product, and it might even turn them off. Don’t be that annoying salesperson no one wants to talk to.

It’s ok if they don’t buy from you. As long as you offer value and be compassionate, they’ll take away how you made them feel and might even recommend you to their friends.

Also, like Lori told us, it’s not ok to forget what social media is about: being social. So many brands tend to broadcast all the time, not realizing that their audience isn’t even paying attention anymore.

Q7: What is your best advice for someone just beginning to practice social selling?

It’s important to start small. That way, you can manage more things without feeling overwhelmed. After all, as our guest explained, it’s so much more easy to share other people’s content with your opinion rather than writing an entire blog post. With the amount of research that’s required for such a blog post, it can quickly go over your head. Start small—curate content.

Another crucial thing to remember is that you shouldn’t force a sale. As Sarah pointed out, stick to the basics: be nice, be social, be helpful. If you enjoy sharing opinions, get involved in any of the many communities and chats on Twitter. You’ll get a sale when the customer is ready to learn more.

Our community shared a few other ideas as well:

  • Introduce yourself properly so that your audience knows who they’re dealing with. Sort out your bio, and also in a chat, tell people what you do and what makes you, you.
  • Don’t beat yourself up too much. Everyone makes mistakes. Accept that and learn from it.
  • Time management is essential, and even more so on social media. Make a plan and show up consistently. Remember that your goal is to make new connections, and not to make a sale right away.

Q8: How do you see the practice of social selling evolving in the near future?

Videos, of course.

You don’t have to do anything fancy though. It’s as easy as recording a video on your phone while you speak into the camera. There’re tools as well, like Vidyard, that help you make short, simple videos.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at Dan’s profile. He participates in our chat almost every week, and always responds to questions with a video answer. He’s become so adept at conveying his message succinctly.

On a related note, Madalyn also spoke about the rise of custom GIFs. She recently started making her own GIFs, and has seen immense engagement since. When you see one, you can’t help but smile. The energy is infectious.


I usually don’t have afterthoughts in the summary, but Nick shared some links that I think you might find useful.

Hootsuite’s academy course on social selling

Social selling toolkit

Finally, here’s a fun commercial from Hootsuite about social selling.

Well, folks. That’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading and for more insights from our chat, take a look at this Twitter Moment that our chat member Joana put together. If you’ve got some time to spare next Thursday, join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1 pm.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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