5 Tips for Social Selling Success

Social media is huge with businesses of all sizes, and for good reason—it's a relatively inexpensive way to drive sales by engaging customers and creating brand awareness. While it can cost as much as $750,000 to create an ad for national TV, companies can get the word out about their products and services for a fraction of the cost—or even at no cost—using social media.

But it's not enough just to set up a Facebook page or Twitter or Instagram account, or to manage a company blog. Successful social selling takes planning and commitment, and while the platforms may be free to use, an effective social selling strategy involves allocating resources, both human and technical, to make sure the effort pays off in higher revenue.

An in-house or outsourced expert with a flair for writing viral social content is a must for a successful social selling strategy, but in addition to copy talent, you'll need technology tools to make the most of your social media campaigns. Here are five tips to help you make it happen:

Make it easy to share content. Social media is driven by sharing, and the best way to make sure your content spreads like wildfire is to make it easy for readers to share it on their favorite social media sites. Free and affordable social media sharing tools allow you to create a button consumers can use to instantly share content.

Keep track of social media mentions. Social media analytics is critical to running a successful campaign and keeping track of consumer sentiment about your company, product, or service. Free services exist that enable you to type in a keyword and view all social media mentions to gain a big-picture view of what people are saying about your company, product, or service online.

Keep tabs on your page rank. If you manage a company Facebook page or other site to promote social selling, it's important to keep track of your page’s popularity. With page ranking software, you can track your page's position relative to competitors and against your own past performance to determine whether your current promotions are working. There are affordable and free options available that provide both basic and detailed analytics.

Choose the right software. Social media selling is becoming a more mature industry every day, and there are numerous software options available to help you share content, analyze performance, promote your page, and much more. The challenge is finding the software that fits your unique business needs. Luckily, there are sites that allow you to make apples-to-apples comparisons and quickly access expert opinions to help choose the right option.

Make sure your people know how to use your social selling tools correctly. Once you've located the ideal software solution, the next step is to train your staff on how to use it effectively and make sure they consistently and correctly deploy it. An intuitive solution shortens the learning curve and motivates your employees to use the solution to maximize impact.

The right social selling strategy can help you create a cadre of brand advocates to reach more customers and build awareness regionally, nationally, or even globally—all for a surprisingly affordable price. But remember that it takes a lot more than just launching a social media account to succeed in social selling. An effective approach requires commitment, planning, and persistence—and the right social selling software. If you follow these five tips, you'll be well on your way to driving new sales and building your brand via social media platforms.

Reda Sedrati is the CEO of Cloudswave, a marketplace for cloud applications that enables users to find the right online services for their personal and business needs.

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