Eight Basic Best Practices of Social Selling

By Selling Power Editors

Are you just jumping into social? Active, but not getting results? It’s always a good idea to revisit the tried-and-true tips that lead to social-selling success. Here are eight habits every social seller should practice.

1. Listen first, engage later. You wouldn’t go to a happy hour and start handing out press releases about your latest product, so why would you act that way on social networks? Social-selling experts advise listening first to see what the people in your network are talking about and what’s important to them. After you get a sense for the conversation, you can start engaging by asking questions and sharing advice.

2. Share something of value. Keep the focus on what your followers and connections will find useful and interesting, not on yourself. Tweet an inspiring quote, post a link to a useful article on LinkedIn, or share a travel tip on Facebook.

3. Use your normal voice. Avoid corporate-robot jargon. You don’t want to seem stiff, boring, or unintelligible. As Koka Sexton writes in his blog post “Build Your Pipeline with LinkedIn,” social sellers are “human and conversational; they avoid business and marketing speak.”

4. Stay positive. The Internet is a teeming hive, and feelings of outrage, hurt, and negativity have a way of spreading like wildfire. It’s OK to get mad or upset when you lose a bid to a competitor or receive a nasty email from a client. Just know that unfiltered emotion is rarely a good look on social networks. Take a breath, step away from your computer or mobile device, and work your feelings out offline.

5. Stay active. Don’t go dark on social sites and then pop back online only when you want or need something. You don’t have to devote hours and hours to keeping up your social activity. Keep things easy by picking one or two networks and developing good habits to stay active. Consistent activity is key to staying top of mind and building your reputation as an expert advisor.

6. Be open. Try adding questions to your social updates as a way to encourage feedback and kick-start a conversation. Ask, “What do you think?” or “What’s been your experience?”

7. Use humor judiciously. Remember that your social persona is a public platform and visible to everyone – not just to those who share your sense of humor. If you wouldn’t joke about a certain topic on live television, it’s probably best not to share it on social media. (One executive recently caused a worldwide uproar and was fired after sending a “just kidding” tweet.)

8. Give compliments. People enjoy buying from people they like. What’s one way to become an enjoyable person on social media? Be free and easy with your compliments. Paul Castain, who has built his Sales Playbook LinkedIn Group to nearly 40,000 members, says in his free guidebook that a best practice for facilitating great LinkedIn group discussions is to publicly acknowledge participants’ thoughts. As Castain puts it, “Everyone has a story and wants to be heard.”