Social Selling vs Social Media Marketing

Social selling is a sales strategy that prioritizes building and using connections with potential buyers and business partners of the brand to nurture trust, expertise and professionalism. It gives importance to how the brand stands and interacts with its customers and other brands on various social platforms.

Social selling vs. Social media marketing

You might have heard about social media marketing because of the rising popularity of various social media platforms today. However, do not confuse social selling with social media marketing. Although there are similarities between the two, it is also important to know the differences and strengths of each other.

Social selling prioritizes building connections and nurturing them through interaction. These connections are not just between the brand and its audience, but it also gives importance to building relationships with professionals, teams, and companies in the industry. It focuses on industry experts using social media platforms as a way to start conversations that are relevant to their field of work to interact and build connections with other people that are interested in the topic. Through these engagements, you build rapport with the people you interact with, and these exchanges of information will then attract potential consumers to buy your product, service, or concept.

On the other hand, social media marketing is focused on using social media as a tool for the brand’s content and customer service. In this digital age, consumers often check the social media platforms of the brands of the product or service that they want to buy before investing in it. The content produced for social media marketing is meant to be consumed easily, and it does not rely on the engagement of the brand and its audience. It is used as a way to advertise a product or service by expanding the reach of the content produced for the brand.

Why is it important

A few years back, the most popular strategy in pushing products to consumers was through traditional advertising. These focus on offline marketing strategies such as magazines, newspapers, coupon books, billboards, brochures, flyers, letters, radio and television ads, and more importantly, word of mouth.

However, in this digital era where almost half of the world’s population is active on social media, traditional practices fall short in the competition. The various social platforms that have risen throughout the years became the biggest platforms for brands to market. Sure, your business may not be for everyone, but there is a big chance that there is a community on social media that appeals to your product and brand.

With thousands of businesses online, building a community and interacting with like-minded users online has never been harder. Nowadays, business owners and professionals do not only focus on how they can secure sales, but building your online presence and establishing credibility and expertise with people in the same industry has become highly important. This is how social selling became an integral part of the industry through the years.

The importance of learning and adapting to social selling falls into building trust and friendly connections with the people that are key players in your business. Social selling does not highly focus on catching customers, but it gives importance on building connections that can stand the test of time.

Where and how to start

Social selling might be the new norm, but it is hard to get it right. With various trends and social media platforms growing as the digital landscape continues to improve, social selling can look easy to start, but only the brands that effectively utilize it can use it successfully. We curated here a beginner’s guide to social selling that you can incorporate into your brands:

  1. Choose the right platform. First thing’s first. There are multiple social platforms online today, but you have to choose the right platform where you can grow your community and brand. Not every platform will suit your brand, and that is fine. Your priorities in choosing the right platforms should lie in your audience, your brand voice, and the content that you want to put out. Here are a few insights on the different social selling platforms in the market:
  • LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the biggest platform for business-to-business content marketers, and the users usually fall under the category of business owners, professionals, employees, brands, and hiring officers. It is often used for professional and informative content.
  • Facebook. Facebook is the second best platform for B2B marketers. It is one of the go-to platforms to promote discussion, product research and sales. As one of the biggest online platforms today, it caters to a variety of communities and users from different ages that have a wide range of interests. However, it has been proven to be one of the most efficient, if not the most, platform for lengthy discussions with its long comment threads full of engaged and highly interested users.
  • Twitter. Twitter is a great networking platform for social listening and easily engaging with your target audience. The platform is usually used for informal and casual interactions. Usually, this is used to interact with customers by responding to customer concerns, and engaging in short but memorable and informative interactions with the audience.
  • Instagram. Like Twitter, Instagram is a networking platform that is used for social listening and customer engagement. It is considered as a platform that has an extremely dedicated user base that has a nick for visual content. Instagram is one of the platforms that caters to younger audiences compared to other platforms.
  • TikTok. Though fairly new to the scene, TikTok is undeniably one of the fastest growing platforms today. A large percentage of its users are from the younger generation, but businesses are also studying its unique algorithm to use it for marketing. It is fast-paced and highly relies on trends and viral content.
  • Youtube. 

  1. Network not just with your customers, but also with your potential business partners. Join LinkedIn groups and other relevant groups on other social media platforms, subscribe to blogs, and always aim to seek referrals.
  1. Create content that is a perfect fit for your brand and the platform. Always remember that your biggest asset in social selling is your insights into your field of expertise. Share information, tips, insights, and success stories.
  1. Interact with your connections and pay attention to your content engagements. Social selling focuses on creating connections, but it is important to keep these connections engaged. Posting content that matters is important, but interacting with the people that are also interested in the content is important in relationship building. Keep an eye on whom you are interacting with, what content they like interacting with, and what other content they interact with.
  1. Keep in mind customer service opportunities. Though social selling focuses on professionalism, it is important to be mindful and strategic of how you can incorporate customer service in your social selling strategies. These can include providing insights about relevant issues in the industry, giving tips and tricks, and more.
  1. Be consistent. Social selling is a slow process that would not be successful without patience and consistency. The main goal of social selling is to create and foster connections that will last for a long time, and this cannot be done without constant interactions.

The best social selling practices in the market

Ben Martin, a social selling expert, wrote a 12-step process that can be effectively used to start social selling. Though his process focused on LinkedIn, the process can also be used on various social platforms in the market.

  1. Find content to share
  2. Share the content to your social networks
  3. Check who viewed your profile
  4. Connect with potential buyers that viewed your profile
  5. Check the engagement of the content you posted
  6. Connect with the users that engage with your content
  7. Review alerts and reminders for saved searches and job changes.
  8. Categorize the potential buyers into a dedicated list
  9. Do not forget to share content weekly to avoid the dead zone
  10. Review relevant alerts on other social media platforms.
  11. Respond to messages.
  12. Start conversations to create new connections.

He recommends doing this 30-60 minutes a day to create a routine of social selling for you and your connections.