One fine day, you see two mails in your mailbox.
- The first one is a sales pitch that seems to be copied and pasted from the very first word. You can tell for sure that it has been sent to many other uninterested marketers as well. In other words, it’s spam.
- The second one is a personalized mail from someone you connected with on LinkedIn through a mutual connection. You have already received some useful links closely related to your business function from this person. The latest mail talks about a service that can actually simplify what you do.
Which one would you be more likely to reply to?
Even as brands are increasingly using social media to reach their audience in the consumer segment, tools that leverage word of mouth are also transforming growth opportunities for B2B services. With social selling and employee advocacy, virtual connections can be utilized for growth like never before.
Let’s begin by first understanding how social selling works.
What is social selling?
Social selling refers to using social media for connecting with sales prospects. The very nature of this activity makes it essential to have an active and established a social media presence. Compared to other means, social media makes it possible to target prospects accurately. Pages, hashtags, and groups all become assembly points for common interests.
Approaching prospects with relevant information, insights, and services makes for a much better approach than spamming irrelevant groups and cold calling. There are two aspects to social selling— making business connections through shared interests and nurturing relationships with valuable content.
According to a 2016 survey by CSO Insights, around a third of B2B professionals said that social selling tools helped them find an increased number of leads. More than 60% of them used these tools to develop leads and research a particular account.
How social selling ties in into employee advocacy
As you might be aware, employee advocacy helps extend the reach of branded content and gives the brand a distinct advantage over the competition.
By sharing of relevant online content, it is possible for marketers to provide value to prospective clients and forge new connections. This is especially important in an age in which consumers are more aware than ever about the slew of options available to them and use recommendations, reviews, and referrals at their disposal to figure out whether a particular service provider would be a good fit for them.
Keeping this in mind, brands have realized the power of getting their employees to advocate for them through an employee advocacy program. The use of a program enables brands to broaden social reach, increase awareness, gain leads, and eventually assist the sales team in social selling. Quality content from a brand also cements a positive brand image.
When an employee shares a piece of branded content, he/ she introduces his/her employer to a broader network through social connections. This part is especially useful for sales teams interested in reaching out to new prospects.
Along with this, it allows a brand to build direct connections with customers, listen, and quickly respond to issues and queries, which in turn helps build trust and loyalty. Let’s take a closer look at how employee advocacy can assist with social selling:
Helps in extending social connections:
Old-school networking has now largely moved online for personal and professional purposes. What could once happen only at planned industry events is now increasingly happening spontaneously on social platforms. The social reach of employees is integral to reaching out to a wider network. For a sales team, these connections are crucial for future pitches and business growth.
Helps in enhancing the reach of content:
Employee advocacy provides an opportunity to leverage the knowledge and experience possessed by employees. Prospective customers are more likely to read and engage with content by employees they know personally. Accordingly, employees with expertise in particular domains can also be encouraged to create content that prospects would find useful.
Amplifying the organization’s message:
The use of an employee advocacy program allows an organization to receive increased visibility and attract new buyers by amplifying its core values, expertise, and culture to prospects. Some groundwork can help employees curate ideas for effectively conveying what the brand stands for.
One can see how social selling with employee advocacy can be an avenue of growth. It is still important to remember that only happy employees can become good advocates. Thus, before building trust with new social connections, it’s essential to win the trust of your employees.