5 best practices to get social engagement right

Social engagement - the use of social media to increase revenue and sales team productivity - is an inevitable consequence of social buying.In a LinkedIn-commissioned study, Forrester found that social networks are a critical source of influence on decision-makers in every phase of the IT purchase process. This is increasingly true of other industries as well.


Today, social media is a critical platform for prospect and lead generation, client engagement, and service delivery. In fact, according to Social Media and Sales Quota Survey 2016, approximately 72.6% of sales professionals who used social media tended to outperform their peers who do not use the platform.

Here are five best practices to help you assess and benchmark your current social engagement capabilities:

  1. Engage and influence: Adopting digital for sales and marketing initiatives tops CXO agendas today. However, it is a comprehensive process that demands a personalized approach when it comes to engaging and influencing potential customers. Historically, automated liking and commenting tools have been used to engage with online customers. But the fact is these tools do not help build rapport with buyers. In fact, they can even damage brand reputation, if managed incorrectly. Building relationship should therefore be the first priority of social engagement.


  2. Listen, learn and relate: Using social listening tools is a great way to monitor and understand what people are saying about your company, industry and competitors, as well as the business challenges they are facing. Once you have identified your customers' pain points, provide a customized solution to help build strong relationships.


  3. Provide value, don't get transactional: Social engagement is not a means to quickly notch up sales. It's all about engaging with your end customer in a manner which would lead to value creation for you and the consumer as well. Prospective customers need to be correctly segmented, so you can send relevant and contextual information to the right people, at the right time. The idea is to contribute valuable information that can help establish you as an expert in your field.


  4. Quicker the turnaround, better the results: Online sales leads have a short shelf-life regardless of their source - be it websites, social media promotions, events, etc. Responding slowly to customer queries has much greater impact on sales than one might think. According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), Sales team members who called a lead within an hour were "seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later - and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer".


Work at it continually: By 2019, an estimated 75% of all sales transactions will start online, with over 320 million LinkedIn users expected to have highly commercial conversations in 2017 alone. This makes it important to engage in social engagement continually to realize its true potential. You must first build a formidable, digitally-enabled brand that projects your company's unique value proposition. Follow this up by continuously monitoring social networks, regularly publishing valuable content, and deeply engaging with decision makers for the best results.

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