Content & Community Marketing Manager
Salespeople are spoiled for choice when it comes to places to engage with prospects and leads through social selling.
And we obviously can’t talk about social media without mentioning Facebook.
However, Facebook is a bit of an enigma when it comes to social selling.
Recent changes to Facebook have put many businesses in a bind. As a result, sales reps need to understand how to navigate Facebook in 2019 and keep in line with the platform’s best practices.
Below we’ve broken down how social selling on Facebook works and what reps can do to make the most of the platform to close more deals.
Why Facebook is actually a prime place for social selling
Despite Facebook’s booming user base and ad service, conventional wisdom tells us that it’s actually one of the tougher networks for scoring sales.
Sure, changes to the Facebook algorithm have caused some huge headaches for companies within the past year or so. These changes combined with Mark Zuckerberg’s pledge to prioritize personal relationships over business seems to put the concept of social selling on Facebook in jeopardy.
Not so fast, though.
Although company pages have certainly taken a hit in terms of reach, this makes personal profiles for sales reps even more valuable.
Whereas it might be more difficult for a company to reach and interact with their target sales audience, reps are able to connect to other users directly. There are tons of business-related communities and groups on Facebook for prospecting and advertising.
Consider also that business content on Facebook gets shared exponentially more by personal accounts than company accounts anyway. Given how many people are already using social media to research products and services, individual reps are empowered to raise awareness on their own.
If nothing else, Facebook’s massive user base makes is valuable in and of itself. There’s a non-zero chance that at least some of your sales targets have a Facebook presence. Unlike the brevity of Twitter or the business spin of LinkedIn, Facebook posts can provide more in-depth insights on your audience including interests and pain points.
So yes, while social selling on Facebook might be apples and oranges versus any of the other major social networks, the platform is still incredibly valuable for sales reps.
6 strategies for successful social selling on Facebook
Reps need to take special care when navigating Facebook for the sake of sales.
Given the platform’s crusade against business spam, taking a subtle approach to selling is better for getting traction compared to dropping links or shameless self-promotion.
To understand how to leverage Facebook as part of your overall social selling strategy, we’ve highlighted six actionable strategies.
1. Boost your company content
Perhaps one of the simplest tasks that sales reps can carry out is sharing and promoting your company’s content. This includes milestones, blog posts, and news related to your industry.
The point here isn’t to try to sell your product to your in-laws, but rather create more visibility for your company.
Think about how many people your company is reaching on Facebook versus the potential reach of all of your sales reps combined. Especially in this era of restricted reach, individual shares are arguably more valuable than ever. The more people sharing your company content, the better.
Besides, your shares could inadvertently result in more leads or, at the very least, more traffic to your company’s site. By monitoring traffic sources in Google Analytics, you can better understand how your Facebook traffic behaves and whether or not those visitors eventually become leads.
2. Engage with potential customers on your company page
Much of the appeal of social selling comes from the ability to form relationships with customers.
Anyone who comments on your company’s Facebook page or ads, whether they be a prospect, lead, or current customer, deserves your immediate attention.
Maybe someone has a concern about an announcement or new feature. Perhaps they want clarification on your latest ad promotion. Responding to such concerns from an individual profile might give a commenter additional peace of mind versus seeing a stock response from a company page.
Although you might have a social or customer service manager available to deal with such concerns, reps are capable of addressing these questions as well. Of course, you shouldn’t go rogue or overstep the boundaries of community managers. Instead, you should see if it’s possible to collaborate and compliment each other while communicating with potential cusotmers.
Comments on your company page are also a good place to spot sales objections and what sorts of problems your target audience is dealing with. Consumers today aren’t shy about sounding off on business pages - make sure that you take those comments and criticisms to heart.
3. Participate in industry-related Facebook Groups
Today, social selling on Facebook often takes place within the confines of Facebook Groups.
Why? For starters, Group activity isn’t shunned by the Facebook algorithm. There are tons of business and industry-related groups out there people are asking questions and looking for solutions. For example, let’s say your target audience is real estate agents.
A quick Group search for “real estate marketing” provides a ton of potential communities to explore.
Depending on the specific communities you’re apart of, there are endless opportunities to promote your content and recommend your product.
But again, you can’t just drop links and blindly promote your business. Groups are a place to serve as a helping hand versus a salesperson.
Just like you’d nurture your leads, Group members need to get to familiarize themselves with you. Frequent commenting on questions or linking to a helpful piece of content can help build meaningful business relationships over time. Most Groups have explicit rules of links and promotion, so just keep that in mind as you engage with these communities.
4. Conduct research on your prospects, leads, and competitors
As we said earlier, everyone is on Facebook.
Sales targets. Competitors. You name it.
Facebook is a great place to conduct research on all of the above.
For example, let’s say someone reaches out to you via email or comments on a piece of content on-site. Granted that they have a public profile, you can easily find them via search. Then, you can see how well they match up with your current customer personas based on their details and posts.
You can likewise keep an eye on what your competitors are up to when it comes to social selling. What sorts of content are they posting? What are their reps up to? Facebook is an ever-evolving platform for businesses and companies are still learning to adapt. With a pulse on your competitors, you can ensure that you’re not missing out on potential sales opportunities yourself.
5. Avoid approaching anyone with a “hard sell”
Although Facebook’s ad platform is absolutely killer, randomly messaging offers and deals is off-limits.
That’s why subtly promoting content is a smart move versus being too in-your-face with promotions on Facebook. For people who seem like they’re interested, you can likewise recommend getting in touch via email to take them off-platform.
And although you might be a sales rep, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to look like one on Facebook.
Unlike the sort of “suit and tie” vibe of LinkedIn, reps on Facebook shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves. You don’t necessarily need a polished profile picture or perfect pitch when going back and forth with people. Remember: authenticity can score you major points with prospects and leads in the Relationship Era.
6. Use data from Facebook to supplement your customer profiles
Facebook is a potential treasure trove of data for sales reps.
From interactions with prospects to insights from customer profiles, it’s important for reps to be able to track and organize their data. Otherwise, those valuable insights might fall by the wayside.
With the help of a CRM such as Copper, you can log those interactions to give you a more complete understanding of your leads, including their wants, needs, and concerns. Just like you’d log your email communication, your social communication should be monitored as well.
Over time, you might see trends or particular pieces of content that result in leads from Facebook. Succeeding with social selling means tracking your efforts to assess the ROI of each individual network, and a CRM helps you do exactly that.
Ready to start social selling on Facebook?
Every network is different when it comes to social selling.
Facebook is definitely somewhere that reps should tread lightly, especially given the platform’s commitment to prioritize relationships over business.
That said, this trend makes Facebook the perfect network for reps in the Relationship Era. With company pages on the decline, individual salespeople have the most to gain from the platform.
Although Facebook may not result in as many direct leads or sales as other networks, it’s a place where reps can have meaningful conversations with prospects and lead alike. These conversations can lead to insights and interactions that result in customers and a better idea of what your target audience wants.