What is Social Selling?

What is social selling?

What is Social Selling?

Social selling: Connecting with prospects via social tools, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. In action, it looks like answering prospect questions and sharing helpful, timely content. These consistent interactions nurture prospect relationships until they are ready to buy. As with inbound marketing, social selling focuses on being helpful and relevant, rather than disruptive.

The reality is that consumers and B2B buyers conduct thorough research online before they make a purchasing decision.

In addition to searching for relevant content, they ask questions on social media and post comments on industry forums. Before they agree to speak to a sales representative, they are looking online for answers, advice, and guidance

Social selling recognizes this fact, and allows your team to be there at that critical point in the buying cycle, when prospects are researching their options. It ensures that when they are asking for advice, your company is there to guide them through their decision-making process. 

Social selling

The main benefits of social selling are:

  • Social selling generates a large number of qualified leads by allowing your team to connect with customers at critical moments during their decision-making process.
  • Social selling gives your team the opportunity to research prospects before they engage, thus enhancing sales productivity and promoting a shorter sales cycle. 
  • Social selling fosters customer relationships that last, by delighting prospects with relevant, timely content. 
  • Social selling builds a strong company brand and positions your organization as trustworthy and relatable.

Here are some things to keep in mind when implementing a social selling strategy:

  1. Monitor social media for insights. If you’re an established brand, monitor social media to get an idea of what people are saying about your company. If you’re a startup, pay attention to what they’re saying about your competitors. The people interacting in your space will be your prospects, and you can use their comments to strengthen your social selling strategy.

For example, let’s say many users are critical of a competitor’s customer service policies. A part of your strategy could be highlighting your brand’s stellar customer service reputation with case studies and testimonials.

  1. Identify qualified prospects. Create a profile of your target customers, and use indicators such as demographics, interests, employer, job title, and shared connections to find them on social media.

On LinkedIn you’ll find qualified prospects interacting in professional groups. On Twitter, you’ll find them debating a trending topic or sharing industry news. On Facebook, you can find them by using Facebook ads to target users based on their interests, job title, employer, and location.

  1. Engage prospects with thoughtful content and advice. Once you’ve identified your prospects, it’s time to engage with them. We recommend commenting on and sharing their content; answering their questions; discussing industry trends; and sharing helpful content designed to move them through the decision-making process.

Here’s a great example of social selling in action. Let’s say a prospect asks the following question on Twitter: “Does anyone have a recommendation for a solid financial planning service? We’d like to offer our clients assistance with their portfolios.” Your team can then send that prospect a white paper or article explaining the benefits and uses of your financial planning website.

  1. Respond to the company’s social inboxes. A core piece of social selling is responding to prospects, and making it clear that your brand is relatable and reachable. To that end, it’s important to regularly respond to Twitter mentions, Facebook messages, and LinkedIn emails.
  1. Connect with existing customers. In addition to generating new leads, social selling is a powerful way to nurture existing customer relationships. Get in touch with your top-tier customers on social media and interact with them. We recommend sharing and commenting on their content; asking them questions; and offering targeted content based on their purchasing history.

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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.