Social Selling: A Beginner's Guide

The principle of social selling is becoming more and more important and rightly so. Social selling is essentially about building a social network, maintaining it and then selling on that basis, rather than solely through product promises. Below we have created a beginner's guide.
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Definition: “Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. This is done by finding interested parties via social networks such as LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, contacting them, understanding them and maintaining contacts.”[1]

Okay, you probably can't do much with just these two sentences. We want to change that and explain what’s behind social selling.

The goal of social selling:

As the name suggests, social selling consists of two parts. The “social” aspect is about building and maintaining a network and offering users added value. The goal is to leave as positive an impression as possible on your contacts. The second aspect “Selling” is self-explanatory – this is of course about selling. When both aspects are combined, of social selling In other words, winning new customers and reaching them in the first place through social skills and not through product promises.

How exactly this works will be explained in the course of this article. But we would like to get one thing out of the way. Social selling is a process – and quite a lengthy one too. But it's worth biting the bullet!

It is not uncommon to hear from management or even one or two marketers and sales people that social selling and social media marketing are the same thing, but this is a mistake. Because although both begin with the word social and both take place in social networks, there is a huge difference. Let's break it down:

  • Social selling is about building a network and maintaining that network so that you are remembered as a company. Content with added value is offered, which is not aimed at selling a product, but rather personality and emotions are in the foreground.
  • Social media marketing is more towards advertising. Here the desired target group is confronted with high-quality content, which is intended to draw attention to the product to be sold and increase the company's awareness.

Tips and tricks on how to get started with social selling

Step 1: Less is more

What is your favorite network and where is your target group? Don't focus on more than two or three so that you have enough time for the social media platforms and nothing gets out of hand.

Step 2: Build your network

Now you have to start yours build network. How? Publish postings, news or events that are appealing to your target group and interact with relevant people at eye level. Now you are already in the middle Networking And that's the point. 15 minutes a day is enough to get started.

Insider tip: Company profiles are controlled by people, but cannot act like real human profiles on social media. Being connected with people is much more attractive and profitable for you than with companies.

Step 3: Deliver content

To ensure that your network remains interested, it is of course important and necessary to provide content. But not every post appears in other people's feeds. In order for your content to be seen and received positively by your network, it is important that it is received by relevance and is offered on the right medium.

So know your network and the platform. Find out what interests your network. To find out, you can use surveys, for example. Many social media platforms, such as Instagram and LinkedIn, offer this feature directly on the platform. This means no additional tool is necessary. When it comes to the content itself, it's important not to beat around the bush too much and just get to the point.

Insider tip: Get an employee on board who will appear on your social media and present the company as a kind of “mascot”. This makes your entire company appear more personal and therefore more appealing to your network.


Only use as many media as it is still possible for you to deliver high-quality content. Use these media to expand your network by making new contacts in the industry. Nurture these contacts with relevant content, which arouses interest in the network. Now you're already doing social selling. It's actually quite simple, isn't it?

But wait, what does this have to do with selling?

Selling in social selling

So far there has been a lot of social description and little selling, and that's right! For now, social selling is about being social, i.e. getting in touch with lots of different people and delivering high-quality content. That is a constant process, which doesn't stop when selling starts, because the network wants to stay in touch with you.

The selling aspect largely comes naturally, but with a delay. Of course, classic ones still belong Sales techniques in addition. But if you are remembered, your contacts will also consider you when your product suddenly becomes relevant.

emotions are the core of social selling. They ensure that you are remembered and turn strangers into friends. And who doesn't prefer shopping with friends rather than strangers?

Example: As a company, you offer financial advice and network with a small, successful startup. This startup doesn't need financial advice at this point, but because you offer interesting content, you stay in touch. Two years later: The startup needs a financial advisor and remembers you and your service. Ta-taa an old contact becomes a new customer.

Why does social selling work?

It is scientifically proven that our subconscious makes 95% all decisions. Therefore, it is easy to deduce that positive cooperation is necessary for social selling to work.

The first impression plays a major role in positive cooperation. The first contact on social platforms is just as important as the first physical personal contact. People decide within milliseconds whether they like something or someone or not. Don't forget this when you start social selling and create your first posts.

The critical question that some ask is: Does social selling exploit the subconscious of the other person and manipulate people? Clearly, NO.

There is no attempt to convince people that a product is good through advertising. Contacts you reach through social selling know that you are selling a product and can take it or not take it. The contacts want your product because they have a good impression of you and not because your advertising uses embellished phrases. That's the point behind social selling.

And how do I measure my successes now?

The successes are not immediately apparent because, as already mentioned, social selling is a long process. However, you can still measure them.

A simple method is to do this before social selling Analyze network. How many contacts do I have? What kind of contacts are they, companies or private individuals? How satisfied is my network? These are things that you can do based on Survey and research you can find out. You can then repeat this process a year later, for example, and see what has changed. It is particularly interesting to analyze how many new contacts have been added, because network expansion is a large part of social selling.

Several aspects can also be taken into account from yours CRM system derive if you cleanly maintain and control your data right from the start. Among other things, how long the sales cycle was. As in classic sales, this can be completely different.

It all depends on what the customer wants and what product you are selling. The Sales cycle can be short and last between 1-4 weeks, or very long and last between 1-2 years. On average we are talking about 8-12 weeks. Sounds good or not?

Summarized again

Social Selling, at least to start with, is not such a big step. If you want to do it professionally, get tips from the professionals. These can show you which approaches work best and which content is relevant for your target group or how you can best research it.

The Key takeaways summarized:

  • Focus particularly on the platforms that are relevant to your target group. According to the motto: Less is more.
  • Offer to your network Content with added value. Ask yourself the following questions: What will my target group get out of it? Does my target group care? Would I want to see this content myself?
  • Not only maintain your network through content, but also plan an event or create surveys. This means your network also has the opportunity to interact with you.
  • Don't forget to sell! Even if it's done indirectly, it's still 50 % from social selling.
  • Measure your success. There is no point in using resources for something if it is not clear what exactly the output is.
  • Stay tuned! Don't give up too quickly, success will come with a delay.

And convinced? You will now too Social Selling operate?

We also have the potential behind social selling in our FoxCast Experts Dr. Holger Geissler discussed. He believes that social selling can replace cold calling. How and which surprising ones Quick wins You can listen to what he revealed to us in our podcast episode on the topic.



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