Social Engagement: Pillar Four of Strategic B2B Social Selling

Social engagement is simply how we establish connection and build relationships with people in social media. All the rules of the physical world apply including professionalism, good manners, respect and integrity.

Blasting someone with your uber-messaging Gatling gun projection machine causes people to recoil. Baiting people with content to capture their details and then launching a ‘shock and awe’ bombardment campaign damages your brand. Too much ‘noise’ creates selective deafness in your audience.

We’ve all been on the receiving end… instead use social listening and social research to be targeted and relevant for those with whom you pursue a relationship. Be a Hawkeye cupid sniper rather than a worrier with an arsenal.

The way we sell is more important than what we sell. How we open the conversation is far more important than how we close the sale. Masterful openers set the agenda and establish value. When we engage anyone in business we need to:

  • Introduce ourselves within a trusted network

  • With relevant context that creates value in a conversation

  • Leading with insight and respecting their time

  • Without pressure or manipulation

All of this can be done in social with LinkedIn being the critical platform for B2B sellers. Be where your customers are... where do they go online to research and gain insight? What online communities are they part of? What do they look for before they look for you? Here are the things to focus on:

  • Use Sales Navigator to determine social proximity for good old networking to secure an introduction. Warm introductions trump cold calls every time.

  • Pick up the phone and call them... it still works a treat!

  • Lead with why, rather than with what you do and how you do it. Be clear about the business value you offer in terms of delivering outcomes and managing risk.

  • Be a giver not a taker. Ensure that they take more from the meeting than you.

  • Create well conceived templates that you tailor for InMails and emails to anchor meeting and conversations. Convey that you've authentically researched them and their company thoroughly to glean actionable insight. 

  • Become a valued member of the online communities in which your targets participate. No creepy stalking or cheap self promotion... just weigh-in with insight and become known to the group as a valued member.

  • Be clear about what the next steps should be.

  • Always follow-up in a timely manner on every small commitment.

Connect in context, engage with relevance, focus on business value (delivering their outcomes and managing their risks) and endeavor to build a relationship of trust.

Feel free to weigh-in. How do you engage using social and what are your tips for others? Here is how to go back to my Social Selling overview.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Spreng Ben