If social selling is like going fishing, content is the bait on the hook you’re fishing with. I think of content shared by salespeople as their own hyper personalised marketing funnel. You can warm up prospects and tee up conversations with your content strategy if you post the right content for the right people at the right time.
In the same way, a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) has been “warmed up” by a nurturing campaign or other marketing activity, content and engagement warms up a conversation for you to then go and have with a prospect.
Context is King! Content next in line to the throne.
You know what buyers ask and talk about
Salespeople speak to lots of people with lots of different problems and goals. This gives them a great idea of how to zero in on what buyers care about, and doing this is a good way to get people to read or consume your content too. There will be common FAQs that you can create content around solving.
This will act as…
- A great resource for you to share on your social profiles
- Great awareness for you in your 2nd degree network (LinkedIn people who know your connections, but not you personally yet)
- Fantastic material to send prospects who need nurturing, or following up on
Often, people just want to know how to do things they don’t understand or find difficult. This is why training services exist in the business world, but often after training people do not follow through with action. People want things done for them, so as much as your “how-to” content might feel like giving away your secrets, you won’t miss out on getting business and doing the work.
Weigh-in on hot topics
It seems obvious but many times I have seen and heard a range of excuses why salespeople didn’t want to weigh-in on industry-related topics that will impact their buyers and industry. The big one for me was Brexit and how that could impact clients, lots of people would not talk about Brexit for love nor money. But really, their clients were desperate to hear expert opinion on how to deal with it in their niche. The second the reps in question addressed it, their biggest clients listened up.
In sales, it is a huge advantage to be seen as a leader with your finger on the pulse. People will come to you for advice and information and solutions to problems. So be seen to be a person with this information, if you hide it and keep it to yourself you’ll have to cold outreach to more people in order to help the same number of people. And everyone knows a warmer conversation is easier to have.
Mix up your content formats
If you follow what I write and post on my social profiles you’ll know I listen to a lot of podcasts and YouTube videos of a similar nature. I don’t like to spend too much time reading long blog posts, but I know they are helpful at times and more so for people who enjoy written content more than audio.
So don’t limit yourself to making only blog posts. You will miss out on people who don’t like to consume written content. One easy hack to get around this is to recreate written content into a short video and post it on your social profiles, write a blog post summarising your talking points, and drip out a serious of static image posts sharing the key points.
This way you hit people like me with the short audio format, people who like to read the blog post in detail and the people scrolling through their social networks with an image post. You can even write a short summary LinkedIn post, LinkedIn is loving long-form content right now.
Think of what you’re doing like when you’re reaching out to prospects. Some won’t respond to email outreach because their inbox is flooded with emails. Some are more receptive to phone conversations where this is the case, but some will be traveling a lot and not always able to take calls so email is best. Maybe even text messages are the best way for some people. Play where the game is being played, not where you want to play it.
Speak to marketing
Marketing work on content every day, they have to plan it and distribute it in the best ways they know so they can drive awareness and leads through their funnel. So it’s a smart idea to tell marketing what you’re up to, so they can use it and distribute it on mass to help you get into more conversations. You’ll get more exposure and more people looking at what you’re doing.
What’s more, they will likely have channels to share the content on the whole company’s social profiles, so the brand and the staff will share your content and give you the exposure of their network. This is a huge, huge advantage. Rather than playing just your network-wide, you can speak to the network of your whole employee base.
If you’re new to making content, use marketing as a good sounding board for feedback and ideas on what you’re doing. They will be able to draw on the experience of creating and sharing content. I’ve never seen a marketing department upset with a salesperson for helping with content, so what’s the worst that can happen?