Social Selling: How To Use Content To Level Up Your Social Selling Process (Examples Included)
As you probably already know, social selling is very important.
Many B2B companies are leveraging social selling to add value to their prospects and get clients interested in their product.
However, even though most businesses put in a lot of effort in this regard, they barely manage to move the needle.
The reason is simple: they are not following the right process.
On top of that, they’re not using content in a way that will allow them to improve their social selling efforts.
In this guide, I’ll be showing you how you can use content to enhance your social selling process and boost your performance.
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
- Chapter 1: How to Identify Content Opportunities for Social Selling
- Chapter 2: How to Create Content Specifically for Social Selling
- Chapter 3: Social Selling Best Practices
- Chapter 4: Final Thoughts
1 How to Discover Content Opportunities for Social Selling
Before we delve any further, I’d like to get one thing out of the way:
Social selling is NOT a silver bullet; getting results from it requires time and hard work.
Having said that, don’t expect that you’ll use the learnings of this guide for a couple of weeks and change your performance once and for all.
The first thing you need to do to set up your social selling process is to discover content opportunities.
The question is, how can you find those opportunities?
Let me give you 5 simple methods to do so.
Method #1: Discover content gaps
The first way to discover content opportunities is to find content gaps.
You can do that by conducting a content gap analysis.
What is a content gap analysis?
According to Backlinko:
Content Gap Analysis is the process of evaluating existing content on a topic and discovering “gaps” in that content to improve upon.
Let me illustrate this with a simple example.
Let’s say you want to discover content gaps for the term lead generation.
What you can do is make a list of your competitors…
- Competitor 1
- Competitor 2
- Competitor 3
… And find what they’ve written around that topic.
Here’s how to search the topic it on Google:
You’ll get a list of pages from that competitor which include the term you’re interested in:
Author’s Note: For better results or to scale the process, you can use a tool like ScrapeBox or ScreamingFrog.
Try choosing those that seem interesting or popular based on…
- Social shares
… And repeat that process for all your competitors.
If your competitor’s website has an on-site function like LeadFuze has on its blog, make sure to use it.
Remember: if something is interesting for your competitors’ audience, then chances are it will be interesting for yours as well.
Now that you have a list of content ideas, you can go on to create something better that you can use in your social selling process.
Method #2: Use customer feedback
You don’t need me to tell you how important user feedback is for your B2B business.
A meaningful customer experience can win the user over right away.
Have you ever wondered why most businesses use customer feedback mainly on a product level?
They collect and use feedback to improve the product or service.
Don’t get me wrong, improving your product or service is essential.
However, customer feedback can be used in other, equally important operations within a B2B business.
According to Hootsuite, social selling is:
Social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.
What better way to nurture sales prospects than using feedback that people who’ve already tried your product have shared with you?
To do that, you can use reviews for your product or service from websites like G2, Capterra or even Google.
For example, in this 5-star review for LeadFuze in Capterra, you can see that the user had some minor issues with email customization:
This can be a great opportunity for the LeadFuze team to create a content piece around that topic.
This content piece could later be amplified through social media and educate prospects around that product feature.
Method #3: Create topic clusters
Topic clusters are very important for content creation.
If you think about it, when B2B companies talk about social selling, they’re usually referring to a random selection of content that goes live and is supposed to bring in leads.
However, this is the wrong approach to how social selling should be done.
Simply put, you need structure and strategic thinking behind every action you take.
Let me share a quick example to make this clearer.
Let’s assume that one of the main areas of focus for your business is content marketing.
Some of the things that come to your mind when you hear the term content marketing are:
- Content marketing strategies
- Content marketing examples
- Types of content marketing
- B2B content marketing
These categories are your topic clusters and each has several sub-topics, as shown in the diagram below:
How are they related to your social selling strategy?
Instead of starting to create content at random, you can instead create content based on these clusters.
This way, your overall effort will be more structured and efficient.
Method #4: See what users search for online
One of the best ways to attract new customers through your social selling process is by answering the questions that you know prospects have in mind.
How can you do that?
I’ll give you three simple ways:
1) Use Quora to discover relevant content opportunities
Quora is a place where people go to ask questions and get answers.
According to Ahrefs, Quora gets over 93M visits on a monthly basis:
Author’s Note: The above numbers are estimations, and may vary from the actual metrics for that particular website.
This makes Quora the ideal place to find out what users search for online.
Let’s take the term lead generation , for example.
Insert the term into Quora’s search bar:
Click on “Search” and then on “Questions:”
You’ll get a list of questions that people ask about the specified term.
You can use the most relevant of these to start creating content pieces in different formats to answer them.
Author’s Tip: the number of followers indicate how many people are interested in a particular question. Use that as a way of targeting questions based on popularity.
2) Search for relevant communities on Reddit
Reddit is one of a kind.
According to Ahrefs, the website gets more than 290M visitors every month:
This means that Reddit is a great way to discover what your prospects are searching for online.
Start by inserting a term that interests you into the search bar:
You can visit the communities that seem relevant…
… And find questions that could be used as content opportunity for your B2B business:
These questions can be a great source of inspiration for your content creation efforts.
3) Use Facebook groups to understand what users need
Sure, organic traffic on Facebook doesn’t really exist anymore, and yes, many Facebook pages are dead.
However, there’s one thing on Facebook that’s still active—in some cases extremely so.
Facebook Groups are a great source of content ideas, and of course, a great place to apply your social selling tactics.
Take this post on the SaaS Growth Hacks group as an example:
The group member is clearly facing an issue with LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
If your product or service is related to LinkedIn Navigator, that could be a nice opportunity for you to create something around that topic and add value to the community.
Of course, you can’t create content based on every question and issue out there.
You therefore have to prioritize based on factors like:
- Business value
- Popularity of the topic
Finding what users search for online is one of the best ways to start with your social selling strategy.
Let’s move on to the last way of discovering content opportunities for your social selling strategy.
Method #5: Use sales objections and responses
I’ll keep this one short.
As you’re already aware, sales come with objections and all sorts of responses from your prospects.
When you get to hear a certain objection over and over again, you’re witnessing a pattern.
It’s essential that you identify these patterns and use them to your benefit.Identify patterns of responses and objections and use them to your benefit. Click To Tweet
I have to be clear though: you can use something only when it becomes a pattern, which means that it concerns a large number of prospective customers.
Using objections and responses from sales communications in your social selling strategy can definitely help you to level up your social selling efforts.
Now that you know what the five ways are to discover content opportunities for social selling, let’s move on to how you can create content specifically for this.
2 How to Create Content Specifically for Social Selling
You now know how to discover content opportunities that can fuel your social selling strategy.
The next step is to create content that’s tailored to your social selling needs.
After all, you can’t—and shouldn’t—create content on every topic that’s relevant to your target audience.
The first step to nail that process is to understand your audience.
Understand your audience
I’m sure you know your users like the back of your hand…
… But do you know you audience?
You see, as Brian Dean put it in a podcast a while back: “There is a big difference between your customers and your audience.”
Simply put, your users have already interacted with your product, if not having indicated some kind of monetization behavior, while your audience hasn’t yet tried your product.
When you want to create content for social selling purposes, you need to know the audience you’re trying to reach.
For example, take a look at the following LinkedIn update by LeadFuze:
LeadFuze knows that its target audience is interested in managing its lead flow (AKA pipeline management).
Thus, publishing something relevant around that topic is good practice.
However, you can’t know what works or isn’t working if you don’t test.
This is why I always advise my clients to experiment with different formats and content types before investing heavily in one of them.
In order to get closer to your audience, ask them directly what they’d like to see from you.
Know what types and formats they like to consume
The best way to know what types and formats are best for your audience is to ask them about it.
A simple Typeform survey with a mix of closed and open-ended questions can help you do that.
Rest assured that if people are interested in your content, they’ll give you 5 minutes of their time to help you enhance your social selling strategy and thus add more value to their lives.
To be clear, content formats include…
- List Posts
- Comparison Guides
- Exclusive Content
- Case Studies
- Mini Courses
- … And more.
The truth is that not all formats work well for all businesses.
This means you need to discover what formats work best for you.
For example, in its early days, ConvertKit grew from $98K to $625K MRR by doing 150 webinars in one year.
Can you replicate this strategy?
However, that’s not the question you should be asking yourself.
As I mentioned earlier, to find the formats and topics that work best for you, you need to experiment and reach out to your audience for their opinion.
When you do, you’ll be one step closer to creating content that’s ideal for your social selling machine.
Create content for all stages of the customer journey
A common mistake among many SaaS companies (especially B2B ones) is to use social selling only when they want to actually sell.
Roughly speaking, every piece of content can fall into one of the following three categories:
- Top of the Funnel Content (TOFU)
- Middle of the Funnel Content (MOFU)
- Bottom of the Funnel Content (BOFU)
As you can imagine, each of these categories reflects the stage of the customer journey where a prospect is at any given time.
An example of a user looking for Top of the Funnel content is:
Here’s an example of a user looking for Middle of the Funnel content:
Finally, an example of a user looking for Bottom of the Funnel content will look like this:
As I hope is evident by now, as search intent changes, so does the customer lifecycle stage and the content that you need to create.
When it comes to social selling, most SaaS businesses seem to ignore TOFU and MOFU and publish only BOFU content.
However, this is the wrong approach and probably won’t get you anywhere.
Focusing on yourself and how your product is better than others is a surefire way to keep people away from trying it.
Remember, social selling is a way to establish meaningful relationships with your prospects, not to advertise your product at every chance.
I therefore highly recommend creating content that covers the whole customer journey.
To be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t create and use BOFU content in your social selling strategy; however, you need to publish content from all three stages to increase your chances of success.Use social selling to establish meaningful relationships with prospects, not to advertise products at every chance. Click To Tweet
Let’s move on to some best practices when it comes to using content to enhance your social selling process.
3 Social Selling Best Practices
When it comes to social selling, there are some best practices you should follow and some pitfalls you should avoid.
In this chapter, I’m going to give you some best practices that I’ve learned and consider to be important.
There are of course many other practices and tactics you can use; these are just the ones I consider to be the most significant.
Let’s take a close look at each.
Get your team in the game
One of the most common mistakes that SaaS companies do with their social selling strategy is to limit their efforts to within their marketing team.
If you ask me, all B2B companies should encourage and empower their people to publish more often on social media.
The social selling game shouldn’t be limited solely to people within marketing and sales.
Everyone would like to hear stories or consume content from:
- Your product team
- Your customer success team
- Your human resources team
- As well as from other teams within your company
If you want your social selling strategy to be successful, you need to get your team in the game.
Amplify through social media
As you probably already know, organic reach on social media is declining.
What can you do about this?
Here are some ways to continue to amplify content through social media for your social selling efforts:
Use paid promotions to boost your best performing content
Use your team as brand advocates (the point I mentioned earlier)
Start promoting your content internally and within your communication tool (e.g. Slack) so that your team can interact with it right away
For example, here’s how Ahrefs promotes their content on Facebook:
Although I’m not a fan of paid social media ads, boosting your content to reach more users and add value to your audience can definitely help.
Building a system that will inform your team about new posts on social media is also a great way to keep them engaged with your content.
The best part?
You can automate that process with a tool like IFTTT:
Let’s move on to the last practice I have for you.
Align your social selling efforts with your business goals
Very often, software companies forget to align their social selling efforts with their business goals.
This misalignment usually causes people to question whether or not social selling is effective for companies.
This is why it’s essential that your social selling goals follow your business goals and objectives.
What do I mean by that?
If for the last quarter of the year your target is to increase new users by 25%, you need to use Top of the Funnel (TOFU) and Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) content.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be posting any Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) content; it just means that you should be focusing your social selling efforts on gaining more users for your SaaS.
Last but not least, don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of your social selling efforts.
And no, adding a UTM parameter into every content piece you share on social media isn’t going to cut it.
You need to understand the correlation between your social selling efforts and your growth on a higher level.
Thus, set up a system that will help you measure the effectiveness of your efforts in the easiest way possible.
Let’s close this article with some final thoughts.
4 Final Thoughts
Acquisition for SaaS companies is becoming more and more difficult as customer acquisition cost (CAC) rises and competition gets tougher by the day.
Companies that choose product-led growth as their go-to-market strategy manage to keep this cost at lower levels.
Thus, it seems that B2B businesses must find other paths to acquire new users.
Social selling is one of the best ways to achieve this.
Consequently, to follow a successful social selling strategy, you need to create content that reflects your target audience’s:
- Pain points
Using the practices described in this guide will help you get one step closer to attract your ideal customers.
As I’ve stated multiple times, doing so requires hard work and takes time.
However, there’s nothing preventing you from creating great content that will help you level up your social selling process and gain more users for your SaaS.
Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!
We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Connect with me on LinkedIn and let's discuss.