Social media is one of the most disruptive influences of our time. We are living in age where social media has over 2.6 billion users collectively. In the context of sales, social media has changed the way you can connect with customers and other companies. There are no intermediaries and no middlemen. You can simply create a social media account and connect straight to the end buyer without using an institution.

Lowering the barrier of access to customers has had an extremely disruptive influence not just on technology but sales as well. A small team producing orchestrated social media content can rival the online presence of a conglomerate without spending a fortune. There was no greater example of the disruptive power of social media than the election of Donald Trump.

In the run up to the election, Trump was seen as an outside candidate, unlikely to take office and isolated from the traditional establishment. Yet by using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, he was able to launch a grassroots campaign that defeated the traditional media.

In the world of B2B and B2C sales, all businesses from SME’s to conglomerates can deploy social media in order to maximise their reach. In fact, any brand looking to build their network and make sales should be embracing social media as a platform to reach new prospects. In a market that’s becoming increasingly fixated on online business, incorporating social selling is a prerequisite if you want to be living up to your potential.

Social media is the epicenter of where users spend their time online, and increasingly where they educate themselves on buying decisions. Currently, 78% of consumers say a company’s social media posts impact their purchases. Social media has become one of the dominant channels of modern marketing. This has made social selling more important than ever before.

In a nutshell, social selling is the name given to using social media to connect with prospects and nurturing them on a long-term basis with valueadded content. As an online sales strategy, social selling is all about using social media to build relationships with customers. The starting point of your relationship with customers is the very content that you produce.

The reason why social media, and social selling have become so important is that modern consumers expect to connect with a brand before doing business with them. Companies are now in a position where they need to demonstrate their expertise before buyers are willing to pull the trigger.

The value of social selling is not solely focused on customers either. Businesses and decision makers from the finance industry to the insurance industry are all present on social media sites like LinkedIn. This makes social media one of the best platforms for a brand to show off their knowledge of the industry, and qualify themselves as a business partner.

There remains an assumption that social media is a B2C landscape, but in reality it’s an incredibly effective medium for B2B companies as well. Despite this, many B2B companies remain resistant and reluctant to commit to a full on social selling campaign.

This is a misjudgment because social media has launched a two-way exchange between any business and its target audience. This exchange lays the very foundations of a strong relationship. Whether you’re trying to reach new customers or new clients, the principle is the same.

The premise of social selling is that the business provides content with insights and entertainment value in exchange for reactions, which develop a dialogue with the customer. This interaction between the business and the customer leads the prospect down the sales funnel and primes them for buying in the future.

Social media has changed the entire culture of business communication.

No platform, from digital marketing to traditional marketing offers an organic way to build relationships with customers like social media. The wide, targeted reach of social media has made it a tremendously potent online sales tool that every business should be looking to use. Relationships are the backbone of sales in the modern world.

Companies with reservations about social media are severely limiting their potential reach. This is under the belief that social media isn’t the place to connect with clients on social media. This simply isn’t the case, whether you’re using LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Social is a valuable tool for making sales in the B2B sector, because it offers companies a way to qualify themselves within the market.

Putting together a strategy that builds brand awareness on social media, and engages with your target

audience boosts your reputation. Any company that spends a significant amount of time online will be able to pick up on the companies with well-defined social media plans. Having a strong social media presence that receives consistent engagement provides social proof.

The buying process has become so online centric that running a social media strategy will be an imperative skill over the next 5-10 years. Surprisingly, only 15-20% of organizations have a formal strategy that they use on social media. Most company’s that have policies on social media have ‘negative policies’ which tell staff what not to do, but not what they should be doing.

As such, implementing a cohesive strategy is a real competitive advantage in the market. A social media strategy doesn’t just give your staff guidelines for what content to post, but defines why your posting that content, and sets clear clear goals and metrics. Planning a strategy raises your brand awareness and helps you to cultivate an online presence that drives sales.

At its core, social media is a platform for communicating your value proposition directly to your target audience. There are many ways to use your content to do this, but the end goal is the same: providing value to make sales. If you make your value proposition clear and convince your target audience that you are a business that provides value, you will boost your sales potential dramatically.

It’s no different from real world sales in the sense that you have to show your worth and expertise to the customer before they do business with you. Likewise, with B2B relationships showing yourself as a key player in your industry is a good way to make yourself stand out from amongst the crowd.