social selling primer

Business is ultimately about people. People sell to, and engage with, others.

Social is about people too, so any approach to social media management that relies on static measures of past events (measurement of ‘dumb volume, in other words) will be flawed (and not terribly useful).

The key is to map social activity around the individual, mapping the digital footprint of what people say and what they do to an individual at the centre of all the platforms on which they are active. This results in smarter segmentation (because it’s based on data) and better targeting of programmes (also because it’s based on data).

Both combine to allow better customer acquisition programmes.

At the heart of this activity lies the concept of social-based prospecting: identifying the types of people you are interested in, and then seeking to discover and understand what’s important to them, using the social web.

This can be done by ‘contexts'; the more you understand a context – content, solutions, conversations, all mapped to individuals – the more focused you become in creating and exploiting relevant content. Appending hashtags to your content and the conversation taking place around it cements the connection.

This type of social-based prospecting creates triggers from the social activity from those with whom you wish to engage.

Hooking together all these elements with your back-end data creates a virtuous social selling ecosystem that creates a market in which to exchange value. That value influences the degree of importance you attach to any social selling campaign for your organization, and how such a programme compares with, or complements, other sales and marketing initiatives open to you. Not surprisingly, engagement, sales, leadership position opportunities and investment all influence this choice and decision.

Social selling doesn’t displace other selling techniques. It does bring focus, insights and an improved return on selling costs and investment.

(A version of this article was originally published at