What is Social Selling & How to Use it to Drive Revenue

Social selling is a powerful strategy for driving sales growth using social media. This guide will show you everything you need to know on how to do it.




Ever hear of those cases where one well-timed and well thought out LinkedIn post led to a demo and sales pipeline? That’s the magic of social selling, and we’ll totally vouch that this magic is absolutely real and measurable.

In fact, we experienced it ourselves!

Our very own Ari Hoffman (the VP of Customer Marketing and Advocacy) posted on LinkedIn. He didn’t promote himself or our company. Rather, Ari gave a powerful story while linking to an insightful blog post.

That specific post led to a demo and, in turn, that demo led to genuine sales pipeline. You can catch the whole account of it in the video below.

To explain what is social selling, we started with an example to show you what it should do for your company. With social selling, you have a tangible goal – i.e., revenue growth.

However, to reach that goal, you and your team(s) have to approach social media as problem solvers, not sellers.

You don’t want audiences to see you as just a sales rep trying to get a demo, or a marketer trying to get reach. Rather, you want buyers to engage you as though you’ll solve a problem they’re facing at their organization.

If you achieve that, then you’ll see a huge uptick in the quality of your leads, the sales win-rates, your renewals, and your revenue growth as a whole.

Guide Content:

  1. What is Social Selling?
  2. Why is Selling Through Social Media Important?
  3. Benefits of Selling on Social Media for Your Company
  4. Benefits of Selling With Social Media for Your Employees
  5. Social Selling Best Practices
  6. Guide: How to Build a Social Selling Strategy

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What is Social Selling?

Social selling is the process of leveraging social networks to identify potential customers, engaging in conversations, providing value, building better relationships and creating sales opportunities.

In the landscape of social selling, content is the currency of the modern buyer.

The emergence of social selling is quite relevant to the B2B world as most customers are influenced by their peers’ content on social networks. According to Harvard Business Review, 82% of B2B buyers said the winning vendor’s social content had a significant impact on their buying decision.

Sharing content through platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can help sales professionals get involved in the sales cycle earlier. Being first to provide value can enable customer collaboration throughout the buying journey and create a greater probability of winning the opportunity.

Social Selling is Not About Blasting DMs on LinkedIn

We also need to be clear about what social selling isn’t. It’s not about telling your sales reps to connect with every prospect and broadcast DMs on LinkedIn.

That is cold outreach at best, or spam at worst.

If you restrict social selling to cold outreach alone, then you’re missing out on the required work of building relationships and building trust with your target audience.

Why is Selling Through Social Media Important?

Despite a growing number of organizations who’ve gone through the adoption of social selling only a handful have achieved tangible benefits. McKinsey states, 72% of companies use social technologies in some way, but “few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit.” Also, poor adoption of social selling can lead to a massive missed opportunity to influence sales deals earlier.

Think about how you buy things in your daily life. Most of us search on Google for answers, ask friends for recommendations and read testimonials online. When doing this, you’re leaving a digital trail of information.

Similarly, your potential customers are finding key pieces of information online and leaving behind a digital trail of their activity. According to Forrester, 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.

When sales professionals miss these digital trails, they’re missing the opportunity to support potential customers along their buying journey. Providing relevant content to help solve customers’ problems not only pushes them through the buyer’s journey faster but also positions your company as the go-to thought leader within that space. As Forrester’s research has mentioned, sales professionals have a tendency “to prioritize a sales agenda over solving a customer’s problem.”

To fully reap the rewards of social selling, organizations must realize that being socially-savvy is not a nice-to-have but a need-to-have. It should be ingrained in the fabric of every organization from the people to the strategy and process.

Benefits of Selling on Social Media for Your Company

Infographic explaining the benefits of social selling.

1. Shortens Your Sales Cycle

You can reduce the time it takes to close a sale by building the necessary trust in your brand and employees before the process starts.

‘Trust’ can take many forms.

Sometimes, a network contact following your thought leadership can refer your offering to someone they know. Decision makers are 4X likelier to buy with a referral from a friend or someone they trust.

Likewise, because of your thought leadership and ability to provide value (e.g., by offering valuable insights, answering questions, etc), a prospect may reach out to you directly.

2. Sharpens Your Cold Outreach

We’re not saying that social selling will replace cold outreach. In fact, you can use both strategies in an integrated way.

For example, your sales reps/executives can build their individual thought leadership and generate trust among their networks. Over time, they can gauge how well each prospect is engaging with them (e.g., if they’re reacting to your LinkedIn posts, asking questions, etc).

Eventually, you can reach out to those prospects. Now, instead of getting a DM from a total stranger, they’ll get it from a source they know and trust. There’s less convincing involved.

3. Amplifies Your Brand Reach

Together, your employees have far deeper audience networks than your official social media accounts/pages. In fact, company-branded messages shared by employees get 5X+ further than the same posts shared by official accounts.

So, not only does social selling up the ante qualitatively by earning buyer trust, but it also helps you reach more potential customers online.

4. Optimizes Your Ad Spend

Gauging how well your social media posts do organically is a good cue for your paid ads. If you see, for example, a social post driving traffic from your employees’ networks, you can use it as a basis for your paid ad. In a way, social selling helps you field test ideas for copy, videos, images, and other assets before you put money behind them.

5. Engages Your Employees

Finally, social selling is a great way to engage your sales and other teams. Giving employees the greenlight to be active on social is empowering. It gives them a runway to build their own brands and grow their networks. But their activity benefits your company too.

Like we said earlier, audiences want authenticity and they trust people. When your employees show thought leadership and expertise, potential buyers will start trusting them. This supports your ability to close sales, secure renewals, and drive net-new growth through referrals.

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6. Supports Other Teams

One neat thing about social selling is that it doesn’t just benefit your sales team, but marketing and human resources/people ops too.

For example, when your sales team drives thought leadership and grows its network, they’ll attract people to your company. This could help your HR team source talent more easily, or open up new pathways for website traffic and brand awareness for your marketing team.

7. Generates High-Quality Leads

You’ll start getting people who want your brand to solve their problems. So, when they pick up your ebooks, attend a webinar, and engage in other ways, they’ll actively work to integrate your product or service as their solution to a problem.

Looking at it another way, social selling also helps nurture ‘undeclared’ leads. When we get a lead, we’re able to track the time of their journey after we formally have them in our funnel. But this doesn’t account for their exposure to your brand prior to becoming a lead.

Hence, things like building your employees’ credibility, delivering guidance, answering questions through comments and so on play a role in nurturing a lead. It’s work that educates prospects as well as predisposes them that you won’t necessarily see in your conventional metrics.

8. Builds Customer Loyalty

Closing a sale is a key milestone, but it’s the first among many. There’s no doubt that you’ll start focusing on renewals, upsells, and cross-sells. Social selling helps in laying a foundation for the customer’s journey with your company.

For example, when an employee posts on LinkedIn about how they use your offering to achieve a goal, that guidance could help your customer. In turn, your customer could even reach out and engage with your company (customer marketing plays a critical role in driving this).

In the course of their contract, the customer forges strong ties with your key teams, employees, and other customers. The relationships, the 360-degree access to support or guidance, and the experience as a whole gives key reasons for your customer to renew or take on more offerings.

9. Mobilizes Customers

When making a purchase decision, 92% of customers read online reviews. 88% of consumers also say that online reviews and testimonials are trustworthy sources of information. What this tells us is that your current customers are credible reference points for your buyers.

With a strong social selling strategy, you can leverage your customers’ voices in powerful ways. For example, when your customer emerges as a thought leader, a prospect might reach out to them for help with their problem. Imagine the impact if your customer suggests your offering as a solution? Those are the conversations you want to be in.

Benefits of Selling With Social Media for Your Employees

Social selling leans on your employees. Without them, you won’t have a social selling program, much less a successful one. Getting their buy-in is absolutely critical and, fortunately, there’s a lot in it for them, such as:

1. Achieving Sales KPIs

Arguably, the biggest benefit of social selling for your sales team is that it’ll help them knock out their KPIs and sales quotas.

40% of salespeople who use social selling can close 2 to 5 more deals every year. Likewise, 73% of salespeople using social selling also exceed their quotas 23% more often compared to those who don’t. LinkedIn found that social selling leaders are 51% likelier to reach their quota.

Overall, your sales team has a direct incentive to take up social selling. It basically ties into their personal and group KPIs. The more effectively they social sell, the better their results.

2. Growing Their Professional Networks

Social selling helps your salespeople grow their networks across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. As your team shares tangibly useful information and insights, they’ll draw more people to their LinkedIn profiles and other social accounts.

Not only will your sales reps build relationships to drive sales, but those same relationships can also lead to new career opportunities.

3. Building Their Personal Brands

Your brand benefits when your employees grow their personal brands. People aspire to be like other people, not brands, products, or services.

By focusing on building their thought leadership, emerging as trusted experts, and becoming problem-solvers, audiences will start orbiting around your employees. Not only do your sales reps draw in potential buyers, but they’ll attract attention that can grow their careers.

5 Social Selling Best Practices

To ensure you’re putting your resources to good use, we’ll walk you through a few important social selling best practices.

1. Targeting the Right Audiences

To reach your target audience or ideal customer personas/profiles (ICP), you need to focus on both the networks you’re engaging and your content.

The first part is straightforward for your sales team. Based on your research, your sales team will connect with your ICPs on LinkedIn and other social networks.

The second part can be tricky. To engage your ICPs, you’ll want to provide relevant and, ideally, tangibly useful content. Today, everyone else is providing blogs, webinars, and guides; you need to find hooks that’ll drive reactions and conversations.

One starting point could be to focus on your LinkedIn posts. Train your sales reps to write posts that provide value that their readers can act on right away. These can be tips on using software and tools, key insights about the near future, and answering questions.

You can tap into dedicated platforms to distribute content to your sales reps and build a library for them to access over the long term. They can even recommend content for social sharing.

2. Building a Network, Growing a Community

Social selling isn’t just about sharing relevant content. You and your sales team need to be involved in all the discussions that matter. So, pay close attention to the conversations happening on LinkedIn, be it in your own networks or in the networks of your contacts.

The key is entering discussions with answers, guides, and solutions. Each LinkedIn post is, in a way, a micro-community centered on a hyper-specific topic or issue. Keep an eye on the topics your LinkedIn contacts are bringing up and, in turn, build your expertise on those issues.

Engage with enough of these conversations or micro-communities and the people you want to engage will start remembering you. Your reputation as a problem-solver will also grow.

Coach your sales team into building their own “tribes” on social. Basically, get them to focus on becoming experts in specific areas and, in turn, build audiences around the credibility they build from that specialization. That audience or “tribe” becomes a community in itself.

3. Delivering Value, Not Selling or Spamming

We also need to be clear about what social selling isn’t. It’s not about telling your sales reps to connect with every prospect and broadcast DMs on LinkedIn.

That is cold outreach at best, or spam at worst.

If you restrict social selling to cold outreach alone, then you’re missing out on the required work of building relationships and building trust with your target audience.

In fact, what will happen is that potential buyers will reach out to people they trust, and that can lead them to your rival competitors instead of your brand.

Social selling is also not just about posting from brand’s official social media accounts. It’s a part of it, yes, but really, the true stars of a strong social selling program are your employees. In fact, social posts shared by employees get 561% more reach than posts shared by brand accounts.

Basically, at this point, it’s well established that personal profiles (especially on LinkedIn) get far more reach and engagement than official accounts. We’d argue that social selling can start with your sales team, but it should really involve your company as a whole.

4. Using the Right Social Selling Platform

It’s easier to use manual processes (like sharing a spreadsheet with links to blogs or folders to videos) when piloting a social selling program. But when you scale up to involve your full sales team or, especially, your wider company, you need a dedicated platform.

When gauging social selling platforms, look for these features:

Centralized Content Hubs

It’s a lot easier to send your employees to a hub for them to peruse and choose content of their choosing than to keep sending newsletters or emails. To be clear, the latter are great for letting people know there’s new content available, but after a point, a spreadsheet is tough to use.

In contrast, a platform like PostBeyond lets you house your content in one central place for all to see. You can even curate it (e.g., remove out-of-date pieces), filter based on specific groups and teams, and take in suggestions from your team(s).

But a key thing about PostBeyond’s hub is that it lets your team post through it. They don’t have to copy a link and paste it in a separate browser. They can share links, written posts, and even videos that natively play on LinkedIn and other platforms all from within PostBeyond.

So you’re not just getting convenience and ease-of-use benefits, but you’re streamlining lots of time-consuming actions into just a few clicks.


Salespeople tend to have competitive natures. So, why not feed into that with points, rewards, and leaderboards? Platforms like PostBeyond give you these tools out of the box, so you don’t need to set up something new to light up your team’s competitive spirit.


Some of your sales team (especially the leaders/managers) won’t have a lot of available time in their day. Some platforms (like PostBeyond) equip you to work with your busiest employees by letting you auto-post on their behalf.

Basically, the employee opts into a feature where they let the system admin “queue” content for publishing at a specific day and time in the week (set by the user). The employee can review or even edit the content before it gets posted. But the content will get posted on their profiles.


Finally, get a platform that gives you analytics and other tracking tools out of the box. You want to be able to measure the impact of each social selling post so you know what works and what doesn’t. Not only that, but you also want to be able to attribute successes to your program.

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5. Invest in Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI)

It’s not a bad idea to invest in new professional headshots, banners and other assets for your employees’ LinkedIn profiles. However, you’ll want to pay special attention to your employees’ Social Selling Index (SSI).

LinkedIn set up the SSI to give you a score on the effectiveness of your LinkedIn profile. It’s constantly measured based on your LinkedIn activities. You can see LinkedIn’s SSI here.

One neat thing about the SSI is that it touches on several key areas of social selling, especially in terms of delivering original insights. In fact, one of the four components of SSI actually looks at your ability to “discover and share conversation-worthy updates.”

Basically, the SSI is a great way to measure if you and your employees are doing a good job at sharing useful insights with your respective audiences. You should always keep an eye on it.

Guide: How to Build a Social Selling Strategy

Infographic explaining how to build a social selling strategy.

1. Build a Social Media Policy

Since you’re launching your employees into social media, you’ll want to ensure you have tips or guidelines in place through a social media policy. Basically, a social media policy is a guidebook or reference point for employees as they engage on social.

It serves a few roles:

First, a social media policy eliminates any worries or concerns your employees may have when engaging on social. You can provide guidance on what they’re allowed to post and what they’re not allowed to post, for example.

Second, it provides guardrails to both protect your brand. This is especially important if you’re in a more regulated industry or deal with more compliance rules, for example.

Overall, a social media policy is like a runway. It guides your employees to take off on social, but without the risks, pitfalls, and obstacles that might come up in employee advocacy.

2. Get Buy-In for Social Media in Sales

The key here is to tie social selling back to your sales team’s KPIs. You have to demonstrate that social selling will help your sales team get high quality leads, get more positive responses, close sales faster, and renew, cross-sell and upsell more frequently.

Ultimately, engaging on social is also time-consuming. So, think of ways to make social media activity more seamless for your sales team. Prepare content (like blogs with original comments and insights) for them in advance to share, and notify them using Slack, Teams, etc.

3. Target the Right Networks for Social Media Selling

You can do social selling on any platform, but the one(s) you pick depends on whether you’re B2B or B2C, your ICP’s online preferences, your industry, and the nature of your offerings.

For B2B social selling, LinkedIn is the place to be, no contest. That’s where you’ll find B2B buyers and decision-makers looking for solutions for their problems.

However, for B2C, you could build a presence across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. It depends on your offerings and your target market/ICP.

Although Facebook isn’t the “go-to” platform like it used to be, you’ll find many groups and profiles dedicated to key niches. For example, you’ll find groups about real-estate, rentals, maintenance and other areas. So, if you’re selling an offering to landlords (like automated background checks of tenants), Facebook could be the place to be.

Likewise, Instagram is a powerful place for lifestyle offerings, especially in terms of fashion, fitness, health and nutrition, and pets.

4. Recruit Your Social Sellers from Other Teams Too

Though traditionally driven by sales teams, your other teams can contribute to social selling as well. You’ll want to look into a company-wide employee advocacy program.

Your wider team can help get your thought leadership further and expand your audience (via their networks). They can also directly help your social selling campaigns.

For example, when a sales rep posts their thought leadership content, you can coordinate other people in your company to Like or Comment on the original post. Doing so would help push that post to the top of more people’s profiles and, in turn, amplify the message.

5. Carefully Study Your Audience

One of our social selling tips is to pay special attention to your audience. You need to study their actual problems and pain points. In turn, you want to tailor your social selling posts to answer or respond to those actual problems.

The more you’re in lockstep with how your audience is thinking, the better you’ll do in terms of building your credibility, both individually and as a brand.

6. Closely Measure Your Social Selling Campaigns

You’ll need to invest in a tool that lets you track the performance of your social selling posts or campaigns. You’ll want to know what content works and what to avoid in the future.

Basically, at the top level, you’re measuring how much pipeline you’re driving from each of your campaigns. But to see why your success stories are so great, you’ll want to dig into deeper stats like Comments, Engagement, Reach, Reshares, etc.

The more data you’re able to extract the better you’ll get fine-tuning your strategy with the exact right types of posts and content.

7. Give Your Social Sellers Valuable and Relevant Content

Speak to your sales team about the content they’ll need to drive their thought leadership and their expertise on social. Remember, you want them to grow as experts, so they need content they can personally speak to from their knowledge and experience.

Set up regular touchpoints with your sales team. Ask them what works, where they see gaps (both internally but also externally from an opportunity standpoint), and how to position them.

For example, you can help your sales people write their own blogs, or feature them through interviews and quotes in your content. You could also provide resources like zero-party data, research and other assets to help them write their own original LinkedIn content.

Overall, the more you can bring out your employees’ voices the better. You want your team to be as authentic and “real” as possible. But remember: you’re working to answer real questions and solve real problems. People should see your sales team as credible problem-solvers.

Accelerate Your Program With a Social Selling Platform

Doing social selling at scale, especially throughout your company, means you’ll have to remove lots of friction points for your team. Ultimately, everyone in your company is strapped for time, so every minute you can save by making things easier and more convenient counts.

When you reach a point where sharing spreadsheets with links, digging for content, and posting consistently become cumbersome, it’s time to invest in a social selling platform.

Getting a social selling platform with robust analytics and reporting tools is also key when you want to measure how each campaign is contributing to revenue.



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