7 Social Selling Trends to Leverage This Year [New Data]

Social selling might’ve once looked like a fad, but it can’t be ignored anymore, especially since high-performing salespeople are 12% more likely to use social media when selling.

How are these salespeople managing to be so effective, you ask? For one, they’re meeting audiences where they already are — and, more often than not, they’re on social media.

In this post, I’ll go over the top social selling trends I gathered from our State of Sales Report data of 1400+ sales pros to help you understand the trends they’re following that help them outperform their non-social-selling peers.

Download Now: 2024 Sales Trends Report [New Data]

Let’s take a look at the top social selling trends of 2022.

1. Salespeople building their influence on social media.

A top sales trend coming into 2024 is the shift in the role of a salesperson. Buyers are researching a product or service they’re interested in rather than getting initial knowledge from a sales rep. Instead, they expect the salesperson to be more consultative and take their knowledge further by showing them exactly how said product meets their needs.

This shift makes social media a great place for salespeople to be “influencers” and share the helpful content buyers look for when conducting their research. Dan Tyre, sales expert and former Executive at HubSpot said, “Salespeople have the opportunity and the responsibility to amplify good information to help prospects gain a better understanding of solutions. Because social media is critical to finding potential solutions in the attract-phase, publishing helpful information is a big differentiator.”

dan quote

2. Choosing social media channels that support community building.

Being able to build and actively engage with a community is one of the most important features social sellers look for in social platforms, and this makes sense.

When you interact with your audience, you learn about their interests and pain points, which tells you exactly how your product or service can help them. This can inform the type of content you share, so you align with their needs.

Continued engagement builds trust through familiarity, strengthening your relationship with current and future customers. A small business executive who responded to our social selling survey said, “The biggest benefit is the coupling of socializing and shopping into one place. Customers love when you get to know them and let them get to know you. The ability to bring a product to light that other people may have never seen or found is amazing.”

3. Building trust and credibility online is increasingly crucial.

Consumers can sometimes be skeptical of brands and their motives, and recommendations from influencers, friends and family, and people like themselves (other consumers) are the most trusted and impactful. As a result, sales reps are taking on the growing importance of building trust and credibility with prospects, especially on social media.

One of the best ways to build trust is with social proof, and user-generated content (UGC) is a great popular type. It goes a long way in building trust because it’s consumers sharing their personal experience, and their experience is a stamp of approval and trust. If you find UGC about your business, you can re-share it with your audiences on the same platform.

I don’t know about you, but UGC is something I seek out as a consumer. Yes, the high production value of branded advertisements does draw me in, but it’s nice to see someone like me, without a direct link to a business, using and vouching for something they genuinely like.

Above all, you won’t build trust if you don’t provide value. Don’t clutter feeds with irrelevant content or inundate people with messages. Be thoughtful, timely, and personalized, and you’ll drive the results you’re looking for.

4. Approaching social media as a lead-finding channel.

Social media has historically been a networking tool for salespeople. It still is, but it’s also a powerful search engine to identify and research leads with a few clicks on a device that fits inside your pocket.

45% of salespeople tell us they use social media this way and say it offers the second-highest quality leads of any other channel.

So, which channels should you use? I always have to recommend LinkedIn. A simple click on someone’s profile gives you their job title, work history, and shared connections, which only helps you better tailor your outreach to them.

I also have to recommend Facebook. It’s the new top trending channel among salespeople using social to find prospects, and they say it’s the most effective channel for researching prospects and their businesses.

You can also use social media to “warm up” leads before reaching out more formally. You can like and comment on posts to get on their radar and reference something they’ve shared in your pitch when it’s time to pick up the phone and make a call. I’m thinking of something like, “Hi [X], I just read about your new office opening in Chicago. Congratulations. It got me thinking about some ideas that could help you with [address concern].

5. Using DMs (Direct Messages) to answer questions and engage prospects.

Our most recent Consumer Trends Report found that social media shopping is growing in popularity among all age groups, and in-app purchases are at an all-time high.

Consumers’ desire to get support on the platform is increasing alongside social purchases. As a result, businesses are making that a key part of any social selling strategy.

social selling support

Sales reps that are already offering this say that using social media DMs to provide support/answer questions is one of the top four most effective strategies for converting new customers, and social sellers say being able to offer customer service through DMs is one of the most important features they look out for on the platforms they use.

All of this makes sense — DMs offer one-on-one, direct business-to-consumer communication. It also affords more privacy than a standard comment section. When social selling, I recommend letting prospects and clients know your DMs are open to questions.

But remember: social media is a powerful tool to start conversations, but the ultimate goal is to deepen the conversation. DMs can be a stepping stone to get there.

6. Optimizing social media profiles.

Your social media profile is somewhat useless to potential customers if it doesn’t feature the helpful information they need to learn more about you and your business.

So, salespeople are optimizing their profiles to ensure they’re helpful and up-to-date with all relevant information. Ideally, you’d also want your profile to be visually appealing and reflect the cohesive brand identity you’ve worked to develop. If it looks good, you leave a good first impression.

You can think about this trend along with the others I’ve mentioned: if you’re being an influencer on LinkedIn and sharing valuable content, engaging with your community, and having conversations with future customers, you risk losing credibility if the account you use has no information about who you are and your qualifications.

7. Using native social media shopping tools in the sales process.

Social platforms, like Instagram, offer native shopping experiences within their apps, lowering the barrier to purchase for users and making it easier for businesses to sell where their audiences already are.

Social sellers are using these tools, and consumers are buying from them:

  • Facebook is the most popular social selling platform among in-app sellers, and consumers trust it the most and say it offers the best in-app shopping experience.
  • 77% of social sellers use Instagram, and 56% of consumers have used it to make an in-app purchase, but it’s trusted 24% less than Facebook.

I have to note that this trend is more specific to businesses with products that can actually be sold on social media. Can you imagine if SaaS businesses used TikTok Shop?

Over to You

My parting words are that sales reps shouldn’t ignore the power and popularity of social media as it’s a versatile sales tool for reaching and engaging with prospects. It’s a great vehicle for starting conversations, eventually leading to a sale.

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