Copywriters and content writers can no longer get by being ‘creative types with a flair for writing’; they need to know how to write more purposefully than ever.
In such a competitive market, there’s an expectation for all digital marketing professionals to be well-versed in specific sales approaches and know how to leverage content to hit specific KPIs and targets. Research skills will only get you so far when the best copywriters take the time to learn the exact role their copy plays in achieving sales.
It’s no surprise that with a degree in Communications Studies and an MBA in Sales Management, I love it when clients approach me with a specific sales strategy. It shortens the number of follow-up questions I need to ask and makes my life a lot easier when it comes to identifying tone and approach (it also helps reiterate the fact that doing an MBA the same year as planning a wedding was worth the additional wrinkles but that’s a story for another day!)
Even though I’ve worked on countless projects covering almost every sales strategy out there, social selling is still one of the techniques that requires the most research. Because of this, it’s important to constantly remind myself why copy for social selling is so unique. To share my thought process, I’ve listed some points I consider before I start writing for a client with a social selling strategy.
Wait, what is social selling?
At its core, social selling is a lead-generation technique that uses social media to develop relationships with key prospects. Many consider social selling to be a replacement for sales approaches such as cold calling and in-person rapport building (if these methods still work for you, the addition of social selling can be a nice one to tie in!)
From professional blog posts to directly reaching out to key decision-makers within organisations, social selling needs to balance a conversational tone with persuasive language to achieve the high-conversion rates it sets out to achieve.
How is social selling different from social media marketing?
Many people (including myself once upon a time!) confuse social selling and social media marketing. While both use social media to achieve their goals, their approaches differ. Social media marketing tends to focus on sharing content with a focus on branding and marketing objectives, while social selling is geared more towards using social media to engage with potential customers directly.
Social selling allows sales teams to dip their toes into what marketing teams are usually responsible for, but in a way that uses their predominant skills as a seller. Because the language for a social selling strategy can be quite tricky to get right though, more sales teams than ever are employing the services of professional writers for guidance.
What’s the first step of creating copy for social selling?
Before writing for a specific audience, you should always consider where this audience congregates and what platforms your copy will need to be framed for. This is where social listening comes in. Finding out where people talk about specific brands and what they’re saying is a crucial part of the framing process for social selling copy.
Due to the fact that it comes directly from the source (at least at face value!) and can be tailored to suit individual prospects, copy created for a social selling strategy can be extremely useful for addressing negative feedback about a brand. Additionally, it can serve equally well in reinforcing messaging that is proving successful.
In finding out what people are already saying about your business, you can use that information to help angle your direct communication and ensure any misconceptions about your operations are immediately cleared up.
What platforms are used for social selling?
Any digital platform can be used to implement a social selling strategy, but LinkedIn has become a particularly popular choice in recent years. LinkedIn is popular because it allows salespeople to integrate themselves within professional networks and share their own content, while simultaneously engaging with relevant content posted by others.
Think about it: your LinkedIn connections are already quite targeted, so why not go one step further and use every opportunity you can to optimise these relationships? As well as targeted LinkedIn posts for business pages, clients have asked me to write direct messages to prospects and draft responses to be used for public engagement.
Social selling is all about boosting your profile amongst the people who matter most for your business, so enlisting the help of a professional writer for even the smallest of interactions can be extremely beneficial.
What kind of content works for a social selling strategy?
Writing copy for a social selling strategy involves good communication between the copywriter and the sales team to formulate the right messages, so ensuring that you’re both on the same page is essential. A copywriter hired to write for a social selling strategy will need to not only understand the company they’re writing for, but also be able to embody individual team members as required.
If ‘Natalie from Sales’ wants some snappy ‘connect with me’ content written, she might also like some copy to introduce who she is and what she’s trying to sell. If ‘Jeff from Customer Success’ wants a post written and posted from his personal LinkedIn account, he’ll also need some follow-up responses written in the same tone that he can send to any potential prospects that bite. A social selling strategy isn’t just about reaching out; it’s also about being able to establish qualified leads by keeping prospects engaged.
Other content that works for social selling strategies usually revolves around sharing user-generated content (UGC), social proof posts, direct messaging (that doesn’t present as spam!), blog posts, personalised product quizzes, chatbots, and much more. While hiring a copywriter or content writer for all types of social selling content might not be necessary, it’s important to remember that salespeople know how to sell, but they might not know how to write!
Why can social selling copy be tricky for copywriters to master?
The biggest issue for copywriters trying to adapt to a social selling strategy is that social selling content can be extremely varied and specific to each company you work with. One minute you’re trying to present customer testimonials more attractively, and the next, you’re creating automated responses for a chat box widget specific to individual team members.
What a social selling client requires from a copywriter will always depend on what a sales team is lacking or where some additional guidance might be needed. This is why writers should be prepared to research the company in-depth and adapt their skills accordingly.
Overall, the most important thing to remember when writing copy for a social selling strategy is that however prospects are approached, there must be content to continue the conversation in the same way. Having materials ready to share and having a high enough level of engagement to appear as a prominent player within the industry is essential.
In my experience, hiring a professional writer (at least at the beginning) will provide a better chance of capturing a market that needs an increasing amount of convincing. Even for introductory posts and supporting materials, getting the wording wrong can cost you valuable sales.
If you or your client have a specific sales approach that requires a professional writer’s touch, get in touch with us to find out how we can help you!