You read that right: 38.5% of consumers prefer social media sales outreach when being contacted for the first time.
This revelation means that understanding generational social media preferences needs to be front and center with both sales and marketing teams.
When it comes to social selling, the buyer’s journey is changing.
Here’s what you need to know.
Social Media Sales Outreach Stats
To shed some light on the current state of social selling, Bambu surveyed 1,000 people on their stance on being sold to via social selling practices.
Here are some of the staggering statistics Bambu uncovered on social media sales outreach:
- 38.5% of people said they’d prefer to hear from a company about their product or services for the first time via social media
- 45.2% of Millennials are more likely to prefer sales outreach via social than other generations
- 34.9% of consumers are more likely to buy from a sales representative who shares industry news and helpful content on social
Even with these percentages showing an increase in the desire for salespeople to use social media and social selling, only 1 in 4 consumers say that a sales representative has reached out to them on social media.
The 39% of the report respondents said social media sales outreach was their preferred preference.
That percentage scales up to over 45% when looking strictly at millennials.Cold calling is the least preferred sales channel, while email and social media take the top spots.Click To Tweet
Social Media Sales Outreach Preferred By Millennials
With nearly half of millennials preferring social media sales outreach versus other methods, what can marketers and sales teams do?
For one, businesses need to PAY ATTENTION.
Millennials are the largest living generation in the US; in 2016, there were an estimated 79.8 million Millennials compared with 74.1 million Baby Boomers.
Secondly, they can put down the phone and cease with the automated sales spam.
With email marketing and social media outreach taking the top two spots, marketing and sales teams need to shift efforts to these mediums.
But, like every generation, millennials don’t want to be sold to.
- Producing “infotainment” content that both informs and entertains your would-be consumers
- Responding in real-time to social media questions and requests
- Having a Facebook presence (54.1% of people said they’d be most likely to connect with a salesperson there)
Compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers, Millennials list social media as their preferred channel to hear from a company about their product or services to the first time.
Consumers—especially Millennials—want to feel like there’s a person behind the screen.
As a brand using social media sales outreach, you need to put a focus on sounding (and being) authentic.
Social Selling: How To Impact Consumer Behavior
Successful social selling differs from traditional selling when it comes to finding, relating, and engaging with prospects by:
- Utilizing professional social media networks
- Using the company social media profiles to educate consumers
- Targeting key decision makers through social media
- Focusing on “real” people
- Gathering online intelligence
- Discovering social insights on audience segments
- Leveraging “warm” introductions
- Thinking conversation!
- Helping consumers through buyer’s journey
What’s more, results from Bambu’s survey showed exactly what kinds of behaviors impact their buying decisions.
Consumers want you to share helpful content, and they want a helpful, personalized response from brands.
One of the biggest deal breakers in social selling is unresponsiveness by brands.
Nearly half (45%) of survey respondents said that not responding to people’s questions or comments would be a reason for them not to move forward with a deal.
It’s also important to note that other social selling no-nos include:
- Sending the same automated messages to everyone
- Getting too political
- Having no social presence at all
- Not having shared connections
- Posting too much promotional content to social channels
Social Media Sales Outreach Should Be On Your Radar
First, your brand needs to be meeting your audiences where they are.
Whether that’s social media, email marketing, or a combination of both depends on who you’re targeting.
Secondly, you need to be providing the right content on the right platforms for your audiences.
That means offering helpful content AND real-time follow-up of any questions, comments, or concerns that content may receive.
If your company doesn’t have the resources to provide this kind of outreach, consider outsourcing your social media efforts.
Read Bambu’s full report to understand how to better use social media sales outreach at your company.
Are you already using social selling to boost awareness and change consumer behavior? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media management & advertising agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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