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Social Selling vs. Social Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Author Sangram Vajre Category Account-Based Marketing

I am often confused by the terms #SocialSelling and #SocialMarketing. How are these different? And how can they work together?

When the word “social” is part of a business term, I automatically think it’s the marketer’s job — but when I see the words “social” and “selling” come together, I quite honestly get confused.

So I asked Jill Rowley, popularly known as the Social Selling Queen, for a little clarification, and unsurprisingly, she hit the nail on the head.

Here’s what Jill Rowley has to say about social selling:

Here is what it boils down to:

Social Selling Is All About Relationships

Social selling happens when a subject matter expert engages in an authentic conversation on their social media channels. This is where people like Jill, who are generous enough to take the time to share their wisdom, truly thrive. Social selling is like having an expert sit right in front of you to tell you the truth and guide you every step of the way — at no cost. The beauty of this is that it can be done from anywhere, and in real time.

That is the power of social selling: an average knowledge-seeker or buyer can get feedback from an expert on the spot. Not only that, but a whole crowd of other people can chime in to share their perspective. This is monumental, and in a time when we are inundated by information from all directions, you can find peace by just asking a question.

While social selling can be very product-focused, it must be genuine. An automated Tweet in response to someone mentioning your industry is not social selling; it’s spam. Social selling is all about building relationships with prospective customers and standing out as a trusted source of information.

[Tweet “”#SocialSelling is about relationships. Not Reach.” — @Jill_Rowley “]

Social Marketing Is All About Reach

Jill Rowley declared at this year’s #MarTech Conference that marketers should get paid way more than we do. In the SMB world in particular, we have more channels, less time, fewer resources, and more expectations — especially now that martech makes it easy to measure the success of our marketing efforts. In part, this means we’re constantly trying to increase the reach of our marketing,. The to-do list never seems to end. But make no mistake: social marketing is as much about reach and getting your message in front of the right people as it is about educating and nurturing people.

[Tweet “#SocialMarketing is about reach as much as it is about educating and nurturing people.”]

To reach more best-fit accounts, my personal belief is to flip the sales funnel on its head and start with the customers. Instead of beginning the sales process by looking at all of your available marketing channels, start with the people and companies you need to get your message in front of. Then you can reach deeper to target all of the influencers and decision-makers within those companies. This is where account-based marketing comes into play, as it helps both your sales and marketing teams discover best-fit accounts and then engage with them on their own terms through channels like mobile, social, display, and video. This helps reach your customers in the most effective, least obtrusive way. It’s a win-win!

Introducing the #FlipMyFunnel Movement

If you like the idea of challenging the status quo that presupposes everyone follows a linear B2B buyer’s journey (which we know is not true), then join me in evangelizing the #FlipTheFunnel movement. The goal is to get everyone in B2B marketing thinking about account-based marketing, where the funnel doesn’t start with channels and broadcasting but rather with identifying the best customers and engaging them on their own terms.

Both social selling and social marketing play a huge role in the #FlipMyFunnel movement. You can use social selling to engage your prospective customers on social media with relevant, one-on-one conversations. Simultaneously, you can use account-based marketing to reach them wherever they are with personalized marketing messages at scale. By combining social selling and social marketing, your company can be both a trusted friend and a top-of-mind solution to their business problems.

[Tweet “It’s time to #FlipMyFunnel and put my customers first. #ABM”]

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