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The Key to Successful Social Selling: Tips from an Expert

Instagram Expert Cortney Clegg explains how she grew her Instagram account to 13.5k Followers and rapidly reached the top levels in sales. Read on to uncover key social selling tips from an expert:

Does your social media strategy include a goal and tactics centered on sales? No matter your social platform of choice, a social media strategy works hand in hand with your sales strategy to achieve unimaginable growth through a unique and captivating approach to social media.

Let’s break it down:

Social Media Strategy – Your identified goals to achieve on social media and tactics to get you there. These goals are accompanied by specific checkpoints that allow you to evaluate your success and whether or not your tactics are working.

Sales Strategy –– Your sales strategy is the plan you’ve crafted to sell your product or service to qualified buyers through different actions. This strategy is a set of decisions, actions, and goals that drives revenue to your business. This is a guide that encompasses clear objectives on sales processes, product positioning, and competitive analyses. In other words, without a detailed, attainable sales strategy, there’s a low probability of success.

How they work together –– While you may view your social media strategy as a completely separate entity from your sales strategy, they need to somehow intertwine. With that being said, it’s not necessary for your social media strategy to only focus on selling products, while your only sales tactic shouldn’t be via social media. But, when you leverage the power of social media to boost sales, there is a huge amount of potential growth waiting for you. 

To give you an inside scoop on the power of social media selling and how it impacts real-life business owners like you, we sat down with entrepreneur, social media expert, and Partner Development Manager at Ship.com, Cortney Clegg.

When it comes to boosting your sales through social media, Cortney is the pro you want on your side. Cortney is a mom of 4 (all of who are homeschooled) whose family is her top priority. But, while her family is her focus, Cortney’s never been able to shake the fact that she is an entrepreneur at heart.

From pregnancy and birthing podcasts to her own cotton candy party favor business (yum!), Cortney knows what it takes to build a successful business. While she has a list of notable business accomplishments, her role as a Wellness Advocate for an essential oil company is truly what propelled her social media selling success. 

After starting an Instagram account to spread the word about her passion as a Wellness Advocate, she quickly found that her initial tactics weren’t moving the needle as much as she needed. So she stopped, re-evaluated, and implemented a social media strategy that grew her account to 13.5k and helped her reach Diamond status at her company in just 2 and half years. That’s right – social media (among other things) propelled Cortney to achieve a status that normally takes people 5-7 years. 

Her secret sauce to social media selling? Connection.

Here are 5 tips on how to leverage the power of social media to boost your sales. 

  • Connection is the key to success.

In our interview, Cortney posed this question:

“How much are you really connecting with your audience through static posts?”

After the few years we’ve had with the COVID-19 pandemic, the switch to work from home life and limited social interaction, people are simply craving connection, and they’re turning to social media to fill that gap. But, when there are only photos and videos accompanied by captions, there’s still a core piece of connection missing. This is why live streaming has become so popular. People can fulfill that need for connection through something as simple as logging onto Instagram or Facebook. As someone trying to grow their business and platform, it’s important to integrate live selling into your social media strategy. 

Live selling allows you to connect 1:1 with followers and customers around the world. You can have a conversation, answer questions and build a bond with an audience interested in the work that you do. If you’re on the fence about live selling, take the leap and integrate it into your social media mix. This led to great success for Cortney and goes far beyond selling more products. It aids in building your brand and community.

  • Believe in the product you’re selling. 

If you don’t authentically believe in the products you’re selling, then you can’t expect your customers to either. Ensure that the products or services you’re promoting have impacted your life in some way, and can also benefit the lives of your potential customers. For Cortney, when she got into the essential oil game, it wasn’t initially to sell the products. It was to benefit her and her family’s day-to-day lives when her children were constantly sick and her husband was suffering from joint pain. The realization of how beneficial these products were for her family opened the door for her to share this success with friends, family and social media followers who were also in search of wellness. 

  • Set a goal to help your audience, not push sales.

From the beginning, Cortney focused on helping others and not pushing sales. Her posts were (and are) primarily tips, testimonials, and real-life examples of how her products are used in daily lives. Then, in the midst of her value-based content, she would sprinkle in posts about essential oil kits and how her followers could purchase the products and reap the wellness benefits themselves.

  • Schedule your success.

Success doesn’t just come by chance. When you’re running a small business or working to build your brand, it’s crucial to carve out time blocks to focus on your social media success. This applies to everyone. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom getting involved in network marketing, or you’re ready to start a side hustle in addition to your 9-5 job –– you must carve out time and set realistic goals to achieve during that time frame.

In Cortney’s case, she realized that it could quickly get overwhelming to try and accomplish a laundry list of tasks for her business while also homeschooling, spending time with her family, and maintaining her social life. After all, everyone needs a good balance between work, play, and rest. So, she started to schedule time blocks every day and treat them as if they were a doctor or dentist appointment. Something you don’t just cancel. Then, before that time arrives, she will brainstorm the one thing needing to be accomplished during that time — something that will push her business further. Have a game plan, honor that time and get to work!

  • Choose your platform of choice and run with it.

If you think finding success in social selling means having an active profile on every social platform out there, chances are you’re overwhelmed on where to even start. The reality is, you don’t need to be active on all platforms. Instead, identify the platform that your target audience is active on, and start there. You would much rather have a large, reliable following on one platform than sparse followers across 3 or 4 different social media platforms. Social media is constantly changing, and it can be tempting to feel as though you have to perfect every new trend, or else you won’t continue to get traction. 

Cortney debunks this myth for us. In her case, she’s found a community on Instagram that has proven to generate business and boost sales with the social media strategy she’s currently implementing. Her thoughts on now migrating her content to TikTok because of its newfound popularity? It’s not necessary, because that’s not where her target audience resides. There’s no harm in trying the new trends and gauging whether or not they will be successful for you. But, don’t lose sleep if your audience doesn’t respond well. Keep your focus on connecting with your followers in the way that works best for them.

Cortney found great success with the implementation of social selling and live events. And, we’re here to tell you that you can achieve that success too! If you’re interested in learning more about live selling, we invite you to check out our Resources page for content centered on live selling. And, if you’re ready to try live selling for yourself, check out our ShipLive platform