Spot, share, suggest: how to get started with social selling

strawberry cheesecake

Today’s consumers are likely being exposed to your brand’s available products or services while scrolling through their favorite social media channel pages, and if no one’s properly handling the online traffic, you’re missing out on potential sales.

In the following Q&A interview, Izzy Arlott, HGS Digital’s Business Development Manager of EPIC™ Social Care, shares her insights on how to get started with a clear social selling strategy for your business.

Q: First, who will be the social care advisors for a brand’s comment threads? And how do they become familiar with the brand’s business?

A: The best candidates are known as “social natives.” They tend to be younger, but not always. They’re already used to operating in these channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and understand the necessary social software. They have excellent grammar and spelling skills, as well as a fluency in emojis. It’s easy to miscommunicate when it’s not through spoken word, so they must have very good soft skills and the ability to empathize and emote accordingly.

Through extensive brand immersion—that is, by studying a brand’s website, social pages, and a process playbook containing the rules of engagement and customizable guideline example responses—they should fully absorb the company’s personality and be able to reflect that in their writing. The better agents understand a brand’s tone of voice, the easier it is for them to flow between care and sales.

Q: What do social care advisors need to understand most about social selling?

A: They must realize that social selling is not a taboo or a problem—it’s actually a really good way to serve the customer in a better way. You have to make them aware that upselling and cross-selling are part of the overall social care ecosystem and a way of deepening the connection between customers and your brand. Advisors are not just there to provide social care, but also to make additional product recommendations. These associates have the power to keep a conversation open, which often ends in more satisfied customers.

Q: What’s a good example of a social upsell?Izzy Arlott quote

A: Say someone tweets, “@FancyFoodMarket, when I couldn’t find cherry Chillfresh Cheesecake in the Springfield store today, a helpful employee showed me where it was. Then she also personally suggested strawberry, which I ended up buying, too. And now I have a new favorite flavor! Thanks, Fancy Food!”

This is called “joy share,” and a skilled agent would reply positively by first thanking the commenter for posting such a fantastic experience. Then, instead of ending the interaction, the advisor would add a question such as, “Have you ever tried adding @WhippyTop to the strawberry cheesecake? It’s SO tasty!” By providing recommendations or matches to existing purchases, the engagement continues, and additional revenue will likely result.

Q: What about when it’s a not-so-joyful share? How is that handled?

A: Obviously with some posts, it’s not always appropriate to try to add on sales, but a trained agent will spot possibilities for turning many negative experiences around. A common complaint is when particular items are discontinued. For example, someone might express disappointment at the sudden disappearance of Chic&Sleek brand hair dye in Warm Brown X295. But a knowledgeable advisor can quickly find an alternative suggestion by referring to a carefully developed (and regularly updated) product matrix. “I’m so sorry to share that your preferred shade has been discontinued,” the advisor can reply, “but I have good news! Chic&Sleek recommends Warm Brown Z305 as a nearly identical formula.”

Q: What should social care team managers focus on?

A: It’s important to establish clear targets for your team. A lot of brands will establish revenue target goals they want their social care team to generate, so you’ll need a system in place that can track the results against target. From a purely software perspective, there must be processes in place that make that trackable.

So, for example, the agent responding to the Chic&Sleek hair dye post could provide a custom link to buy the suggested similar product. With a powerful monitoring platform, the team manager can follow the entire purchase trail from suggestion to finalization, and then create a report on the corresponding revenue generated.

Q: Any final thoughts to share around the art of social selling?

A: Just be willing to monitor results and make changes when necessary. If your social care advisors need more training on selling or on products, be patient and flexible. Try, fail, and then fail better!

In 2019, HGS Digital received a Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Award for its unique EPIC™ social care solution. Learn more here and connect with us at or 312-755-1845. 

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HGS Digital provides intelligent automation, AI, analytics, cloud services, and DigiCX® services to leading enterprises. Specializing in a technology-agnostic approach, our solutions help to improve customer engagement, optimize operations, reduce cost and increase revenue.