Third-Party Tools for Social Selling: Types & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Social selling can be simplified with third-party tools for managing various platforms, customer relationship data and internal communications. In this lesson, we'll take a look at these resources for sales professionals.

Managing Social Selling

Imagine showing up to a construction site to build a house without any tools. That wouldn't make for a very successful day on the job, would it? Well, social selling is similar. There's much more involved in social selling than simply posting and clicking.

Social selling occurs when sales professionals use social media networks to connect with prospects in an effort to turn them into customers. But, it's more involved than that. There are multiple platforms to manage, customer relationships to nurture and business processes to keep up with. That's where third-party tools for social selling can come in handy.

Third-Party Social Tools

Third-party social selling tools are resources that exist apart from social networking sites to help sales professionals achieve the most from their online interactions. These types of tools can make it simpler to navigate multiple social sites at once, manage customers' buying behaviors and communication preferences, and enable better collaboration inside a business.

Let's take a look at three of the most common types of third-party tools for social selling.

Social Media Management

Social media involves posting, mentioning, messaging, and analyzing metrics on multiple platforms.

Social media management tools are software programs that can simplify social media interactions into one streamlined application. Rather than visiting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to create posts, respond to questions or follow-up on feedback, social media management tools operate like a one-stop shop for sales professionals to navigate all aspects of social media in one place.

The benefits of social media management software include time savings, better organization, more effective engagement and better monitoring of your social media efforts. Some of the top social media management applications out there today include Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social.

  • Hootsuite: Used by 80 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies, Hootsuite is an all-in-one solution that allows users to connect dozens of social media networks while monitoring and scheduling posts to each from one screen. No more switching windows from Facebook to Twitter and back again,

    Hootsuite allows you to see each platform you connect in a stream next to any other. You can also select specific streams to monitor mentions of your brand, private messages and even keywords.
  • Buffer: Buffer is a more simplified version of Hootsuite, focusing primarily on building and scheduling social media posts. The post composer allows users to include links, photos and videos to post to the most popular platforms simultaneously, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ Instagram, and Pinterest.

    This tool allows you to keep track of how many users have liked, commented or shared your post and also makes it simple to schedule posts when you want.
  • Sprout Social: This tool is a social media management and customer relationship management platform in one. Not only can you schedule and monitor your activity on social media, but you can get a full picture of your customers while doing it. (Customer relationship management tools are typically separate.)

Note that Facebook discourages use of these tools, and you usually aren't able to use tagging or other features unless you post directly to Facebook.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are essentially databases of all of the information you have on your customers so that you can better connect and engage with them. These resources compile all of the data you know about your customers from all channels across the life of your relationship to create more profitable relationships.

There are three types of CRM tools:

  1. operational to manage day-to-day relationships.
  2. analytical to use and interpret data to better understand consumers.
  3. collaborative, which allows various departments to share customer information.

Here are three popular CRM tools business use today:

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