Sales · · 9 min read

Boost Engagement by Leveraging Automation In Social Selling

Through customer-centric engagement, social selling helps build trust and lasting relationships with prospects. Here are four pillars to follow to improve social selling.

social selling

​​Humans are social by nature. We trust the people in our communities and the collective opinions of friends, family, and peers.

You can apply the same social principle to sales through social selling. It’s a marketing and sales strategy that shifts the focus from the products to the people.

But you can’t rely solely on reviews and testimonials. Curation is required to contextualize your product’s value from customers' perspectives. We’re here to help you with just that. 

  • What is social selling?
  • The difference between social selling and social media marketing 
  • Four pillars of social selling
  • Tools for social selling
  • How to automate social selling with Instantly

What is Social Selling?

what is social selling

Selling in industries like B2B SaaS is focused on relationship building and nurturing. Prospects want to buy from brands they trust, and social selling helps you earn that trust. Think of it as establishing a one-to-one relationship with a prospect with the end goal of a sale. 

Businesses that do social selling integrate lead generation with personalized nurturing in every stage of their sales pipelines. You can use the strategy on every prospecting channel, including SEO, email marketing, and social media.

However, social media marketing and social selling are two entirely different concepts. Although there are many overlaps between the two, understanding the nuances helps create a holistic sales engagement process. 

Social Selling Vs. Social Media Marketing

SMM and social selling differ in focus, goals, approach, and metrics. SMM focuses on reaching a wider audience, brand building, and awareness. The approach for SMM leans more toward content marketing. Key metrics are centered around engagement. 

Social selling is focused on relationship building on a pseudo-personal level. That’s because there are tools and strategies for automating social selling at scale. The metrics are focused on revenue growth. You’ll be monitoring conversions, pipeline growth, and ROI. 

Here’s where social selling and SMM overlap—both focus on prospecting, engagement, relationship building, and brand building. The key difference is how the process is approached. 

The Four Pillars of Social Selling

Social selling is based on four fundamentals. Use these fundamentals to create a tailored campaign that aligns with your business goals. 

Lead Generation + Enrichment: Know Where to Find Prospects

Social selling combines lead generation and enrichment. The goal is to find prospects that get the most value from your business and then research how to best meet their needs.

If this sounds familiar, then you’re 100% right. It’s sales pipeline 101, except with social selling, we’re streamlining the process by directly engaging with prospects. 

Engagement: Finding the Best Communication Channels

Social media platforms are the best channel for social selling. You can directly engage with prospects without being intrusive or “salesy.” But that depends entirely on your approach. 

Cold email marketing is also great for social selling as it's a direct line to your prospects. However, many view cold emails as spam.

Always provide value to get more clients through social selling with cold emails. Remember, personalization is the opposite of spam and can always build trust. 

Relationship Building: Earning Trust 

Nurturing and providing value can earn your prospects’ trust. If you’re social selling on Twitter or LinkedIn, answer questions, help solve pain points, and consistently engage with prospects. 

Social selling through email marketing requires more research, segmentation, and personalization. The upside is that the process can be scaled and automated. 

Building authority in your niche or industry through brand-building campaigns can improve social selling on social media and email marketing channels.  

Brand Building: Establishing Your Brand’s Authority

Trust is a common theme in social selling anchored on brand authority. Let’s say you answer questions or try to provide value. How can prospects ensure that you’re worth listening to? 

If you’re a new brand or startup, consider influencer marketing, creating a library of valuable resources you can share, and engaging in a community centered around your niche.

Brand building is an ongoing process that demands consistency. Leverage the right tools for effective social selling to avoid spreading yourself thin.  

3 Must-Have Tools for Social Selling

The best social selling tool depends on your business goals, sales pipelines, and ideal customer profiles. In most cases, you’d want to leverage multiple tools in your social selling tech stack. 

There are tools for scoring social selling aptitude, lead intelligence tools for enrichment, and engagement tools for connecting with your target audience. 

Use the tools that align best with your needs. Here are the three best social selling tools you should consider in 2024.  

Instantly + B2B Lead Finder

social selling

Instantly and B2B Finder covers all four pillars of social selling. B2B Lead Finder can find pre-verified leads that match your ideal customer profiles and act as a lead intelligence tool for enrichment, helping you hyper-personalize engagement—that’s where Instantly comes in. 

With Instantly, you can automate sales email sequences optimized for social selling. Instantly personalizes each email using data from B2B Lead Finder, letting you craft relevant, timely, and valuable email copy for every prospect.

Gone are the days of generic first and last name personalization. Instantly helps you go beyond. We’ll get more into this later. 

LinkedIn Social Selling Index

LinkedIn has a free tool called the “Social Selling Index (SSI)” that helps users measure their brand’s aptitude for social selling based on the four pillars. It also lets you see how well your SSI fares against competitors in your industry and network. 

The SSI gathers data from your LinkedIn activity and engagement. The key to improving your SSI is creating content that builds thought leadership. Offer insights, be helpful to the people in your network, and always look for ways to engage with your prospects. 

Engaging with prospects improves the chances of them adding you to your network. But, if you want a more direct way of finding sales leads on LinkedIn, try InMail

Social Media + Engagement Monitoring Tools

Social media is the home of social selling. But you can’t just wait for prospects to engage with your content. A proactive brand management strategy is crucial to social selling on Twitter (X), LinkedIn, or Instagram. 

Don’t just focus on your content. Look at trends. Build campaigns around industry keywords. Offer help whenever you see an opportunity. Let it happen organically. Avoid being too aggressive. You don’t want to come off as intrusive. 

As you’re social selling, remember to monitor key metrics, brand mentions, and keywords related to your products, services, or industry.  

How to Automate Social Selling Through Email Marketing

Email marketing is arguably the best social selling platform for scale. You can’t respond to every comment, brand mention, or relevant post on social media.

There are automation options, but most use pre-defined responses that are trigger-based. It reads and feels like AI—the opposite of what we want when social selling. 

That’s where quality, personalized, and well-thought-out email marketing has an advantage. With lead intelligence and engagement tools like Instantly, you can start social selling at scale. 

Find, Segment, and Qualify Leads that Match Your ICP

The first step to social selling is to find leads to sell to. You can use any lead generation strategy you want. Remember to verify, segment, and qualify leads before adding them to campaigns. 

To streamline this process, you can use Instantly B2B Lead Finder to look for leads that match our exact ICPs. Tons of filters are available that can help you segment and qualify.

The best part is you don’t have to pay extra for a verification tool. Every lead on the database is already pre-verified. And you don’t have to spend hours researching leads to enrich your list. 

Leverage Lead Intelligence to Enrich Email List

Instantly B2B Lead Finder acts as a lead intelligence tool. You can find company updates, news, and announcements. If you’re selling SaaS, Lead Finder also has a technology filter. 

The technology filter lets you find prospects that use a specific tech stack, giving you a headstart on tailoring your email copy to address potential objections or provide value. 

Let’s say you’re selling a low-cost CRM. You can set the filter to find companies in SMBs that use CRMs like Salesforce. These companies might be overpaying for a CRM for their needs. 

SDRs can then craft a social selling-focused email that offers insights into more cost-effective alternatives to their current CRM solutions. 

Add Email List to Instantly Campaign

You can directly important lead lists built from Lead Finder directly to your Instantly campaign. All the leads can be found in the lead tabs of your campaign dashboard. 

Once everything is set up, you can proceed to the Sequences tab to build your email sequence, copy, and sending schedule. All of which can be automated with Instantly. 

Automate Personalized Email Copies With Instantly

Personalization should be found in every part of your email, from the subject lines to the CTAs. Instantly automates this process by using {{merge tags}}. 

For example, you can use it to write a subject line like:

“Hey, {{firstName}}, is {{companyName}} still using {{competitor}}?”

Data from Lead Finder can also be accessed using {{merge tags}}. If you already have lead data from existing databases, Lead Finder can enrich those leads. 

Instantly also has a robust library of templates for dozens of industries or niches, which you can use as a starting point for your email copy. 

In each campaign, you can add multiple variables and variations to your emails, which you can use for auto-optimized A/B testing. 

Monitor Campaign, Run A/B Testing, and Iterrate Best Performing Emails

All email marketing books tell you to monitor campaigns and run A/B testing. You should track key metrics such as your campaigns' open, reply, click, and conversion rates. 

Remember the variables? Instantly can track the metrics of each variable and find the best-performing ones. Once Instantly identifies these winning emails, it will automatically send them to the rest of the leads in your list instead. 

How to Craft Social Selling Optimized Email Copy

Now that we know how to set up and automate our email campaigns, let’s ensure that every email sent to prospects is optimized for social selling. Here are five best practices to consider: 


A large chunk of social selling is based on personalization, tailoring your solutions to prospects, and building relationships. If you don’t have access to lead intelligence tools, you can still do research on high-value prospects. 

Most prospects have a LinkedIn account. You can start there. Just a few minutes of research can go a long way regarding personalization. Unfortunately, this manual process won’t be sustainable as you scale. 

Social Proof

Adding social proof in your emails isn’t as effective without context. Don’t just say, “We helped company A reach X goal.” Try to contextualize your social proof to address specific needs. 

For example, your email intro can be something like:

“Congrats on {{companyUpdate}}! How are you handling the transition? When {{competitors}} reached out to us, {{pain point}} was their biggest concern as they started reaching {{companyUpdate}}. We helped them overcome their plateau using {{solution}}. Do you think this could apply to {{companyName}} as well?”

Social Selling Cadences

One of the main pillars of social selling is building relationships. You can’t build a relationship after one email, so it's important to strategize your social selling cadences. Automate your follow-ups, optimize scheduling, and ensure you communicate with prospects outside of emails. 

Social Listening

Monitor your social media channels for brand mentions, products, or discussions in your niche. You can use the insight to tailor the messaging in your emails.

Don’t forget to engage with potential prospects you find on social media. You can add them to an email list and engage with them directly through a proper business communication channel. 

Always Be Engaging 

For a long time, the mantra for most salespeople was “Always Be Selling.” Now, the mantra has shifted to a more prospect-centered selling strategy. So, engage with your prospect on social media, find out your audience's common pain points, and use that to provide value. 

The Recap

Social selling is a powerful marketing and engagement tool that returns the focus to your prospects. It helps your brand find the exact leads that get the most value from your products, build relationships, and establish yourself as an authority in your space. Here’s a quick wrap up:

  • Social selling has four fundamental pillars: lead generation, engagement, relationship building, and brand building.
  • LinkedIn has a free tool to measure your brand’s aptitude for social selling. 
  • Monitor brand mentions, industry keywords, or product mentions on social media. 
  • Email marketing offers a direct way to do social selling, but it needs to be hyper-personalized. 

When it comes to social selling through email marketing, Instantly can help ensure that you’re fully prepped to handle all four pillars of social selling. Try it out today!  

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