With the average person spending about 2 hours each day on social media, you can bet that your prospects are there, too. If you’re looking for a way to use social media to your advantage when it comes to your business, consider social selling.

If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s just what the name implies, a way to grow business relationships by using social media. According to HootSuite research, 78% of all millennial sales professionals use social selling tools to promote their business. According to the same study, it also gets results. In fact, 78% of salespeople use these tactics to outsell peers who do not.

How does social selling work?

To be clear, social selling is not spam. Although some companies may use robots to like or comment on a prospect’s posts, this will not really help your business build relationships and may actually hurt your brand.

Social selling should emphasize maintaining and nurturing relationships. It typically works by providing insightful commentary on a prospect’s problem or question on a social media platform like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

However, social selling is not about pitching products. It’s about curating strong relationships with clients by becoming part of a conversation. When using social media to positively and authentically interact with prospects on social media, they are more likely to connect with you when it’s time to make a purchase. Another important element of social selling is to offer insightful solutions to business dilemmas that prospects share on social media.

For instance, if you’re a business development representative for a community bank, you might try replying to a post questioning the difference between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit. The person posting is will appreciate the response and is more likely to take notice if you later reach out about your latest HELOC offering.

If social selling sounds great but you’re still concerned about being too forward, consider starting with only those prospects with whom you share mutual connections. This may help the person feel more connected and increase the likelihood that she will respond.

You should also tailor your posts and messages for each response. For example, if someone shares an exciting accomplishment, start your message by congratulating him. This shows that you took the time to get to know your prospect.

Overall, social selling is a personal way to connect on a business level. By using it correctly and focusing on relationships, you can grow your business.