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IDENTIFY your audience and IGNITE ideas for Social Selling

 By Natalie Turner, Author of Yes, You Can Innovate and Sarah Lewis, Managing Director, Marketing By Design (5-minute read)

If you haven't read article 1 on The Six 'I's®, Social Selling and PURPOSE, then please read it first as it will set the context for the article below.

We have devised a series of articles to break down how The Six 'I's® can help with Social Selling:

  1. Create a Stand-Out Social Selling Strategy using the Six 'I's®
  2. IDENTIFY your audience and IGNITE ideas for Social Selling (This article)
  3. INVESTIGATE your Social Selling ideas to INVEST well
  4. IMPLEMENT your Social Selling systematically and IMPROVE as you go

In this article, we will look at how you can systematically identify trends in your space, create a detailed view of your audience, and IDENTIFY insights they will resonate with. We will then look at how you can generate ideas in IGNITE so that you can show up creatively AND effectively.

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IDENTIFY the context of your social selling activities

Phase Purpose: IDENTIFY with the mindset of CURIOSITY to spot opportunities by understanding trends and customer needs.

This is where you will search for the most relevant 5-10 trends in the industry or field that you work in. This requires research, from reading blog posts, drawing on trendspotters like, and scouring social media for trending topics and reactions. Think big. Keep your mind open, be CURIOUS. This is a divergent phase of the innovation journey. If you are a sales team, code your research into categories and evaluate it together.

You will also find it useful to develop a persona for your audience. If you are a small business owner, perhaps you are selling to other small businesses, or perhaps you are selling to a specific decision-maker within a corporate setting. If you are employed at a large corporate, perhaps your audience is the hiring manager of the job you would like, or your current boss. If you are a salesperson, your audience will be sales prospects from other companies. It is a good idea to conduct research interviews, 3-6 would be great, but the more the better. This will help you to avoid making assumptions. Write them down so you can revisit them (there are lots of templates available on the internet).

Now you have some trends and a persona, it is time to build insights. An insight is structured very simply:


“I need…, but…"

Develop these as if your audience was expressing it, for example: “I need to develop consistent and high-quality marketing, but it requires a lot of resources and I am a small business.”

PURPOSE pause: Now revisit your initial PURPOSE. Put to one side any insights that do not align with your PURPOSE, no matter how much they intrigue you, but don't discard them as they may be useful in the future. Note which insights are most tightly aligned to your PURPOSE. Rank them. Place the ones that are closer to your PURPOSE at the top, the others below. This is the convergent phase of IDENTIFY.

An output for this phase is a list of valuable insights, that are relevant to you in pursuing your social selling goals.

IGNITE ideas about how to show up in a fresh way

Phase Purpose: IGNITE ideas with the mindset of CREATIVITY by creating novel solutions.

Now you have a list of insights, you know your audience and you know your why? It’s now time to generate ideas. It’s great to bring some fresh thinking here to help challenge your assumptions.

Choose an insight, revisit your PURPOSE, and the persona of your audience. Now generate ideas. Use “Yes, and…” to create psychological safety. Try to make sure you think of ideas that could generate small changes and ideas that are really big leaps. There are lots of tools and techniques that can help you generate new ideas. Check out Yes, You Can Innovate, for more tools and techniques.

Once you have a list, sort them into categories based on how they are meet the need outlined in the insight.

PURPOSE pause: Revisit your initial PURPOSE. Put to one side any ideas that do not resonate with it and keep any ideas that do. Keep the ideas that don't for future reference when they might be useful. Revisit the INSIGHT and converge until you are left with a list of ideas that address both your PURPOSE and your INSIGHT.

You should now have a list of useful ideas that address an insight that are relevant to the people with whom you are trying to develop relationships.

This lists of ideas and insights should be enough to feed your social selling activity pipeline. You will most likely be able to develop a relevant and useful content plan for up to six months.

Key takeaways

  • IDENTIFY is often the stage of the innovation journey where people don't spend enough time because they think they know where they need to focus. They may well have a lot of tribal knowledge at their fingertips, but it needs to be structured in a meaningful way, and gaps or counterintuitive truths need to be uncovered, to unlock its power.

  • Diverge when within IGNITE to open up the creative space, but at the end, converge by making sure the ideas will address the identified needs. Use your PURPOSE and IDENTIFY research to orient your portfolio of ideas effectively.

Next article...

INVESTIGATE your Social Selling ideas to INVEST well


If you liked this way of thinking, feel welcome to follow me on LinkedIn to get more insights.

I am a certified practitioner in The Six 'I's® of Innovation. I can help your marketing team become more innovative by helping them understand their innovation profile and how they contribute to the innovation journey.