Like you and me (or you would not be reading this, nor would I be writing this), and even the most passionate sceptics out there, we have all realised that the Social Media is here to stay. The only way to compete is to keep up and learn to sell socially! Let me introduce you to Social Selling aka the Future.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling is a social expansion to networking, most commonly used:
– to find potential customers;
– to build trusted relationships;
– and to, ultimately, achieve sales targets.
A sales strategy allows you to efficiently collect contact information from your prospects – the people who might be ready to purchase your product or service (Sales Lead Generation). It simplifies the process of identifying your potential customers.
And! There is no more cold-calling!
Create a relationship with your customer
This can be done via social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, etc. All communication with your target groups, target audiences and engaging with your customers – all this, it is social selling. Use your brand, create a profile on social media channels, post relevant information and start a dialogue. This is promoting your brand, building relationships with people and turning them into customers.
This is a rapidly evolving field that binds marketing and sales. Whereas the most important are the analysis and planning. In other words: sales funnel!
Being present and active on social media lets people know you exist (at first), then you work on your image and create the need for your product or service.
Then, when a person is ready to buy, only then, you are able to sell. After the sales – your job is to make sure your customer is happy, he will come back and will tell his friends all about your brand and your product or service. That is the basic sales funnel – you choose your strategy and tactic.
Social selling is not an option
Today, it should not be an option. It’s a must, something you need to do in order grow and stay relevant. It is a powerful strategy that helps you to sell your ideas, establish credibility, get funding, attract talented people and win over customers.
Social selling is what works now and what you should use to reach more potential customers, in a shorter period of time. It is a tool to increase brand awareness and to build an empire of your brand.
How can You implement Social Selling?
Do your homework
All good relationships are based on understanding. Analyse your client. Figure out which social media channels they use, find your target audience. What are they interested in? What do they like? What are their secret desires? It is terribly easy to learn about a person online these days – what kind of books does one like? – Generally, it is not that hard to find out. Social media allows to find incredibly detailed information about a person these days, and weirdly, it’s all there and available to use, because it has been uploaded by themselves. Are you using this opportunity?
Which social media channels are you using right now? Which ones are working the best? Define your target group by creating an avatar of your customer(s). We have briefly covered this in our Branding Article, have a look, find the „Define your target audience“ bit.
Increase credibility by adding value
After you have found done your homework and added a number of people to your network start building relationships with them. Find what you have in common with them. Approach this as if it was an event, a room full of people you don’t know yet. As you start a conversation with a stranger, the first thing you do is find something you two have in common – something to talk about. Social media works exactly the same way. Find this common feature, and you have something authentic that you can use to trigger a conversation with your followers and start a discussion. For example, post a blog article, leave a public comment to someone, preferably in a way that creates interest, etc. This makes it easier to start communication and engagement. In my opinion, Facebook groups are the best for this.
Your goal is to increase your brands’ credibility and you can do this by adding value. Just like a “real” sales, where you demonstrate to the customer that you are an expert and specialist in the field. You do this via social media and by sharing valuable content. Write articles, make videos, educational post series, share photos and more. Provide solutions to your followers’ problems. All content falls into three categories:
All content falls into three categories:
- Exciting – triggering a „Wow!“
Buying your fame is history. Investing into extensive advertising campaigns is not as effective as it used to be. The majority of people can choose to not look or sit through your ads anymore. Today, the image you have is directly connected to your online presence and activity. The brand awareness is created by providing valuable content, word-of-mouth advertising and(!) what kind of impression have you been able to leave of your brand over the internet and social media channels.
How? Consistency is the key. You need to post regularly. To achieve this use series of themed posts and an editorial calendar – this helps you plan and organise your content, distribute it through different channels and be consistent. Did you know that the success of a post depends on the exact time when the post goes live., You can lose more than half of those to whom otherwise your post could have reached organically posting only 10 minutes later. What time is your customer the most active on social media? In the morning, lunch time or 5pm? Make sure you post when they are there to see your content!
Targeted action and analyse goes a long way
Think! Where are your customers, your peers, where are your future partners and employees? This needs to be clear when producing content and coming up with your posts. Distribute it only to relevant social media channels at the right time – when your target group is active. What kind of value can you offer them?
Analise helps you to summarise success of a post – seeing the numbers it becomes clear what worked and what not so much. Decide what kind of posts shall be continued and what will be terminated. Experiment and try new things to find out what your followers enjoy the most. You can try different series of posts, campaigns or sharing games. Be creative! Try to come up with something completely new!
No direct sales talk! This is an important thing to remember. The whole idea of selling via social media platforms and over the internet is the trust. Sales is secondary to trusted relationships between the customer and a brand. All relationships between those two can happen only when they are valuable for one and another. Mostly, though, a brand needs to provide value to their customer and solve their problems. However, as it’s wise to wait until your customer is ready to buy your service or product, please, if they are ready now, make it as easy as possible. Always add a quick link to a page where the sales can be made to reality. In the other words – make your social media profiles “shoppable” – give your followers an opportunity to buy.
It is terribly important that you always act in a targeted manner and measure the results. Only this way you can really know if you are socially selling or not quite. And remember, relationships take time to develop. Exactly as in real life!
Contact us, we can help you make this work for you and your brand.