What’s the sense in social media marketing, if you can’t generate revenue?
Industry talk about building trust and relationships may sound airy-fairy, that’s true. But the key to social selling success lies in translating goodwill into sales and long-lasting customer relationships.
Sales has always been built on human behaviour. Some of us purchase goods from certain companies, because we like them. We like how they talk. We like how they help us. And we like it when they have a good sense of what we need.
Social selling is no different. It’s built on helping people to solve their problems, so they can achieve their goals.
Social selling leverages your social networks to help you find the right leads, build relationships, and increase customer loyalty.
But social selling is hard.
You’ve got to figure out how to:
1. Make people like/trust you.
2. Position your brand.
3. Grab people’s attention.
4. Communicate in the right context.
And you do this through a series of hits and misses ‘til you get it right.
Whether you’re a marketer who’s responsible for your company’s multimillion-dollar marketing budget, or you’re a startup entrepreneur seeking a sizable piece of Trinidad and Tobago’s market, here are some social selling tips that will help you.
1. Get to know customers.
Many people in Trinidad and Tobago go online to gain knowledge. They ask questions… in LinkedIn groups, or on Facebook. They tweet. They post links to articles they like… articles that give you insights about the topics that interest them, or the problems they’re trying to solve.
Identify key prospects. Cultivate leads. People are willing to talk to you. Find the connection… the common ground that gets them invested in your conversation. Be approachable… and genuine.
Take advantage of the fact that social media allows you to ‘read’ prospects better. Social media is a business intelligence tool. See where people are in the buying process. Search terms on Twitter and Facebook. See what people are saying about your industry. These insights also help you to create buyer personas, aka customer profiles, so you can start conversations and craft content that suit their context.
2. Create helpful content.
Now that you know what makes different, potential buyers tick, create helpful content that they will like, or can use… Insightful blogs… Infographics… Videographics… Photos with tips… The aim is to create content for people to find at the time they need it, and are primed to take action. You want to help people, and make them feel more confident about themselves and their purchase decision.
For Livewired Group, I’ve built my content strategy around helping people to become better communicators. There’s no hard sales pitch. I share knowledge that boosts people’s skills… Content that is tailored to business writing, marketing, public relations, social media, and career issues in Trinidad and Tobago.
If your boss asks you to look for great business writing training, my goal is for you to find articles on my website that provide solid tips. I’m not just telling you I design business writing workshops. I’m demonstrating my knowledge. I’m giving you business writing tips. This gives you valuable information that helps your personal growth. It’s content that helps you… that boosts your confidence. You get something out of your search… And you find a resource to suggest to your boss.
To measure reach, I can use tools like Facebook Conversion Tracking, or CrazyEgg to trace where someone found out about my company (I can also ask you when you call me).
3. Match content to customers’ buying journey.
Customers explore their options before buying. They read reviews. They want to know how a product or service will help them. Content should solve problems. Match your content to customers’ stages.
4. Mingle. Get on their radar.
Share your content. Include it in your e-mail campaigns. Post it in social streams. Boost posts as part of your paid media strategy. Freebies no longer exist with Facebook. Fact is… you have to pay for reach.
On Twitter, retweet followers and influencers. Start conversations. Talk to people about things/topics they like. Favourite tweets. Respond to people’s comments/questions in real-time, or at the very least on a timely basis. This helps more people to become aware of you. Research shows that people are far more likely to buy from brands they interact with on social media.
Note: don’t come across like a stalker though. And remember, you can pick up the phone to call a prospect.
5. Send traffic to your website.
House your valuable content on owned land, aka your website, and drive traffic there from your social networks. Don’t put your good stuff on Facebook alone. Plus… People still google. Search isn’t extinct. Clients have found Livewired Group from googling communications training in Trinidad and Tobago.
6. Make your feed sexy.
You also want to get more people to subscribe or follow you. If they click on your Facebook/LinkedIn page, Twitter stream, or Instagram feed, they’ll probably want to ‘maco’ what your brand is up to. Ensure that your timelines are engaging. Your brand personality should help you to boost your appeal.
7. Filter through the noise.
If you’re following hundreds of people on Twitter, organise your social dashboard, using tools like Hootsuite, or lists. Use tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Fanpage Karma, and Google Alerts to see what people are discussing online.
Use social media for competitor research too.
Monitoring what competitors’ team members are saying on social media networks also gives you an idea of whether they’re up to something new or big. While you don’t want to allow the competition to distract you, it doesn’t hurt to keep tabs on them.
8. Give your sales team the content they need.
Sales people know what customers deal with. Partner with them to generate ideas for content. Ask them what they’re hearing/dealing with on the ground. This means that you have to co-operate. Don’t waste time in ego battles about which department thinks it’s better than the other one.
Create helpful content that sales people can send to prospects to nurture and close sales. Do the same thing for your social media CSRs or administrators.
9. Nurture relationships. Avoid breakups.
So you’ve finally gotten the customer you always wanted. What can you do to keep that relationship?
I share content with past clients, so they’re always getting value. Keep active customers happy and engaged. Re-engage inactive customers; lure them with offers or updates to engage them.
10. Position yourself as a trusted advisor.
Your LinkedIn profile isn’t just your online CV. It’s your personal brand online. Think about your reputation. Who’s connected to who? What will your colleagues or LinkedIn contacts tell someone who does a background check on you? Your image is just as important as the company’s.
And always remember to measure. Include call to actions and web links in some of your social media posts, so that you can track clickthroughs, and see what type of content generates results. Use tools like Facebook Insights, CrazyEgg, Radian6, or Hubspot to compile data.
Look at who is retweeting or liking your posts, and assess their context to see if they’re your target audience, or can influence your target audience. Do you get enquiries from people who follow you? How can you leverage insights to better serve customers?
With social selling, it takes time to reap benefits, but if you focus on helping people, and creating processes that allow you to track behaviour, you’ll get a sense of how your methods are working. Use these insights to improve your social media engagement, and better serve customers.
Icon: Vaibhav Radhakrishnan