With Americans now spending more time on Facebook than they do with their own pets, it’s hard for anyone to make it through a day without being requested to “like” a page. With the proliferation of social media comes a sense of FOMO (or the fear of missing out) for most entrepreneurs with regard to dropping the ball on social media sales.
To hit these moving targets, companies need to develop a strategy to capitalize on this brave new frontier. One way to use social media to knock it out of the park is with social selling. It’s a powerful strategy that can help sell your ideas, establish credibility and win new clients.
Social selling is about strengthening your bond with potential buyers, based on authentic empathy and a deep understanding of the fears they face. Conversely, without a strategy, very few social media postings lead to sales. Consumer behavior has evolved alongside social media: no longer are they relying on one channel, i.e. a salesperson. Now, they’re proactively seeking out information – everything from reading product reviews, evaluating your services and looking at current clients – before making a decision.
Research is an integral part of the buy cycle, with the average consumer viewing more than 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. If social selling is implemented correctly, it’s a win-win. Here are five “hacks” to help you leverage the power of social selling:
Have Two-Way Conversations
Talk with your fans instead of to your fans. Posting statements doesn’t give them any real motivation to engage with you. You should, however, like, comment and share other people’s posts, as people will begin to take notice when you join the conversation. Show that your motive is to be helpful by never immediately following up with a sales request. Relationship building is easier when your actions aren’t always tied to your own agenda.
We take advantage of our thought leadership exhibited by our blog, sharing solutions to marketing struggles that link back to the blog property. We also engage fans with webinars focused on overcoming these challenges, and even offer free marketing consultations to help get the conversation started.
Keep Your Ear to the Streets
Listen to your prospects’ and clients’ fears, worries and struggles, and cater your content to help them succeed. Your content should be on-trend and provide actionable takeaways. Rise above your competition by consistently delivering solid content, and you will become their go-to person when purchasing decisions are being considered and made. I work closely with our marketing consultants and hear firsthand from clients and prospects, which allows me to better target our marketing to tap into the trials and tribulations of our customer. Our consultants also give me feedback on the leads they are receiving from our marketing efforts, which allows me to adjust what we are doing to ensure we are reaching ideal prospects, thus shortening our sales cycle.
The crux of social sales is about deepening your relationships. People want to work and partner with those they know and can depend on. Today’s always-connected consumer is barraged with thousands of ads per day, yet no one wants to feel sold to. When you build rapport through social sales, you actually make a sincere connection. Forge relationships first, and allow sales transactions to follow.
I have many segmented email lists generated from businesses seeking social media marketing assistance. Every month I send an informational broadcast detailing changes in social selling and new best practices, and I always end by telling my readers they are welcome to contact me for further insights and information.
The scope of social selling is far greater than a sequence of one-off events. Integrate and standardize all messages across platforms, both online and off. Your message should say, “Here’s the outcome we help people like you accomplish.” The star of the show is not you, your company history or the feature of your product/service. Rather, it’s the result you deliver consistently to your happy customers. The synergy created by having your message appear in your prospect’s mailbox, inbox and social feed exponentially increases your reach.
We pair all of our direct mail campaigns with Facebook ads. By doing so, we are able to increase the response by upwards of 25%. It takes time for people to get to know you, and remember your name and message. By showing them the same message on multiple platforms, you’re building build trust and honesty. Then, and only then, will they be ready and willing to buy from you.
Build a Bridge Between Marketing and Sales
When you treat your fans with mutual respect, you’ll become the go-to resource when they need something in your field. You’re leading the pack, and they’ll respect your prowess by trusting you to help them solve their needs. It’s the trust earned that leads to cold, hard revenue. We’ve been able to achieve this by offering free marketing consultations, hosting many marketing webinars, publishing original blog posts, and even giving social assessments of our customers’ competitors.
Social selling epitomizes the inevitable marriage between marketing and sales. Understanding the complexities and struggles of both your prospect and sales team will enable you to overcome these challenges. All it takes is implementing social selling into your sales and marketing strategy.