I may have spent the vast majority of my Communications career in the Voluntary Sector but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to sell.
On the contrary, as I tell every new business I work with, I used to convince people to part with their money in exchange for nothing. Nada. Zilch. Except for that warm fuzzy feeling they got inside by doing something good.
YOU are giving them a quality product, or experience, or service. That should be even easier to sell, right?
As everyone in business knows, whether you’re selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), you’ve first got to find your audiences and then build relationships with them.
Social Media offers a platform to do that. However the channels perform in accordance with how well they’re utilised. If you do it half-heartedly, or you do it “on the cheap” then your results will correlate.
How to use Social Media to Sell:
Social Media allows you to see what existing and potential customers are saying about your brand but also, about your competitors. Their behaviour in terms of engagement is there in public view. You can immediately analyse which of your messages are working and which aren’t based on your own engagement, as well as researching what content your customers like and using that to inform your strategy. You can then watch the performance of your main competitors to directly compare with your own.
If the key to selling and then retaining customers is relationships then Social Media offers the perfect platform to create them. You can interact, rather than “talk at”. You can take on board feedback to make your products better. You can offer immediate customer service and you can show personality and draw people into a trusted, long-term relationship with your brand. They may also become advocates and share your message for you, working as a sort of communication amplifier.
Forage and Focus
There are so many channels online offering people different ways to engage with both their personal networks and brands. Look for where your potential customers will be. I can guarantee you they won’t be everywhere. More than likely they will favour up to 3/4 channels which they will use in a hierarchy system from favourite - to - least - favourite. Focus your energy into making one or two of those channels the best representation of your brand and feel confident that by ignoring the rest, you are not losing customers, but rather you have lost the risk of spreading yourself too thin and ultimately damaging your public image and customer service.
Call To Action
Companies are often fearful of actively “selling” on Social Media in a bid to avoid looking desperate or pushy, thereby turning people away from their brand. This is true, however you still need consistent messages to convert visitors to sales leads and website click-throughs. How do you do it? By simultaneously remembering what your Social Media visitors want from you and what you want from them. So in posts and updates, give them both. Incorporate your links, promotions and messages with your fun statuses, newsworthy posts or topical tidbits. Offer your fans and followers exclusive promotions and competitions and encourage sharing. Ask them to get involved in the two-way relationship.
Social Media is often referred to as “free marketing.” There is an element of truth to this. The channels are free to use. Most of the content can be taken from your existing imagery, websites, blog posts or news stories you find online. However, you must remember that you are growing your online voice in someone else’s garden - you don’t own it, they do. At any time they could take it away.
So invest in your own content at the same time, be it a blog or your website. Invest in training for your staff so that they can utilise these channels to the best of their ability.
Ultimately though, these channels wish to make a profit like you and so they hinder how far your messages can reach. Invest in quality, knowledgeable Digital Marketers to sponsor posts and create targeted adverts and watch your sales grow!
Remember that is our end-game…