If you want to boost sales in your business, social media can help you do just that. However, there’s a knack to making sales on social media: The art of selling without selling.
Customers use social media to look for information, connect with their favorite brands, and find new businesses to buy products or services from. They don’t come to read a sales spiel, meaning that sales pitches are a definite no go.
So just how can you leverage social selling for your business? Get started by doing these 5 key things.
1. Sell Without Selling
It sounds like a contradiction, but selling without selling is exactly what you need to do in order to use social media to your best advantage. But what does that mean? It means offering real value to your customers and giving them reasons to connect with your business, whether to solve a problem, or for their next purchase.
Use social media to give customers a reason to do business with you. As well as the value you offer them, make the most of social media to establish yourself as a thought leader. Let your customers know that you’re the best go-to source when they want help or information.
Today’s customers are independent and empowered. They’re using social media to find the information they want and need. Your job as a social seller is to make sure that when they find you, they find information worth staying for.
2. Find the Right Customers
Talking to the right people is key to success with social media. Talking to the right people means your business and products will be seen by people who want to do business with you. After all, if you wanted to sell laptops you wouldn’t talk to customers who were looking for a new car.
So how do you find the right customers? A good place to start is with customer profiles. Use customer profiles to build an image of your ideal customer, so you can tailor your marketing to that. The more complete you make your customer profiles, the better. You’ll likely start with demographic data:
- Gender and age
- Job title and industry
However, a good customer profile goes beyond demographics. Dig a little deeper so you can pinpoint:
- Their buying habits
- Their spending power
- Their personality
- Their likes, dislikes and hobbies
- Their needs, worries and pain points
- How they prefer to connect with brands online
Creating customer profiles takes work and research. You can harvest information from existing customer databases, carry out market research, or utilize social listening to find out what your customers are saying. Some of your customer profile work will entail a little assumption too, but the more accurate you can be, the better.
The last point, how they prefer to connect with brands online, is particularly relevant to social selling. Look at your existing customers’ behavior and any social media stats you have, and combine that knowledge with social listening to build up a complete picture. Where do they hang out? Where do they prefer to connect with brands? And when they search for businesses on social media, what are they searching for? Be sure that when they search, they find your business.
You don’t have to wait for your customers to come to you.
3. Offer Value
Offering value is the heart of selling without selling. When you offer value to your customers, you don’t need a sales pitch. The value you offer them will do the work for you, establishing you as a knowledgeable and helpful source of information.
Whenever you create content for social media, ask yourself what value it adds to your customers’ lives. After all, they’re going to be seeing a lot of social media updates on a daily basis. If you want yours to stand out, you need to make them attention grabbing.
Every piece of content you publish should inform, entertain, help, inspire or engage your customers in some way. Here are a few examples of how to use content to offer value:
- Podcasts or Blab’s that talk about the latest developments in your industry
- Instructional videos or how-tos that solve a problem for your customers
- Informative blog posts with solid takeaways that your customers can apply in their lives
- White papers that dig deep into a subject
- Curating useful content so your customers don’t have to go searching
- Entertaining posts that beg to be shared
- The chance to enter contests or sweepstakes
Use your social media content to establish yourself as truly valuable.
4. Build Connections
Social selling is all about connections. Customers are more likely to buy from brands that they feel a connection with. Connection fosters engagement with your business and content; engagement which can lead to sales.
So how do you go about building connections?
The first step, as outlined above, is meeting the right people. Find out who you want to talk to, and go where they are. When you find people you want to connect with, make yourself useful. Contribute something of value to conversations and listen to what they say. This is far more likely to recommend you to customers than going for the hard sell.
Those things will lay the ground work, but it’s important that you pay close attention to the personality you show to your customers. The way they feel about your brand will determine the kind of connection they form with you.
Start by thinking about the impression customers will get of you at a first glance. Evaluate everything from your website to your Twitter profile to your content. When a customer first finds you, what will they see? What kind of image are you presenting? Decide how you want customers to perceive you, and build your brand image around that.
Think about how you interact with your customers on social media. Train your team to be respectful, polite and accommodating at all times. Questions or complaints should be responded to swiftly, with an emphasis on resolution.
5. Know When to Sell
At some point in your social selling endeavors, you still need to seal the deal. It’s vital that your social selling translates to actual dollars for your business. How can you use social media to drive customers to that point without going for the hard sale?
The key is to take your lead from your customers. Pay close attention to where your customer is. Are they showing signs of intent to buy? Look for soft signals, such as general discussion around products like yours, and harder signals such as specific questions about price, feedback, and other details around your or your competitors’ products.
Give customers information that matches where they are in the buying cycle. Pay attention when they ask questions, and furnish them with the information they need to make a purchasing decision. Use calls to action on social media to guide customers towards buying. Encourage customers to sign up to your email or text marketing list, or get in touch with you directly for more information.
Your customers are on social media. By understanding how social selling works and how to leverage it for your business, you can turn likes and shares into sales and loyal customers.
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