Sell Without Selling – How To Use Social Media To Boost Sales Without Annoying Your Prospects

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
  • Location
  • Education
  • Job title and industry
  • Income

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.

 

#TwoMinuteTuesdays – Take two minutes out of your Tuesday mornings to digest some interesting and informative content brought to you by the interlinkONE team. Have content ideas or questions you want discussed? Tweet at us @interlinkONE! 

Social Prospecting – What Should You Be Listening For?

Are you looking to boost sales and find new leads for your business? Then social prospecting is the way to go. People are using social media in their billions, which means no matter what your business is offering, there are people out there on social media who want it. Social prospecting is the art of finding those people, listening to what they have to say, and then engaging them.

How Social Prospecting Works

 

Social prospecting works by listening to conversations on social media to find good prospects for your business. The question is, just how can you do that, considering the number of conversations taking place on social media every moment of every day?

The answer is, first of all, to plan carefully what to listen for (more on that in a moment). The next step is to figure out how you’re going to do that. A social prospecting tool, which is designed to bring you the most relevant information, can help you prospect successfully and isolate the conversations that matter to your brand.

What Should You Be Listening For?

 

So now you’re clear on what social prospecting is – listening on social media to find strong leads for your brand – the big question is what should you listen for?

An obvious place to start of course is brand mentions. Looking for brand mentions will let you know who is talking about your business and what they’re saying, but to prospect successfully you’ll need to drill down beyond brand mentions. Competitor mentions can also be useful. Who is using your competitors? Even more importantly, who is complaining about your competitors? Show them why your business is a better choice.

Listen For Buying Signals

 

Customers on social media are constantly letting you know that they’re ready to buy. All you have to do is listen. People love to talk about purchases on social media, and frequently ask questions, share opinions, follow businesses that interest them or share pictures of intended purchases.

Listen out for key phrases that show intent to buy or a strong interest in finding the right products, such as:

  • I’m in the market for…
  • Can anyone recommend?
  • Where can I find?
  • I’m looking for …
  • Has anyone used this product?
  • Is it any good?
  • Is this available near me?
  • Where can I buy this?
  • I want to know more about …

Customers are giving clear indicators that they’re ready to buy. Social prospecting helps you hear those indicators.

Find Customers That Match Your Ideal Demographics

 

Another way to use social prospecting is to look for customers who match your ideal customer demographic. Say for example you offer a party planning service. With social prospecting, you can search for people who have made mention of needing to plan a leaving part or birthday do, or who are asking questions about party planning, venues or party supplies, and who live in your local area.

To maximize your success with social prospecting, choose a tool that lets you draw up profiles so you can find people who match those and see who is the closest fit for your business.

You’ve Found Your Leads – Now What?

 

You’ve used social prospecting to find your leads, now it’s time to convert them into customers. How can you go about doing just that? Start by:

  • Joining conversations and making your business known
  • Showing your value by helping prospects to solve their problems
  • Engaging them with content that’s been specially crafted to speak to their needs and answer their questions
  • Offering content that matches their point in the buying cycle, giving them the information they need and encouraging them to take the next step

Social prospecting is all about cutting through the noise of social media to find people who need a business like yours, then letting them know why you’re the best choice for them. Know what to listen for and build your social prospecting efforts around that to bring you the most promising new leads.

 

#TwoMinuteTuesdays – Take two minutes out of your Tuesday mornings to digest some interesting and informative content brought to you by the interlinkONE team. Have content ideas or questions you want discussed? Tweet at us @interlinkONE! 

Are You Talking to the Right People?

Social selling relies on connections, so how do you make sure you’re connecting with the right people? Talking to the wrong people can mean wasted time and much fewer leads. The trick is to qualify your leads before you even talk to them, but how can you do that?

Use Customer Profiles

To talk to the right people, you need to know who the right people are. That’s where customer profiles or personas can help you. By building up customer profiles, you know who you’re looking to connect with before you even start.

A detailed profile of your ideal customer can help you figure out:

  • Who they are
  • What their needs are
  • What specific problem you can solve for them
  • What kind of language they use (not what you think…read on!)

Armed with this information, you can go about finding your ideal customers, and reaching out to them in a way that speaks their language and directly addresses their needs.

Customer profiles also help you segment your prospects so you can tailor your social selling to each specific group, rather than using a catch all approach. A tailored approach is much more likely to bring you the results you want.

Customer profiles get you into the mind-set of your prospects so you can see your business through their eyes, and better understand how to present it in an appealing way. 

Listen To Your Customers

Your customers are the best people to tell you what they need and whether you can provide it. Listen carefully to what they’re saying on social media. What do they talk about, ask or complain about? What are they looking for?

The deeper your understanding of your customers, the more accurately you can determine how likely they are to do business with you. Pay attention to their intentions too; the way you approach a prospect who is looking for information will be different from how you approach a prospect who is showing signs of being ready to buy.

Do Your Research

Always research your leads before approaching them. With a group of prospects, that means understanding their needs, motivations and place in the buying cycle, as outlined above.

When it comes to individual contacts, make sure you know who they are and what they do. What makes them a good lead for you? Do they have the kind of purchasing power you need them to have? If they’re a business contact, what is their position in their company, and what power do they have to make or sway decisions?

When it comes to research, social prospecting is a must. Social prospecting means finding qualified leads from within your network and beyond, meaning that you’ll focus your efforts on the people who are most likely to convert.

Having a good grasp on who your leads are and what makes them qualified before you start will increase your chances of focusing your efforts on the right people, and converting leads into sales.

 

#TwoMinuteTuesdays – Take two minutes out of your Tuesday mornings to digest some interesting and informative content brought to you by the interlinkONE team. Have content ideas or questions you want discussed? Tweet at us @interlinkONE! 

4 Tips for Better Marketing of Your Website

Doing all you can to market your company’s website should always be a top priority as a business owner. Pre-Internet; most business owners relied on word-of-mouth and marketing to get business. When turning the clock forward a couple of decades ago, the debut of the Internet literally changed the business world. For many business owners, this meant marketing in a different way, one that’s helped countless businesses succeed.

If you have been wondering how to go about better marketing for your website, it is not all that difficult. With the right focus on spreading the word, your business can reach to new heights. Those heights can end up being quite lucrative at the end of the day.

Make Your Website Stand Out

When it comes to making your website stand out from that of the competition, it all begins with a plan. For individuals entering business in the last decade or two, were they thinking no website was necessary? If so, you’ve likely woken up to the reality of the situation.

In starting a business, one of the first things business owners need to focus on is having a quality website. This starts by looking at where to buy domain names. It is important to remember that the right domain name for your company is crucial. Not only do you want a name that differentiates you from competitors, also have one easy to remember. One of the great things with domains is you won’t pay an arm and a leg for them. Shop around, searching for the best domain provider out there.

Once that important chore is behind you, the next big task ahead is marketing your new website. Stellar marketing has to be a top priority. If it isn’t, you will find it hard for your site to rank high on Google and other search engines. In turn, you will make it harder for consumers to locate you.

Pixabay

Market Like There is No Tomorrow

In marketing your website, zero in on these four keys:

1. Resources

Use any and all resources to market your site. Although some marketing campaigns will cost money, others are free. Should you decide to work with an outside marketing firm, be sure to research them ahead of time. Even though there are some fantastic marketing firms out there, you want only the best.

2. Content

Anyone who knows anything about websites understands the important aspect content plays. If lax on writing and posting marketing content, you’re already behind the eight ball. Once again, you may end up having to go outside of your company, seeking the help of a freelance writer. If that is the case, review them as you would any other firm you think about doing work with. Also make sure that any and all blog content written gets promoted on social media.

3. Social media

In putting social media to work for your website, remember social networking is available to you 24/7. As a result, there is no reason you should not be using it. Another important factor with social media is that quantity overrides quality. This means you do not have to be on half-a-dozen or more social sites to get the full impact of it. You are better off when you focus in on one or two sites that make the most sense for your business, and then put all your time and effort behind them. Often, you are best-served on Facebook or Twitter, the number one and three sites worldwide.

4. Customers

Never forget the important role your customers can play in helping to market your website. It is your customers that oftentimes know you better than anyone else. Let them help market you and your brand, especially to their family members and friends. In case you worry that many of your customers won’t be too excited about marketing you, give them some incentive. By offering different specials and deals, you will have more energetic customers. Marketing your website is something that isn’t a choice, it is a necessity.

When you put your mind to it, the possibilities are literally endless.

 

 

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers marketing topics on the web.

4 Keys to Guest Posting Success

Whether you guest post regularly or it is something you truly need to do more of, knowing the various benefits that guest posting offers is something you should definitely be on top of.

That said is your brand doing all it can with guest posting? For instance, have you reached out to countless blogs to see if you can guest post to them on a regular basis? If not, why is that? Some business owners will state that they do not have the time (or patience for that matter) to do all that reach out, only to have many publishers come back and respectfully decline. In the process, the former are denied yet another opportunity to promote their brands.

In the event guest posting has not been a big priority for you up to this point and time, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to change that thinking moving forward, allowing you to grow your website traffic. So that you know how to best take advantage of guest posting for your brand, remember these four tips:

1. Identify a message

What exactly are you looking to accomplish with guest posting in the first place?

If you’re on top of your game, you know that guest posting can direct more eyes towards your website–traffic that very well can turn into dollar signs sooner rather than later. That said make sure your message is loud and clear. When guest blogging; don’t make it all about your brand.

For one, there’s a good chance many publishers will not run your guest post if it comes across as too self-promotional. Google and other search engines are likely to penalize too, so be wary of posts where it is heavy on the “me” factor and light on the “we factor. Rather write the posts to help consumers learn more about your general industry, giving them information they may have trouble finding elsewhere.

Lastly, you can still run a link back to your website, one that doesn’t come across as spam.

Credit: Pixabay

2. Write with Authority

Keep in mind that both publishers and consumers like reading articles with some meat to them. That said, always look to write with authority when providing guest posts to others. While guest posting for your marketing needs, you still need to consider the needs of those you are talking to.

What can your audience learn from each and every guest post you craft? Will they have a guest post to read that they simply can’t find anywhere else? Finally, will your post resonate with them months after it has gone live?

When you write with authority, you stand a much better chance of being recognized as authoritative and relevant, two keys to success oftentimes in the business world.

3. Promote your posts

When you guest post for other sites, you can’t fall down on the job in terms of promoting those efforts on social media. Be sure you promote those posts without any reminders from publishers, doing it on your own because you know about the benefits that will come from it.

As an example, if you tweet out a guest post on Twitter that you (or your company) have authored, it stands to reason that other folks on Twitter (some following you and those seeing the relevant hashtags) will retweet your post. With that occurring, your post (and your brand) now gets more attention.

4. Keep chugging along

Last but not least, guest posting takes time and effort. Yes, that also translates into being committed. It can be easy after doing a few guest posts to figure you made some inroads, so no need to write for a period of time.

Unfortunately, guest posting doesn’t work that way. In order to have a real impact with guest posting, you have to keep hammering away time and time again with the articles. Always do your best to not only keep the ideas and the posts coming, but also to know what your message should be to those consumers you haven’t reached just yet.

 

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about marketing and business topics on the web.