Learning how to sell using social media takes finesse. Selling and social media go hand-in-hand – if handled correctly. Social media is a great way to connect with your customers, and bring in new ones. But it can also backfire and drive people away from your brand, if you push too hard to make sales.
It’s All About Connection
Connections between friends, family, neighbors, or classmates have a sense of intimacy that is jarred when someone is suddenly presented with an ad trying to sell something.
Businesses use these platforms for now, but the need for connection still exists. If you’re not able to connect with customers, or prospects, you won’t see any improvements in your bottom line.
How Do You Make The Connection?
You make the connection by sharing content that provides value to your community members. That content should mostly be unique to your specific products and/or service, but if you find something outside your own industry that somehow relates well, use it.
Provide context for why you think it’s useful to your followers, so they can see that you’re thinking about them and their needs. Think about your industry, or your ideal customer’s industry. Ask yourself, “what can you do to make ‘it’ better?”
Make sure that the majority of your content is evergreen content. Evergreen means that it is content that will always be relevant, and is unlikely to change. This provides a source of information that people will keep coming back to and also gives you the ability to reshare the same content, which means less work for you down the road. Re purposing your content is a HUGE part of using social media effectively!
Keep Selling – Just Use The Right Channel
Imagine if you were invited to a party at a friend’s house. You’re all excited to go to this party and have a good time chatting with friends. But when you get there, your friend sits you down with a bunch of other people and starts trying to sell you candles, baking pans, makeup or jewelry.
You would probably feel confused, maybe a little insulted, and possibly even downright angry, right? You’d feel duped that you thought this person was your friend and wanted to spend quality time with you, but all they wanted was to sell you something.
Speaking personally, we were invited to a dinner, several years ago, at the home of one of my wife’s coworkers, a doctor and his wife, only to arrive and find out they wanted to get us into their multi-level marketing down-line! We felt like we got duped. Needless to say, we were disgusted. I don’t believe we stayed for dessert…
This is how your followers feel if they see nothing but posts that are trying to sell something. But if your posts contain valuable information clearly focused on helping in some way, there are far less hurt feelings. There will also be far fewer people clicking the un-follow button.
Keep The Ratio Of Ads To Posts Low
You want to make sure that the majority of what you share is valuable, useful content. A good ratio for social selling is generally about 80/20: 80% useful info, 20% promotional.
Of course, this isn’t a perfect science and the right ratio for your business might be different. But it’s a good place to start, and then you can adjust from there.
Vary Your Useful Content
Use a variety of content types, including videos, imagery (GIFs are cool and they’re not hard to make), infographs, how-to guides, list articles, how-to posts, polls, and news posts. Variety is the spice of life, and a foundation for a good social selling plan, It will also keeps followers on your page.
The human attention span is short, and growing ever shorter in this digital age. So, finding multiple types of content on the same page is what will keep your followers interested.
Social Selling Requires Interaction
If all you do is post, post, post, and you never respond to comments, you look like you’re having a one-sided conversation. Imagine how that would look at a party: you’re standing in the corner, saying whatever you want, and every time someone asks you a question, you change the subject to something else you want to say. Every met someone like that? Annoying, huh?
If you interact with your followers by responding to their comments, you indicate a willingness to form a relationship. Relationships matter when you are interacting on social media. They are also very important when you’re asking someone to give you their hard-earned money.
It’s a known fact that people do business with other people that they know, like and trust. You can’t get to selling level with someone without first establishing some level of relationship.
If someone is trying to decide between getting the same product or service from two different places, a friendly smile or a compassionate “How are you today?” can be the deciding factor in where to go. Your response to their comments is that friendly smile to your followers.
Social Selling Demands Engagement
Engaging your followers is also critical, and a little different than merely interacting. If you post what you want to post all the time, even if you interact with them, it can begin to feel like you’re ramming your message down their throat.
Chelsea Hunersen from HubSpot says, “engagement is defined as how many interactions people have with your posted messages“. This can include mentions, replies, comments, likes, favorites, +1s, and retweets.
Engagement can look like:
- A post asking what their favorite product/service you offer is
- A post asking if they’d rather learn more about A or B
- A post asking more personal questions, like their favorite vacation
- Any post that ends with some kind of open-ended question. These questions can be “Which is your favorite?” or “What do you think?” or anything along those lines.
The point is; Get them to talk to you! Once they do; Talk back. It’s this two-sided conversation that makes all the difference, and you initiated it. By doing so, you’ve shown your followers that you care. And that goes back to the friendly smile mentioned in the previous section.
Using social selling to achieve your company’s revenue goals is not only a great idea but, a necessity in today’s digitally social world. The key is ensuring that you use it properly and don’t try to ram a sales message down every available social channel. Think about connecting with a friend, rather than trying to make a sale whenever you post, and you’re likely to see the increase that you want.
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