With the right strategy and a smart approach, companies of any size can harness the power of social selling to boost sales results, without adding to their already long To Do list, and without adding staff. Here's how.
1. Focus your efforts
Don't waste time trying to be everywhere all the time. Instead, determine which social networks your target customers use most frequently, what groups they belong to, and what their profile looks like beyond basic demographic information.
2. Listen first
By following conversations, identifying challenges among your target audience, and seeing how they interact with one another, social sales pros can gain a better sense of how to engage those target customers. It also helps to identify those who are most active, most vocal and opinion leaders among their peer groups.
3. Speak carefully
When you do feel comfortable that you can offer something of value to the group, be careful that it doesn't come off as a direct sales pitch. Use the context you discovered online as part of your outreach to break the ice or introduce yourself, which will help generate a more positive response.
4. Be consistent
Social media allows you to express your brand's unique personality and to humanize the experience for your customers—to put a face behind the brand. However, it's important to maintain the same consistent message and voice that your customers have come to know and trust, just as you do on your website, in printed pieces, paid advertising, and other customer-facing materials.
5. Provide service beyond the sale
Don't stop interacting with customers once the sale is made. After the sale is when the social selling process can really pay off. By continuing the conversation—providing ongoing support, helpful hints, and other information—you can transform customers into an army of loyal brand advocates who will recommend your product to their social sphere both online and offline, thus continuing the word-of-mouth cycle that drives future customer acquisition.
People are more likely to buy (convert) if they’re already part of the communityThey’re more likely to join a community if they believe a friend or peer is already a memberAnticipate that any sale will happen after a period (perhaps a long period) of simply getting comfortable with the communityCommunities need an identity — they can’t be generic
Ultimately, our research reminds the marketer that social selling is social first, selling second. There is a right way and a wrong way to approach it in a social context. Just like a well-choreographed dance, it requires the partners to be moving in rhythm before the big closing number.
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