Did you know that as of April this year there were 2.2 billion active monthly Facebook users, 546 million on LinkedIn and 330 million on Twitter? That’s a lot of people! Not to mention those using the increasingly popular photo/video streaming platform Instagram.
What’s more, this digital-savvy customer not only uses these platforms to share life experiences but also to consume a variety of content; from a friend’s cat video to their favourite brands’ latest offerings, meaning that modern businesses need to have a presence on these platforms.
Social networks have a great influence on consumers' purchasing decisions since many users use them to gather information about the product or company. Fail to have a presence on any of these channels or worse, an abandoned account saturated with negative reviews and you’re in big trouble. If you think about it, would you buy a product after scrolling through an angry comments section on a potential proverder's Facebook page?
Businesses are beginning to get the hang of things and are investing more and more time into improving their online presence; responding to customer comments, offering relevant information, the latest promotions, addressing complaints and listening to suggestions - thus establishing a valuable two-way relationship with their user base. Remember, happy customers tend to leave happy reviews.
Now that you know how and why to take part in social networks to meet your business goals, I shall now go through some of the techniques required in achieving them.
Choose the right social networks
Successful social selling is not just creating a profile on every social media network and expecting people to suddenly start buying from you. It's about appearing on the platforms that best suit your business and the interests of your audiences. It is crucial that in order to achieve this you evaluate what your type of business is, investigate where your consumers are active and finally decide on which social network(s) it’s worth investing in.
For example, imagine you sell to a largely male demographic with an age range between 40-60 years-old. Is it likely that your target audience are active on Instagram? My bet is they’re probably not, yet LinkedIn or Facebook might be viable alternatives. It’s important to do your homework before diving straight into each network.
Sharing is caring
For your business to increase sales, it is necessary to maximize the reach of your posts on your social networks. It’s simple math - the more eyeballs on your content, the higher the chance of an interested buyer reading it. For this you must enable the 'share' button so that whoever likes it, can share it with their friends, family and colleagues.
You can use contests or promotions where by in order to enter, one of the conditions is to re-publish the post and tag a few friends. It is necessary to automate publications on Facebook and make sure that everything is optimized so that sharing is not a problem.
‘Socialize’ with your audience
Social networks are not called "social" for nothing. The main focus of this medium is based on communicating with your audience. Try to think of posts or content that generate conversation and respond in the friendliest possible manner. Also try to join relevant groups and participate in their conversations, as well as those of industry thought leaders.
In addition to expanding your reach, this will also increase trust in your brand and encourage users to ask questions if they see you are actively answering comments. This is great for social selling as key customer pain points will likely surface on your discussion board giving you, as a sales rep, greater insight into their thought process. You can then go away and adjust your approach when visiting your next lead/client.
Post success stories
Regardless of whether your business offers a product or services, it is a good idea to use social networks as a channel to show that your customers are satisfied with what you offer. This will definitely result in an increase in sales. People will always believe in the experiences that others have had with your business over what you say, so take advantage of this by sharing this content on social media.
Post useful content
It's not just about making announcements about your products or services; people not only surf social media to remain informed but also to be entertained and to have fun. So, to sell, the first thing you should do is publish content that is both useful AND fun for your audience.
For this it is key that you know your customer well, to the point that you can guess what kind of content they would like to see in their feeds. You can post celebrity quotes, tips, jokes, etc. But remember that all this must be aligned with your brand image and sales goals.
Don’t forget to put a watermark on any content that you publish so that, when it is replicated, your name is always present and the source of the information is not lost.
If you follow these tips with consistency and above all, a little organization and planning you’ll find increasing sales through social media will come naturally. To ensure the smooth uptake of this new strategy I advise creating an annual calendar in which you highlight certain which days you’re going to publish what content. Good luck!