In the words of Jill Rowley, social selling expert, “Today’s buyers are more empowered and increasingly self-educating when evaluating options. Traditional channels like phone and email are fatigued. Getting someone’s attention requires leading with relevance, insight, and value.”
Then how to connect to the modern buyer?
Data reveals that 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% Gen X, and 48.2% Baby Boomers are active social media users. (Emarketer 2019). Additionally, 54% of social media browsers use it for researching information about products and services. (Global Webindex 2018).Therefore, if a seller has to connect with his audience, social media selling is definitely an effective solution.
With the number of social media users on the rise, it is definitely a strong force that cannot be ignored. In fact, as per 2019 stats, there are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide which constitute a whopping 42% of the global population! (Emersys 2019). Social media definitely has the potential to reach out to a large audience and boost the revenues of a business.
Often, Social media selling is confused with Digital Marketing. However, Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for various online marketing strategies and social selling is one of those strategies. Social selling along with other Digital Marketing strategies such as Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, etc. is a must if a business wants to surge ahead in this competitive market.
Let us delve into what exactly social media selling is:
Social media selling is when the sales team interacts directly with potential customers through various social media channels. Social selling has made cold calling a thing of the past by offering better lead generation and sales prospecting opportunities.
What is the need for social selling?
Thanks to the fast-paced changes in technology, the modern-day buyer has undergone a behavioral transformation. Buyers now have information available on their fingertips and make informed decisions. They need to be completely satisfied before they make a buying decision. They rely to a large extent on social media for information on products and services. To cope with the changing behavior patterns of the buyers, social media selling is the need of the hour
Social media selling enables brand building because it increases the exposure of your business. By marketing on social channels, your business has a reach beyond geographical boundaries. Every time your content is shared on social media, your visibility is enhanced.
It is not just enough to increase brand awareness. Sharing relevant content on social media channels is an effective way to engage your users. However, you will need to analyze the channels your audience is using and leverage those.
Social channels help interact with the customers on a one-on-one basis. Today’s buyers are looking for instant responses and resolutions to their queries. Social media serves as a means for personal interaction to address the issues the customers may have. This also increases the confidence level of your customers in your brand leading to brand loyalty.
As per stats, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations on social media to make buying decisions. (Fourcommunications, 2018)
Social Media Marketing, when used along with Search Engine Optimization, improves the rankings on SERPs.
Aren’t these reasons enough for you to get started with Social Media Marketing? However, a social media campaign requires planning so as to achieve the desired results.
Here are the guidelines for effective social media strategy:
A social media selling strategy cannot be implemented in isolation in an organization. It should be aligned with the entire marketing strategy of the business.
Define your objectives and what you expect to achieve with your social media campaigns. Also, at the outset, the organization should be aware that a social media campaign is not just a one-time thing but an ongoing process. Therefore, it is recommended that you set goals for specific time-frames and compare at the end of the campaign how far you have achieved them.
Identify Your Buyer
Prior to launching your social media campaigns, you need to understand your audience. It is important to know their demographics as the social media channels used by them are dependent on this aspect. Also, it is important to bear in mind whether it is B2B or B2C customers that you are targeting and strategize accordingly.
Listen to Your Buyer
Social media has made it possible to communicate directly with the buyer. You need to understand what your buyer is looking for. You also need to focus on their pain points.
Choose Relevant Social Media Channel
Choose social media channels according to your buyer personas. For instance, Pinterest is the best channel for fashion and for a B2B buyer, you can connect on LinkedIn.
According to Forrester Research, most decision-makers choose LinkedIn or Twitter.
Share Relevant Content
Since social media channels are used for searching for information about various products and services, offer your audience as much content as possible.
You can adopt a content strategy where you adopt a storytelling approach to convey all the information about your product or service.
Be alert to feedback that you receive from your customers. Resolve their queries and use the feedback for crafting future content that addresses the pain points of your audience. In case of a negative review, be sure to respond to it.
Follow the Right Companies
Many time organizations are unsure about how best they can approach larger companies. Social media helps you connect with any company. You can start following larger organizations on Twitter and it could serve as a good starting point to connect. You also have the option of joining LinkedIn groups to increase your network. And, it may just so happen that you may connect with your dream client!
You can include chatbots that can respond to your customers’ queries 24/7.
Measure the Results
After the specified time-frame, evaluate the outcome of your social media campaign and compare it with your defined goals. If you have not achieved the desired result, analyze your shortcomings and strategize to overcome them in your next campaign.
In this era of the digitally driven, socially connected audience, social selling is the best way to connect to your audience. Jamie Shanks from Sales for Life in his key findings of social selling study of 45,000 sales reps and 200 companies found that for every $1 invested in social selling, the ROI was $5!
So, if you haven’t yet started on social selling, what are you waiting for? The time is just right to launch your social media campaign!
Author Bio: George brings over 20 years of Sales and Marketing Experience helping companies from start-ups to fortune 500 solve their complex revenue generation systems.