Social media is such an integral part of business marketing today. It allows you to get to know potential customers before they purchase, building up relationships, and best of all is a simple and fast process.
Social media also gives you a chance to tune it to see what your potential business prospects are saying about your competitors. Is it a positive valuation or negative? Is that why they have found your social media account, to see if you’re providing a solution to their problem?
Any social media coach will tell you that you must begin by listening to what your client needs. This is called “social listening”. Not only does it provide you with a way to research your new market, but it can also provide an opportunity to have a conversation with them, which can result in a sale.
It doesn’t matter what your role is in social media, whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or an employee, social media can help you to generate new leads. It serves a dual purpose where it allows you to build a stronger relationship with your existing clients too. It’s this strong relationship that will keep your customers visiting time and again.
If you need an example for reference, think about how there are thousands of scrapbooking sites online, where you can buy paper, photo albums, and the tools for scrapbooking projects. Facebook can give you the opportunity to connect with your potential customers. There are many different ideas for you to try, from virtual Facebook events and also events in the real world. You can also send out a newsletter with creative project ideas. Since you’ve gone one step further than the other scrapbooking sites out there, you’re already one step closer to making more money than they do.
Build a relationship with your customers, and they will return to your site for more projects, supplies, products, or whatever it is that you’re selling. Your customers will now be more inclined to share your posts with their friends too, which leads to more customers, and you haven’t even had to lift a finger to generate those additional leads. Social media will enable you to build a profitable business through new and returning customers, and it will all be due to your social media marketing efforts.
Did you know it’s possible to generate sales of up to $30,000 to $250,000 from leads you can find on social media? Twitter can be particularly useful, and Linkedin is perfect to find the names of people who have the buying authority within a business. Next to these two social media sites, Facebook and blogging platforms can also be essential.
Now you have a solid understanding of how you’ve been using your social media accounts the wrong way until now! Internet marketers and business owners have capitalized on social media to make more sales, and now you can also increase your own profits for your own business.
To help you begin, here are five different steps toward helping you to use social media to your advantage.
1. Find the best way to connect with sales prospects.
Apparently there is a right way and a wrong way to go about connecting with potential prospects on social media. You want to maximize your time. Before joining a social network, such as Facebook or Twitter, you should know who your client base is.
While social media can be a clever marketing tool, it will only work if your clients and potential new clients are on it. For example, if your client base is seniors, they’re not as likely to connect through social media accounts. In other words, you’re wasting your time if your desirable client base is spending time elsewhere.
Once you’re worked out that your customers do use social media accounts such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, you need to figure out which one is best for interacting with your customers. Since each platform involves a lot of time, you want to best focus your effects on that one site.
Facebook is one of the best sites for selling products directly to the customer, particularly because people spend more time on it.
Sadly, in the past year or so, Facebook has changed its algorithm. They have a stronger focus on making money themselves, and that means that unless you have an advertising budget for your business, you won’t get a lot of visibility. However, there are ways around this.
Together, they can boost Facebook visibility and sales. Some salespeople are finding that Instagram is generating some great leads.
But you have to do more than simply post products for sale. You must engage with the community. You can present your products in fun and exciting ways. Not every post has to be of your products either. You can post a collection of related images and text articles that are of interest to your customers.
If you’re a business who’s selling to other businesses, also know as B2B, LinkedIn may be a better choice for you. This is a thriving business community that offers a professional networking environment to professionals and business owners. This is your best option if you’re trying to connect to people at the larger business or corporation who may be interested in your products or services.
Twitter has its use more in research than trying to selling your products. If you hear problems on Twitter, perhaps your products can provide a solution.
There’s also no need to limit yourself to only the big three social media platforms. Don’t forget to include other sites such as Instagram and Pinterest too. You can use your site’s blog to also talk about issues that people may be having, and you can offer your products as a solution. There are also online forums where topics are discussed. You can meet people on these forums and provide them with a solution too.
It all sums up to finding your customers online and helping to direct them to your social media sites, where solutions can be found.
2. Join your social media community and create your persona.
By now you have determined that you need to join a social media community, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, forums, your blog, etc. Whichever social media tool you choose, ensure you spend a lot of time with it. Begin with one to keep it from being overwhelming. Build up your personal account, have conversations with people, and become acquainted with them. What are their expectations?
A part of this process is where you create an online persona that’s likable and trustworthy in this new community. Don’t misrepresent yourself though. You may also put aside certain topics such as religion, politics, or social topics which are too contentious, and may scare people away. If you’re a jerk, people will not do business with you.
If you’re on another social media site trying to get people to visit yours, don’t repeatedly ask them to visit, that’s just annoying. You can discreetly post the link at the end of your conversation as a footer though.
You want to let your network know that you’re an awesome, friendly, and reliable source of information.
3. Connect with potential and existing customers.
Now that you’ve figured out which social media channels to use, and you’ve created your online persona, it’s time to begin connecting with new and existing customers.
The first step is to friend/follow/connect with other people who share the desirable traits of your current customer base. You can find these people by doing a search on each site. You can also use socialmention.com to enter keywords and figure out who is actually talking about your pertinent industry.
Once you’ve found these people, you can begin by commenting on their posts, retweeting them, answering their questions, or sharing a good comment that they have made. The goal is to contribute to their conversation and provide value to them. When you show that you are following them, they will do likewise.
Once you have connected with new followers, friends, etc., don’t immediately bombard them with your sales pitches. Read through their profiles and get to know them. Figure out how you can identify their personal needs.
Should you decide that you want to approach someone directly, do it privately. Don’t just post on their Facebook page hoping that they will respond. If you can preschedule a call that’s great, but even a private message or an email is good too. You can reference a problem they may have posted online, and then provide a solution for them.
4. Build up your client relationships.
Once you have earned the trust of several potential followers, it’s now time to build up your client relationships. This is even more important than building up your leads. A good relationship can turn into a lead.
People do share a lot of information online, and if you listen to what they’re saying, you will be able to have a good conversation with them that offers value.
Once you’ve built up your relationship with your potential customers, you can then tell them how much you think they’ll love your products or services. It could just be something that they need or desire. You’ll then make that important sale because they’ll want to buy it from you first, rather than some other stranger who is selling that same product or service.
5. Engage in conversation with your followers.
Once you’ve built up your following, and you’re building up your relationships, don’t stop there. Remember that if you write up a pitch and give them a link to your site, they will become uninterested. You’ll need to ensure that they know that you are providing some solutions to their problems.
Your products or services may help. You have to really listen to them, and what they’re saying on social media. This will open up new avenues for you. You can begin your conversations without having to even make a sales call. And don’t forget to keep the conversation running even after you have made the sale.
There are a variety of ways that you can ease this process. One is by creating a Facebook group that is similar to your products or services. You can invite your potential or existing customers to join the group. Once they’ve joined, you can begin to send targeted messages to people in the group.
LinkedIn is also a great place that has plenty of focus groups. You can join these and enter the conversations. Ask questions if you’re uncertain what their problems may be. Then provide solutions to their problems. This is where you can showcase your skills and present them as a solution to a problem in a specific area.
While Twitter seems more like a listening tool, you can still send messages to people. Begin by listening to people’s Tweets, and then use one of them as a trigger point to start a conversation. Ask if you can give them a phone call.
You may also discern trends in the tweets. You can find new businesses starting up, companies that are launching new products, or business mergers. Perhaps they’re expanding to an entirely new market? Search through these announcements, as it may be a trigger for a sales call. You can give them a phone call, and mention that you saw their tweet.
Let your potential customers know that you saw their tweet and ask them how it’s affecting their business. Would they be interested in starting a conversation on how you can help them?
Let me turn it over to you!
Remember that your social media accounts should always provide valuable content. Your great content can spread quickly, generating new leads over time. One of the best pieces of advice to skyrocket your sales using social media is to listen to customers online—potential or existing—as that will result in loyal customers that will last for a lifetime. In the end, it will generate more sales for you, increasing profits, and making you a happy small business owner.
Is there anything you feel that has helped you kick ass on social media? Feel free to drop those comments below!