Anyone with basic sales experience will know that social media offers businesses a great way to connect with both leads and customers. Bringing sellers and buyers together has never been easier than it is today.
Social selling is an essential sales strategy used by most successful businesses. But there is a lot more involved than simply opening a Facebook account and posting a few status updates every now and then.
When done right, social selling will speed up the sales cycle, nurture leads and improve close rates far better than conventional sales approaches. Social selling helps businesses pinpoint the reasons people decide to make purchases with precision. It also helps businesses understand when their leads are most likely to be receptive to their sales efforts.
Here are four social selling approaches that you can use:
1. Aim for relationships, not one-off sales
No one likes an obvious sales pitch. They can come across as manipulative. However great your product is, chances are that there are similar products on offer from competing businesses. A hard sell won’t make you stand out from the crowd, but nurturing great client relationships will. Forming relationships with prospects or customers is what keeps them coming back. Relationships always offer better results than sales tactics.
2. Educate your leads before you sell to them
So you’ve formed solid relationships with prospective customers. Of course, the end goal is to turn them into loyal, repeat customers and generate consistent sales . To ensure that your relationships result in sales, you need to educate customers on the features and benefits of your product. To show them how your product will solve their problems and better their life. Be informative and involved. Address consumer questions by publishing short, punchy posts and videos across your social media channels. You can also make ‘how-to’ posts or even live demonstration videos.
3. Build a presence on different social networks
You need an active social media presence on whichever platforms your customers tend to prefer. If your customer base is young and male, you stand a good chance of reaching them on Facebook or Twitter. A customer base that consists of professionals would be better reached on LinkedIn. It isn’t enough to simply open an account anywhere and put up a few posts. The most successful companies on social media treat social platforms as official websites. They put a great deal of thought into building their profiles, bios and into creating their posts. Your customers need to have a consistently positive experience across your website and all of your social media channels.
4. Be a consistent presence on social media
To make sure that your social selling techniques deliver results, you need to consistently invest time and energy into your social media profiles. Don’t wait weeks to answer customer queries or wait months to produce that ‘how-to’ video. You need to create an editorial calendar to find out what topics are most likely to attract the attention of your customers and post timely and relevant content.
Finally, you need to track the results of all your social media marketing efforts so that you can gauge your ROI (return on investment). Expert marketers play around with different types of posts and look closely at the results that they get to understand what their followers like. Once they’re onto a good thing, the rest is easy.
Selling through social media can work well, but it’s important to be patient and to put in the requisite amount of work. When you work hard to offer value to your customers, you will remain ‘top of mind’ for them and they will visit your website or social pages when they need a product or service that you offer.
9 out of 10 consumers trust online customer reviews. It may seem counter-intuitive, but even negative reviews serve a purpose. A believable mix of comments shows that they are genuine, and you aren’t manipulating your reviews to mislead customers. So how can you encourage your customers to review your business?
5. Google My Business
Google My Business (previously as Google Local and Google Places) is a great place to start. The ratings that you receive on Google My Business determine how many stars you are awarded on Google Maps and Google Local Pack (the results that show up on Maps when searchers look for a local business). They also determine where you rank on Google’s search results as a local business.
When you create a PlaceID for your business on Google My Business, you get a PlaceID link where your customers can leave reviews. Instead of customers deliberately looking up your business and leaving a poor review when they are dissatisfied, you can offer a link to all of your customers, making the probability of receiving a positive review a lot higher. Here are some ways that you can ask your customers to review your business:
- Put your PlaceID link in every marketing email or marketing flyer that goes out, and ask for reviews.
- Write personal emails to customers and request reviews, wherever possible. It should be clear that your emails are one-offs, and they are only being asked because they are valued members of your business.
- Determine which members of your audience are most likely to remain customers over the long-term, and make a point of requesting reviews from them. They are more likely to oblige.
- Train staff who interact with customers on how to best to request a review..
- Teach your audience how to find your business online and leave a review. It can help when they don’t have a link available.
6. Concentrate on review sites that focus on your industry
While Google My Business is a general-purpose review destination, many industries have purpose-built review websites that may be more suitable and specific. For example, the travel industry has TripAdvisor and the medical care industry has WebMD. Some review destinations such as Yelp and TrustPilot focus on multiple industries. While the reviews that you gather on these sites will not affect how you rank on Google Maps, they will influence how highly you rank on a Google search. It should be obvious just how important it is to ask all of your customers for reviews.
7. Use social media
Especially as Facebook updates its applications and offerings, social networks are actually major destinations for customer reviews . It’s important to manage an active presence on social media, and to ask for online reviews, using the same general principles as you would for Google reviews. Ask happy customers to tag your product or service in an Instagram post, ‘share’ a company tweet or leave a simple star rating on your business’s Facebook page.
User reviews shape how your brand is perceived and any good marketing strategy will focus on customer reviews. Research shows that consumers decide whether or not to trust a business by looking at the number of reviews that they have, in general, rather than looking at exactly how many five-star reviews they earn. The more reviews you get, the more popular and legitimate your business seems. This will contribute to the ongoing growth and success of your business.
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