How to Sell With Social Media
On social media, being promotional is a big no-no. This includes any communication that contains a price, offers a discount or says buy this. As a result, most marketers focus their social media efforts on building their brand and attracting new prospects despite the fact most other marketing efforts require the ability to show to increased sales, decreased expenses and/or increased profits.
So how does a marketer sell his offering using social media? (For additional insights, read how social media is dragging e-commerce into the future.)
It’s an unstated rule of social media, where people congregate to engage and keep up with their family, friends and colleagues, that you’re not supposed to market products directly.
While building brand and buzz is a necessity, especially for consumer package goods, for many businesses, particularly smaller ones, investing in marketing that doesn’t yield tangeble results is unacceptable. Therefore, as social media grows and matures, showing a return becomes critical.
Here are seven steps to help you use social media to support your sales process.
- Determine where your target market is on social media. Adjust your approach to social media. Don’t just dash off and get a Facebook page without knowing where your target market interacts on social media platforms. This means creating a more extended marketing persona. Not sure where they are? Ask them. Spend time on social media engaging with them. Think like a sales person to better understand your prospects. Actionable marketing questions: Where do your best prospects spend their social media time? With whom do they engage with? Do they want to be associated with brands and businesses? If so, in what way? What information do they seek? Who influences them?
- Target those social media platforms where your prospective customers congregate. Let your insights about your prospects and customers guide your social media plans. Actionable marketing questions: From a marketing perspective, what do these platforms require? How do other marketers engage and sell on these platform? What supporting marketing (content and promotion) is needed?
- Develop content for which they’re looking on these social media networks. Your goal is to provide content that helps prospects and customers get answers they need. Actionable marketing questions: What questions do participants need answered on this social media platform that are related to my product offering? What information can we provide that support purchase and post-purchase use? While being promotional is a no-no on social media, you can directly talk about your product and price where appropriate such as on your blog. Marcus Sheridan discusses being open about your pricing,
- Create links and calls-to-action for your product, where appropriate. The key here is “soft sell.” Skip the pushy promotional hard sell. The last thing you want to be on social media is the stereotypical used car salesman. So stay away from directives like “Buy Now.” Your goal is to get prospects into your purchase process. Actionable marketing questions: Where can we embed links to our product seamlessly without appearing spammy?
- Optimize your landing pages. Send prospects to the specific product page, not your home page or other entryway. Ensure that the landing page continues the feel and related branding from the social media interaction. Actionable marketing questions: Have you linked as closely as possible to the purchase point? Is the landing page optimized for facilitating purchase?
- Streamline the purchase process. Once you’ve got a warm prospect who is interested in buying your product, reduce the number of steps to purchase. Where possible, keep the buyer focused on the product. Understand that no matter how efficient your process is, prospects may still leave your site without purchasing since they’re not ready to buy yet, they’re checking about your firm and its reliability, or they’re comparing prices. To ensure you’re able to track these prospects when they return to buy, check that your website can recognize them again via your cookies. Actionable marketing questions: Is your purchase process streamlined? Can you recognize prospects from social media platforms if they leave your site and return later?
- Measure sales results from social media. Incorporate the ability to track results from social media platforms into your analytics and check that they work before your campaign starts. Use unique promotional codes to track these sales. Understand that these sales may involve more than one form of marketing to convert prospects into customers. Actionable marketing questions: Can you track sales to social media?
Social media can drive sales. It requires assessing how to find your target audience on social media platforms and integrating your offering into your social media execution in a way that’s a soft sell.
What other recommendations do you have for using social media to sell?
Here are some related articles you may find of interest.
- The 7 Step Social Media Strategy Every Marketer Needs (Note provides a structured plan.)
- Here’s help with branding on social media platforms
- Are you holding your content marketing (including social media) back?
- The One Social Media Metric You Need.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5939055612/