Selling has always been a social activity. It’s nigh on impossible to sell anything without interacting with your audience at some point. In the past it used to be word of mouth recommendations, a nudge from a friend to go buy that new product. However in today’s world of Facebook, Twitter and Social Media in general, the social aspect of selling has been taken to far greater heights.
Consumers now have a unique power that reaches beyond purchasing and using a product. They have access to thousands, if not millions of like-minded followers. They have the power to rocket a brand into the limelight or shoot one down to obscurity. They’re not afraid to tell you how it is. They have a voice and they’re happy to use it.
As the landscape changes, so too must our approach on how we sell to our plugged-in audience. Read on as we dig into some unconventional ideas about social selling, and how thinking outside of the box can be the key to really connecting.
It’s a common misconception that a sale needs to take place on a user’s very first visit to your website. It doesn’t. In fact it’s often the case that someone will visit your website multiple times before deciding to buy something.
This is where retargeting really comes into its own. Instead of leaving your readers to their own devices once they’ve landed on your website, utilize retargeting for those visitors from social referrals and continue to offer them special deals they can’t resist.
Twitter has a useful remarketing tag to help you do this. It continues to show promoted Tweets to users who have already visited your site (more on that here). It can be implemented through adding a simple tag to your landing pages, which then tracks reader’s movements across your website.
2. Use Landing Pages
Landing pages are an under-used commodity that can be costing you conversions. It’s so easy to refer visitors from Social Media to your website or blog’s homepage, yet what are they supposed to do when they get there?
Why not send them to a dedicated landing page that’s promoting your offer instead? As soon as people land there they’ll know exactly why they’re there and will be in a position to take action. Instead of aimlessly browsing your latest blog posts, they’re presented with an opportunity – a decision to make. Should they check out your offer, or should they continue on to your website?
Your readers won’t have that opportunity if you send them straight to your homepage. Utilize your landing pages. Show them exactly where you want your readers to go.
3. Use Visual Networks
Social selling is commonly associated with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re the big three where we all spend the majority of our time. It would be a mistake however to skip visual networks such as Pinterest and Google+.
While they may not seem as popular as some of the other social platforms, Pinterest, Google+ and even Instagram are making waves among consumers. Shoppers for example are 10% more likely to follow through on a purchase, if they’ve been referred from Pinterest. That’s 10% more than other Social Networks.
This is because there is a unique power in visual content. It has the habit of tugging at our emotions. It connects with a more primal part of our brains, creating a connection that words alone fail to achieve. Therefore using visual networks to sell socially, has the potential to be far more successful.
4. Listening Later
There’s a lot of talk out there about social listening and how it can help you connect with your audience on a more meaningful level. While this is true, you don’t have to carry out your listening there and then. Can you imagine trying to listen in to every conversation that has a potential window of opportunity? You wouldn’t get anything done!
It’s possible to practice social listening, even after a conversation has ended. Providing you have something interesting and meaningful to add to a discussion, it’s okay if you join in hours or days later. You’re still adding value to something that will be visible to the online world for a good deal of time.
5. It Does Not Have to Feel Like a Sale
It’s tempting when starting any social selling initiative to just send a Tweet or status update out there into the void. You know the drill, “Checkout my website -it’s great!”. The truth is you can use a combination of methods to drive conversions, without stating the obvious.
In a post on Top Dog Social Media, Melonie Dodaro shows us how to breakdown the social selling funnel on LinkedIn, yet her tips can be applied across nearly all Social Networks.
Consider the questions people ask in their day-to-day social activities. You could blend your social selling into a valuable answer. You could even share an interesting article that answers that question, as well as providing input into discussions.
6. Build the Process into Your CRM
Knowing how to attract leads from social selling and how to create conversions is one thing. Actively recording that data so you can learn, optimize and improve for future campaigns is an entirely different thing.
It’s important to make sure you have the tools to sufficiently monitor and backup the conversations in your records by using CRM tools that help with monitoring the activity of your Social Networks. Nimble for example pulls contact profiles, email conversions and social signals into one place, helping you to monitor and engage, regardless of where you work.
7. Social Selling Does Not Have to Be the Performed by Sales People Only
Finally you don’t have to be a salesperson to perform effective social selling for your brand or business. Social selling is more about trust and the relationships you form during the process. People don’t want to interact with a voiceless entity. They’re not interested in pushy sales messages or self-promotion.
To really be effective, you need to convince your audience that you’re in this for the long-haul – that you have their best interests at heart. They want to know how you’re going make their lives easier. What can you do for them? What value can you provide that will leave no doubt in their minds that they can put their faith and trust in you?
A successful social seller, isn’t just a sales person. He or she is a people person. If you can make that connection and achieve that level of trust with your customers, the rest will surely follow.
In an age where your best customers can be your worst critics, it’s important to change and adapt the way in which we sell. Social selling has the potential to really bring home the goods, however without truly knowing what our audiences want, it’s difficult to get right.
Hopefully this article has highlighted some ways you can achieve social selling success, without coming across as pushy or salesy. The key message I believe is value, quality and engagement. Without those three things, without the ability to truly connect, build trust and provide value, it’s probable that your customers will see right through you.