Are you using social media to sell products or services? Tons of brand are killing it selling on SM, while others never see the results they are hoping for. Where you fall on the spectrum has a lot to do with your strategies and goals and less to do with your actual product. Nevertheless, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about selling on social media that should be clarified.
- You don’t have to plan
While social selling may seem a little looser than traditional channels, it still requires planning. Resist the temptation to throw something up on Instagram and hope for sales to come pouring in.
As with any selling, you must develop a strategy and a goal, using SM to support your plan. Many businesses new to social selling will simply run the same promotion week after week and pray to the Internet gods for different results.
Selling online is an opportunity to spread awareness and elevate your brand, but you still need a sales strategy to ensure success. Set an end date for offers and measure the results; tweak as needed for better results. Also, make sure you are targeting the right audience—who is your target audience and what social platform do they prefer? We know Millennials love Snapchat, but what about 40-something moms? Look at trends and cultural touchstones to help guide you. And always check your analytics to determine where traffic originates from and what your audience prefers.
- You don’t have to engage…
While auto-scheduling and posting on social media serves an important and valid need, it is not ideal to social selling. You don’t want to continue auto-posting the same product or promo multiple times, wishing more people would click on it.
SM works it because it gives you the ability to engage with potential clients—answers questions, offer suggestions, and build excitement. Get a feel for how people are responding and check your analytics for info on who is engaging and what the level of interest is.
“The key to social media selling is engaging users. If you’re automating tweets and scheduling posts, you’re surely going to end up missing out on opportunities to interact.” (Memeburn).
- …Or cultivate leads
Cultivating sales and engaging with clients is more than just answering a few questions on Twitter. Social media is an amazing way to get the message out, but you cannot assume that it is the be-all end-all to conversion.
As with any type of sale, buyers need to be nurtured and cultivated. Social media provides platforms where you can garner interest, connect, and build trust, but that does not mean you do not have to work at it.
Entrepreneur reminds us of that saying, “don't assume that social media platforms are where the conversion of an online user into a buyer will take place.” Follow up with leads and always thank buyers when they make a purchase. The form of the thank you can vary—online or via email—but you should always do so. Other good ideas include offering a discount off their next purchase in exchange for a social share or a review.
- You must be on every social platform
As mentioned in #1, when selling on social media, you must target your ideal buyer and be where they are. You don’t have to be on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and GooglePlus to be successful. You just have to be in the right places for your core buyers.
Look at statistics and metrics to determine the most appropriate platforms, and use buyer personas to tailor your offers to your audience. Experts recommend that just about every company harness the power and reach of Facebook and then pinpoint one or two other networks applicable to your audience. It more about knowing your audience than blanketing the social landscape.
- It is simple and easy
We aren’t saying that it is rocket science, but selling on social media still requires time and effort. Now, that time and effort will be completely worth it in the long run, but as with anything worthwhile, it does require effort.
First, don’t assume that people instantly understand your brand or service. Use smart content to educate and engage readers. Experts swear by the 80/20 rule, which meant that 80 percent of what you post should be informational, with only 20 percent promotional. Posting content that addresses a need or problem is the best way to build your followers. Once they see you as a trusted source, they are more likely to become buyers.
Pay attention to what people are interested in by monitoring likes, shares, tweets, and so on. If you don’t know what the masses are interested in, you cannot provide them with a product or service that appeals to them. Selling on social media starts with establishing a presence and engaging with readers before you start pushing sales. Move past the misconceptions and develop a winning strategy.
Not sure what platforms your ideal buyers are on? Download this guide to start creating buyer personas and gain insight into your leads’ preferences.