Social media is a beautiful thing for business. It opens up your doors to a wider audience than was ever possible before. Social is a pathway to success online. You literally have the world at your fingertips. And if you use social media strategically you can increase your sales.
I'm going to get into that. But first, let's talk about the two things that social media relies on. Content and engagement.
Social Starts With Content
To be social, you have to have something to share. This is obviously why I think blogging is such a great way to help your social media presence and traffic. The companies that do best socially create their own content. Strike that. They create amazing content that is likable and shareable. It has to be content that YOUR CUSTOMERS or POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS want to consume and share. Your content has to be laser focused. It needs to bring the right people to you. Your job next is to get them to know you and to find out what it is that they are really looking for. This is engagement.
Engaging For Engagement Sake
Engagement is great, don't get me wrong. You need to engage with the RIGHT people online. This is where you build your rapport. This is where you get to know them and learn about what problems they have so you can help them solve them. Don't engage to be popular. Engage to increase your bottom line, your sales.
Mari Smith says it best. "Engagement doesn't pay the bills. Be strategic: get the leads and convert the leads to paying customers."
— Buffer (@buffer) February 25, 2015
What Is Social Selling?
Despite what you may believe, social selling is not posting a sale on your social media channels. You probably won't get many sales that way anyway. Social selling is using social media to interact with prospects and generate leads. Leads is the keyword here. (I dream about leads.)
The Social Media Sales Funnel
Social selling is not that much different than old school sales. The technology is different, but the psychology is the same. It's about building relationships with potential buyers, understanding their problems and providing a solution for the problem they have.
If you aren't looking at your marketing and sales funnel yet, it's time to think about it. Jason wrote an amazing post about it here where he walks you through the steps for building your content marketing sales funnel.
I also wrote a post about the social media content funnel here.
5 Steps To Social Selling
The goal is to connect with the right people and to be able to communicate that you understand their problems and then have the solution to it. But if you don't really know your customer and what problem they have you can be at a loss. You probably won't make many sales. So your first step is to listen to your potential customers online. They may be looking for you by using keywords that are relevant to you. Or perhaps they are expressing their frustrations, needs, and wants. By listening to the right keywords you can filter out your potential leads from all of the other fish in the sea.
Once you've found your leads or narrowed them down, it's time to interact with them. This is where you build rapport and show empathy to their problems and bring them into your world. This is the initial handshake and getting to know each other phase. It's important and can make all the difference.
3. Generate Leads
The main goal of engagement is to generate leads. The best way for us to generate leads is to give something away for free. So perhaps that's an ebook, a white paper, or even a discount. Whatever it is, you want to bring them into your funnel and have the ability to continually market to them through social and email.
4. Nurture Leads
Most leads will take a while to become buyers which is why the engagement shouldn't stop here. You need to nurture them so when they are ready to buy they still remember to come to you. Your content during this phase should be so good that it makes sense that they buy from you and no one else.
5. Close Sales
The final step is the close. The best part of the sales process.
How do you use social media to generate leads and close more deals?