5 Tips on Leveraging the Power of Social Selling within your Business
Social selling (the process of leveraging your social network to build relationships and ultimately fulfill your sales goals) is a hot topic in today’s social media marketing landscape, but do companies truly leverage the power of a strong social selling strategy? For one reason or another, companies think they can bypass typical social regulations and push, push, push their products ad nauseam on social media platforms. Millennials, who make up the greatest buying power in today’s economy ($1.3 trillion annually), do not respond to hard selling [source: Millennials as Brand Advocates, SocialChorus]. They want to be a part of something, they want to see you tell your story, they want to trust you – they are a generation of social media and sharing. Therefore, there truly is no better platform than social media to grow your audience, build trust, and create brand loyalty. But how do you create a strategy that aligns with your brand’s mission? Social selling has all the answers. Below are our top five tips for injecting a social selling psychology into your organization ASAP.
1. Know your brand
First and foremost, you need to have a strongly established brand identity and you need to know your exact disposition within your industry. A strong brand strategy centers around tailoring your marketing strategy to your differentiator and communicating those differences to your consumer base. You must know what differentiates your brand from others in your industry before you can begin to hash out your content strategy.
You must also know your brand’s personality, which should align with the persona of your ideal consumer. For example, you may be a graphic t-shirt company, but who is your target audience? Do you mainly sell to gym rats, or to the humored, beer-drinking, weekend warriors? Knowing your target audience will allow you to get specific. Profit is in the niche. Once you’ve identified this, you’ll be able to cross-check every piece of content you create or share against the values of your brand. By creating a strong identity, you make it easier for people to get to know you. This should have a strong image associated with it as well (themed color schemes, specific fonts and typefaces, and an overall visual style) – having great content is not enough if it looks terrible.
2. Set yourself up as the resource
If you can add value to your followers’ daily lives, they will trust you. If they trust you, they will listen to you and come to you as the expert when in need, rather than you continually having to seek out your prospects. Once you’ve identified a niche, you’ll be able to see exactly what that target audience needs as far as content is concerned. If you can continually turn out great content, your followers will gain value from your posts and will automatically perceive you as the thought leader within your industry.
Content is king; gone are the days where you can simply send out an email blast with a link to your offer and have people buy on first exposure. Content, whether created or curated, is what establishes your position as a trustworthy expert within your given field. Plain and simple, content is what allows you to add value to your followers’ daily lives. Content can be established through creation of original graphics (making sure these graphics follow your brand standard), sharing content that is important to your target demographic, and blogging about relatable topics within your niche. Learn how to save time and increase results by creating a content calendar here.
4. Does your content have an objective?
Make sure that whatever content you share has an end game, an objective that also fits in with your overall marketing strategy. Creating amazing content is useless unless it drives the user to the next step. Typically, any next step can be lumped into one of three categories:
1) consume more content
2) opt in to an email list
3) buy (or re-buy) a product
Decide which one your sights are set on, and link, link, link to either related articles (if you’re blogging), back to your website, or give them value in exchange for contact information.
Lastly, all of this does you no good unless you’re willing to build and nurture two-way relationships. Don’t ever link people to a platform you are not engaged on – if you don’t engage on Twitter, don’t link people to your Twitter; you’re only sending them to another dead end. Sales can be about manipulation tactics, which may get you a sharp, but short-term increase in your bottom line. On the other hand, sales can be about building relationships, which will give you long-term success and brand loyalty.
Spend a few minutes each day engaging with your followers, targeting key decision makers and following them, and then interact with them – comment on their posts, like their posts, and share their content. After a few exposures, they will perceive you as another “friend” on their social media and they are much more open to engage with you and your brand.
When it comes to social media, play the long-term game and create your strategy in alliance with your brand identity, and you’ll find much more success in building loyal followers.