While social media selling isn’t exactly a new concept, companies who master the art of selling through social platforms have a major advantage. According to LinkedIn Sales Solutions, companies that sell through social media attract 45% more leads and outsell their non-social competition as much as 78% of the time. The data speaks for itself — social selling is critical, and companies that don’t adopt social media as a sales tool risk being left behind by competitors.
You may be wondering how much social media can really help, especially if you’re a B2B company with a niche audience. It may be easy to dismiss social media selling if you’re not marketing to consumer-driven, younger audiences, but this is far from the truth. No matter who your audience is, you’ll most likely be able to find them on at least one social media channel. With 2.5 billion social media users worldwide, making excuses for neglecting social media in 2019 is like lighting dollar bills on fire. It just doesn’t make sense.
With social media being such an important marketing tool, businesses need to know the basics of social selling to drive meaningful results. The opportunities available to reach your desired customers are near limitless through social media, but there are some important basics to keep in mind:
Choose Your Social Media Platform
Not all social media platforms are created equal—they each have their own identity. Are you a B2B company looking to go after a professional crowd, a brand looking to reach the younger generation or are you somewhere in between? Of course, businesses can choose to sell through multiple platforms, but having a core understanding of each platform’s identity will help you reach the right people.
Facebook: As the most popular social media site in the world, businesses can expect results if they use this platform well. Facebook allows businesses to target just about anyone, promote new content and foster a sense of community around your business. Facebook Marketplace has evolved to be very effective in certain industries for certain products, especially those that historically could sell on other sites like Craigslist or eBay. Features and policies are always changing, and when you know the latest developments on the site, you can set your business up for success.
Twitter: Twitter is a tricky one. It’s great for brands that are witty, interesting and like to engage — a lot. Twitter doesn’t have as many users as the other sites but the users it does have are passionate about the site and typically post multiple times a day. While this might not be the best site for selling, it’s ideal for spreading brand awareness and for working with certain influencers.
LinkedIn: B2B companies like LinkedIn for its professional approach to social media. This is where companies can network with others and post more thoughtful content. If building a name as a thought leader is important to your business, then this network can be extremely beneficial.
Instagram: For those of you looking to reach the younger generations, look no further. With this site being popular for reaching users age 25 and under, Instagram is perfect for companies with visually-appealing products that appeal to younger demographics. It’s also a great place for creatives to showcase their work and to collaborate with influencers who have used the platform to build their own brand, which in turn will build yours.
Pinterest: If you’re targeting women and offer a “visual” product or service such as interior design, Pinterest might just be an excellent option. According to Statista, almost 80 percent of Pinterest’s users are women. Like Instagram, Pinterest is also an image-driven platform where companies with visually appealing products tend to be successful.
YouTube: Like Twitter, YouTube is great for brand discovery. Companies that upload valuable content aimed at their target audiences, such as how-to videos and commentary on relevant topics, can seamlessly lead potential customers to visit the company’s website. There are many creative ways to create compelling videos that might not only attract new prospects to your business, but also help your current clients better leverage your current products and services. Educational content to establish thought leadership in a vertical or for a specific topic is also a great use of YouTube.
Learn About Targeting
Now that you have an understanding of where to reach your target audience, you need to know how to find them. Although targeting can vary between platforms, some of the best practices are the same across all sites. Whether you’re a business looking to target high-level decision-makers in the retail automotive industry or a company trying to reach millennial pet owners, targeting is about the specifics.
First, while it might sound like a great plan to target everyone, the reality is that by targeting everyone, you’re really targeting no one. For best results, decide on an audience or small group of audiences and create content that’s relevant to them. An easy way to decide on who to target is to answer a few simple questions.
- Is your product tailored to a certain industry?
- How complex is the buying process?
- Are you targeting organizations or consumers?
- Are you in an established market or are you pioneering something new?
- How will this product be sold?
- How expensive is the product?
Companies can also create buyer personas to get a general idea of who their desired customer base is. Buyer personas can include customer demographics like gender, age, location, income and marital status, and psychographics like favorite sports teams, media consumption habits, purchasing tendencies and more. Once you’ve established who you’re selling to, you can look through your chosen social media advertising options and target your customers directly.
Make Buying Easy
Congrats, you’ve reached your target customers, now you need to make the buying process as easy as possible. A great example of a company that’s making buying easy is Amazon. Have you noticed its “one-click” buying option? That’s how easy purchasing should be.
The main rule of thumb for making the buying process as seamless as possible is to recommend the right products or solutions from the start. The longer a potential customer has to sift through options, the less likely he or she will purchase from your company. This is known as taking a prescriptive approach, which according to Gartner, can increase a customer’s purchase ease by 86%.
Review the Analytics
This last stage is where you’ll finally be able to track whether your social media sales efforts were successful. While most social media sites offer free, high-level analytics reports, consider using a paid software solution for more detailed insights. Analytics are data points derived from your business’s social media sites, and these reports are able to tell you which conversions came from which site. If you’re looking for high-quality insights, Google Analytics is a great place to start. Google Analytics can provide detailed information on which tactics worked and what should be improved for future social media selling efforts.
Being successful on social media isn’t easy, but understanding these basics is key to achieving best results. If you need a little more assistance with social media, find out how Digital Air Strike’s solutions can help.
By Alexi Venneri
Via Phoenix Business Journal