Since 2012, social selling has been growing in popularity as more and more buyers use social media as a source of information and validation for buying decisions. As such many business owners have shown an interest in using social selling to increase sales for their business. Sadly, many describe the experience as less than fulfilling because the results failed to match their expectations or there were just no measurable results at all.
Is social media really effective at increasing sales?
Many businesses struggle to convert their social media interactions into sales mainly because they lack an understanding of how online marketing and social media differs from traditional marketing. They often attempt to transfer the content they use for traditional advertising campaigns to their online platforms leading to less than favorable results in most cases.
Social selling involves the process of meeting potential buyers at the point where they are conducting due diligence. At this stage, they are seeking content, references and details from which they can make an informed decision. In the social space, the influence of a potential buyer's peer-to-peer network strongly impacts the decision-making process. Buyers are strongly influenced by what their peers share and think about your business as compared to what you publish about yourself.
Provide meaningful content
Businesses that fail to provide meaningful and adequate content online run the risk that potential buyers may not trust or value what they offer thereby failing to convert to a customer. Additionally, there is lots of information being shared online, so sellers have to ensure that their content is attractive and well-differentiated so that people will take the time to stop and read the message. Having the best message that never gets read is the same as having no message at all. So ensure you have well designed, attractive content is essential for success.
Make it attractive
Social media selling gives the seller the opportunity to use multiple media to communicate their messages with potential buyers. This is a great benefit that many businesses fail to realize as they stick to traditional post messages like those you see in a newspaper. A review of many business pages on social media reflects content that does not resonate with individuals in a social setting. It is like dressing in a formal suit to attend a community football game.
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Social selling requires consistency. A failure to get a windfall of responses in a short period of time often leads to discouragement for some sellers. However, poor short-term results do not necessarily mean that your message is not being received. Potential buyers may be evaluating whether or not they trust you and a lack of consistency will lead to them concluding you are not trustworthy or that your business is not stable. So for businesses on a limited budget, it is essential that you still share organic (unpaid) content via your social channels even when there are little or no funds to do paid content.
When creating social media content, focus on being engaging. Many sellers focus on being informative but fail to appreciate that the various ways of sharing information. Think of yourself in a social environment with your friends relaxing after a long day of work. Will you like a Salesman to come up to you uninvited trying to share a brochure about his business? Probably not. You will probably think this is not the time or place. It is very similar when marketing using social media. The focus is not on pushing your message uninvited to potential buyers but rather making it available in an engaging form that they are happy to interact with the content even in their social time and setting. Understand the value of conversation, show an interest in what is important to your customers and avoid only focusing on sharing what you have to offer.
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