Social selling refers to businesses and individuals using social media to search, locate, and engage new customers. Social media presents professional opportunities and challenges for companies and professional individuals.
So, what makes it worth the trouble? A joint study by Millward Brown Digital and Google found that 46% of decision makers are aged between 18 and 34 years old, which is actually the largest social media user demographic. These numbers support the need for businesses and professional individuals to be present on social media.
Whether you are a business owner or a sales professional, you will use social media to sell in distinctly different ways to reach the same goal: to make money. For businesses, this involves a primary focus on building their brand reputation. For professional individuals, this involves a primary focus on direct communication with prospects and existing clientele. Both positions require a well-defined target audience, which we will circle back to at the end of this article.
Social Selling for Businesses
In a word, social media is linked to brand reputation.
“Reputation, you know – a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.”Robert de Niro
Building trust is a full-time gig. Brand reputation refers to the position your company occupies in the opinion of others. A company’s reputation in modern times can be built or destroyed by its social media presence. By approaching social media with an “always on” mentality, your company can become visible and shareable, which leads to overall credibility.
As a businessowner, you’re most likely wondering – is my brand credible on social media? To build credibility, your brand should consistently deliver on its promise and have a strong digital presence.
Social media is the reason that a brand’s reputation must be “always on.” Online platforms like Twitter, Meta (Facebook), Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even TikTok are accessible 24/7, and so should your brand be.
For a brand to be “always on” means it is reliable. Having a solid product or service is highly important, but so is providing a consistent experience. When a customer buys your product, they are buying in to your brand; for them to come back, they need to know what to expect.
Reputation should be considered in every single piece of your business. Social media gives you the opportunity to integrate your brand reputation across digital advertising campaigns and customer service interactions. You can take advantage of this by considering your customer’s experience throughout the customer lifecycle, from awareness to purchase to long-term brand loyalty, and understanding how your brand fits in.
Having a powerful brand means nothing if your customers can’t see you! This means your company needs to have a strong digital presence and be easily searchable on social channels and search engines. When it comes to marketing, content may be King, but placement is Queen; your great content needs to be seen by the right audience to be effective and appreciated.
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Social Selling for Sales Professionals
Sales people use social media to provide value to prospects, as their goal is to make the prospective client or customer interested. Once the prospect shows interest, the sales person will engage with them by answering questions, responding to comments, and sharing content throughout the buying process. It has been shown that sales reps sell more when they leverage the power of social networks, however, it’s incredibly tough to translate each effort into dollar signs – especially when your measurable return on investment is a “like” or comment.
The internet is primarily used as a means of communication and a research tool. When it comes to sales, it used to be that the prospect was directly told that they need your product. Nowadays, the prospect has to be nurtured and educated so they understand why they need your product. Social media provides key locations for sales professionals to contact and educate decision makers.
Cracking the Social Media Code
Now you understand why you need to sell on social media; to get in front of your target decision makers or consumers. Next comes the how. You may decide to use paid advertising or organic content marketing, or a combination of both. Our company, Mad Mouse Creative, will often use a combination of these approaches to effectively sell a client’s products or services to their target audience across social media platforms.
Regardless of your position and decided approach (paid vs. organic, businesses vs. professional individuals) to make social selling work for you, the first thing to do is define your target audience. If you are trying to sell without first defining an audience, you will end up losing time and money.
Locating and defining your target audience can be a complex process. If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have a professionally developed marketing strategy. Great news: you don’t have to be a professional marketer to create a “starter” version of a buyer persona for your target consumers!
Buyer Persona 101
Buyer personas help you relate to your consumers and craft effective content. To get started, put pen to paper and define the more obvious characters of your audience. For example, if you’re operating a pet supplies company then your general customer might be a pet owner.
Next, consider the demographics of your audience. What are your price points? Is your product gender-specific? Where does your customer live? Asking these questions will help to nail down basic information about your target market and build a starter persona. The next steps include defining psychographics, such as what are your consumers’ values? What type of lifestyle do they lead?
Of course, this exercise will not completely define your buyer. It is merely a means to break in to social selling. Ultimately, the best way to test your persona is to begin marketing and see who reacts positively to your content. This exercise may define the buyer persona to be a female homeowner aged 35 who loves politics, but your best customer could turn out to be a male homeowner aged 40 who loves gardening.
Learn more about buyer personas and how to sell effectively on social media from our team of marketing experts.
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