Time to read: 2 minutes. You’ve probably gotten your feet wet with social media marketing by tweeting or creating a Facebook page. Good for you. But if you’re like most marketers, you were hoping for more from social media: leads and sales. Sure, you’ve netted a few customers that you suspect came from Facebook or Twitter. But you want more; many more. But how to get a customer from your Facebook page or blog to the point-of-purchase is unclear. And the metrics you’re told to use (like “engagement”) don’t help. Until now.
The key to selling with social media
After a year of interviewing the best social media sellers — businesses that are actually selling using tools like Facebook, blogs and LinkedIn — I found a common thread. The answer to selling more with social media is found in starting conversations that are worth having. And conversing in ways that generate questions—that your products or services give answers to. To do this they’re focusing on solving customers problems.
THIS is how to generate more customer inquiries. In fact, they’ve proven to me that knowing how to “do social media” really well is worthless without knowing how to design it to pay you back.
Forget about learning how to “do social media”
The answers you seek won’t be found in learning how to set up a Facebook page or run promotions within it. Nor will learning how to operate blog software, install plugins, set up widgets or create LinkedIn groups help you generate leads and sales. These skills are essential to have, but success requires a focus on planning social media marketing. Giving it purpose.
Following customers into social spaces without a means to capture sales rarely works. Listening and engaging with customers on Facebook, Twitter, blogs or on mobile devices—they’re all necessary, but doing just these things won’t help you sell more and more often.
Solve customers problems
That’s why successful marketers are going beyond capturing customers’ attention in social spaces. Instead, they’re designing social media marketing in ways that ultimately creates a sale. And here’s how: They’re differentiating, driving sales and keeping more customers by diagnosing and solving customer problems—not by cutting prices and offering coupons.
Social media can be a more powerful servant to your business than you think. But only when you act on the truth that attention is only the beginning. Successful social marketers design to sell.
Follow these rules
Everything I’ve learned from today’s best “social sellers” can be distilled to three success principles. Social media marketers that sell:
1. are translators that discover and solve customers’ evolving problems; They answer routine, everyday questions for customers on their blog or using Facebook
2. always design social experiences to discover customers’ needs, cater to them over time and ultimately capture the sale; They use the answers (to common questions) as a way to help customers guide themselves toward more answers — products and services
3. create sales by mixing in behavior-driven, direct response and classic marketing devices; They use what has always worked (traditional marketing tactics, give-aways, contests, etc.) in social environments and leverage traditional lead nurturing tactics to bring the sale to fruition.
I drill down and give actual examples of businesses using this technique in my 3 Habits of Successful Social Media Marketers white paper here. Good luck!
Photo credit: cyanocorax