Blake Sanders of Broadband Expert asked if he could do a post on social media selling. He’s got a different perspective on some of these items then I have so I thought you might enjoy a different view.
-Hillary, aka The Whine Seller
Social media is not only the wave of the present and future in technology, but it is also the future of business as well. It already occupies a dominant position in the way of social marketing. Where marketing channels used to be cable providers and newspapers, social media has created a more personal and real-time outlet for sharing product and service info. To stay competitive, just about every business needs to have (or develop) a presence on social networks in order to attract and keep customers. Outlined here are some simple steps for successful social media selling.
Warm Up To People
You are not a car salesperson, and your customers are not walking onto your lot. There is a vast network of sellers for any industry, and online shoppers can quickly come and go as they please. Therefore, the best thing to do in the beginning is simply get to know people instead of starting out with hard sells. Social media networks are not designed to accommodate sales pitches, but instead facilitate friendly interactions and exchanges between the users. The first thing you should do is make friends with a group of people that fit the profile of being potential customers and develop a relationship with them.
Provide Something Useful
When you engage with people, give them valuable content and information that they can use. This could mean answering questions about your area of expertise and making suggestions about what they should use or buy to obtain better results. It could also mean providing the latest news about your organization or any recent developments in the field. Your social media website or blog could also provide links to timely articles, videos, or podcasts that build your brand and still provide excellent content.
It is great to welcome all audiences, but be sure to focus on key figures within the targeted audience. Try to connect with the most popular bloggers or find the people that have the most followers in the target group. If you gain credibility with them, then it is likely that they may endorse your organization and expose you to their audiences. Step one still comes into play. Meeting a high-quality blogger and starting with “Check out my blog!” is a surefire way to make a bad first impression and lose any chance of taking the relationship any further.
Be Confident and Likeable
Always speak with confidence online to show that you believe in your organization and stand behind your products and services. Confidence will help potential customers feel better about your products and services, and it will most likely increase the likelihood of them making a purchase. Make sure that you are likeable and try to be polite in all of your exchanges because you want people to engage with you in the long term. When there is rapport between two people, the one that is more confident will persuade the other person.
Keep Up Appearances
Be conscious of how you portray yourself online, which includes your personal profile as well as that of the organization and the products and services that you promote. Keep everything politically correct and avoid personal references and pictures or anything that could be interpreted as offensive. The way the world sees you should align with the image you are looking to portray. When you begin to use multiple outlets for reaching the public (press, blogs, websites, social networks, cable providers, newspapers, physical media), your image should be uniform across the board. This will help potential buyers reaffirm their trust in you.
Be careful about who you associate with as well. Examine the people that request to be your friends, and monitor any buzz about your business. If people are talking about a negative experience with your organization online, definitely try to reach out to them. Offering to better their experience (with discounts, freebies, responsive action, etc) goes a long way towards keeping your credibility. Apologies are a nice gesture but must be followed up by action. Arguing with customers via social media or any website not only reflects poorly upon your business but documents your behavior for later use. The goal is to show everyone that you offer superior customer service and you want to encourage people to discuss their concerns without fear of retribution.
Only portray everything in a positive light whether it is an article, social media post, or photo. All photos should be attractive, so it may be useful to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your store or products. Videos do not need to look like cable productions, but they should be of high quality, so it would be best to hire a professional videographer.
Remember, the one thing that separates you from every other seller is your complete package: the ability to outshine with your quality product, quality information, likability, confidence, non-selling attitude, and outstanding image.
After you have made connections and provided your buyer with an unforgettable experience, you will then have the opportunity to sell them your products and services. People tend to buy from organizations that they know and have some familiarity with. Make someone fall in love with your brand, and then let them know how they can be a part of it.
Use all of these tips as well as your business savvy to find success in social media selling.
Blake Sanders writes on tech issues at broadband comparison site Broadband Expert and specializes in high speed internet, cable providers, and the latest in wireless internet provider news and information.