Like virtually everything else in business, sales activities have been forever altered in the digital era. Use of mobile technology, for example, has dramatically enhanced the ability of sales teams to operate far from their home base, and to connect with prospective customers in ways never before imagined.
The changes don’t stop there. With the advent of social media and “social selling”—the use of social media to locate, identify and engage with new prospects—sales as we know it has been transformed all over again.
People use social media to connect with old friends and family members, to post news and gossip, to follow celebrities, and so on. But as businesses have come to recognize, social media is also an “incubator” for intensified sales efforts, and well worth the effort it takes to cultivate this potentially vast online target audience.
Here are five tips for leveraging social media to boost sales of your products or services:
- Maintain a vibrant presence on Facebook. The current controversy regarding Facebook and the sharing of user data notwithstanding, experts agree businesses should maintain a strong presence on this vastly popular social media platform. Business leaders spend a significant amount of time on Facebook, so Forbes advises your company to share “a variety of content, including webinars, videos, articles, infographics and such that speak to the business challenges of your prospects.” Provide value-added content, rather than use Facebook “as an exclusive mouthpiece for your product and service demos.”
- Employ social media as customer touchpoints. It’s vital to have a keen understanding of where your customers “live” on social media. Once you’ve identified the appropriate platforms (such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other industry-specific sites), then you can pinpoint key influencers on those sites and build a strong relationship with them. It’s also important to monitor social media for any issues or concerns your customers might be having.
- Watch competitor activity on social media. What are your competitors doing on Facebook and Twitter? What mistakes do they make, in terms of posting the wrong type of content or engaging in too much self-promotion? Study the ways in which prospects engage with their social media sites and leverage that knowledge to custom-tailor what you provide. Customers might want more “how-to” information about products or a better understanding of industry trends. Wherever you can fill in the gaps, you’ll likely attract and retain more followers.
- Never forget a call-to-action. While avoiding a hard sell, there’s nothing wrong with including a call-to-action at the end of your blog post or video. Find creative ways to get users to visit your business site to learn more about your offerings. Link directly to a product or service page, so prospects aren’t wasting time searching information they want right now.
- Modify your activities to emphasize engagement. In both the B2B and B2C realms, the purchasing journey doesn’t happen overnight. Social media is best viewed as an engagement tool, wherein a steady flow of helpful content and industry updates keeps prospects coming back for more. It’s a way to progressively boost brand awareness and establish a relationship of trust—the foundation from which sales grow.
Social media isn’t a flashy trend that’s going to be disappear tomorrow. Your business needs to get involved in order to stay relevant to (and in touch with) the growing population of prospects who spend time there.
Want to learn more about social media and your business? Check out TAB's latest PULSE Survey on Small Business and Social Media.