You don't need to be a techie to know that social media is changing many things about the world - most obviously, the way we communicate with our family and friends. If you do follow the startup, tech and financial worlds, you understand that new ideas and technologies - social media among them - are shifting much more than just the way you keep in touch with old friends from high school or your aunt down in Florida. No, these advancements are changing everything, perhaps most importantly: the environment in which buyers and sellers conduct their business.
These days, both personal and professional consumers want to research, compare and inform their own buying decisions. It goes without saying that much of this research takes place on the websites and social media platforms of the digital world, which changes the game for salespeople. Customers no longer want to be cornered, bullied or told what to buy; they will seek help once they're ready, but they want to be assisted on their turf. That turf is online. That turf is social media.
Unfortunately, many companies and sales managers in ill-equipped industries see social selling as a threat, mainly because they don't have the knowledge and understanding to embrace the new medium. In reality, social selling is a great opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes to leverage web technology and deliver value and insight to the customer in an open and comfortable environment.
1. Identify Your Targeted Buyers' Personas
You can't sell anything without developing relationships and social selling begins and ends with learning the personas of your target market. This includes identifying your buyers' interests, job title and responsibilities, and social profiles and level of social engagement.
2. Intelligence Is Key
In order to make a strong social connection and ultimately enter a potential customer's sphere of influence, you need to actually know and understand them. Rather than being fake or simply guessing, get to know your audience by listening and observing them before you start talking. That way, you'll be able to more accurately assess the challenges and requirements of your potential customers.
3. Establish A Content Marketing Plan
Now that you understand your target market and their challenges, you can begin creating content that caters to their needs and interests. By devising a content marketing plan, you'll ensure that your content's creation and publication is effective and organized. Part of your content marketing plan should involve syndicating other relevant and insightful content from your industry via your social media channels.
4. Become A Trusted Authority
After you've taken the time to listen to and integrate with your target audience, you'll be well on your way to becoming a trusted authority within your industry. In order to continue to build trust within your sphere you should remain approachable, engaging and most of all, helpful.
5. Monitor and Improve
It's only through tracking tools and techniques that you'll be able to determine how successful you are at applying the power of social selling in steps one through four. Monitoring social activity and engagement will give you an idea of the kinds of topics and discussions that are resonating the most with your audience. Remain focused on the things that are working and cut out the ones that aren't catching on.