Social media has become very important to the sales process, to building a network that will generate leads and sales. Here are a few simple basics to help in the process.
- Be available to your customers where they are
Already 1.4 billion people are on social platforms. This figure is growing daily so it is becoming the norm for consumers to interact socially online and so they expect to find you there. They want you to be available to them on the channel of their choosing. Be available. Have current and active social profiles on the networks your customers use: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
- It’s not about you
Once you’re using social media always remember that it not about you, it is always about your customers, your community. With each interaction you are providing a service, solving a problem or just having a conversation. This is critical in building a network that trusts you and has confidence in you.
- Know what your customers are talking about
The public nature of social interaction makes it possible to tap into conversation about your brand, your competitors, your industry. It provides the perfect opportunity for you get in on a lead far earlier.
By using tools like Twitters advances search (search.twitter.com), Netvibes (netvibes.com) or Social Mention (socialmention.com) you can monitor these conversations for this key data as well as be aware of any negative sentiment about your products or brands. This is a further opportunity to engage, solve a problem and build trust.
- Make it easy
Make it easy for customers to find you, talk to you and buy from you. On your website let visitors know you are available on social networks with follow buttons. On your social profiles link to your websites and other social profiles.
If someone decides to buy from you, is it easy to do or do they have to click repeatedly? We live in a time of instant gratification. If a webpage takes 5 seconds we already want to move on. This has made lazy consumers of all of us. Let your customers get what they want NOW.
- Your greatest investment in social media: Time & Patience
Taking some time to understand the networks you are using. Then be patient in building a network that will trust you. You are building trust and influence through your engagement and activity on the social web by providing help, information, support. Whatever form this may take within your industry you want to show yourself as an industry leader.
- Keep it simple
Despite the gigabytes of information written about social media it comes down to communication, two way communication. The technology is incredible but the concept is still communication. Someone tweets about a frustration, they want to be acknowledged and heard. Hear it and acknowledge it. Simple.
With trust and influence come leads and sales. Plenty of it.
Social interaction will become even more integral in the next two years. Getting connected is becoming easier and cheaper. For the majority of new people on the web their first interactions will be through social media on their mobile devices, not on their desktops at home. In the future the only way customers will know to contact you is through social. It makes sense to build a strong, credible and influence social presence now.