Social media is more than just “likes”, followers and clicks – it’s about driving engagement towards a goal, whether that’s growing brand awareness or increasing lead conversions. Did you know that according to HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Annual Report, social media produces almost double the leads of outbound tactics like telemarketing, trade shows, or PPC? In fact, the number of marketers that say Facebook is critical for lead generation has increased 83% in just 2 years (Social Media Today). And although Facebook is still the reigning king of social media networks, Twitter is quickly growing in importance for marketers who say they get twice the amount of leads by utilizing the microblogging site.
If you’re looking to cultivate new leads through social media and leverage loyal customers to drive revenue, social media can be a powerful tool for your company. But how exactly do you use social media to drive sales? Read these four helpful tips for setting the foundation for an effective social selling strategy.
1.) BE PRESENT AND ACTIVE
If you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on access to potential and existing customers who already use social media. With more than one billion people on the planet using Facebook, it’s safe to say a large majority of your existing fan base is actively posting, sharing, and like-ing. And don’t forget all the other social channels like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. If you’re not present on social media, it’s likely that your competitors are, which means they have access to millions of potential leads that you don’t.
But being present on social media isn’t enough. You have to be active as well. In order to engage with potential customers, you have to regularly share details about your company, products, or services. You can post relevant company news, share heart-warming customer wins, and tweet insightful musings. This serves to not only humanize your company, but also makes you more relatable and builds earned media among consumers. So claim, establish, and build your social media presence to take the first step on a successful social selling journey.
2.) IDENTIFY CONNECTIONS
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their purchase from a referral – not an advertisement. The very nature of social media is referral-based in that connections are always friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Think of it as digital word-of-mouth. Learning to identify these connections can help you tap into new potential revenue streams. Use hashtags, professional groups, interest pages and shared followers to build relationships with your desired consumer base on social.
Connecting with consumers is not the only use for social media. You can also connect with other companies for potential partnerships or lead referrals. Imagine what business opportunities can arise from leveraging your employees’ connections through social networking sites like LinkedIn. Tap into your employees’ professional networks to reach qualified leads and like-minded businesses. By leveraging your employees, you \can increase awareness and reach for your company on social.
3.) LISTEN AND LEARN
Monitoring and analyzing social networks for mentions of your brand, business, or service is an effective way to bolster the sales process. Instead of cold-calling, sending email blasts, and running ads, monitoring social media channels can help your sales team identify possible leads, reducing the need for a lot of outbound marketing.
There are now tools available to help your monitor Twitter hashtags for mentions of your brand, like Hashtracking, Hashtagify, and Twubs. Or you can use keyword tracking tools like Google Alerts or Mention to see who’s talking about your company and products. Use your tool of choice to listen and learn to all that digital chatter so that you can identify people who are interested in, talking about, and interacting with your brand. That way, you can reach out to people who are like “warm” leads and nurture them along the conversion path to becoming a loyal customer.
4.) BECOME A CONTENT CREATOR
Did you know companies that have a blog get 67% more leads per month (Social Media B2B)? Sure, you’ve optimized your website for keywords to rank higher on search results pages. But have you also optimized and refreshed your content? You can generate more traffic and higher quality leads by publishing relevant content, which is the cornerstone of inbound marketing. Quality content attracts quality leads. But don’t stop with your website – post this great content on your social channels to really increase your company’s exposure to millions of potential customers.
Social media and sales have a natural relationship. To prove that point, IBM recently ran a social selling test pilot to see how effective social selling could be. IBM reported an astonishing 400% increase in sales in the first quarter of the program. They found that of 1,000 global buyers, a third have already used social media to engage with their vendors, and a whopping 75% said they are likely to use social media in future purchase processes.
We believe social selling is an essential part of the sales cycle. Engaging in social media and using those platforms to identify leads, publish compelling content, and drive acquisition, means you’ll be on your way to bolstering your sales efforts through an effective social selling strategy.