As the holidays come and go, you might feel like you can just sit back and relax as 2013 rolls over into 2014. After all, your hard efforts at social selling during November and December ought to earn you a reward or something. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a breather every once in a while, Q1 is when you should push even harder toward boosting sales numbers.
Because holiday social selling actually builds a nice momentum within most companies. While many businesses hit January 1 and decide it’s time to go back to business as usual, the most socially engaged and profitable businesses see the New Year as a natural continuation of the holiday push. Those are the companies that see the strongest Q1 numbers and those are the companies that see the most long-term success with their social selling strategies.
According to the Aberdeen Group, 64% of sales teams meet their sales quota when using social selling, compared to 49% of sales teams who don’t use it. Likewise, 46% of sales reps meet their individual quotas with social while only 38% of them do it without. This measurable difference in B2B sales is all the fuel business owners should need to push into the New Year with a strong social selling campaign.
Add these stats to the fact that 65% of social media users use social networks to find out about brands or products, according to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, and you have undeniable proof that social selling is essential for businesses to thrive in the modern economy.
Enterprises might pause here and wonder if there is a place for them on the largely consumer-based social networks and the answer is a resounding “yes!” In fact, Forrester conducted a study for LinkedIn back in 2012 that showed social network engagement is highly influential along every step of the purchasing process for IT decision makers. How much is “highly influential”? Try half of all decision makers at each step of the buying process. So again, enterprises best pay attention.
The Holiday Rollover Effect
We’ve already talked about how to engage in social selling before and during the holidays. What we’ve yet to cover is why it’s so important to keep up the pace. The “why” here is simple: if you can build huge sales numbers during the holiday season, it’s a waste to just let it peter out after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. The enthusiasm for social selling that so many companies exude during the holidays is something you can and should harness year round if you want to: a) increase sales and b) capture the attention and imaginations of your target consumers.
During the holidays people really, really want to spend money. It’s an enthusiasm for consumerism not seen for the rest of the year. However, part of this might have to do with the fact that companies aren’t selling quite so enthusiastically throughout the rest of the year, either. Let’s face it, enthusiasm is infectious. If you can get your sales team feeling confident about their holiday sales numbers and motivate them to push onward to greater heights, you’ve got nowhere to go but up.
Here are a few simple ways to harness the enthusiasm behind the holiday shopping frenzy and translate it into a year-long approach:
Be a fearless content leader: Your potential customers like to learn new things. So, be an endless source of fascinating information. Create interesting blog posts and share the awesome content other people create. Be an expert and don’t be afraid to show it.
Have a personality: There’s nothing duller than social accounts that just post links to blog posts and that’s it. Offer up some levity, some humor, and intrigue once in a while to keep things interesting.
- Offer content in multiple mediums: If a video campaign during the holidays worked great, keep it going during the new year. And don’t be afraid to throw in some other content types, too, like infographics, slideshows, and in-depth articles.
- Be interactive: Regularly engage your audience with thought-provoking content. Answer questions and be prompt with your responses. Social media is a dynamic thing. It’s always on, which means your social presence.
- Offer a New Year’s special: While it might not apply to every enterprise type, offering up a discount, coupon, or some other tangible savings for your customers can drive sales in the first days of 2014. It’s a short-term tactic, yes, but it can help to motivate your team to keep up the pace you set during the heart of the holiday season.
These are just a few ways to engage in holiday social selling all year. In short: don’t be afraid to try new things, be bold, and be persistent. Enthusiasm for exceeding sales numbers shouldn’t be limited to just the Starbucks red cup season.
Want to learn more about how you can boost sales numbers with social media? Download our Social Selling Report.