You are probably already in contact with your customers on social media platforms. Is it time to take those interactions to the next level and use social media as another selling point? Whether it’s connecting you more to your local retail base or expanding your reach, social selling has gained traction, especially since the COVID pandemic shut store doors for a while. weather. Although consumers still prefer to shop in-store, selling or even connecting on social media can be a valuable marketing strategy.
According to Hootsuite, in the last six months of 2020, 25% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 made a purchase through social media. That number only went up from there.
Considering the large number of people currently using social media, you can see that the potential for social selling can be lucrative:
- 4.2 billion people worldwide are active on social media.
- Social media platforms gained 490 million users in 2020.
- That’s an increase of 13.2% – 2019 saw a growth rate of 7.2%.
The pandemic likely has something to do with the growth of social media users. The question is whether the consumer will now move away from social media? It’s unlikely.
- Many of these users use social platforms for brand research and often prepare to buy. According to data from Statista: “In 2020, approximately 25% of e-commerce businesses globally planned to sell their products on social media.” And for good reason :
- 200 million Instagram users visit a profile at least once a day and 81% of Instagram users search for products and services on the platform.
- 18.3% of US Facebook users made a purchase through Facebook in 2020, and that number continues to grow.
- 70% of YouTube users have purchased a brand’s product after seeing it on YouTube.
Where to start? We don’t have unlimited hours to test every social media platform we might sell on. Your choice should depend on your target audience and your approach to social selling. Instagram, for example, is a great platform to interact with furniture customers. It offers tools to answer customer questions and it’s a relaxed virtual space where communication is natural. Once you’ve researched the best platforms to engage with your customers — Instagram and Facebook would be good places to start — there are tips for engaging content that can lead to sales.
On Facebook, for example, make sure you have a Facebook page, then commit to engaging with your customers and other businesses. Be sure to respond to comments from your followers and mentions of your brand. Also, when creating your own posts, include questions to spark conversations with your Facebook audience — they don’t need to be directly related to your product to be effective.
With other brands, it’s easy to reach through likes, comments, and shares. But you can do more: if you create thoughtful and valuable content, it can be shared, increasing your brand reach. Your Facebook page could be exposed to a new audience when other businesses share and like your content. social selling best practices
1. Establish your brand. by delivering value When interacting with prospects and customers through social media, it’s important not to be too sales-focused. And if your brand is new to a social media platform, don’t get into social selling just yet. Before you start with sales pitches, establish your position as an expert in your industry. You can also share content that others will find helpful in establishing your brand (or personal brand) as an industry thought leader.
2. Listen strategically. and Build Relationships with the Right People Effective social selling means paying attention. Also, be sure to be “socially tuned”. Use social lists and Hootsuite feeds to monitor what people are saying about you, your business, your industry, and your competitors. Watch for pain points and requests, both of which provide natural opportunities to offer solutions. You can also leverage your existing network whenever possible.
3. Make it personal. Instead of writing a note and sending it to countless potential buyers, take the time to personalize your social selling messaging. This means you could:
- Acknowledge your mutual professional contacts.
- Refer to a piece of content that you shared or reacted to.
- Highlight a shared interest or something else you have in common. Be yourself. Make a connection by starting a real conversation. You can use automated like and comment tools, but these do not help build relationships. This type of automation can potentially hurt your personal and professional brand. When it comes to selling, nothing beats connecting with a human.
4. To be coherent. Finally, don’t expect immediate results. If your relationship-building efforts aren’t yielding immediate results, don’t give up. Some contacts may not be ready to buy what you are offering yet, but be sure to stay in touch.
Follow up with new leads. Reach out to contacts you’ve been in touch with before, but haven’t heard from in a while. Maintain meaningful relationships by offering congratulations when there’s a milestone. Interact with the content your followers share on social media. Be prepared to offer advice or help, even if it doesn’t directly promote your product.
Building these relationships takes time and energy, but once you have a solid following of interested potential customers, social selling is a channel that can be rewarding.