The line between business development, customer success management, content management and marketing has become fuzzy. Today, content marketing is all the rage in today’s business world. But how can one do it successfully, generate leads, and convert them into sales? One obvious answer lies in using Social Media, and the tools that are available. This blog post outlines my five step strategy one can use to formulate and define their Social Media/Sales strategy.
Formulate Your Plan When Connecting With Potential Customers
Before using any Social Media tool effectively and efficiently, you must first know your customer base inside and out. For instance, it would be a complete waste – not only your time, but also a drain on your company’s financial resources – if none of your clients are engaged in Social Media. But, if they are; and the chances of that are probably very high, then you need to determine what tools they are using.
For example, Facebook is a great venue for conducting Business to Consumer (B2C) sales efforts. But to gain traction with your Facebook B2C campaigns, it is very important to use other Social Media outlets as well, such as Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
LinkedIn works great for Business to Business (B2B) sales efforts, and Twitter can pretty much be used for either B2C or B2B campaigns.
But the key point here is, it’s not just about picture your product as a static ads. Engage with your prospects, and from there, listen to their needs and wants, and to find the right solutions. Open a conversation that will – with the time – create a brand adherence. In other words, find out where and what your sales opportunities are talking, and follow that trail.
Join A Social Media Site And Build Up Your Personality
Once you have discovered the Social Media tools your prospects are using, it’s now time for you to jump on-board, and build up your profile. In this regard, it is very important to build your personality so that it will become a highly reliable, trustworthy source of knowledge and information.
It is equally crucial that you also abide by the norms and rules of the Social Media site with which you have become involved with. If you stray too far out of bounds, your prospects will run far away from you in just a matter of seconds.
This is what Gary Vaynerchuk call develop native content in his brilliant book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” (Shop it on Amazon). I can’t recommend a better read on the matter. Gary is the co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia a strategic creative agency focusing on social and digital. VaynerMedia has helped Fortune 500 companies like GE, PepsiCo, and Mt Dew execute against their KPI’s, and build their digital brands through micro content and other storytelling techniques
Connect, Connect & Connect
Now that you have built up your reputation on a Social Media site, the next step is to connect with as many people as you can. However, you just cannot send friend requests to anybody on Facebook, send connection requests blindly on LinkedIn, or just follow anybody on Twitter …
Even if for Twitter it actually work pretty well, but for an effective strategy on Twitter I advise to read this blog post : 10 Quick Tips for Generating Leads From Twitter by Diana Urban, please visit her great blog: http://dianaurban.com.
Remember that connecting is an art, and the magic to this is to find those prospects whom are also talking about the industry you interested to contribute with your service or product, and also using the same type of keywords.
Although this might sound like a daunting task at first, this can be greatly simplified by using a tool called socialmention.com. Once you find those people who speak the same language as you do, slowly start to comment on their respective postings; answer a question they might have in an open forum format; or like (in Facebook) and retweet (in Twitter) their content.
But, it is very important not to use the Social Media space to make your sales pitches. Instead, get to know your new connections, and identify what their true needs are. When the time is right, then engage in a direct conversation with that particular person. But, the key here is to do conduct this privately, so you appear as a problem solver, and not a pushy sales rep. Customer development kind of.
Establish Relationships With Your New Found Prospects
After securing and building up connections with your sales prospects, the next step is to now establish a long-term relationship with them. The mantra here is not to be focused on the quantity of leads generated. Rather, the focus here is to foster those relationships into a trusting one. By using this approach, your prospects will convert very naturally and easily into buying customers. In other words, focus on quality, not quantity.
Again, the key here is to listen, listen, and listen.
Once you know what your sales prospect is really looking for, you can then engage them in a conversation about your products and services. This step can be very exciting with a prospect going down the sales funnel as new client rapidly. Or … or it can be a big surprise. Your prospect; in these customer development discussions, might make you realize your product doesn’t find an echo with them. Have you worked too much on product development? Or that your market is not at all the one you thought initially.
A customer of mine in 2013 created a wonderful publishing service at destination of the B2C, when the hit the market the sales were not there … where they thought, it appear the B2B market was much more excited by the product. It was lucky; building a product without being clear about the market interest nowadays is a recipe for failure, the same can be proclaimed about managing relationship.
Keep That Conversation Going
Once you have that particular conversation started, it is now very important to keep that momentum going in the Social Media site you are using. How does one keep it going? It’s quite easy. For example, you can create a group in Facebook, and ask sales prospects to join in. Of course, not everybody who joins is going to become an active member, so just target on creating content for those whom are actively engaged.
If you find that using LinkedIn works best for you, then join those particular groups in which your sales prospects are also a member of. You can have an active and ongoing conversation here by answering specific questions and/or offer problem solving solutions to a certain area. Or better! Create a group and showcase you experience, mastery and excellence in engaging with prospect problem.
Even though there is a 140 character limit in Twitter, you can still have very meaningful and ongoing discussions here as well. The key here is to actively read and ‘listen’ to the tweets of your sales prospects, and then use that as a stepping stone, or trigger, to have further conversation.
On last example, if a tweet is about a new product launch, you can then start a conversation by mentioning how you noticed that particular tweet, and expressing how your business could help with that launch.
The bottom line is that in order to be successful in the Social Media circles, you have to show you care by establishing your trust and reputation, actively listen to needs and wants and keep looking for solutions to those needs wants by engaging in meaningful and proactive dialogue and conversation.