Where is the best place to attract potential clients? The answer is where there is a greater probability of finding out about products and services, that is, on the Internet. Specifically on social networks, in a large number of social platforms and communities, users go in search of advice, purchase recommendations, and ratings.
The literal translation of social selling is “social selling”, although as is often the case with marketing jargon, the English term sounds somewhat more innovative than its adaptation to other languages. However, the translation highlights the central point of this topic: it is the social component of the sale or purchase and the purchase decision.
Our social contacts, our friends, and our relationships are also, to a certain extent and in most cases, present on social networks or messaging services. Social media occupies an important place in the lives of many users and is, at the same time, an essential part of the marketing mix. In all likelihood, both the target audience and potential customers are active on social media. As components of communities, they interact with other users and reveal information about themselves, their wishes, and their concerns. Exactly on these platforms is where companies find valuable information, but at the same time, social networks become the ideal interfaces to establish contact with customers and establish relationships based on trust.
Social selling and social media marketing have many things in common. In both disciplines, the company does not present itself as a publicist but instead takes on the role of an expert advisor. Also, the sale is not in the foreground, but what is pursued, rather, is to shorten even more distances with the target audience. Platforms like Facebook or Twitter make up the perfect environment to learn more about the wishes and reflections of your (potential) clients and offer an open communication environment.
Step 1: Listen and identify
The social listening should always be constituted as the first step, and that the act of listening has become the new way to sell. Instead of moving forward by using energetic advertising messages, social selling is more related to active listening. Whoever listens correctly will receive valuable information. Thus, potential customers reveal, of course, reflections, desires, and ideas on social networks and the attentive seller listens and analyzes the needs and desires of their target audience, based on which the rest of the corporate measures will be oriented.
Step 2: Build a reputation
The foundation for brands and companies to build relationships of trust is building a good reputation. To become an expert in your area, You have to know that high-quality content has added value for users. With the development of own blog articles or through contributions, the corresponding contents can be disseminated and placed in the appropriate context.
Step 3: Build relationships
You already have an idea about the target audience and this has meant that in the second step the reason for carrying out the actual listening has been obtained. It is now when the decisive phase begins, that is, the one to create a solid relationship. This goes beyond links, “shares” and comments and has to do with real interaction with the customer. Whoever provides useful information, who tells true stories and who deals with topics that are generally interesting, will be able to establish a constructive dialogue with the client simply and excitingly. It should not be forgotten, however, that it is a matter of establishing a conversation, not of communicating in one direction following the principle of one-to-many communication.
Step 4: Monitoring and analysis
Social selling is also an important factor in achieving big data. The analysis of the activities and each of the channels has great value for future planning and strategy. Thus, you can discover who are the most valuable customers and which customer groups are responsible for much of the volume of social selling that is created. It follows that, in some circumstances, some patterns can be deduced or the importance of demographic and geographic factors determined. Thus, monitoring is not only important to link existing customers but to take the acquisition of new customers in the right direction.
Social selling works in the most diverse channels: in B2C marketing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and B2B also on platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing. Depending on the type of channel, there are a large number of different contact points for each of them. Sales and marketing have a complicated task, that is, identifying those who are appropriate and establishing a conversation with potential customers, so there should be no fear of seeking such communication even in negative contexts. Criticism and complaints are also a good opportunity to establish contact, offer help, and show openness to dialogue with the entire community.
Social selling will only succeed when companies recognize, understand, and react to the needs, wants, and requests of their potential customers. Contrary to what happens in social media marketing, in this case, it is not about creating a group of fans and offering them marketing offers and content regularly. When it comes to social selling, the ideal is for real relationships to be established with the target audience, for dialogues to be opened and for communication at the same level to be possible. When the role of the contact person, confidant and counselor is adopted from the potential clients in a particular area, both parties derive benefits, that is, the client benefits from the high-quality and versatile content and the company from the impressions obtained on the interests and desires of the target audience.
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