Today customers enter the sales funnel at various stages. In just one click someone can add an item to a shopping cart and complete a purchase skipping right over the consideration phase. So what does this mean for businesses? How can businesses utilize social media to help make sales processes more efficient where consumers become aware their product and purchase shortly after?
Today, the decision to buy now comes in large part from brand advocates who share their experience with potential customers in a way that informs them of the product and establishes trust in its performance. Recommendations from friends or influencers also tend to spread quicker, faster, and further at every stage of the funnel.
To sell on social media, businesses need to understand the 3 C’s of social selling: Customers, Competitors, and Conversations.
The basics of selling any product involve identifying your customers, their wants and their needs. In order to sell on social media, you have to know who your customers are and the best ways to get in front of them. Compare the demographics of each social channel and determine if your target audience is active on each channel. Social media is not a one size fits all marketing space. One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make is trying to push content on all channels. This is a waste of time and resources if your customers aren’t active there. Find out which social media channels are best for your business and focus your efforts there.
As you start building a following on those identified social channels, pay attention to your new follower demographics and compare them with your customer data. Are your customer demographics consistent with your follower demographics on social media? If the answer is no, then determine why your social audience differs from your customer lists and strategize how you can get these new followers to become customers.
Once you’ve established who your customers are and the best social media channels to reach them, look into other opportunities to get in front of them both online and offline. Many companies like Nordstroms and Target do this exceptionally well.
EXAMPLE: Nordstroms creates in store displays for products that are most pinned on Pinterest. This signals to potential customers that this is a popular product and encourages purchases offline based on social influence.
In addition, social advertising is another great opportunity to segment your customer demographics and reach them more effectively. You can utilize your email dataset and retarget past or current customers as well as create custom audience segments with similar interests to your past purchasers.
Are your competitors active on social media? If so, it’s important to know what they are doing and strategize ways you can do it better. Identify any opportunities on social media that you can take advantage of and actively monitor their social channels.
- Set up keyword search streams
- Create private Twitter lists
- Identify audience sentiment towards your competitors. Are fans mostly happy or do they utilize social as a customer support outlet?
- Social Conquesting (monitoring conversations on social media where your brand can chime in and engage with potential customers)
To sell your product on social media better than your competitors, you have to understand where you can create value for your fans or potential customers.
EXAMPLE: Ulta and Sephora are two competitors that do an excellent job at engaging with their fans and creating value for them on social media with special promotional offers and “fans only” exclusive offers. These brands understand the importance of engagement and social conquesting.
Conversations: The most important C (in my opinion) is conversations. People don’t just buy products. They buy into the brand and what others have said about that brand. Businesses that engage with their fan base and build trust with their consumers establish a greater affinity with them.
Brands engaging in the right conversations with the right customers at the right times are the ones selling well on social.
Benefits of engaging on social media and rewarding fans include:
- Business climbs higher on brand preference ladder
- Drives sales
- Social currency
EXAMPLE: Marc Jacobs has a Pop-Up Tweet Shop set up in NYC where fans are invited to take a picture of their products, upload them to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #MJDAISYCHAIN and then show the social post to the “cashier” in order to receive a free product. This is a great way to engage with fans in real life, get people talking about your producst/brand online and ultimately drive sales.
So what’s the secret to selling on social media? Identify where your customers are active on social media and how you plan to reach them. Stay up to date on what your competitors are doing in the space just as you would in the industry. Find conversations about your brand or people who may have a need for your product. Engage with past, current, and potential customers.