Social selling, or maximizing social networks to drive sales, is just beginning to show its true potential. Are you positioned to take advantage of the online shopping community?
Here’s the raw truth: If you aren’t taking advantage of social media to absolutely crush it in the e-commerce space, you may as well be selling encyclopedias door-to-door. If you aren’t leveraging Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other channels to push your results into the stratosphere, you could try to make a living investing in video rental stores.
In other words, it isn’t optional anymore to commit to an actual social selling strategy – it should be considered a mandatory move for business owners who want to create greater opportunities for success, regardless of their specific industry.
In short, social selling refers to using social networks to increase marketing reach and to tap into a larger base of potential customers; essentially, the millions of prospects who spend approximately 25% of their time online accessing social networks. When you’re ready to adapt to this kind of selling strategy, consider these fundamental concepts to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Fuse Sales and Marketing
Twenty years ago, your company likely had a dedicated marketing group and a standalone sales team. They worked independently of each other, save for a few brief meetings where the salespeople could provide feedback to the marketing team and vice versa.
Fast forward to today, and social selling will virtually mandate an integration of the sales and marketing groups to create more of a team approach to results. Instead of the marketing group being judged by the number of widgets sold by the sales team, they’ll instead be graded on the level of interaction and consumption of social media content.
This content then directly drives revenue by influencing the target market into making buying decisions.
Innovation Will Rule
Social selling isn’t all that different than most established sales approaches. You have to connect with customers in an organic way, determine the client’s true needs and desires, position a product to satisfy the need, and then provide superior support during and after the sale. Since this is a fairly universal approach to sales, the one differentiating factor to social selling will be the type of innovative tools employed by each unique marketing group.
Since this is a fairly universal approach to sales, the one differentiating factor to social selling will be the type of innovative tools employed by each unique marketing group.
Finding the right platform to use is huge – and the near future will likely see a major increase in the number of exciting new apps and tools released onto the market. Marketers must find unique ways to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and more, and then keep informed on the latest releases in social selling tools.
Lead from the Top
If social media and social selling are allowed to exist in some sort of marketing bubble within a given business, it will never expand to its true potential. Social selling must be part of the company’s “top-down” approach to social media as a whole.
What this indicates is that marketers must help leaders and executives to see the benefits of creating real, active online personas that leverage the reach and scope of social media platforms.
A small sampling of business leaders who have discovered the power of social media includes – Bill Gates (Microsoft), Richard Branson (Virgin), Elon Musk (Tesla Motors), and Tim Cook (Apple). When it comes to these industry leaders, there is no denying the visibility they bring to their brand with each tweet or social media post. And by spotlighting their business, products, or cause, they’re employing basic social selling tactics.
Organic Efforts vs. Paid
According to recent data, social media channels are counting on the continued growth in the social selling space to drive revenues and aren’t as concerned these days with non-paid, organic search results.
While Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest will always highlight and reward quality content, there is a reason why these three players have invested mightily in new advertising features and tools like native shops, “buy now” buttons, and buyable pins on Pinterest. Social media users can now buy items without ever having to switch to a different, more traditional e-commerce site. The ability to offer your products and services directly through the social media platform represents the essence of the social selling phenomenon.
Social is here to stay, and it is gaining traction with every passing day. Ensure that you take advantage of the power, reach, and convenience of social media by working with a dedicated marketing firm that can help you custom tailor your digital approach.