You already know that social media is important and I expect that you’re already devoting a good chunk of your time and efforts to generating and curating content and growing your audience via social media. But it can be easy to be lured off-course by the new Bright Shiny Objects (BSOs) that are being released daily. No sooner have you got your head around Pinterest, than you feel you need to be cracking on with Snapchat, 360 degree videos and customer WhatsApp groups.
I was lucky enough to hear Chloe Thomas, host of the eCommerce Masterplan Podcast talk on this subject at the recent Direct Commerce Association Conference and in this blog post I’m going to share the most important things I took away from the session.
Is that a Grey Hair?
Before cracking on with Social you need to take a long hard look in the mirror. What is the biggest challenge or problem that your business faces with regards to sales?
Look at your own stats in terms of visitor numbers, enquiries, calls, conversion rates, average order value and / or any other metrics that are important to your business. This will highlight which part of your sale process needs the most support. If you can, it’s also worth comparing your stats with industry norms for your sector.
Is Social the answer?
Now you know where to focus your efforts, is social the answer? You should always look to fix the weakest point in your conversational journey first and social may not be the answer – think back to the BSOs!
As an entrepreneur you know your business and your products inside out and your expertise and knowledge is naturally engaging. But how do you ensure that you maximise your talents – and those of your colleagues – to engage new and existing customers and fix your most pressing sales issue?
Pick a platform
If you’ve decided Social Media is the answer then the first thing to do is to pick a platform, master it and grow off the back of it. From an SEO and Marketing hygiene perspective businesses “need” to be on the common Social channels i.e.; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+. And whilst you should make sure that you have a presence on all of the channels that are appropriate for your brand, don’t let the BSOs distract you.
Pick the channel that’s most important to your sales process and focus on it. What you do on your other channels will also benefit naturally, but nailing a single Social Media platform will then give you a strong base to build from.
It’s a Two-way Street
Selling socially is about starting and maintaining a dialogue with your community, rather than simply broadcasting to them. If Social is the answer to your biggest sales problem, then you need to be ready to respond. From a customer service perspective, you cannot afford to let responses and queries go un-answered. These conversations are also excellent opportunities to learn more about:
- Your customers
- What your customers think of you
- How your website and other channels are working – do you need to include more product information or extra images? Would an example / reference of the product being used help?
Building that conversation comes on the back of great content that’s engaging. Consistently creating and publishing content that is going to hit the mark with your audience is vital to ensuring that you build a community that is engaged with your brand.
Advertising is dead, long live advertising?
As the traditional media landscape continues to shift dramatically it can be easy to assume that advertising, as we know it, is no longer viable. However, that’s not the case at all, it’s simply changing form and platform. Facebook and Twitter both allow you to run targeted ad campaigns that can be quickly and easily tested, tweaked and extended for minimal cost.
Again, the key element is to ensure that you’re advertising on a platform that’s appropriate and that you’re continuing to focus on your single biggest sales bottleneck. From email sign-ups, to content boosting, through to shopping in-stream, there are plenty of options for you to explore. Test, test and test again and once you find something that works for you, exploit the hell out of it and keep an eye out for the next opportunity.
As above, thanks to Chloe Thomas for the session, Chloe has a new book out if you’d like to explore this and other elements of growing your sales: Customer Manipulation, which I can heartily recommend.