This is the first part in a three-part series on how to build your online presence for real social selling, inspired by research from Jon Ferrara, founder and CEO of social CRM developer Nimble.
Socialized selling isn’t about blasting mass emails on Linkedin, or sending out coupon codes on Twitter – customers are becoming increasingly disenchanted with this kind of push messaging.
It’s about finding what attracts customer to you, then executing on that strategy.
“With social selling, you’re no longer simply pushing information about products and services out to your audience. Instead, you’re discovering what they’re passionate about, which can lead naturally—organically—into a discussion of how you can solve a problem or improve their lives, and why your company is the right choice to help them,” Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara said recently, as I was researching technologies that enable this kind of social approach.
Building a socialized selling strategy involves completing the following three basic stages:
- Research: This stage is all about identifying your ideal customer – also called your Buyer Persona – then finding out what their fears are when buying your product.
- Content: This stage is all about creating content that speaks to the buyer persona you identified in the first step.
- Distribution: This stage is about getting the word out about your content, then using the results to refine future content.
First, we are going to focus on the first stage: research.
Finding Your Buyer Personas
This stage is essentially about building your buyer persona, or a hypothetical profile of your ideal customers.
These personas help you relate to your customers as real humans, and guides both content creation and distribution.
They include the following demographic information:
- Challenges / Goals
- Age range
- Employment industry (if relevant)
- Jobs seniority (if relevant)
These profiles should also include your persona’s challenges and goals:
- The primary challenges to this person’s success
- Challenges to success, or pain points when shopping for your product or service
- Goals when they purchase your product
- What excites them about your product
To complete this process, follow the steps below.
1. Define Your Ideal Customer
In the most simple terms, your ideal customer means those people with the highest propensity of buying from you. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, as well as assumptions about their concerns and motivations when buying your product.
Find their biggest pain points and passions. These are the two things that drive your potential customer.
To find your demographics, conduct customer interviews. Ask consumers what primary concerns or objectives they had during the sales process.
Also save quotes from these conversations to post on your completed buyer persona profile. These will help your team really internalize their ideal customer.
2. Refine Your Profile
Once you have your persona mapped, create a physical representation of that persona, including an image and all of the characteristics you gleaned from your interviews with customers and your sales team.
Post these in your sales room and in your customer service departments. Invite your team to add onto these profiles with sticky notes, a white board, or another predefined process. Do they keep getting the same questions over and over again? Are customers using your product in a way that indicates they valued something different when they were still shopping?
All of these answers will help your content creators better target these personas.
3. Validate Your Persona
Finally, using these demographics, find your ideal customer on the web and see if their interests / concerns / values match yours. If your buyer persona is a working mom with two kids, find relevant blogs and look for articles geared towards professionals. “How Busy Moms Maintain Work-Life Balance,” for example.
Take a look at the article and the comments from readers. Take note of which articles are shared and commented on most and see if any trending topics emerge.
In our next post, we will explore how you use this information to start crafting your content that is not just shareable for the sake of it – but interesting and viral to your specific target audience.