Is it possible for social media be a true sales channel for your business? Yes. It absolutely, unequivocally, positively is. Now, before we get wrapped around the axle, allow me to explain. The type of sales I am referring to is the “consultative” or “relationship” sale. I too despise, nay LOATHE the simple broadcast or “interruption” tactics employed by some. It’s a waste of my time and limited attention. So, just what is the relationship sale? It’s exactly as it sounds…building relationships with your intended market. So this begs the question: How do I FIND them? How do I TALK to them? How do I get them to BUY from me? I think this is where most folks get stuck. We hear buzzwords all the time like “engage”, “be genuine”, etc. This is good information for people already acquainted with online conversation, but what about everyone else? Here is a short list of some simple strategies that may help:
- Lurk First. Discover where your market is. Set up a Google alert with specific keywords, do a Twitter search, do a Facebook search, watch LinkedIn discussions. Clearly, where your market is will greatly depend on what your business is. If you sell Bridgestone tires in Peducah, Kansas, your market will not likely be on LinkedIn, but they may be on Yelp…
- Begin creating a presence on each of these social sites. Be consistent across platforms. This is where a clear messaging directive is critical.
- Whatever you do…DO NOT start blasting your networks with marketing messages. This is an instant kill switch for any credibility.
- Start TALKING WITH the PEOPLE you have found. Notice I said WITH and not TO.
- Build rapport, be helpful, be nice. It helps to be funny as well.
- Start building a dossier on all of the people you encounter. Enter them into a CRM such as SalesForce. This helps you to keep track of your contacts and relationships.
- As you are building your list, now is a good time to begin building email marketing campaigns. These are built on the relationship you have already established.
- You can now weave corporate messaging through your interactions.
- Above all: Remember that people buy from people, not brands.