Putting you in direct contact with a huge volume of potential customers, social media has great power as a selling tool. But with competition high, it can be difficult to use the different social platforms to their full potential, and maximise your return on investment.
Sadly, successful social media salesmanship is rarely as simple as setting up accounts on the major social channels, and advertising your products and services with the cursory hashtags.
Without a comprehensive and considered strategy for selling on social - using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as virtual shopfronts can soon become a fruitless endeavour. With greater choice at their fingertips, customers have the ability to be as picky as they desire – so what really sets your business apart on the major social platforms?
Although every campaign focussed on selling services on social will be different, there are a selection of key elements every campaign should contain.
So, we’ve employed the help of social media expert, Alex McCann from AltrinchamHQ, to share his five secrets for social media success. Below, you can watch our interview with Alex, before reading up on his five social media secrets.
Your followers and potential customers are likely shopping around when searching for the services your business provides – thanks to the freedom provided by social. This makes it important to slowly develop relationships with followers, rather than going straight in with the hard sell. Demonstrate your business’ value over time, and build a network of potential customers who will, in the long term, serve as brand advocates.
Most customers will be put off by blatant salesmanship, so it is important that you establish yourself as a trusted industry figure, looking to help, rather than just sell. By building relationships, you’re developing trust. Whilst this may not result in immediate sales, the long-term benefits should be sizeable.
With customer reviews hosted online, star ratings and word of mouth spreading faster than ever before, reputation management is incredibly important. Many businesses will claim to be an expert in their field, but this claim means nothing unless it can be backed up.
By using social to discuss industry issues, host Q&A sessions and resolve individual customer concerns, you can demonstrate your value within the industry’s community, and develop your position as a reputable expert and influencer. If you’ve built a strong industry reputation, potential customers are more likely to buy into your brand.
Five-star reviews and happy customer testimonials are not worth a great deal if they’re hidden deep on your website. Using social to showcase your successes can help ensure that all customers are well aware of your brand’s ability to effectively provide the services they require. This builds credibility and strengthens your business’ claims.
Encourage all customers to leave reviews and testimonials, then share these across your social media platforms. If a customer tweets their satisfaction with your products/services – retweet this message so others can see genuine enthusiasm for your brand. This is known as social proof and really legitimises your brand.
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You’ve entered into dialogue with a potential customer, helping address any questions and concerns they may have. When the timing is right, don’t hesitate to make a small sales pitch. It could be as subtle and simple as linking to a relevant product/service page on your business’ website when the customer makes a query.
And if the sale is successful, don’t be afraid to make additional suggestions. If you know your business well, you’ll know which additional products and/or services will complement the purchase your customer has just made. A polite enquiry as to whether the customer may be interested in additional products and services will not alienate the customer, and could lead to a larger order.
It is important to be honest with a customer, however. If a customer comes to you enquiring about which product is best, don’t simply suggest the most expensive. Consider their full request and requirements, and select the product which meets these requirements – it’s important to make the next step effortless.
Social media can serve as the opening stages of the customer journey, but will rarely serve as the checkout. This necessitates a seamless transition to the final stages of the customer journey, to minimise drop off, and some more traditional sales skills. Whether you’d prefer your customers to shop on your website, call you directly or visit your physical store.
A key ‘selling on social media’ skill is to make the customer journey as quick, simple and satisfactory as possible. Achieve this, and your business’ social platforms have increased chance of succeeding as sales tools.
Did you enjoy the tips shared in this article? Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Gazprom Energy blog for more of the latest SME news and features. Or, to find out about our range of business energy products for small businesses, visit our homepage or call 0845 230 0011.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.
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