All of us, regardless of job title or influence, do some type of sales on almost a daily basis.
Social Media’s Influence on Sales
The influence of social media on the conversion of sales is outstanding compared to traditional marketing. Being involved and creating a community using social media has never been as important as it currently is today. It is a proven science that a one-on-one interaction with customers creates a rapport between the consumer and the business. Building trust and loyalty converts into more sales PERIOD!
Most businesses have forgotten about the way our ancestors operated their businesses, and this is the biggest mistake that can be made today. Having a mom & pop shop mentality will give customers a comfortable and personable feeling towards your company, and using social media is the perfect way to accomplish this goal. Every customer should be interacted with, on one level or another. Interaction leads to trust and trust leads to loyalty. Gaining a customer’s loyalty and trust will lead to a word of mouth marketing campaign.
Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective strategies that any business can pursue using social media. For example, a client compliments you on your services, and you then respond to the client on their social networking platform of choice. This leads to the customer spreading word of your company because of the personal interaction. Let’s say a fan of Starbucks reaches out to the business on Twitter and says “I love Starbucks Coffee”. Starbucks should then send a response such as “What is your favorite cup of coffee?” This leads to the customer feeling a sense of importance, because their favorite brand has mentioned them and took into consideration what their favorite cup of coffee was. Little things like this build a strong and loyal community. When a business can build a loyal community, then they will always be guaranteed sales and will expand their consumer base by existing customers spreading their business through word of mouth amongst social media networks.
People do not visit websites to find information about the best movie that is currently out, or what the best seafood restaurant is anymore. Consumers now find their information on social networking websites. If a Facebook user views a friend’s status and it says “Robs Seafood is the best!”, then the user will most likely check out what their friend has recommended, instead of what so called “professionals” prefer on other websites. This demonstrates how the word of mouth affect, using social networking websites, is one of the most important assets towards any business.
Tom Meriam | B2C
come across sales people who are beating themselves up (not to mention their prospects) with old school methods of prospecting.
Yes, selling is still a numbers game. But, buyer mentalities have changed and so must the sales strategy. Here are 4 basic tips to improve your sales efforts in today’s market:
1. Find a common interest
Sales really has no excuse for NOT finding a common interest or connection with a prospect in today’s world of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Blogging, Online Groups/Forums/Communities, etc. Do your research and call out the common interest to gain some personal relevance.
Want more info on sales intelligence and social selling? Check out: www.socialsellingu.com
2. Leverage marketing content
Good marketing content has a specific audience, pain point and solution in mind. Offer relevant content to prospects to show that:
-You want to help them
-You’re interested in uncovering whether there’s a “need” before “selling” them on something
-Your company has experience solving the types of problems the prospect is likely experiencing
Check out Howard Sewell’s post on packaging offer content for higher response.
3. Don’t assume they’re a suspect just based on demographics
Just because someone is a CXO at the type of company you work with, don’t assume they’ll fall all over themselves to hire you or buy your product. Maybe they have a need, maybe they don’t. Maybe they’ll have a need later. But, you’ll turn off most prospects by aggressively following up with calls and emails that all have the standard “Just following up with you on my last (insert boring follow up tactic here).”
Instead try continuing to offer helpful tips or offer to connect them with people in your network that they might be interested in meeting. But don’t make them commit to something before they’ve engaged with you. Let the initial engagement be on their terms.
4. Listen (online and offline)
If you’re not “listening” to conversations online as well as offline, you’re losing out on potential opportunities. Your prospects are offering information about their needs all the time – yet many sales people are too focused on “selling” to listen.
Use resources like LinkedIn Groups and user communities to your advantage and “listen” for pain points that you can address. In following up, instead of responding in the community forum with a solution, sometimes it’s better to reach out personally with an offer to help. It seems less “salesy”. Even better, ask a client or partner that’s in the group or community to endorse you.
5 Steps for ROI in social media
Step 1. Set Objectives
Setting objectives may sound kind of simplistic and unrelated to assessments of ROI, but it’s really a critical first step. Without some notion of what you want to achieve, how can you assess ROI?
Obviously, the end game is SALES. But, since you’re likely not SELLING anything through your social media, you can’t directly measure Sales in calculations of ROI.
Step 2. So, what should you measure?
Here’s a handy infographic I created to show actions that drive success in social media:
Unlike the sales funnel, you don’t have to wait for customers to fall out the bottom to realize ROI. Each phase in the hierarchy creates sales and generates ROI.
But, unlike the more traditional hierarchy of effects, the social media hierarchy depicts additional actions by your community that reflect loyalty, sharing, trust, and advocacy. These actions have effects far beyond creating ROI, but spread your message, increase your brand mentions, create a positive image for your brand, and encourage others in the social network to purchase the brand — thus amplifying your ROI across social networks.
Based on this infographic, you establish objectives for and measure each element in the hierarchy.
Step 3. Collect Relevant Data
Once you’ve set objectives and know what to measure, you’re ready to collect data. Some data are readily available from Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or other sources.
Other data, must be collected using survey instruments or qualitative data collection from interactions on social networks and I provide some instructions on how to collect qualitative data from your social networks here.
I think it’s important to collect both deep data that provides a snapshot of where you are and high level data that plots trends — at least over the last month, 6 months, and year — if your social media marketing efforts extend that far. In plotting past data, be sure to capture and record major changes over the time span. For instance, if you added a new channel, Facebook made some major platform change, or Google made a major change to its search algorithm. In the monthly plot, you should also plot your own marketing efforts, such as a newsletter date, a new blog posts, or an important social mention.
Step 4. Analyze Data
Part of your analysis comes from plotting data against your marketing actions. You should also look at competitors marketing actions, especially their social media actions. As a final step, you should assess how external factors impacted your results. Let’s say, your competitor announced a new product or uploaded a video that went viral — your results for a few days might be off a little. Or, let’s say something popped in the news and keywords related to this news brought a lot more traffic to your site for a few days. You need to correct for these anomalies, because you’ll never reproduce them.
Now, look at trends from your plots. What are they telling you?
- Certain types of posts generate significantly more (less) visits
- Certain days of the week or time of day for sharing generates significantly more (less) visits
- Certain actions generate more (less) engagement — ie. comments, sharing, liking
- Certain types of content generate more (less) engagement
- Where folks come from
If you now match the trend between what HAPPENED in social media with your ROI, you should see a lag with similar shape. Thus, as the number of LIKES increased, you should see an increase in ROI — although a lag between them is normal.
A lag occurs because people don’t immediately go out and buy your product as soon as they like it. Some brands, such as a new restaurant, take a few days because people may not go out to eat the same day they liked the brand. Some brands, take longer. For instance, a new toothpaste requires I use most of my existing toothpaste stock. So, you need to understand consumer buying behavior to assess how long a lag you should expect.
The problem occurs when you never see the change in ROI. This might happen when you’ve “bought” likes rather than gain them organically. What i mean by “buying” likes is you’ve held a contest or something to make people like you. These likes may not reflect your target market and they may not even truly like your brand.
A longer lag is common in driving consumers down the hierarchy — from liking toward evangelism. But, the improvement of ROI is also bigger as you move down the hierarchy because these folks spread your message to their networks, thus amplifying your reach. So, don’t forget to spend some of your social media marketing effort on gaining more engagement and driving more evangelism.
Now, you can use your marketing costs and lagged profits to calculate your ROI. Better yet, you can establish the value (in dollars and cents) of each like, each comment and share, and each evangelist to your firm.
What information comes from qualitative or other deep data ?
- Evangelists — who they are, where they come from, and what process created them
- Detailed information about each type of visitor — demographics and on-sight usage information
- How people talk about your brand — what are their favorite features/benefits; what do they like least; are they having problems? What are their “hot” buttons
- What else your customers need — this is a great tool for new product development and improvements to existing products.
Step 5. Action
Of course, data analysis isn’t the point of everything we’ve talked about — and measuring ROI isn’t enough.
You want to improve ROI. But, how?
Well, certainly you want to do more of whatever worked and less of what didn’t.
In your analysis, your social network told you what they wanted. Now, do it.