Do you sometimes look at influencers on social media and wonder how in the world they gained the attention of so many people? Are you over trying to sell yourself over and over only to be met with inattention and unresponsiveness? Is your social media follower count in the double (or single) digits?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then boy, oh boy, do we have some secrets to tell you. Social media is an art, and anyone can learn the techniques with enough time, patience, and guidance. We’ll show you how you can use social media for your business so you can reach more customers when they’re most receptive, even happy that you showed up.
Master The Art Of Social Selling
Have you ever rolled out of bed in the morning and thought, “Man, today is a great day! I get to make a bunch of cold calls!” Probably not. There’s a reason why telemarketing jobs have such high turnaround—it’s stressful, it has low odds of success, and the people you reach out to often meet you with irritation at the intrusion.
Social selling is everything but that. With social selling, you’re positioning your business to be in the right place at the right time with the perfect solution for your ideal customer—a truly personalized, win-win situation for everyone involved.
But what is it?
Social selling is a way of connecting with your prospective customers in their natural habitat online without badgering them or coming across as spammy. Think about it, people spend more time on their phone than anywhere else, forming communities and opinions, seeking answers to all of their questions (and we do mean all of their questions), playing, studying, relaxing, even working—there’s not much you can’t do on a modern smartphone. That’s why it’s prime territory for strategic brands to stalk their prey… uh, we mean, connect with their customers.
But, really, it is a lot like that. You can learn your customers behaviors and patterns, see where they gather, track their movements (like with a Facebook pixel), and then, when the time is juuuuuuust right—you pounce with the most perfect solution for them, right at the moment they need it. They feel great. You get paid. Everybody wins.
Still unconvinced? Here’s some food for thought: Americans check their phones 8 billion times per day and check Facebook an average of 14 times per day. It isn’t just the US—there are 7.4 billion on the planet, and 5.1 billion own a cellphone… only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.
Know Your People
Trying to sell to everybody and their mother usually doesn’t work in 2020. Even if you could, you probably shouldn’t. So sit down and really think about your ideal customer. How are they? How old? Are they married? With kids? How much money do they make? Those are the basics of building a profile of your ideal customers, AKA a customer persona.
Then, you dig a little deeper. What do they like to do for fun? How do they talk? How about their sense of humor? Light, dark, irreverent, goofy? And, and this is the mother of all questions, what are their pain points? If you know what keeps them up at night, then you’re golden. Now you just have to get it in front of them. (See Point 1 above, social selling. 😀)
Figure Out What Hurts
Time to take off your businessperson hate and grab your doctor gear, because it’s critically important that you understand your customers pain points. Without that key piece of information, you’re not really selling anything to anybody.
So, what hurts? Make sure your product or service soothes the pain, then make sure you’re getting it in front of the people who really need it. In order to do that, you have to know more than their pain points, you have to know how they experience the pain, how they would describe it, what keywords they would use to try to tell someone what’s wrong. (And you can figure out the answers to these questions by referring to Part 3, customer personas. Seeing a trend yet? 😁)
Some pain points are simple.
- Pain point: It’s 3AM, I don’t want to sleep, and I’m bored awake on my phone.
- The solution: Cat videos (obviously)
- Their language? Funny, cute, hilarious, adorable, cat videos, memes
Some aren’t so simple.
- Pain point: My manufacturing equipment keeps breaking down in expensive ways, causing downtime and quality issues. I don’t want to hire more people to be on the factory floor during a pandemic.
- The solution: Predict when equipment will break down so it can be replaced before it causes quality issues using robots to perform maintenance.
- Their language? Industrial IoT, predictive analytics, prescriptive maintenance, machine learning, ML, manufacturing data collection, robotic process automation, RPA, AI, factory sensor, edge computing, lights out manufacturing
That’s why it’s important to know your customers, where they’re at online, and how they talk about their problems. This information will guide you toward where they gather, where your solution can be of the most benefit.
Build It And They Will (Probably Not) Come
People have to have a reason to act. There’s plenty of opportunities on the internet for people to fulfill a whole host of their needs. Everything from business intelligence to online dating to horse head squirrel feeders are vying for the attention of your potential buyers. Why do they want to spend their time on you?
Because you have the answers. You can scratch that particularly itch that’s been niggling at the back of their mind (or giving them panic attacks in the office bathroom). If you don’t have a solution, described in a way your customers understand using words that they would use themselves, if it’s not timely or in a desirable price range, then your customer is going to move on.
The average person has an attention span of about 8 seconds, thanks to our digital lifestyle. The attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. In case you got distracted and lost us there (and who could blame you)…
Humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish—8 seconds vs. 9 seconds.
Can you capture your customer’s attention and inspire them to act in 8 seconds or less?
Nobody Likes To Be Sold To
Sales-y, gimmicky offers only work tongue-in-cheek. People expect a personalized experience that addresses their needs in a real way that has a touch of humanity. A lot of the old sales tricks just come across as disrespectful and condescending toward your customers. There are other ways.
Inbound marketing, or content marketing, lures customers to you using content that directly benefits them, with immediate results. This means things like infographics, videos, and, yes, even blog posts. What you’re reading now is an example of content marketing.
In order to effectively reach your customers on social media, you should engage in:
- Social listening whereby you use tools like social media, review sites, and online monitoring services to keep an eye on how your customers are interacting online with you, your competitors, and effectively managing your reputation and customer concerns
- Social influencing in which you help guide conversations, usually by adding authority or expert information to the social sphere using the types of content listed above—helpful blogs, tips, videos, etc.
- Social networking is where you start to connect the dots. This is where you’re tagging, sharing, crossposting, and generally interacting online. This could happen on your website or social media or, ideally, both.
- Social selling which we discussed earlier, where you use all of this information to position yourself strategically for when an upcoming customer might need you.
You’re An Entertainer First
Read this paragraph: It is the onus of an inbound marketer to provide data-driven, compelling quality content strategically to each persona and at every stage of the funnel in order to nurture potential leads on whichever social platforms most likely to garner engagement based on historical customer data.
Now, read this one: Pull out your circus pants, because “entertainer” is now the only job title you hold that matters. And, just like that busker downtown with all the stickers on their guitar and a top hat full of cash, you have to be flexible and on the move, settling comfortably wherever the paying customers are congregating. If you sing your heart out, if you offer your authentic self, if you share your gifts with those around you in ways that enrich their lives and entertain them, then they’ll probably throw some cash your way—no selling required.
You have eight seconds to change a life with every passing stranger. Are you singing the “song” of your business online in a way that shows your passion, your talent, your voice? Do people hear you and look to find you? Or are you strumming away timidly on an empty street corner, safely, calling little attention to yourself?
Which version was better? Be a street performer not an ROI robot.
Authenticity Is Everything.
That brings us to our next point—authenticity. Social media isn’t about perfection. Or safety. It’s about authenticity. Show your customers some realness. People want to buy from people, not companies. People make mistakes. They get feelings. They laugh and share and connect, each with their own unique energy and voice.
That doesn’t mean you should go shouting about your controversial political views on the company Twitter or drunkenly recounting stories of your ex on Facebook Live.
But it does mean that you’ll have to step out from behind the veil of corporatized safety if you want the real connections and vehement loyalty that comes from interacting with your customers authentically.
This can mean sharing in your trials and your successes, using humor that suits your brand, showing them behind-the-scenes glimpses into your company’s processes, and highlighting your team.
In short, be human. Don’t be a talking head in front of a company logo. Don’t try to please everybody. And don’t stay so far in your safety zone that you rob your business of success and customer connection. Just be real, and interact with people just like you might on the street or even on a couch with friends, if that level of intimacy behooves your brand. Let your humanity guide you and your tribe will begin to appear.
There’s a concept among full-time novelists. You don’t wait for inspiration, you show up everyday to work so you can catch the muse when she comes for a visit.
The more you show up for your customers, the more room you have to benefit. And the more consistent you are in showing up, the more reliable and trustworthy and stable you come across. So pick a social schedule that you can actually keep and stick to it.
You can always grow from there, but start somewhere that you don’t have an option to fail. Show up. Reach out. Be real. On schedule. It’ll change things in ways you might never expect.
Last but not least, be here in the present with your customers. Share in what’s meaningful to them as well as the crazy experience of being human. Getting excited about fall and pumpkin spice and bonfires? They probably are too, and you can totally incorporate your excitement into your social media posts.
The same is true for upcoming events, holidays, sales, even controversy (although that one is a bit of an advanced technique and should be used with caution). Just make sure that you’re staying relevant to your customer’s existence.
Bonus Tip: Facebook Pixel
Remember when we mentioned this earlier? Well, this short piece of code lives on your website and is used to gather intelligence on your customers as they move through the web, then to use that information to bring your company back to the front of their mind when they’re on Facebook.
This is called retargeting, and it’s simpler to start than it sounds. It builds your list over a rolling 6 month period to help you combat that 8-second attention sp—look! A cat video!
Want some help using social media to its fullest potential for your business? The Social Brand offers a full suite of marketing and advertising services to find your ideal customers, develop your brand, and share your voice on social media in a way that drives customers to you so you can get more leads, more calls, more sales. If you’re ready to grow your business using the power of social, reach out to us at (865) 282-2399 or email us at [email protected] to find out how we can help your specific business.
The Social Brand is a marketing company focusing on all things digital. From website building to social media, we take an active interest in your business and its performance in the online world.
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