Does your social media strategy include a sniff test?
Social media is great. It offers a quick, easy and affordable way to reach out to prospective customers. It gives us access to decision makers and also gives us a platform to tell the world what we do. Let's face it, if we were all still relying on trade indexes, we'd never get to interact with most of the people in our target market. Here's the kicker, though. If we were still relying on trade indexes, we wouldn't waste our valuable time calling people who were not in our target market and telling them what we are selling. Do you know why? Because it is akin to standing on a street corner asking people if they want to buy a widget.
So why do so many business people using social media avoid learning about their prospects before hitting them with a sales pitch? Here are some possible answers to that question and some suggestions for improving your approach.
People are lazy. Yup, I said it. The number one reason people don't investigate their prospects before approaching them with a sales pitch is pure laziness. Sending out thousands of pitches to unqualified prospects makes the lazy marketer/ sales person feel like they've accomplished something. They've accomplished nothing but they were really busy doing it. I think that's called a paradox.
A little research into someone's social profile takes only a few seconds. If someone follows you or connects with you on a social media platform, check their profile to see if they are really in your market; i.e., give them a sniff. Follow up with a soft approach. Ditch hard selling tactics. They are useless.
Some people don't know how to sell. Never sell anything to anyone you haven't had a conversation with (written or otherwise). That's selling without smelling. It takes time, effort and trust to build up to a sale. You need to have the opportunity to show yourself as an expert in your field, and you also need to investigate the needs of your prospect. Not everyone with a heart beat is a prospect. You need to demonstrate that you have a solution to a problem and unless you create the opportunity for a dialogue, you can't know if you have the appropriate solution. Never annoy people with inappropriate communication. It harms your brand and wastes your time.
Inbound marketing seems too mysterious. A lot of people don't really understand what inbound marketing is or how to maximize the opportunity. Inbound marketing is your greatest opportunity to draw people toward you. Everyone knows that cold calling (a form of outbound marketing) doesn't work very well and it is basically a huge waste of time. It's the street corner all over again. Inbound marketing requires marketers to offer something for free to pique interest and use that to filter leads more efficiently. It's not really mysterious at all, but it does require a strategy that can easily be implemented through social media. If you can't write an e-booklet, case study or anything similar, then consider the value of hiring a professional to do it for you. Actually, getting professional help with your marketing content and strategy is highly recommended. Focus on what you do well and leave the rest to the pros.
There is no thought given to social strategy. All of your marketing requires a strategy, including your social media marketing. If you don't have a plan for attracting customers through social media other than spamming random people, you are not working efficiently and could be putting your reputation at risk. There are many people, like me who understand how to use social media as a marketing tool. There is no value in hiring your 18 year old niece to do the job. There's actually a science to social strategy and people who understand the science are the best people to help you.
Not everyone realizes that social media is really social. Talking at people will never get you anywhere in sales and it is especially useless in social selling environments. Social media is meant to engage people in meaningful conversations. That is why social media marketers use social listening tools, ask cool questions and use various types of content to create conversations.
Have you been selling without smelling? Now that I have taught you something about social selling, I hope I will receive a little less spam in my inbox!
Check out my 3 minute YouTube video for some quick tips to help you build your brand!
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations & Communications professional, published author, employee engagement specialist, sales & marketing sage and producer of quality content. Need affordable help with your public relations, social media or marketing communications? Visit www.reneecormier.com
Follow me on Twitter! @reneecormierpr
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