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Social Selling Strategy Guide

Your customers are social – so should you

89% Say providing content via social media is acceptable
85% Use social networks for business
73% Have engaged with a vendor on social media
59% Are influenced by at least one social network when buying

Nowadays, all companies should have a social media presence as it gives companies the first-hand thoughts, concerns and opinions of your target audience. Yet, often times companies don’t do anything to leverage or support this presence, and others simply don’t know where to start.

Social media makes it easier to communicate with your audience and it's also a great way to see what your competitors are doing. Look for any negative sentiments about your competitors and identify the pain points exposed so you can solve and identify leads. Additionally, by following you competitors, you’ll stay up-to-date on their positioning and product updates.

95% of companies have a social media presence, so wanting to do it and knowing you need to do it covers the basics, but where to start is where it gets complicated. We’ll walk through the 6 questions all companies should tackle before they build their social media presence. These questions aren’t easy to answer, so take your time and really work through them.

QUESTION ONE “ONLY WE…” This is the most difficult task in business as it forces you to figure out why you’re distinctive, why customers love you and how you fit into the larger marketplace. Start by asking yourself “Why do customers come back to us?” Is it...

…because they love you?
…they emotionally relate to you?
…they have no other choice?

Knowing what sets you apart from your competition, or makes you special within the marketplace, will aid in your value prop – giving your audience a reason to conduct business with you versus anyone else.

QUESTION TWO: “CAN YOUR CULTURE NUTURE AND SUSTAIN?” Your budget, content or vision will not determine your success if you don’t have a company culture to sustain and nurture this change.

ARE YOU PREPARED TO PLUBLISH CONTENT? Just posting content isn’t going to get the job done. A company needs to have valuable information to share that is new to the marketplace; something to make your audience take action.

CAN YOU TAKE THE HEAT OF NEGATIVE COMMENTS? The biggest mistake a company can make is deleting or hiding negative posts from customers. While social media shouldn’t become a customer support center, our world has become social and when users have issues they take it to social media.

Take the negative comment and see how your company could improve to prevent this from turning into a reoccurring issue. By also responding to these comments in a public environment, existing and potential customers see how you handle issues, which gives them reassurance they feel valued to continue doing business with you.

CAN YOU ENTERTAIN AND INFORM? Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about funny cat videos – although they are very entertaining – but rather the conversation you’re driving. Are you stimulating your audience with subject matter to spark a dialog? When your audience enjoys speaking with you and others, and finds value in it, the more likely they will keep coming back and will most likely look to you as the industry expert and leader.

QUESTION THREE “ARE WE A CONVERSATIONAL BRAND?” When you look at the success of Facebook, it can be summed up in a single sentence: Come waste time with me. That’s it – super simple! Think about it, apps like Farmville, Candy Crush and viral meme’s have the ability for people to spend hours looking at or playing! So, given these distractions, why should people pay attention to you?

If your brand isn’t conversational right now, could you be? Does it make sense to become one?

Becoming one worked for Blendtec, who has well over 300 Million YouTube views and counting, but it comes at a high price – especially all those iPhones he’s blended! So, could it work for your company too? You’ll have the weigh the risk, and the investment before you jump in, Blendtec style.

QUESTION FOUR “WHERE ARE OUR CUSTOMERS? ...AND COMPETITORS?” Basic questions, right? Shockingly, this is often overlooked by businesses. Doing just a little market research can be very revealing – and could mean the difference to sink or swim in your business…or maybe even float!

Study your competitors, then ask: How can we stand out?

Tying back to question one, study your competitors, then ask “How can we stand out?”. Knowing what sets you apart from them is valuable, but how can you use your competitor’s attributes to your benefit? Finding out why customers go to your competitors, what your competitors offer and don’t offer are paramount to your businesses long-term success.

QUESTION FIVE “WHAT IS OUR SOURCE OF RICH CONTENT?” Just simple tweeting or posting to make updates is called ‘phoning it in’; businesses must do more than tweet or post every now and then and updates to the profile section. So, what do we mean by rich content? What content would you feel valuable to help your audience? That’s rich content, and it should fuel your social media presence.

Whatever form of rich content works best for your business, make sure it’s in depth, searchable, quotable, and most importantly evergreen!

QUESTION SIX “WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?” If you’re immediate thought is user engagement, you’re wrong. Engagement isn’t a strategy. While it’s nice, it isn’t everything and should never be a factor in determining success.

Engagement is not a strategy
Set expectations and metrics BEFORE you implement strategy

To identify what success looks like, you’ll need to first focus on the metrics most meaningful to your business and the objective you wish to achieve from the social media channel. Is it sales conversions, brand awareness, sharing, buyer volume, etc.? Setting the expectations before implementing your strategy will prove valuable in the long-run.

With those metrics identified, take a step back and ask yourself: are these realistic? Achievable? Focused? Don’t set yourself up for failure! Having these metrics in place will allow you to gauge performance as you post or tweet to ensure you’re meeting the objectives your business needs.

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