What the TWEET is Social Media and what can it do for me?
5 Steps To Social Media Success
There is no doubt, love it or hate it, that the presence of Online Social Media is becoming unavoidable in the day to day working lives of sales professionals, however to what extent you participate in this is likely to be a decision that you have made recently or are currently trying to make right now. Whether you are a sales employee looking to generate more leads or a sales manager looking to recruit sales professionals it is likely that you will have considered using a form of social media as a career tool at some point in the past 2 years.
The fact is, social media is a new phenomenon and its effectiveness as a tool for sales professionals is likely to be met with much scepticism until we see hard results over time despite all the hype surrounding its usefulness to date. It is however a potential mistake to overlook the possibilities that could be open to sales professionals in utilising at some of the big social media platforms out there and we’d like to take the opportunity to show you why and how social media can work for you.
In this article we take a look at some of the top reasons we believe you should be using social media to increase your sales within your organisation and provide specific steps you can take to get moving with your social media strategy (if you choose to!).
Why Should I Use Social Media?
Some important facts to remember when deciding on whether to start planning your social media strategy.
· Facebook has over 325 million active members and is predicted to have 500 million by 2011 or sooner. The 2nd most trafficked website in the world. [Source: Alexa.com]
· More than 50% of Facebook users in the U.S. are over 35 years old. [Source: ComScore].
· Facebook users have more degrees, they're more mature, and their median income is above average.
· Twitter is the fastest growing social network- growing by over 1900% in 2008 to 2009.
· Twitter has over 50 million members and growing by tens of thousands a week.
· On average each adult with a social networking page or profile has profiles on 1.6 sites, and 39% of adults have profiles on two or more sites.
· Half of all current adult social networkers say that they access their profiles at least every other day.
· 57% have joined a Social Network, making it the number one platform for creating
and sharing content [Source: Universal McCann, 2008]
The important thing for sales professionals to remember is that sales are generated using social media by implementing a form of marketing called Relationship Marketing and unenthusiastic social media efforts will rarely result in ‘quick sales’ and that is not really what we should be aiming for in using it anyway. Whilst we appreciate that the biggest ultimate concern for sales professionals is to increase sales, we believe that how you reach this point will require a more strategic way of looking at gaining sales than perhaps some of you may be implementing before now. Relationship Marketing is one way of doing this and is the basis of most things social media related. It has been described as:
“Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value to the firm of keeping customers, as opposed to direct or “Intrusion” marketing, which focuses upon acquisition of new clients by targeting majority demographics based upon prospective client lists.”
Baring this in mind you can now take action to make your social media presence felt.
Get Started with Social Media
After some basic goal setting and planning you will be ready to start using social media to drive business in your sales position or business.
Here are 5 specific steps to get you moving:
· Get online: Get a Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter page set and looking great, and most importantly start writing a blog if you’re not already. Make the material in the blog relevant to your industry, ensuring that people will want to read it. You want people to look forward to receiving the blog they subscribe to and these really do have to add value to their working life- ensure yours does.
· Identify relevant contacts in your industry and contribute to their blogs and posts and begin to develop relationships with these people via comments and tweets. The aim here is to get discussions going. These people will not be buying your product or service, these people will talk about your product or service and promote it indirectly. Promotion by a neutral and unbiased party, encouraging ‘word of mouth’, is one of the best forms of marketing and PR you can get.
· Attract a following- There is no point putting out there your ideas, experiences, thoughts and critiques out there if no one is following you. You want to be contributing to conversation and building authority in your industry and ensure people are listening. The key here is to give abundantly. Don’t worry that people will steal your ideas- these people were never going to buy your product or service anyway. The people are willing to pay, still will.
· Engage and capture your audience by bringing them back to somewhere (most likely your website) where you can do business. Your blog can really come in handy here and a ‘call to action’ should be evident throughout the page. For example you can put a call to action in your sidebar or a contact form. For example “Sign Up Here For”
· Measure your activity- Give yourself goals and start to keep track on how you are getting along with these goals. Some measures could be the number of industry professionals you’re finding, the number you’re following, connecting with and contributing to. Whatever you’re putting your efforts into, measure it to ensure you’re not wasting your time.
As you continue to work your network and build relationships you’ll gain respect and trust and open yourself up to opportunities you never knew existed. Maintain patience when going about your social media efforts. In this instance good things really do come to those who wait....