It seems like every second article you read today is about social media. How it can build your brand, help you connect with your customers and keep your business ‘current’. But it’s hard to sign off an investment of time and money to something that’s relying solely on the long-tail for returns, right?
Sure, social media can seem like a time-suck waiting to happen; but Sony executives weren’t complaining when they cleared $1.5 million in sales on Twitter. Or Dell; who revealed their Twitter presence accounted for a $3 million increase in sales in 2009.
Social media can, in fact, build upon your online sales effort. You just gotta get it right.
1. Word of Mouth Like a Wild Fire
Getting people to tell their friends about your product or service is the golden ticket. People trust their friends to give them recommendations, and the rise of online social networking means customers are more likely than ever to tell the world about their purchase; and spread it further too.
Work the viral angle – offer a limited offer or special promotion through Twitter or Facebook, and let your followers spread the word for you. Remember, a hot giveaway is perfect to get retweets and perhaps a few new followers; but if you want sales, a discount will drive it home.
2. Unprecedented Interaction
Marketing your product or service through TV, print or radio can leave customers feeling like they’re being marketed to. The beauty of social media is the fact that it’s based on the premise of being a social activity; so users feel at ease, and comfortable conversing with you. The key is to start conversations in a non-threatening way; don’t force yourself on people, and stay true to the social aspect of the platforms. Be the guy everyone wants to talk to at a party, built trust and loyalty *first* with your followers and friends and you’ll get a better result when it comes to promoting your product.
3. Global Domination from your Computer
Tapping into Facebook and Twitter’s 600 million strong combined user base means that you have more promotional reach at your fingertips that you’d probably ever thought was possible.
The sky’s the limit when marketing through social media and that means sales can reach new heights – but it doesn’t come automatically.
You’ll need to build up your following, and there’s a number of things you can do to help up your count:
Start promoting your Twitter and Facebook profiles on your other marketing, on and offline.
Use keywords as search terms to find Twitter users that are already talking about what you’re selling; then follow them to get a follow back.
Use Facebook ads to drive people to your fan page.
Encourage new followers by promoting a giveaway: ‘Follow us for the chance to win…’ or ‘Retweet this to go into the draw for…’
4. Mix Social with your Sales Team
Gone are the days of the dry email after a networking event or sales call. ‘Lovely to meet you, I wanted to remind you of our amazing offer…’ Now, your sales team have a new tool at their disposal. Social media is fantastic for building relationships; just search for your sales leads name in Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and connect, to continue the conversation in a friendly; unobtrusive way. By connecting with potential customers online in this way, you’ll have an opportunity every day to pop up on their desktop.
5. Communication and Traffic Boosting Tool
Social media is just another form of communication. It offers more than many traditional marketing avenues, but if nothing else – it’s a new audience to tap into. Twitter and Facebook offer you the opportunity to communicate offers, announcements and news, and of course, drive traffic back to your website; ultimately, increasing sales. Promote away!
Lewis Howes is a former professional athlete, world record holder in football, and author of the LinkedIn book, LinkedWorking. He is the founder of the Sports Executives Association, and the popular sports and social media blog SportsNetworker.com. He writes for popular social media blogs such as mashable.com, socialmediaexaminer.com, and problogger.net. You can find him on Twitter @LewisHowes.