Although social media is a relatively new marketing medium, there is clear consensus that it can help with business growth.
According to a recent survey of some 3,000 consumers conducted by Bain & Company, customers who interact with brands via social media spend 20-40% more money with those companies than other customers. In addition, customers who engage with brands over social media show a deeper loyalty to those companies.
You can also drive direct sales from social media if you have the right strategy in place.
In his article, “Driving Direct Sales with Social Media“, author, David Klein, provides insight on how to deploy a social media sales process for your business.
Using social media to drive sales can be broken down into two areas of focus:
- “Social broadcasting” — for attraction, retention, selling, and cross-selling.
- “Social listening” — to identify new sales opportunities.
Consumers crave valuable information. By developing a social presence, initiating conversations with frequent broadcasts and sharing useful content, you can optimize the direct sales opportunities that social media presents.
Step 1. Benchmark
The process starts with benchmarking or identifying the starting point against which you can measure subsequent results. This step may well be a short one if you have little or no social presence to speak of yet.
Step 2. Establish your presence
Selecting social networks appropriate for your customers and establishing a presence is crucial. For example, if you want to attract more female adult children to your brand, customize your social media efforts accordingly. Targeting your efforts to just a few key networks will typically achieve better results than spreading your resources everywhere.
Step 3. Automate effectively
You’ll need to balance your social media strategy to develop the right mix of broadcast and interaction. Each has advantages, but they also work together as part of a comprehensive social media approach. Clearly, providers that do nothing but broadcast on social media quickly become non-players, since platforms like Facebook are hubs of conversation.
A wealth of market data is shared daily on social media platforms. You can monitor and proactively capitalize on those opportunities. The key areas to focus your social listening around are:
- Brand monitoring. Look for mentions of your brand and aim to enhance the commenter’s interaction with your organization.
- Influencer identification and tracking. Direct sales via social media don’t have to mean immediate sales; you can also identify the key influencers within a niche or market segment and develop a relationship with them. They likely have clout with potential purchasers.
- Trigger-phrase plus topic-area monitoring. This is a good way to develop “top of funnel” prospects that perhaps recognize they have a need, but don’t quite know what the solution is yet. Look for these people and feed them useful content with the intent of eventually generating sales.
- Listening and responding to customer service queries. This is a common application of social media. There are very often sales opportunities in customer service queries; look for them and be ready with an effective response!