Social media is an integral part of our lives, so it’s only natural that brands are using it to their advantage. Using social media to promote your business is one of the most effective ways to extend your reach, and to form meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.
However, it would be best if you didn't bombard your social followers with messages, tweets, and content that's not relevant. Instead, wait for the right moment to jump in and provide a solution to a problem. That's exactly what is social selling: engagement via social media, that eventually leads to a business relationship. If you're doing social media to sell, you're probably doing it wrong.
5 Reasons Why Brands Are Adopting Social Selling
Below are key reasons to address your prospects’ needs at the right time, and create strong connections with them. All of these are great reasons to adopt a social media presence for your business.
1. Opportunities to Create Value and Promote Honesty
Social selling enables you to personalize and humanize your brand. You can show that you provide your audience with real value. The key is always to be honest and transparent because that's what will give you positive results.
If you engage with your followers on pretenses or if you're pushing your sales pitch, your audience will see right through it, and move on to someone else. For instance, if you're working with an influencer or brand ambassador, make sure they disclose their affiliation with your brand. Otherwise, readers may brand you as a spammer who's only looking to sell.
2. Building and Maintaining Long-Term Relationships
Proper social selling means engaging in friendly conversations with prospects and forming meaningful, long-term relationships. That way, you raise brand awareness and generate a lot more qualified leads.
Your advantage is that you can quickly increase your conversion rates because the leads you identify on social media don’t need as much persuasion as leads from other channels.
Don't apply pressure, as one would in cold calling – the point here is to network, support each other, and provide useful information and content. That way, your leads gain confidence in your abilities and feel much more comfortable engaging with you and your brand. Engagement and lead generation and conversion come entirely naturally.
3. Establishing Brands as Niche Experts
Consumers today want to engage with experts, but only if they're credible and trustworthy. You can establish credibility with high-quality content that's relevant to your target audience, and helps them solve their pain points. This approach is similar to always providing excellent customer service and getting positive reviews.
Once you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, you can effectively engage your target customers with social selling techniques. Just don’t rely only on recommending your products or services. Offer expert advice and industry insights, and show that you’re a thought leader they can trust.
4. Customers Are Already Using Social Media to Shop
According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of consumers use social media to research products. What's more, they expect brands to engage with them and offer solutions to their pain points.
They have already done most of their research before turning to social media to find the desired products or services. They've read the reviews, talked to friends and other people on their social networks with relevant insights. They know exactly what they want, and have narrowed down the list of companies they'd like to talk to. You want to be one of these 3-5 companies or providers they want to hear from in more detail.
Since they’re already on board, all you need to do to start engaging them is to monitor social media for your top keywords and jump into conversations relevant to your products or services. Social listening is the first step to social selling because it can help you understand what issues people are struggling with, what pain points you need to address, how people perceive your brand, and what needs they expect you to fulfill.
5. B2B Brands Have Already Paved the Way
According to the Forrester Consulting study on social selling, 49% of B2B brands have already started using social selling techniques to engage prospects. If you don’t follow in their footsteps, you are missing out massively on opportunities to grow your business.
Creating a Voice for Your Brand and Your Social Sellers
Establishing a unique brand voice is crucial for standing out in the crowd. Your brand voice represents how you convey your brand values and personality to your target audience. This voice covers your customer interactions, but also your ads, social media posts, and website content.
However, how can you create a brand voice that’s different from all the others, and perfectly represents your brand personality? Here are some ideas on how to achieve this goal:
- Reinforce Your Core Values
Do you want your customers to perceive your brand as friendly? Perhaps you want to be both helpful and funny? Or is your goal for them to see you as a trustworthy brand?
Think about your core values and then reinforce those beliefs when determining your brand voice. For instance, consumers are looking for honesty when engaging with brands. They’re also attracted to brands with friendly personalities, but trust and honesty drive them towards a purchase more than anything else.
To that end, consider your brand beliefs, and take your target customers’ expectations into account, to create the right tone and messaging for your brand.
- Maintain a Clear Voice from the Start
Maintaining a clear brand voice right from the start is very important. If you demonstrate multiple personalities or approaches, you may confuse your followers. You may even annoy or upset them to that extent that they unfollow you. Consistency is key – whether you’re a person or a business.
To avoid confusing your audience, define your voice, your values, and what you want to be known for. In addition, avoid bait-and-switch techniques at all costs. Be transparent, relevant, helpful, and make sure all your interactions have a single, unified goal.
Consistency Across All Networks Provides Sellers with Leverage
Being consistent not only across your social networks but also across all the other channels you use (website, email, ads, etc.), will help your social sellers get the most out of your presence. If your messages are not coherent, you may drive away your customers.
Here are the key elements to focus on when maintaining consistency across all your channels.
- Visual Consistency
Visual consistency on social media is essential because the first thing that people see when encountering your social posts are visuals. Apart from making sure they’re eye-catching and relevant, you need to retain them across all the channels you’re using.
For instance, if you use a particular image when sharing an individual post on Facebook, use the same image for the same post with related visuals and colors on Twitter and Instagram. That way, people will instantly recognize your brand.
However, don't stop there. Add something unique to every visual you post. For instance, you can add motivational quotes on your images in the form of a watermark, or write those quotations underneath every visual you share. That way, people will immediately realize that the post is yours.
- Emotional Consistency
Emotional consistency is just as important as visual consistency because you want your prospects and customers to feel the same about your brand on every platform. Ultimately, your goal is to evoke the same emotions on Twitter as you do on Facebook, for example.
Colors play a huge role when it comes to tapping into people’s emotions. Did you know that colors increase brand recognition by 80%? If you stick to the same brand colors on all channels, not only will people instantly recognize you, but you’ll also evoke those emotions they already have about your brand.
- Consistent Offers and Campaigns
All your offers need to be consistent with all your marketing campaigns. This means that the style and tone of every post you share on social must be consistent with the offers on your website, your ads, and your email marketing campaigns.
This approach helps you become a thought leader and significantly extends your reach. It will be much easier to engage your prospects and effectively guide them further down your sales funnel.
Common Issues with Social Media Branding
There are recurring issues that every brand comes across when trying to leverage social selling. They include:
- Cutting through the noise
- Being original
- Engaging prospects on an emotional level
- Extending reach
- Compelling people to share
You can address all of these social media branding issues by following the tips above on creating a unique brand voice and maintaining consistency across all the channels you use. The reasons for adopting social selling discussed above also contains some handy tips on making the most of social selling.
It all comes down to being honest, helpful, relevant, friendly, and completely transparent. That's precisely how you can show you're credible and trustworthy, which leads to higher engagement, and more leads and conversions.
Using social selling wisely means being proactive and offering a helping hand at the right moment of need. Listen to what your target audience is saying about their needs, your brand, and gain insight into their ultimate pain points regarding the products or services you offer.
Considering this lets you avoid common social media branding pitfalls and enables you to create a unified brand image that will supercharge your sales and ROI. It may sound a bit overwhelming now, and it may be challenging at first, but be patient, break the above steps down into small tasks, and you will experience very positive results.