Take a quick minute to think through your last online purchase…how did you hear about the item? Was it while talking face-to-face with a friend? Or because of picture your co-worker posted on Instagram? When was the last time you made a purchase because of an article posted on Facebook?
If you had any doubt about the impact that social media has on purchasing decisions, let it go. According to Nielsen, heavy users of social media spend more than three hours a day on social media. In addition, 39% of heavy social users believe that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using a social network.
Is social media a part of your sales plan? Maybe you’ve been on the social media bandwagon for a long time, but it’s not generating the results you’d expect? Following are three ways that your sales team can use social media to sell better and in turn, create new, more engaged customers for your business.
Work Collaboratively with Your Marketing Team
Ensure your marketing and sales team are properly aligned.
Yes, you heard me…talk with your marketing team. Aligning your sales and marketing teams and fostering consistent communication will make a huge difference in your sales numbers. According to HubSpot, decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing efforts due to misalignment costs $1 trillion a year.
Seriously?! Why is that? Again, HubSpot states that marketing teams generate leads for their sales organization, but 79% never convert to sales, partly due to lack of lead nurturing. In addition, organizations with alignment achieve 27% faster three-year profit growth. They also close 38% more deals.
Alignment between your sales and marketing teams isn’t just a quick conversation between said department leaders. It’s a consistent focused effort to ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to generating leads, talking about leads, moving leads through the funnel and ultimately celebrating when your shared success makes a difference to your bottom line.
But how does that relate to social media? Simple. When alignment exists, the messages that are communicated via social media-through hashtags, posts and pins – are clear, consistent and done with a very specific intention. Both teams know exactly who to target, why you’re speaking to them and what specific action you’d like them to take. There’s minimal surprises, and the end result from this collaboration is generating a solid lead, who turns into an engaged customer.
Speak to Your Target Persona
Develop messages that speak directly to your customer.
I love a good story; especially one that when told in such a way, motivates me to take action. My action could be a donation to a local charity, or the purchase of a product or service that speaks directly to a problem that I need solved…right away.
Social media is full of stories that prompt people to take action. How does that happen? Businesses that are successful at generating response from social media know exactly what their customers/target personas want and need to solve their problem.
Take TOMS shoes. If you’re not familiar, every time you purchase a pair of TOMS, they donate a pair of shoes to someone in need. If you visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, their posts are filled with stories of how their shoes and donations are making a difference for people living in poverty, and how customers have been motivated to help in their own communities. I’m not suggesting that your business run out and develop a large corporate responsibility program, (although that’s a great idea!) but notice that TOMS knows exactly who their customer is…their needs, wants, mindset, where they gather information…and then tailor their messages to speak directly to them.
Take the time right now to develop your target personas; and if you have them developed already, be sure they are still relevant. As you begin to share your stories and your message with your audience, ask them to post and share relevant examples of how their problems were solved by you as well. The power of a testimonial can move a customer to take their business from your competition and bring it to you.
This also allows you and your team to further engage with your customer and more accurately gather the data that turns them into a qualified or unqualified lead, ensuring the quality of the lead versus quantity. This will save time by allowing you to focus on the right customer, not every customer.
Build Social Media Campaigns that Direct Back to Your Website
Create a simple strategy.
One may cringe at the idea of adding “one more campaign” to the to-do list. But as we’ve shown, the power of social media can make a difference in your sales numbers. When you’re developing your overall campaign plan, (including a strong social media presence) incorporate your already-developed landing pages. Every post or tweet can easily bring your customer back to your webpage where they will have the opportunity to gather even more information about your product or service.
There’s one catch…you have to be sure that your web page is up-to-date and user-friendly, especially via mobile. Your landing pages must be clear and concise and make it extremely easy for your visitor to convert. If you’ve developed and launched an awesome social media campaign that leads back to a mediocre website, you may lose that prospect.
Social media is more than just finding out about your friend’s latest vacation; it’s a prominent marketing and sales tool. When your marketing and sales teams are properly aligned, you’ve developed stories that appeal directly to your target persona and you can easily bring customers back to your website; you will create additional sales, save you and your team time and allow you to focus and engage with your customers.