Since the advent of social networks, the world of marketing has undergone a 180-degree turn. Information flows, buying cycles and old sales techniques become obsolete. And is that social networks have led personal relationships to turn the sale into social selling.
Commercial art is no longer a kind of art or gift of sales but rather about generating the art of buying. The protagonist is not the product but the customer: your needs, your aspirations and your desires. And, most importantly, his interests and the way brands share them with him.
What Is ‘Social Selling’?
The public finds a piece of news that moves them shared on a company’s social networks and retweets it. That you comment on the blog or recommend that the company has just published on LinkedIn is sometimes even more important than other indicators for the customer to trust the brand and decide to complete the purchase cycle.
This is exactly what social selling is about, selling without selling. To create relationships and prescribe. To turn brands into opinion leaders, into sources of reliable information for potential clients. And this goes far beyond the degree of specialization to connect with values and emotions.
In this way, the main objective of social selling is the management of social networks around the brand to establish a climate of trust in the community and gain the recognition of each of the potential users. This contribution of value will make followers advance with more confidence in the funnel or conversion funnel.
Inspire The Purchase, Not Provoke The Sale
The mailboxes, the radio spots with the imported voice or the old television advertisements that announced the benefits of the miracle products today sound stale. So the key is not to use a list of adjectives but to recommend, filter and offer quality content.
In the information age (digital), users are more informed than ever. When they seek commercial information, they confirm or deny the knowledge they already have of the brand. That is, more formally or informally, potential clients have already done their small home market studies.
Keep in mind that, on occasions, the public may have even more information than the company’s commercials. This means that the work and arguments of the sales department workers also have to be reviewed.
The ‘Community Manager’ Is The Master Key
In short, the picture is as follows: customers may know more than workers themselves, customers say on social networks of brand products without even mentioning their social profiles and punctuate platforms reviews affecting purchase decisions of other potential customers without the companies being able to control it.
The only one who can save the situation is the community manager. He is the master key that can help marketing managers out of the maze.
His figure is always halfway between the company and the community. As if it were a mediator, the community manager will defend the brand in front of the audience and raise his spear in pursuit of the users in front of the product or after-sales department if the community is unhappy.
However, this is not disloyalty, but a well-understood position is essential for the social selling strategy to function like the cog in a Swiss watch.
The community manager is the one who has the actual temperature of the public, the one who knows where most of the complaints and problems occur and the one who moves as well through each social network as a fish in water.
Listening to him, taking into account his feelings, measurements, and recommendations is the first step when designing a sales strategy supported by social networks. He knows how to talk to the public, what times and above all, what to speak to them, what topics move and interest them, and find those sources of information that feed the company with its content and personality.
A community manager is also a person. Statistics, monitoring programs, and big data can offer trend lines, but only they can grasp the subtleties of language or collective emotions.
And he is also human because he speaks like a human. The public identifies that behind the image of a building or a logo, a person speaks to them, answers them, and asks them. Who listens to direct messages and tries to help them solve their doubts.
Steps To Develop a ‘Social Selling’ Strategy
Once we have an expert community manager, these are the necessary steps to develop a social selling strategy :
- Analyze the current audience: what is the contemporary audience of my networks? What do you think of the brand? As they are? What moves them, what interests them, what hooks them? For this, it is necessary to analyze in each social network in which we are present which are the contents that generate the most engagement ( likes and shares). In addition, we will try to understand who these followers are, from where they connect, what type of device they use, how much time they spend reading and other social characteristics such as how old they are.
- Analyze the current audience and see if it matches the buyer personas defined by the Marketing Department. If they do not coincide or have not yet created the social networks, it is necessary to study in which social networks this audience moves and what their interests are.
- Decide which social networks to use for each audience and product: an online clothing store for teenagers is not the same as an insurance company. Different potential audiences interact and seek information on other networks. Choosing which social networks to be present on and the right tone to do so is more efficient than opening profiles on all networks.
- Define brand territories, information sources and publication frequency: the balance should not exceed 70% of own content (blogs, videos, web news …) and 30% of external content (related news from sources reliable). At the same time, the commercial information should be the minimum possible since this would not be part of a social selling strategy but of online marketing. In addition, several relevant weekly posts should be established for each social network.
- Design a calendar: creating an editorial calendar with the publications and messages to be made throughout the week or month will allow us to have a global vision of a quality audience’s content strategy and attraction. It is also easier to monitor the effectiveness of messages and to anticipate future actions.
- Define and activate active listening mechanisms: it is not enough to attend to the tweets in which a brand is mentioned or the comments that followers write on the Facebook page. Active listening implies that the community manager must have mechanisms to detect what the users of the brand are saying throughout the network, what their needs are and, without being invasive, try to interact with them so that the conversation continues on the networks of the business.
Particularities Of ‘Social Selling’ Depending On Each Social Network
- Twitter: you need to activate alerts and continually look for how they mention their products or services when customers talk about them without mentioning them. Without being invasive, it is recommended to reply to tweets to propose solutions for problems or offer prizes and thanks when they speak well of us. Lists are a very useful tool to keep key references and clients under control.
- LinkedIn: Promotional messages are often not well received by the public. It is more advisable to establish direct relationships with clients from the sector and may be interested in the services. As Linkedin is very focused on sales, this social network has an index to calculate if it is well positioned or if some adjustments should be made. It is called Social Selling Index (SSI), and it measures personal brand, the link with the right contacts, how you interact with them, and the position within your sector.
- On Facebook, it is recommended to be very subtle when recommending self-promotion content since the public considers it a place for leisure.
- Instagram has become one of the great showcases for the sale of brands, especially fashion, thanks to the influencers and the large mass of young audiences. Caring for the brand on an aesthetic and content level is essential.