When it comes to social media do you find yourself in this situation?

 

  • You feel at home with social media
  • You have some followers and you follow others
  • You spend time in conversations on Twitter and Facebook

but …

  • You still don’t have any return on your investment (time or otherwise) in social media
  • You are wondering whether it’s all it’s cracked up to be
  • You’re thinking ‘am I just wasting my time?’
  • You’re thinking when is this going to pay off?

You’ve been told that you should concentrate on developing relationships with people on social media sites and not sell, people don’t like being sold to. You now have all these friend but no income.

What should you do now?

People think you cannot sell on social media, that sales is ‘taboo’ but that’s not necessarily true. It’s ‘how’ you do it that’s important. You need to engage people first before you can sell to them. What you should never do is turn up on social media sites and start selling straight away. You’ll get a bad reputation and people will not listen to you. So interact, communicate, help and discuss ideas with people before you sell and when you sell, do it sparingly. Develop a relationship first, then doing the sale comes naturally as the next step. People see that as an opportunity rather than you selling to them.

How do you engage people on social media?

The number one most important thing you can do is listen. Listen to what people are talking about and get to understand them.

  • Pay attention to what people are talking about
  • Get up-to-date information by reading blogs, books and ebooks
  • Play the role of a customer and discover what they would discover, i.e. issues, problems, ideas, etc
  • Then participate in the conversation
  • Find out what their problems are and work out how you could solve them
  • Give them what they need and not what you want to sell them

Follow other people:

  • Follow experts in your niche
  • Also your work colleagues and peers
  • Find out what’s happening in your geographical area
  • Business related issues or professional services
  • Your potential customers
  • Be selective, don’t just follow anyone

What do you talk about?

First of all there is an unspoken etiquette on the web and it’s very similar to that of polite society. Things like no swearing, shouting or being rude is probably obvious but also politeness, gratitude and honesty are highly prized.

Being yourself is most important, create your own personality on line and stick with it. Don’t try and be something you’re not.

When having conversations with people:

  • Share personal things but not private things
  • Share what you are doing or working on or thinking about
  • Share inspirational things
  • Offer tips, tricks and tactics
  • Offer thought provoking ideas

Notice in the above list I have mentioned the word ‘share’ and ‘offer’ not ‘sell’ or ‘persuade’.

Why is it important to use different networks?

Social connections, friends or followers are owned by the platform or network in which you are connected. So if that network falls down or disappears so do all your contacts. If you have your connections over different networks then you’re covered. Invite people to join you on your other networks and try to be create with them. Perhaps your twitter account is just for latest information or what’s on in your town, plus your sales offers. Facebook could be for sharing information on your passions and interests, plus special deals. You get the idea!

Ways to Invite people to your social media networks

  • Post a link to your profiles of any new blog posts on your website
  • Ensure that your email opt-in or your products and services are properly displayed on your site
  • Offer free content; teleseminars, webinars, ebooks
  • Tweet-ups, speaking events, offline events – everywhere publicise your social media profiles
  • Add links to new products and services on your profiles
  • Make sure all your social media profiles are connected to each other

Get together with other people in your market

  • Get to know other more established people in your market and leverage their knowledge and contacts, create some kind of joint venture that will benefit both of you
  • Contact businesses that offer complementary products and services to your own
  • Offer to write a blog article for a popular blog in your market, i.e. guest blogging
  • Join twitter chats and use hashtags for appropriate topics for your market

How often should you post or tweet?

Take time to think about when your customers will be online. When do you think they are most likely to see your messages. For example, if your customers are working professionals, then after hours or weekends may be better times to post. Experiment and use your analytics to see when you get the most traffic. After a while you’ll get to know when are the best times for your customers.

Facebook: 1-2 posts per day

Twitter: 2-5 tweets per day

LinkedIn: 1-3 times per week

The above are a guide but I have found these to be the most productive. You don’t want to annoy people too much but too little is also bad for business.

Other more creative ways to get more customers:

  • Email signatures – make sure your social media profiles are listed
  • Business cards – again, make sure they’re there in print
  • Twitter background – show your link to Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn
  • Create contest for your customers and promote through the networks
  • Make it easy to share, ensure you have Retweet buttons, Facebook share and Google+ button everywhere
  • Create a T-shirt with your Facebook page or Twitter account on, that’s sure to get interest

Let’s sum this up!

1. Develop and maintain relationships with people, communicate and get involved in the conversations. Only sell occasionally.

2. Organise your prospects into lists, groups or whatever you need to manage them easily.

3. Always invite people to participate with you.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

… Deb