In today’s virtual environment, there’s no getting around it.
If you’re in the business of selling, using social media to reach a target audience and manage your brand is essential.
Any company that fails to capture the value of social media platforms, or manages them incorrectly, is guaranteed to lose out on potential customers and are missing an opportunity to build their brand.
As of 2022, 4.65 billion people globally use social media. Those numbers should not be overlooked. The benefits of social media platforms for the sales community are vast and include:
- The ability to establish credibility
- Build brand awareness
- Recruit new team members from a pool of passive job seekers
- Learn and understand your target audience
- Build valuable relationships with current and future customers
- Gain useful feedback from your customer base
- Offer stellar one-on-one customer service
- Communicate with many people quickly
- Generate leads
Social media has become an entity unto itself and is the biggest and most influential virtual space on the internet.
Companies can reach a large pool of potential customers instantly and even build a following of loyal brand advocates.
In this article, we will discuss how salespeople use social media to tell their stories, interact with the public, and use these types of forums to reach new customers they might not have access to otherwise.
Salespeople Use Social Media to Establish Credibility
One of the biggest advantages of social media for both companies and buyers is transparency.
When a company puts itself out there in a public forum, there’s no hiding.
And in the current market, potential buyers expect a level of trust and transparency from the companies they align with. That’s why careful management and attention to a company’s social media profiles are important. It’s about creating a relationship that customers can trust and respect.
A quick internet search will reward you with a long list of brands who paid the price for sloppy or mismanaged social media campaigns.
A badly timed tweet can come across as insensitive. Vulgar language or inappropriate euphemisms can quickly turn into a PR nightmare. And it only takes a moment for angry consumers to hijack a well-intentioned hashtag and turn it into a viral sensation.
But there are numerous benefits for salespeople who use social media to establish trust, transparency, and credibility within a brand. Here are some tips on how to get it right.
- Communication is Key
Social media provides a platform for potential and current customers to communicate directly with a brand. And they expect a direct and timely response from a company in return.
- Provide Excellent Customer Service
Utilizing a social media profile as a tool to offer customer service support can help customers see that a company truly cares about them. Address complaints and issues with genuine information on how the company plans to improve.
- Respond Quickly
When customers reach out to a brand directly, they expect a timely response. 42% expect a response to a complaint within one hour, and some expect a response even faster than that. Use chatbots or social media monitoring to make sure every comment is addressed quickly.
- Post Frequently
Pre-plan content and consider using a social media scheduler to ensure posts go out regularly across multiple platforms. An active account lets customers know you’re available and established.
- Be Authentic
Responses should be individually crafted. Designate a social media manager and ensure responses aren’t robotic templated responses.
- Verify Company Accounts
One of the biggest tools sales companies have at their disposal is the ability to get verified.
Customers who know they’re interacting with a legitimate and verified company have a greater sense of trust when interacting.
Make sure company profiles are professional and complete, including contact information and a company logo.
- Provide Real Value
Every piece of content posted should add value. Don’t just try to sell products. Give people something they can connect and identify with that truly represents your company values.
- Be Transparent
The biggest want from people on social media is transparency. Post behind-the-scenes photos and videos, share employee testimonials, and give the public a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Recruiting Team Members
One of the most overlooked benefits that salespeople can use social media for is recruitment.
The internet is the go-to destination for most job seekers in today’s labor market. Most employers have discovered that advertising open roles on job boards or a company website is essential for a successful recruitment campaign.
But the value of social media channels as a recruitment tool is often misunderstood.
Job boards are a great resource for potential candidates who are currently looking for a job. But consider that 75% of potential candidates are not actively searching for a job but would consider a change if the right opportunity came along.
That’s a big margin considering the billions of people who use social media every day.
And with today’s struggling economy and a labor shortage that has challenged employers in unprecedented ways, any potential source of skilled workers shouldn’t be underestimated.
Sourcing potential candidates through social media has numerous benefits.
The most popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But don’t forget to take advantage of social media platforms that cater to highly skilled professionals, as they can be a great source of quality candidates.
Utilizing social media in your hiring strategy allows you to:
- Reach passive candidates
- Verify information and check into backgrounds
- Engage prospects on a level field
- Demonstrate company values and culture
- Utilize current employees to spread the news
- Use trending and unique hashtags to reach a broad audience
- Save time and money on recruitment
Sales People Use Social Media To Understand Their Audience
If salespeople want to use social media to increase their brand awareness and grow their customer base, they need to understand their target audience first.
Casting a wide net might generate some interest and activity, but companies will find greater success by targeting their efforts to the right people.
One of the best ways to find the right followers is to create content that interests them. Sort of like the motto, “build it and they will come.”
But the trick is to build your brand in a way that will spark excitement and sway your audience to interact. Here are some tips on how to find your target audience and then keep them coming back.
Evaluate Your Current Audience
If you’ve already started interacting with social media, look at what kind of people are interacting with you now.
What’s the general age group and demographic that seems drawn to your brand?
Who is sharing your posts with their network?
Where do they come from geographically?
This information can give you a basis for who your target audience should be.
Find Out Their Wants
Once you’ve identified your target audience, consider what it is about your brand that interests them. Knowing what motivates them will help you decide what kind of content will keep them coming.
Research shows that most consumers follow a brand on social media for four reasons: to learn about new products, to stay up to date on company information, to get the inside scoop on sales or promotions, and lastly as a source of entertainment.
Utilizing these motivators and crafting content around them will help grow your audience.
Identify the Most Valuable Platforms
It’s probably not prudent to completely ignore platforms with little to no activity but targeting time and effort to the tree that yields the most fruit makes more sense.
Maybe your target audience doesn’t interact with one platform as much as the other. Go where they are.
Check Out the Competition
If your brand has competition on the same platform, look around at their audience. Chances are if your products or services are similar, your audiences are as well.
Build Relationships With Social Media
So now you’ve established and verified your social media profiles, you’ve figured out who your target audience is, and maybe you’ve even gained some customers.
A good brand doesn’t stop working once they make a sale, because the best kind of customer is one who keeps coming back. And even better is a customer who advocates for you in their social circles.
The best way to accomplish this is by building great relationships.
Building solid relationships with buyers takes strategy and planning. Make one wrong move and a disgruntled customer could turn into a catalyst for a negative backlash that spreads faster than you can manage.
Salespeople need to use social media to foster positive relationships with every customer who interacts with their brand.
Don’t Focus on Sales
Build a reputable brand and use social media to genuinely interact with customers without constantly pushing the message to buy, buy, buy.
Customers want to buy but they don’t want to be sold to. And if you create interesting content that drives interaction, the sales will come.
Provide Stellar Customer Service
Whether you do this directly on your social media platform or create a separate social media channel specifically for customer service issues, make sure that you respond with a sense of urgency.
You can also use chatbots as a way for customers to reach out and get immediate assistance finding the right channels for customer service issues.
Use Social Listening Tools
There is a multitude of applications out there designed to help brands manage their social media presence, and one of the tools they provide is the ability to monitor topics and keyword mentions that should be addressed.
Social listening tools let companies keep track of what customers are saying about a brand, giving them greater insight into what drives a customer towards or away from a company.
Give Them Your Full Attention
A brand that takes the time to personally respond to every customer is sure to build the kind of trust needed to keep those customers coming back.
Nobody wants to spend their hard-earned money on a product only to be ignored by that company on a social media platform. Today’s customers expect more.
Give the People What They Want
Providing followers with the inside scoop on sales, rewards, and incentives is a great way to drive brand loyalty.
Everyone loves a bargain, and if your customers feel like they’re getting more value for their loyalty then they will be more likely to keep coming back.
One of the best ways to build relationships with customers, build brand loyalty, and strengthen your business as a whole is by gathering feedback from social media followers.
Customers are never afraid to give feedback, both positive and negative, and salespeople use social media to harness that information.
The whole point of social media is interaction. People love to share what interests them, what stirs their emotions, and yes, what makes them angry as well.
Studies show that 96% of social media users who follow a brand also interact with that brand.
And with a network of users that multiplies exponentially with every like, share, and follow, the potential for that feedback to spread beyond your company profile is obvious.
Feedback on Products and Services
Customers are more than willing to tell you what they think of a product. You can use social listening tools to monitor what people are saying regarding a new product launch and use that opportunity to reach out to those customers who might have a negative response.
Feedback on Company Actions
When you use social media to express and demonstrate your company’s culture and ideals, people are going to let you know what they think.
Pay attention to how your followers respond to informational posts about company initiatives to figure out if you’re representing yourself in the right way.
Feedback Through Surveys and Polls
Rather than monitoring comments from customers to gather feedback, why not just ask them directly.
You can use direct feedback from a survey or poll to let a large number of customers tell you exactly how they feel, and because it’s usually anonymous, followers may be more inclined to participate.
Feedback Through Direct Questions
Since social media is about communication, ask your customers to share their thoughts in a post and read their responses.
Make sure you take the time to thoughtfully respond to comments and use the feedback you gather to create future content your customers care about.
Let’s look at some powerful numbers to demonstrate the importance of communicating with customers on social media.
57% of customers who feel like they have a connection to a brand will spend more on that brand, and 76% of those customers will return for subsequent purchases.
You can see why effectively communicating with potential customers on social media is a surefire way to build a loyal following that easily converts into sales.
Salespeople use social media to interact with their customer base, build brand loyalty, and increase revenue.
But companies must be cautious to ensure they’re communicating correctly and efficiently to gain the positive benefits and avoid the pitfalls. Here are some ways to use social media to connect with customers.
Offer the Best Customer Service
One of the most important communications a company will make with customers revolves around customer service.
Whether the customer is asking for help, or your business is offering it proactively, letting your followers know you’re there for them no matter what is essential to building trust.
Remember that customers who have had a bad experience are more likely to interact directly with a brand.
And those complaints should be addressed as quickly as possible. This shows both the complaining customer and any other follower who happens to come across their comment that your business cares enough to be responsive and reactive.
Make it Personal
A personal response makes the customer feel like they’re being heard. Address them with their first name whenever possible and be sure to include a response with either your name or the company name.
Always offer a one-on-one conversation where it’s merited and move messy conversations to a private space.
Communicate About More Than Just Sales
A strong social media presence involves more than just a sales pitch.
Creating content that drives people to follow a brand must be organic, unique, and interesting and needs to go beyond just a marketing tool. The same standard should be applied to communications with customers.
Respond to comments as a friend would and let them know your brand is interested in them as more than just a dollar amount.
Salespeople Use Social Media to Generate Leads
Nearly 80% of sales marketers believe social media should be an integral part of their digital marketing plan. And they’re not wrong.
Once a business successfully grows a social media presence, the leads will follow. And along with the leads comes sales and an increase in revenue.
If handled correctly and with forethought, maintaining a positive and reactive social media presence is a win at every stage of the sales funnel.
Generating leads is something every successful sales business should strive for. And after those leads have been gathered, it’s even more important to convert them into sales.
Social media is a great way for businesses to do both, and here are some tips on how to get it done.
Use Exclusive Content
The majority of content a company posts on social media should be accessible to everyone. But a great way to generate leads is to post some exclusive, or gated content, that requires the user to enter some information to gain access.
This content needs to be worth the time and effort for the follower to be inclined to share their contact information with you.
Give Them Some Perks
Everyone loves getting something for nothing.
Offering followers the chance to have access to free tools that are available from your website is a great way to not only drive traffic to that website, but gather some basic contact information in the process.
Try offering some basics for free and then let the customer choose to pay for more in-depth premium features for an extra revenue stream.
Free Trial Offers
Give the customer the chance to try a service or feature on a trial basis and you’ve got a great way to collect their information to be used for marketing later. Try to stick to offerings that don’t require a credit card to get the most bites.
Invest in social media advertising to get your company front and center in people’s feeds. Social media ad campaigns have evolved to the point where ads are automatically targeted to people who have already shown an interest in similar products or offerings.
Partner With Influencers
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools, so reach out to influencers who have the attention of your target audience for help. Even one mention or post featuring your company or product on a popular feed can generate a slew of organic leads.
Remind Your Audience
Utilizing social media as a marketing tool for generating sales can reap many benefits for businesses.
But remember that you must do it right…
Setting up a profile page for your company and posting once or twice a month isn’t going to do it. It’s not a set it and forget it tactic, and a successful social media campaign will need frequent attention.
Ignoring a social media profile once it’s up and running can do more damage than not having one at all.
Social media users are subject to a constant stream of information from other brands, influencers, and media sources. To not get lost in the din, businesses must constantly remind their followers that they’re present and engaged.
Frequently posting content helps build brand awareness, encourages followers to become customers, and ensures your social media strategy will reap results.
Here’s a reminder of the most important actions a company should take when managing its social media channels.
- Post content regularly
- Make it valuable and interesting
- Don’t just focus on selling
- Listen to your customers
- Engage followers to interact
- Respond with excellent customer service
- React by utilizing the information gleaned from followers
The benefits of regularly posting on social media
- Grow brand awareness
- Rank higher in search engines
- Generate leads
- Increase conversion rates
- Increases brand loyalty
- Gain information about target audiences
- Improves customer satisfaction
- Increases word-of-mouth advertising
A business that takes advantage of the power of social media has the upper hand when it comes to solidifying its brand as legitimate.
The incredible growth of social media platforms over the last decades proves that the world of business and marketing would be foolish not to utilize that reach.
Salespeople use social media to turn followers into customers. It’s cost-effective, easily trackable, and can be a powerful tool for businesses that use it effectively.
Studies show that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals, while 78% said their buying habits were influenced by a brand posting on social media.
Any company with a true goal of increasing its ROI and building a dedicated customer base cannot ignore those numbers.
The advancing technology that goes hand in hand with the increase of social media should not be overlooked either.
Companies should look to automating and organizing their social media presence through software applications like social media schedulers, social listening tools, and trackers, even when a designated social media manager is already in place.
The tools are out there, and when used properly, the sales will follow.