Are you struggling to monetize your social media efforts?
Do you feel stumped when it comes to the “selling” part of social selling?
I understand the frustration you feel when it seems like your social media strategy isn’t working. Fortunately, I’ve identified that there is a pattern to both successful and failing strategies. To explain this more easily, I have compressed social media marketing and social selling into four actionable stages.
- Community management
- Social media & content marketing
- Becoming a subject matter expert
- Lead generation
Many businesses are disappointed with their results on social media, mostly because they are only focusing on 1 or 2 of these stages. In order to see the results you want and need to see, you must complete all four stages. This means that you can’t do stage 4 without doing stages 1, 2 and 3 as well.
While there may be a few exceptions to this rule, they are highly dependent on what you do, who you cater to and what your audience is most receptive to. Most business must actively work at all of the stages if they want to get to the sales part of social selling.
1. Community Management
Community management on social media essentially refers to:
- Posting to social media platforms relevant to your business
- Responding to comments, tweets, etc.
- Following hashtags and keywords relevant to your industry
- Keeping track of people mentioning you, your business or your products
Many people would argue this is the core of social media marketing, but for small businesses, community management on it’s own is not enough if you want to generate results in the form of revenue. If you haven’t already generated some buzz around your business or products, what community will you have to manage?
Some of the big brands are able to get by, simply by focusing on community management alone. That won’t work for a small business. A small business will still have to engage in community management, but it will be a very small part of their overall strategy. But don’t let its small slice of the bigger pie convince you that it is unimportant. This is a foundational element to the social selling process, just like checking emails and voicemail are, to the smooth operation of your business.
2. Social Media & Content Marketing
This is about creating your own content and not just curating or collecting it. Part of your strategy should focus on getting organic traffic to your website through Google and other search engines as well as increasing social shares. Many would argue this can’t (or shouldn’t) be separated from the first stage. I don’t disagree as the first two stages are complimentary to each other and support the other’s goals!
Here are a few goals you should be striving to attain in this stage:
- Create in-depth blog posts at least once per week (roughly 800-1500 words as a general guideline) and sharing them on social platforms
- Experiment with custom made graphics (infographics, quote graphics, showing single statistics visually)
- SEO optimizing blog content to ensure it has increased odds at ranking in search engines and getting your organic traffic to your website
Some people get stuck at this stage and fail to implement stages 3 and 4, because they think it is enough to simply get a lot of engagement but there needs to be another step to get information from the people visiting your site and reading your content. That’s where the next stage of social selling comes in…
3. Subject Matter Expert
Here you are taking your social media strategy and online presence to the next level. It is this stage where you cross the boundaries between a business with a blog and becoming an indisputable expert in your industry.
A popular way to bridge the gap from stage 2 to 3 is by creating a lead generation funnel where people opt in to your email list. You can then drive these people to webinars and/or live events as part of an email marketing plan, where you offer a product or service to them.
In order to obtain their email address and contact information, you will need to offer them something with a high-perceived value. Here are a number of high value offerings that can solidify your credibility as an expert in your field online:
- Creating high value reports or mini-eBooks for email subscribers
- Hosting webinars, teleseminars or live events targeted at specific topics that your target market would be interesting in learning more about
- Create a mini video course (or one long video training) for email subscribers
- Make sure you pass the Google Test
- BEYOND PRO TIP: Write a book. It’s no small task but there is a lot of weight when you can honestly say, “I wrote the book on that.” If you’re going to be dedicated to a specific industry and field, nothing cements credibility like a good book on the subject.
4. Lead Generation
In addition to being a subject expert, you will need a lead generation and outreach plan to move your social media contacts offline. For this, you need a compelling offer and it must be tailored to your ideal clients. They will want to know that you understand their specific needs and will be detracted by a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
The major differentiator between stage 3 and 4 is that stage 3 focuses on attracting people to you and in stage 4 you proactively reach out and follow up with contacts to create new opportunities.
To do this you will need to create an outreach plan on each social network you use. Part of your outreach plan may include:
- Finding groups, keywords or lists where you can easily find your target prospects
- Connect with prospects and provide value to them with great content that is specific to their needs
- Establish rapport and build a relationship without pitching anything
- Once you have established a relationship ask to move it offline where you can learn more about them and how you can help them
Yes, It Takes Work
I know what you’re thinking…how am I supposed to do all of this? It’s a lot to think about, but the key is to implement each stage one step at a time, while making quality a priority. Doing things right the first time is always the best course of action. No one will waste their time to download a poor quality report, even if it is free.
Once you have the emails of your targeted prospects built into an email list, you can find new ways to convert that list with different offers and products. The important thing is to build your credibility, provide high value, have a proper sales funnel and then proactively follow up.
Good luck, get out there and start using social selling more effectively!