I recently had a meeting with a financial adviser who belongs to the same local networking group as I do. We were having coffee and getting to know each other, and when we started discussing social media for business, I said: “Don’t even try to sell on social media; it doesn’t work”.
He looked at me and I am sure he was thinking “If I am not selling my products and services, then why bother with social media.” I know this sounds strange but product and service sales rarely happens directly from social media. Don’t switch off, keep reading…
Have you been posting on Facebook for some time about your business and are currently getting no likes or comments? Those posts probably contain wording such as buy today or buy one and get one half price. The reason you are getting no likes is because people are happy to buy when they find something that meets their need, but they do not like being sold to. Think about yourself when you’re in a shop… the sales person comes up to you and asks if you need anything? Your response is “No I’m just browsing” and you can’t get out of the shop quick enough.
What we also know is that social media can be a powerful tool for your business, if you use it correctly. Let me explain…
1. Help people — Instead of thinking about selling your product or service to someone, think about helping them buy. Many people go to Facebook and/or Google searching for information about what you do. After searching Google for possible options, many people will then go to Facebook and post a status such as “looking for recommendations”. If your profile is set up to lead people to your business page, you can lead people to your business simply by responding to their post.
2. Getting Social — Even though you are in business it’s OK to get social! What you are doing here is building awareness around what you do and who you are! Facebook made the big algorithm change last year so they prioritize “people” posts over “business” posts? People are on Facebook and other social media platforms to connect with others. It is OK to get personal! I love dogs and holidays and so I share images of me out walking my dog or lovely pictures of somewhere I’ve visited. So I have lots of conversations around dogs and holidays. In the background my social profile is still available to view and I’ve attracted fans because they are interested in my content and some have eventually become clients.
3. Entertaining — Make your fans or followers want to come back for more! This can be anything from posting a funny GIF to a viral video - mine are usually related to my dog or puppies! I have started to share these to my pages simply to entertain my audience. Life isn’t all about work - Your potential customers don’t think about work or shopping all the time! Maybe they are on Twitter that day looking for some entertaining posts. Posting an inspiring quote, a cute puppy video or a funny ski video can be exactly what they are looking for. Again, your posts continue to link to your business account and so you are indirectly making them aware you exist without directly selling to them.
These are just 3 ways you can use social media to build awareness about you and your business, particularly if you are a service business. When using these techniques ensure you apply the 80/20 rule when posting about your business. For every 4 posts helping, entertaining and educating, you can mention or recommend your product or service in context.
So with all the above said, why use social media at all for business?
At the end of my conversation with the financial adviser, he asked me how then I could measure the ROI of social media. How can he “track how well his posts are working” in reaching new clients? This is a whole new post relating to data and I'll explain more another time.
In simple terms, this is where the strategy bit comes in! I’ve already said that selling rarely happens directly from your social media platforms. That’s because you need to combine your social media marketing with email marketing and your website!
#DidYouKnow Surveys show that email has a median ROI of 122% — over 4 x higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search. Therefore when you focus on taking your fans and followers off of social and into email leads, you can grow your list, nurture that list, make offers and turn leads into clients!
Good luck with your online marketing! Need help – just get in touch with SunflowerVA today!
All blogs are written by Amanda of Sunflower VA and they are based on my experience.