Time to read: 3 minutes. Maybe you’re blogging or using LinkedIn or producing YouTube videos. In any case you’re probably trying to create leads and sales by being engaging. But people actually selling goods and services using Facebook and other social media will tell you: engaging customers will not help you sell to them. What will? Get ready for a refreshing surprise.
The truth is this: social media’s sudden arrival and instant popularity is causing most corporate marketing managers, executives and small business owners to lose perspective on the ultimate goal—making the sale. But no longer. Now you’ll know the truth and be able to take action—make social media sell for you.
As it turns out, the key to selling with social media requires proven, traditional, direct-response marketing practices be “mixed in” with engaging customers.
I did the research. When writing my book I uncovered the surprising truth: Selling with social media doesn’t just happen as part of good engagement and has little to do with fluffy concepts like “positive brand sentiment” or “showing customers you have unique personality.” That ends up being bullshit designed to distract you.
Selling with social media requires ignoring the over-hyped “wisdom” of popular business gurus and returning to basic, rather un-sexy marketing principles. Good old fashioned hard work.
For instance, I discovered how direct response marketing is at the heart of successful digital marketing campaigns that sell. All of them. The practice itself is not being revolutionized; instead, it’s being applied on the Internet using innovative tools like Facebook. The core principles behind “what’s working” is what has always worked. There is no revolution, only the chance at evolution.
If you want to create leads and sales, your tweets, posts, updates, blogs, videos and podcasts should always be designed to induce a response from your target. Envision yourself coming into the office each day and focusing on developing creative, fun ways that compel the person on the receiving end of your LinkedIn contribution, blog or YouTube video to take an action. Simple.
In other words, don’t ever, ever ask for a “Like” on Facebook without giving your customer a reason to. Honor them. Tempt them. “Liking” you is not compelling. “Liking” you and thereby being entered into a sweepstakes or receiving something of honest value in return (e.g., access to useful knowledge) is what they want. So give it to them.
When I say “design to sell” what I’m really talking about is encouraging behaviors that ultimately connect to the sales funnel. Okay, so what the heck does that mean?
The best way to think about what I’m describing is an infomercial. Consumers watch infomercials even if they’re not interested in buying what’s being hawked… and they know all along it’s a pitch. We all can’t help but watch because of how the message is designed. It’s the same with social media marketing that sells. You’ve got to attract customers then tempt them into taking an action—even if that action isn’t buying! (ie. a free give-away that generates a lead to be nurtured)
In simple terms, everything you do (everything you “put out there” onto social media) must do one thing every time: create behavior. That behavior must be part of a grand plan to move customers toward your product offering. Speaker and sales conversion expert Bryan Eisenberg has long touted what he calls these micro-actions as part of a courtship between buyer and seller.
“Good content marketing recognizes that we don’t have to close the sale every time we talk to a prospect,” says Doug Kessler of B2B marketing firm Velocity, who’s in agreement with Eisenberg. But this isn’t about agreement so much as it’s about getting better results by creating micro-actions.
Creating leads and sales with social media is also about having a plan beyond creating attention or engagement (occupying customers’ time). It’s about doing something meaningful with that engagement!
Photo credit: brandon king
Jeff Molander is the authority on starting conversations with busy people. As founder of Communications Edge Inc. he teaches a proven, effective communications technique to spark buyers curiosity in sales outreach & marketing messages. He's a sought-after sales communications trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe. Jeff served as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.
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