*Originally published on CommercialIntegrator.com
Business consultant Tom Stimson highlights why social media is just the start of building a long-term relationship with customers.
Some business leaders look at social media as something in which they have no interest and avoid it all costs. Others consider social media to be their primary tool for sales success and often find themselves disappointed by the lackluster results it generates.
The truth is: social media is a valuable piece of the business sales process today, if you know how to use it and how to turn those likes into transactions.
“Social media works if you use it for the right outcomes,” said AV and live events business consultant Tom Stimson in the latest installment of his monthly Intentional Success webinar series.
“If you’re going to participate in social media as a business, do it intentionally so it leads to conversations with potential customers,” he said.
Social media is a top-of-the-funnel activity, said Stimson, and can help people who interact with your company become more aware of their own needs, position your company as a credible thought leader and give people an opportunity to learn more on their own terms.
It’s important, he said, to avoid social media dead ends when posting online. That includes posts that deliver the message “Check out this cool thing we did” without a call to action, or that highlight “Cake day at the office” or the sentiment “We’re happy to be working again.”
Some businesses get their social media completely wrong, said Stimson, because they link to another company’s website in their posts rather than enticing those who see it to click on their own site and learn more about the company and the services it offers.
From Social Media to Sales Funnel
Some truths when it comes to social media: business decisions aren’t made there and you don’t own the audience on whatever platform where you’re posting. You also can’t freely access the audience on social media and, perhaps most importantly, social media followers are not leads.
“The objective is to get them into your sales funnel,” said Stimson.
To do that, businesses must be discoverable, he said. That comes through being relevant, credible and looking good.
Companies can move prospects through the sales funnel by making them aware of their products and services through a call to action and opt-in at the top of the funnel, sharing knowledge and a call to action to meet in the middle and highlighting differentiators with a call to do business at the bottom.
Social media is used to create awareness, elevate the brand and bring targets to your website, said Stimson. That comes through brand voices, personality posts and social proof such as endorsements.
“What you share needs to have a higher purpose,” said Stimson. “Think of the profile of the person you’re trying to attract with every post.”
Stimson also hates to see companies segmenting their audience when doing marketing.
“Market broadly,” he said. “The voice you do it in or the message you deliver will tell people if it applies to them on that day.”