Consumers have evolved from the advertisement focused demographics of the early millennium. It’s no longer enough to serve ads that simply promote your product. People are demanding advertisements that entertain and help them solve problems.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, media is changing and people right along with it. Instead of televised media, we’re now using social media. Consumers expect brands to take advantage of the new opportunities for building relationships.
To succeed in the new world of online advertising, businesses need to embrace relationship building and give people what they want. In other words, companies need content marketing.
Content marketing provides written or visual content that entertains, informs, and helps build a repertoire with consumers. Businesses have already taken notice of the strategy’s merits, with 88 percent of B2B marketers already utilizing content.
To see real success, your brand should leverage content into budding relationships that eventually send customers down your sales funnel.
Traditional advertisements, even across social media, focus on selling your product. These ads are important, but they don’t fit well with content marketing. However, social media ads in particular can co-exist with a content strategy.
Instead of advertising for your product, advertise your content on social media. Start with media that solves a specific problem. Think about issues customers in your niche face, and then solve them with your content.
Next, create a social advertising campaign that links back to this content. Consumers who see your advertised content get pushed into the awareness phase of your buying funnel. Once you’ve captured their interest, you can then start building a long lasting relationship.
The next step in leveraging social selling into a stronger sales funnel is remarketing your customers. Harness your new social media generated awareness and start retargeting consumers.
Building your remarketing funnel focuses on advertising to people that followed your social ads back to your content. For instance, someone who linked from Facebook to your website will see your ads across other platforms.
This makes an effective way to move people from the awareness phase into the consideration/decision phase.
The idea is for people to see your advertisement when they’re on the fence about making a purchase. Your remarketing advertisements push people into thinking of your brand before the competition.
How you decide to go about your remarketing depends largely on your budget and overall content strategy. Google Adwords and Facebook offer the best remarketing tools for most businesses.
Adwords targets a broad spectrum of users, while Facebook helps continue targeting customers who’ve already responded to your content-centric ads.
Now that your consumers are in both the awareness phase and consideration phases, the next step is closing your sales and boosting your conversion rate.
Consumers who’ve started accessing your content and moving down the sales funnel are ripe for targeting with email marketing. Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still an effective way to reach customers.
Email actually has a higher conversion rate (66 percent) than social media messages and direct mail.
Set up your retargeting campaign and social media marketing so that consumers are led to landing pages with email sign ups. Offer content incentives to collect email addresses, and then use those emails to send promotions that close sales.
People linking from your remarketing advertisements especially, are already interested in your product and susceptible to email marketing campaigns.
Potential customers at every level of your sales funnel are still just that; potential customers. Companies need to offer incentives to build brand loyalty.
Repeat consumers actually cost less than new acquisitions, and are more likely to make additional purchases. The final step in your social selling sales funnel strategy is recycling people through the funnel.
To keep customers interested it’s easiest to once again utilize social media. Continue sharing content with your customers across social media to ensure your brand awareness stays high.
Email marketing also works well to retain customers. Don’t focus all of your emails on selling your product. Consider offering unique content and discounts to consumers who’ve already made a purchase.
Content marketing over social media helps move customers down your sales funnel by creating interest, showing value, and rekindling interest in the long-term.
Social media ads for your content increase awareness, which in turn allows for remarketing for product consideration. Which then leads to direct email marketing opportunities and finally sales.
With the right strategy, social media selling takes potential consumers and turns them into repeat buyers.
Are you using social sharing? Chances are that you’re relying on the technique even if you don’t realize it. In essence, this is a technique that utilizes social media channels as the company’s pipeline. Interactions are based on engaging the audience, building personalized relationships and selling on the basis of highly unique preferences.
Social selling can help you grow your business, which is why it shouldn’t be underestimated. Here are some of the main reasons why social selling should be a part of your everyday practices.
Gone are the days of cold calling and doing outbound promotion. Today’s prospects don’t really interact with businesses this way. The lack of personalization reduces the effectiveness of campaigns significantly, making it quite difficult to generate new leads.
Social selling helps for optimal engagement.
Your social channels are the perfect platforms for interacting with current and future customers. You can learn a lot about their preferences, needs and the types of content that result in the highest level of engagement.
Engagement establishes brand loyalty and, in turn, it can lead to a bigger sales volume over time. Social selling focuses on this engagement through useful content and meaningful interactions with prospects. If you invest in the creation of quality content/the right type of reputation for your brand, chances are that the audience will respond with loyalty.
Cold calling doesn’t work because it’s intrusive, generic and let’s face it – annoying. This is the main reason why sales teams have been looking for an alternative.
Social selling allows for the establishment of genuine relationships. Building relationships is an absolute essential for the long-term success of a business strategy. Social tools give sales professionals a deep insight into what people find interesting. Based on this information, they can modify the approach in order to yield the best possible results.
According to a recent Hootsuite report, one in three B2B sellers say that social selling has helped them increase their number of leads. What’s even more impressive, 39 percent of the marketers questioned said that the use of social media helped them reduce the amount of time that will otherwise have to be dedicated to lead research.
B2B professionals see many other benefits in using social selling. A deeper relationship with leads is quoted as a massive benefit by 31 percent of the marketers questioned. Twenty-four percent believe that it improves conversion rates and 14 percent attribute shorter sales cycles to the use of social media platforms.
The authenticity of the interaction and the effortless targeting are both reasons for the ability to build better relationships with prospects. Many potential clients use social media to look for information or even write about their specific needs. All that it takes is choosing a good data analysis tool and marketers can experience unbelievable levels of personalization as a result.
As already mentioned, social selling is all about building relationships. These relationships result in customer loyalty and repeat clients.
Research suggests that sales professionals who rely on social sharing get a 55 percent customer renewal rate. Their sales forecast accuracy reaches the impressive 54 percent. In addition, professionals who use social selling are 79 percent more likely to attain their quota than sales reps who focus on old-school promotional techniques or selling methods.
Customer retention is the result of sharing content, communicating directly and working on addressing the specific issues or concerns that prospects have. These help for customer retention in the long-run – one of the staples that sustainable company growth is based on.
Higher customer retention leads to predictability and a chance to make business plans on actual data.
Whether you’re doing social selling or not, your customers are already using such platforms and engaging in social buying. If you’re not there to provide easy purchasing options, they’ll find another brand to become loyal to.
More and more people are relying on social media to look for information, interact with brands and decide which company to buy from. Some of your competitors are already making full use of this customer behavior. They’re readily available on social platforms and they’re actively engaged in building their clientele.
Your absence from social channels is depriving you of the opportunity to utilize the huge resource at your disposal. It’s possible to interact in a meaningful way through the use of other digital channels. Still, social selling is too cost-efficient to be underestimated.
Social selling is a scalable approach that both small and large companies can rely on for sustainable growth. It does require hard work and a bit of creativity. The efforts, however, will pay off quickly. Take some time to think about your audience and its preferences. Basing campaigns on such information will make it relatively easy to increase brand awareness and loyalty.