Showing and doing is way better than just telling. When we let you in on what we’re doing, it’s much easier for you to understand and make sense of the content. In addition, it confirms to you that we practice what we preach, which should be important to you no matter what you’re buying. If a company doesn’t use its own products and services or practice it’s teachings, you would have to question the credibility of that company.
As we did with our AdaptiveSEO™ strategy, we’re going to give you a general overview on the components of our social selling strategy. As you follow along with what we do, try to work through the steps for yourself, that way you will begin to devise your own social selling strategy without even realizing it!
First Develop Your Personas
You can’t sell anything without a customer to sell it to. People have different motivations for buying products and services – they want it, they need it, it saves them time, allows them to work on other more important things, it provides something they can’t do, etc. The sooner you understand that not all of your customers are the same, the more successful you will become. Because at the end of the day, you’re not just selling to one type of customer, you’re selling to various groups of people that are tied together by their persona.
OK, so how do you go about creating personas? Things to consider are age, gender, the reasons people are interested in your product or service, occupation, income and anything else you think might help define a group of your customers. In the world of digital marketing, it’s occupation (owner vs. employee), company size (revenue), how much time they have, if the interested party is a decision maker, and campaign budgets. Communicating with a small business on the same frequency as a large corporation just doesn’t make sense, which is way we have come up with the following personas:
Mike the Business Owner – Mike is the proud owner of a newly opened recruitment firm. He understands that he needs new leads and will consider using digital marketing because of the relatively low cost-per-lead of some tactics. Mike has a limited amount of time to dedicate to marketing because he’s busy running his business with a fairly small budget. Mike is somewhat active on social media since it’s a good marketing channel for his industry.
Jane the Marketing Manager – Jane is a marketing manager in a mid-sized company and her core team is fairly small. She needs to outsource most of the team’s digital marketing responsibilities and is very open to collaborating with other teams who have experience in this area.
Steve the C-Suite Executive – Steve is a key decision maker for a very large corporation. His company has various marketing needs but there’s also a lot of competition for his business. Steve is the big fish that every marketing company would want to work with but he’s a tough one to land.
Fully defined personas will go more in-depth than the brief statements we mentioned above, but these three customer-types give you a general idea of what we mean. From here, everything else we do will be slightly different, depending on which of the personas we are targeting. You may come up with three, five or more different personas, it all depends on your business.
Find Potential Customers
The next step in the social selling process is to determine how to find your customers, which can vary based on which persona you’re after. For example, Mike the Business owner is pretty likely to have set up a Facebook page because it fairly quick and easy (how active he is with it is a different story). Steve the Executive is, at the very least, going to have a polished LinkedIn profile because that’s the most popular network among business professionals. Jane the Marketing manager is probably the most socially active persona across all networks, but we would guess that Twitter will be where she’s most engaged and likely to connect. So, here’s one way we set out to find Jan on Twitter:
Twitter’s advanced search works well if you want to use something that’s free. The screenshot shows a basic Twitter search for a marketing manager. Our search was for “marketing manager” and the results are a goldmine. With just one search, we can now formulate a plan to connect with marketing managers at different businesses who are perfect matches for our Marketing Manager persona.
This exercise can be executed for all major social networks with both free and paid tools. So now you can go out and find those customers and start gathering information that’s vital to the next step in the process.
Create or Share Helpful Content
A good social selling strategy isn’t about high pressure in your face sales pitches, it’s about finding a common ground with potential customers and connecting in a meaningful way, regardless of whether a sale is involved. Usually the best course of action is to let customers initiate a conversation with you after you are able to get their attention. So what’s the best way to get customers’ attention these days? You guess it, by creating the valuable content that answers their questions or solves their problem. You discover this by listening and observing them.
Before you rush into creating (or curating) content, be sure that you keep your personas in mind and target specific pieces of content to the most relevant groups in the right social channels they actively engage it. Here’s what we do on the content front (and how we generally target it):
Webinars: these are FREE 60-minute broadcasts aimed at educating potential clients and also highlighting our value. TARGET PERSONA – Mike the Business Owner and Jane the Marketing Manager. Executives often don’t have 60 extra minutes to spare nor would they appreciate the level of detail we get down to in our webinars. Mike and Jane (and especially her team) however, could learn a few things from these Webinars. Eventually, interest and participation in our webinars could lead to fruitful partnerships down the road.
Marketing Guides: one-page summary usually offering tips and tricks for getting started with a specific digital marketing tactic. TARGET PERSONA – Mike, Jane and Steve the C-Suite Executive. Because it’s so short, we make the argument that each one of our personas could find these marketing guides useful. Mike and Jane probably get more practical application out of them, but at least Steve can get an idea of what we have to offer in just a few minutes of his time.
Digital Marketing Videos: short videos on YouTube give a general overview of how an investment in a specific digital marketing tactic can benefit a company. TARGET PERSONA – Steve. That’s not to say Jane and Mike can’t tune into our Digital Marketing Video Series, but due to its brevity and visual flare, this is our main source of content for executives.
Inside Edge Newsletter: a short one page email newsletter that includes a couple of short articles. TARGET PERSONA – Mike and Jane. Email marketing still works great, but these personas get a ton of email and have no bandwidth to spare. The last thing we want to do is appear spammy, so this once-a-month email offering is perfect to get a quick update.
Whitepapers: an 8-10 page deep dive in a digital tactic of choice. This is focused on being an educational resource. TARGET PERSONA – Mike and Jane.
Infographics: a visual presentation on a given topic is packed with as much information as we can manage. TARGET PERSONA – Mike, Jane and Steve. Because who doesn’t like a great infographic?
This Blog: the blog is for anybody and everybody to read. Certain posts are targeted more towards a specific persona, but we want as many people to find and read our stuff as possible. Our content is well organized and structured, so people will find their way to whatever interests them!
Be There When Customers Need You
One of the most important elements of social selling is being readily available when a customer has questions or needs more information about your product or service. After all, with social selling, that’s exactly what you’re waiting for – having the customer come to you! If you put in all the time and effort to develop your personas, find out where your potential customers are most active and create content, then make sure you’re responsive when you’re needed! Remember, potential customers can get a lot of information without ever contacting you so you need to make it count when they do come looking for you. If you’re not around, they’ll move onto the next company. We do this by staying active on all the social sites where our customers might be seeking more information and responding accordingly.
This it! There’s your snapshot into our social selling strategy. Hopefully, you’re off and running with your own strategy but if you have questions, give me a call at 408 398-3303 or email [email protected]