Social media is an invaluable sales tool for businesses in every industry. Learn how to use it effectively as an extra channel for increasing conversions, says James Banks.
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The global appeal of social media means there are now 3bn people using such platforms globally, closing in on nearly half of the world’s population. This level of engagement provides an unmissable opportunity for businesses – the chance for more direct contact with customers.
Businesses in all sectors are becoming increasingly aware of the power social media holds, with organisations the world over embracing the influence it has.
However, while high numbers of likes and follows are beneficial, where companies seek the most value is in turning these into profits via sales. When it comes to social selling, businesses should be looking to learn from those who already do it well.
Social media personalities have been effectively engaging with, and selling to, their captive audiences for years, tweaking their language and content to suit.
Recent research looked at the tactics used by these online influencers, identifying six types of social sellers and the ways they interact with their followers. Each uses a different style of interaction with audiences, but all have the same end goal – selling, be it an idea, a belief or a product.
Being a consistent and regular presence is vital to ensure continued engagement with your audience.
So what can your business learn from these secret salespeople?
Learn from the secret sales personas
The six defined secret sales personas were developed after researching the social media activity of 100 personalities. Common traits, including how they interacted with their audiences and the language they used, were examined to identify the different types of seller that exist on social platforms.
- The Promoter: Energetic and enthusiastic, they use positive language and demonstrate leadership qualities through their social channels. This has resulted in success for those in the tech, business and entertainment industries.
- The Motivator: Inspiring their audience and encouraging them to buy into their beliefs, the motivator works well in the world of investment and for SMEs.
- The Engager: Focusing on trends while being highly competitive, engagers open up discussions with their audience. This works particularly well for those in the media and sports sectors.
- The Maverick: A riskier approach, mavericks are creative, direct and occasionally controversial, happy to speak their minds. For this reason, it’s most often the route for those in public facing positions.
- The Nurturer: Highly relatable and placing a high value on relationships with friends and family, they seek to sell products and ideas through a caring social presence. It can be best applicable to small online retailers and fashion brands.
- The Supporter: Driven by their beliefs and usually found championing a cause, they tend to use a moral or emotional connection to their work. Those working in politics and business normally fall under this bracket.
When using your social media channels, consider which persona best suits your business, audience and industry and adapt your brand’s approach to social media accordingly, weaving in some top tips from secret sellers and influencers to really up your game.
Selling on social media
When selling on social media, it’s important to get the basics right, first and foremost, including:
- Adapting your tone of voice to match your brand values, considering things like how you want your audience to feel and act.
- Choosing effective imagery that reflects not only products and services, but also the core values of your company.
- Using the right platforms – LinkedIn for B2B brands and Instagram for more visual companies with a younger audience, for example.
It’s also important that you ensure you have consistency across your social media offering. One of the cornerstones of success for the secret sales personas is that they talk to their audiences in a recognisable way, always ensuring language and message remain a constant.
Once you have the basics in place, it’s all about ensuring you keep your audience engaged. Whether you’re promoting the values of your brand or inspiring actions with your messaging, being a consistent and regular presence is vital to ensure continued engagement with your audience.
Businesses and social media
Businesses and social media have not always mixed well. For some, PR disasters as a result of social media posts and interactions have been more harmful than helpful. But there are also plenty of examples of companies finding success on social media too, which, along with learning from secret sales personas, can be an example of how to do it right.
Taco Bell, for example, makes use of a bold tone of voice via social media, using campaigns to target a more youthful market. This includes a strong use of emojis and memes and jumping on recent trends to remain relevant. Allowing some personality to shine through could be viewed as risky, but for Taco Bell, this maverick approach pays off.
Other companies are similarly effective via social, albeit in entirely different ways. Patagonia, for example, expertly uses the love both the brand and its audience has for the natural world to inspire emotive responses and built a strong brand identity that its target market buys into.
The increasing effectiveness of social media
Building a strong and consistent social media presence is highly advantageous for businesses in the digital era. Not only is it a useful tool for improving your brand’s credibility and increasing awareness, it can also be a great source of lead generation and an effective way to boost sales.
Engaging with your audience, remaining authentic and following a social media selling style that’s appropriate to your brand, industry and target market should prove both impactful and successful for your business.
In the current digital age, the use of social media as a tool for businesses shouldn’t be ignored. Learn from the experts and adapt your tactics in line with some of social media’s biggest and best influencers, allowing your company’s online presence to evolve into a secret sales channel.
With these personas in mind and a strong focus on tone of voice, message and personality, your brand could soon be reaping the rewards and pushing ever more sales via social media.
About the author
James Banks is head of talent at Pareto Law