How Customer Trust Will Increase Your Social Media Sales (But Only If You’re Patient)

Have you ever met someone who said, “Social media doesn’t work!”

Of course, there is the person who asks, “What’s the ROI of social media?”

In this post, I will address both the statement and question.

The #1 reason why someone will abandon their social media campaign or demote it on their list of priorities is because they are trying to convert customers too quickly without success.

In December 2012, I polled 100 social media professionals I’m connected with on Linkedin, actual people who are responsible for the social media efforts of their company ranging from small to billion dollar brands, here is what I found:

How Customer Trust Will Increase Your Social Media Sales (But Only If You’re Patient) image mf postgraphHow Customer Trust Will Increase Your Social Media Sales (But Only If You’re Patient)

As you can see, there is a handful of different reasons why some organizations are using social media.

If you would ask me the same question you could expect a response similar to this,

“I’m active on social media to build community and educate. One day, when I have earned your trust, I may try and sell you something of value.” This is me being 100% transparent.

I build community by jumping into conversations and answering questions that are asked (directly or indirectly) that I believe I have the answers to. As for the education, I actively share content that I find interesting that I believe others would want to know about too. As for monetization, I will try and monetize a situation if I can but ONLY if I truly believe that I can help you and your business.

Whether you’re a personal brand, a mom and pop or a billion dollar brand. The most admired people and organizations in the world, found social media and thought,

“We must service our customers here.”

After all, your customers are having conversations about your service, product or industry at a million times/minute it only makes sense to have a unique presence. By servicing your community, providing value and educating you will earn that “trust” I speak of. When you have built a following that turns to you for advice then you have successfully built a platform that can generate new found revenue.

4 Tips to Build Customer Trust:

  1. Respond to every question directed toward your social handle
  2. Follow key words related to your industry and engage in conversation
  3. Regularly take part in weekly Twitter chats, Google Hangouts etc.
  4. Share useful content that is aligned with your industry. Don’t take the real estate agent approach who only shares their open houses and sold homes. Instead, share “Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Home.” (note: content marketing > paid traditional marketing)

Responding to every tweet, sharing content and answering industry related questions will take you a considerable amount of time. I can’t tell you when you will see your first dollar earned for your efforts but trust me it will come if you work hard and often.

As I write this, I wonder how many people are reading this post with skepticism with what I’m suggesting? There’s BS or fluff in me, I only promote things that I know work so here’s my evidence for you.

Zappos Customer Service Facebook Case Study

Earlier this year, Mashable came out with this Zappos article. It highlights Zappos’ Facebook activity and the leads it brought to their website. There are some very powerful stats here.

  • Their Facebook status updates from Nov. 20, 2012 – Jan. 20, 2013 led to 85,000 website visits.
  • 42% of those website visits led to purchases.
  • The other 58% that didn’t lead to sales converted into “likes” “shares” and comments.
  • Each status update had a conversion of 1.75%.

Now, you may be a small moving company or restaurant thinking you can’t relate to these stats because you’re not a billion dollar brand like Zappos. If so, then you have it all wrong. Social media, similar to customer experience, is a great way to operate your small or medium sized business like a billion dollar brand without the extreme overhead. It simply takes time and patience, things that are within your complete control.

The reason Zappos is able to post a promotion or sale and have their customers click through is because they have earned customer trust. They didn’t start their social media campaign by simply posting a bunch of promotions and cross their fingers hoping their customers would convert. Blasting some promo isn’t a strategic approach, it’s a waste of time. You would have better success hiring a mascot and have him stand on a street corner waving a flag (I don’t endorse this). Organizations that have a ‘convert now’ social media mindset fail. If you fail to plan then plan to fail.

Social media can be a sales tool but only AFTER you have built community and trust. This is why some CEO’s and entrepreneurs don’t understand the value in social media or have the patience to truly invest into it. Social media will ask us to ignore the bottom line for a moment and think long term. If you can’t think long term then I can’t help you, no one can.

Regardless of what industry you are in, focus on building social media customer trust and see what happens. When you convert a customer after building trust I want to hear about it. Hit me up with an email and don’t forget to celebrate your success.

What are your thoughts? Why are you using social media?

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