Here’s the truth.
Social media doesn’t generally help you sell your goods or services in a direct manner.
That’s why sales-based goals are inappropriate as social media goals.
But it will lead to increased sales – indirectly.
Using social media as part of your marketing and public relations strategy can increase your sales. The key is integrating it into a bigger marketing strategy that aims to increase your social network clout, raise brand awareness, enable adept, fast responses to customer feedback (negative and positive), improve your search engine ranking (if applicable), grow a digital presence and generally create goodwill towards your brand. These are all objectives that will lead to increased uptake of your products or services, whether you are a B2C or a B2B.
4 ways social media helps small businesses sell.
People who like a brand on social media are not just expressing their interest in the brand; they are expressing it publicly to their friends. They are comfortable with being associated with your business/brand. That’s a tacit testament to your business that will be seen by others. Others may even like your business or brand because they see someone they respect liking or following you. This public recognition and unspoken buy-in both help develop positive reputation for your business or brand.
When you engage (properly) with a community on social media, it becomes clear that real people are responding to the comments and feedback of a brand’s users/likers/followers. We know real people are responding because they respond to, read and ‘like’ our comments, they do smiley faces, they LOL, they occasionally misspell words and they show emotion. This improves the user’s sense of being cared about and valued as a consumer of a brand, and can make the consumer feel like they have a connection with your brand.
3. Customer Service.
Social media allows you to publicly show how good your customer service is. When a customer tweets or Facebooks a negative experience, your (smart) brand or business will respond ASAP to find out more, to assure the customer that you’re looking into it and you will PM (private message) them, and to show your concern for their poor experience.
Your smart brand won’t delete the comment or make a robotic ‘thanks for your feedback’ response, or tell the unhappy customer to go jump. Other users will see this interaction and be impressed with how you’ve handled it – or even comment with their support for your brand. This all builds your brand’s and your customers’ goodwill.
You know how much you pay to keep an ad in the Yellow Pages or in the local newspaper? You do it so you’re in front of people who need your business’ products or services, right? Well, social media keeps you in front of consumers until they are ready to buy, pretty much free (except for your time).
What’s more, it often keeps us in front of our key market – existing or previous customers, their friends and followers, and people searching online for your services or products. Social media, done properly, keeps your business top-of-mind for when your market is ready to spend – or to recommend you to someone else who is ready to spend.
In short, yes, social media can help your small business sell … if you do it well; if you use it as part of a bigger marketing strategy; and if you have the right objectives.
You might like to check out my blogpost about setting your business’ social media goals. I’d love to hear about your business’s experiences with using social media. Please leave a comment.
More Business articles from Business 2 Community:
- 4 Resume Tips for Teachers Transitioning Out of Teaching
- Consistently Good Customer Service Has Knowledge at Its Core
- Does Social Media Help Small Businesses Sell - Honestly?
- How To Give Your Calls To Action a Fighting Chance at Generating Leads
- Costs and Revenues Define Your Break Even Point for Profits