April 14, 2014

7 key tips on making sales via social media

SM business
Social media can become the foundation of your business’s sales strategy.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaSocial media sites are platforms for celebrity gossip, political posturing, teenage socializing – and big business. Many professionals have found that a few insider tricks and tips have turned social media into the dominant lead and conversion generator in their entire marketing strategy. But these methods aren’t reserved exclusively for social media marketing companies or social marketing experts.

Follow this guide to making sales on social media.

Social listening

1When it comes to eavesdropping on conversations regarding the product or service you sell and in the area that you sell it, Twitter is still the undisputed king. Use Twitter’s search function to find hashtagged topics that have to do with your niche, and then locate those who are unsatisfied with their current provider and approach them privately for true social marketing. Use Twitter to listen, not to talk.

Locate buyers with LinkedIn

2Use LinkedIn to find buyers within organizations. Most companies have a dedicated individual – or several individuals or an entire department, depending on the size of the business – who does all or most of the company’s buying. After finding specific businesses in your niche category, use LinkedIn to find who in that business makes the calls regarding purchasing.

Be ready

3When you find prospective buyers, make sure you’re ready if they decide to pull the trigger. Make sure you have not only the inventory, but a secure and functional website complete with shopping cart plugins and payment software.

Use Facebook for individual sales

4Experts in many social media marketing companies agree that Facebook is still the king of business-to-consumer sales. Use Facebook‘s targeted advertisements and build your own Facebook business page to generate leads and create a community of customers.

Use LinkedIn for business sales

5LinkedIn is a resource dedicated exclusively to business. It is this resource that is the strongest in generating business-to-business sales. LinkedIn is where you will find individuals within large businesses to make sales.

Always check the comments

6The comments sections of social media have become the message boards of today. If there is a post regarding your product or service, always read the comments that follow. It is there that a new resource is likely to gripe about existing services or inquire about how to find new provider.

Converse, don’t pitch

7Social media is a two-way street. People use it to listen as well as to be heard. Those who simply announce their service, advertise deals or pitch products are quickly written off as spammers or ignored altogether. Social media is for listening as well as talking. Engage, don’t broadcast.

Social media may have not been invented with sales and marketing in mind, but businesses have come to rely on social media just the same. Develop a strategy that revolves around customer engagement – not just selling and pitching. Use the right site for the right purposes, and watch the new era of selling pay off.

Photo credit: Flickr user Dragan Mestrovic

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers social media, the blogosphere and online business. Email him or follow him on Twitter at @andrewscottlisa.