Stop thinking about social networks as a business tool for a second. Think about how YOU use it. Think about how your friends, your coworkers, and your family use it. As a community, we use social media for amusement, for sharing, and for inclusion. We laugh at tweets from our favorite fictitious characters. We share moments, ideas, and thoughts that we hope to spread far and wide. We also participate in event hashtags, brand campaigns, and social chats. Chances are, you’ll find a data point that backs the legitimacy of every social media use-case mentioned. But as marketers, it’s time to understand that social media is not meant for one distinct use-case—it follows us through the entire marketing funnel. The promise of social media was relationships. We’ve strayed away from that promise, but by sharing this social methodology far and wide, we can stay true to that initial promise.
How to Attracts Leads Using Social Media
Here are four ways a marketer can attract visitors using social networks.
- Identify Influencers: Use tools like SocialStatistics.com’s Google+ statistics, LinkedIn Groups top contributor lists, or Twitter’s recommended list of who to follow to discover influencers in your industry. By following and interacting with influencers for your brand, you’ll hopefully attract their reach to your own accounts. Remember, existing customers are influencers of your brand too!
- Engage in Communities: Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn each have their own respective communities or groups you can join and participate in. Use them as an opportunity to share your voice—not spam your content—with users who have interests as your target audience. A directory of LinkedIn Groups can be found here to help you get started.
- Create Captivating Content: This one is said time and time again, but without the right content distributed to the right audience, you’ll have little luck capturing the attention of a social media user.
- Target with Lists: Twitter lists and Google+ Circles can help surface the social messages that you should be responding to. Think about who each user is to your business—a subscriber, lead, or customer—and interact accordingly.
How to Convert Leads Using Social Media
Here are three ways a marketer can convert the visitors attracted into actual leads for the sales team.
- Interact, Don’t Respond: Saying “ok” or “lol” back in a text message isn’t going to prompt a conversation. Neither is a simple “favorite” or “like” on social. If you want to have a conversation with a lead, give them something to talk about. Conversations should be founded on shared value, so share content that gets your leads talking.
- Share Customer Case Studies and Landing Pages: If you want someone to like what you have to offer, show off what you have to offer! While to some this means product promotion, a more welcoming approach is to feature your customers. If people see the good in you from third-party testimonials, they’ll be more likely to contact you. Long form content that drive conversions through landing pages can also help meet this goal. Friendly content is much wider received than product promotions.
- Use Context in Conversations: Cross-reference a name on social with your contacts database or customer relationship management (CRM) software to get context on who the person is to your business. This will help you identify which prospects need to be converted into leads with forms on your landing pages.
How to Close Customers Using Social Media
Here are three ways a sales rep can close marketing-generated leads into actual customers for the business.
- Obsess Over the Lead, Not Over the Competition: Don’t take actions or make comments that show you’re better than the competitor. Instead, reach out to the person you truly care about: the potential customer. Show them value: true, differentiated, value. Don’t just say what you have to offer is “better,” say what distinguishes your brand and makes you worth it. Using the available profile information and messages shared can help personalize each conversation.
- Be the First to Respond: When you see a lead talking on social about a product or service you offer—or better yet your company itself—it’s imperative that you are the first to respond. Your immediate interest in providing solutions or answers to their questions will create a sense of credibility and trust, as long as your response is pure and human, not spammy or aggressive.
- Use Social Context to Inform Sales Calls: Using social networks can give you an idea of what’s actually important to the lead. By showing subtle support through a retweet, or engaging them in conversation that has nothing to do with your agenda, you end showing them that you have their interests, challenges, and needs in mind, as opposed to your own. This provides a greater window of opportunity for you to adjust the actual phone pitch to your liking.
How to Delight Customers Using Social Media
Here are two ways a customer service or support rep can delight customers on an ongoing basis.
- Stay in Touch: The last thing your company should be doing is forgetting about your customers after the conversion. Real life relationships rely on sustaining communication, and maintaining love past the “honeymoon stage.” Use social as an easy place for your customer support reps to continue chatting with customers.
- Make Communication Clear: Don’t leave customers wondering how they should get in touch with you when a problem or concern comes their way. Try creating a customer specific hashtag that all customers can use to get in touch with your company. Your customer team can use this list to monitor conversations and respond when needed.
Using these guidelines and following the marketing funnel, you’ll be able to truly be social online and attract visitors on social networks.
Read another blog on social media marketing.