I had a meeting today with an insurance agent who belongs to the same local networking group as I do. We were having coffee and getting to know each other, and when we started discussing social media for business, I said:
“Don’t even try to sell on social media; it doesn’t work”.
What came next was a cross-eyed look of confusion. I am sure he was thinking, “well if I’m not selling my services, then what am I doing there in the first place”??
I know this sounds counterintuitive, Selling your products and services rarely happens directly from social media.
Hear me out;
How to Sell Without the Slime
Have you been posting on Facebook about your business to the tune of no likes or comments? Usually those posts of yours where you say “our new protein bars are half off! Check it out!” ring to the tune of crickets, don’t they.
That’s because people are happy to buy when they find something that meets their need, but they do not like being sold to. Think about yourself when you’re in a store at the mall….the sales person comes up to you and asks if you need anything? Your defenses go up. You know they do!
What we also know is that social media can be a powerful tool for your business, if you use it correctly. Let’s dig into how social media should be used for promoting your business:
- Helping – Instead of thinking about selling your product or service to someone, think about helping them buy. Many people are out on Facebook and Google searching for information about what you do. After searching Google for possible options, many people will head out to Facebook, for example, and post a status “looking for recommendations”. If your profile is set up to lead people to your business page, you can lead people to your business simply by answering their post. This also works great in Facebook groups. Be on the lookout for questions you can answer in groups. Without being salesy at all, you can establish your expert status.
- Getting Social – Even though you are in business it’s OK to get social! What you are doing here is building awareness around what you do and who you are! Facebook just made the famous algorithm change just a few short weeks ago, didn’t they? The one where they prioritize “people” posts over “business” posts? First and foremost, people are on Facebook and other social media to connect with others. How you can use it for your business is to connect with others with your shared interests. It’s OK to get personal. I love dogs and I have new puppies. So I have been having a ton of conversations around them since they come home! I’ve attracted some loyal fans too.
- Entertaining – This is otherwise known as blowing off steam! This can be anything from a funny GIF to a viral video. My current obsession is the Taco Bell commercial “Web of Fries” and I shared this to my pages simply to entertain my audience. Life isn’t all about work, you know. How you can use this is just by acknowleging that your potential customers don’t think about work or shopping all the time too. Maybe they are on Twitter that day looking for some relaxation. Posting an inspiring quote, a cute kitty video or a hilarious super bowl commercial can be exactly what they need right now.
These are just 3 ways you can use social media to build awareness about you and your business. Using these techniques you can then apply the 80/20 rule when posting about your business. For every 4 posts helping, entertaining and educating, you can recommend your product or service in context.
So with all of this said, why use social media at all for business?
At the end of my conversation with the insurance agent, he asked me how then I could measure the ROI of social media. How can I track how “well” his posts are working toward attracting new clients?
This is where the strategy comes in!
Remember above when I said, selling rarely happens directly from the platform? That’s because happens with a combination of social media + email marketing + your website!
- Email has a median ROI of 122% – over 4x higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail, and paid search. (DMA and Demand Metric)
When you focus on taking your fans and followers off of social and into email leads, you can grow your list, nurture that list, make offers and turn leads into clients!