As there’s more than one way to skin a cat, I’ve also come to understand that there’s more than one way for you to sell your products. Last week, completely on a whim, I decided to participate in a local walking tour that aims to educate both locals and tourists about some of the hidden attractions along the route. It was actually pretty fun and I’m somewhat ashamed to say that there are actually a number of places that I’m unfamiliar with even with two decades of living in this city.
Still, the biggest surprise comes right at the end of the tour when I exchanged contact information with other participants and, thinking that we might get together again for another walking tour, was instead bombarded with no less than three business opportunities. Everything these days, it seems, are networking events. If you’re willing to go that far, everything can be turned into a sales channel as can be seen in social media platforms where opportunities to make new acquaintances have been turned into this giant marketplace by social media services and marketers through the practice of social selling.
We’re not here to make friends
I still remember that innocent time in 2008 where Facebook was a way for me to, if not make friends, at least get in touch with other people in that wide circle we call college. Even though I’ve lost touch with a number of people I met during that time, I’m still quite indebted to Facebook as the platform provided me with plenty of opportunities to connect further with people that I recognized from that one class we shared. Just as how Facebook was quite effective for the purpose of finding new people to hang out with, it should be of little surprise that Facebook (and social media platforms in general) can be quite effective as a platform to peddle your products and/or services.
In theory, the practice of social selling is a separate entity when compared to the practice of social media marketing with the key differentiator being the issue of revenue generation. In practice though, the lines between the two can get a little blurry as the practice of social selling can involve more long-term strategies that might not generate revenue immediately but more about raising awareness on the value proposition of the brand, which technically falls under the general umbrella of marketing. No matter what term you use however, social media can be a valuable platform in expanding your businesses’ reach.
The downside however is that social selling can be somewhat tricky to ace. The popularity of social media platforms is still a recent phenomenon and with the likes of Facebook and Instagram constantly updating and adding new features to their respective platforms, it can be quite hard to get a handle on nailing the practice of social selling. As customer trends change and technology progresses, what works today might not produce the same result so it’s important to take the following 4 tips in mind when considering your social selling efforts.
Carefully monitor activities around your brand and your industry
As social media platforms have grown astonishingly massive, with both Facebook and Instagram boasting more than 1 billion users, it’s getting harder to find prospective leads in that ocean of people. Luckily, most platforms come with monitoring tools that should make your job easier in trying to discover prospective leads. Find relevant keywords or hashtags and take a look at the activities around your competitors to scope for potential leads. As your business and the public awareness of your brand goes bigger, you might be able to simply wait for potential leads to come to you but for small businesses who are just starting out, engaging with potential leads is definitely the way to go.
Pay close attention whenever your brand is mentioned or tagged
Another way to scope out for potential leads is to drop by whenever your brand is mentioned or tagged in public. There’s a chance that these mentions aren’t going to be complimentary but instead of shying away from confrontation, these negative mentions could actually be used as an opportunity for you to set things right. If it turns out that the fault lies with you, this provides you with the opportunity to show that you care while if it’s not your fault, this could prevent your reputation from being damaged further. For complimentary mentions, you could simply drop by in the comments and scope out other commenters or those who liked the posts for potential leads.
Connect with influencers and other important figures
Around a decade ago, when small businesses aren’t as plentiful as they are now, my buying process was pretty simple. There were only a couple of boutique denim and leather shoe brands to pay attention to and finding the most ideal pair of jeans or shoes wouldn’t take too long. Fast forward ten years later however and the landscape is as crowded as Bondi Beach on a summer’s day and I have to rely on curators in the form of influencers for my decision making process.
I’m not talking about influencers in the style of the Hadids, Kardashians and the Jenners but more along the lines of microinfluencers with relatively small but loyal followings. These microinfluencers won’t make gossip headlines anytime soon and are usually only known to those with a keen interest in the industry but are highly regarded within their specific niche. If your business targets aficionados and those with an appreciation for the finer things in life, these microinfluencers should be of particular interest.
Try out targeted ads
If you’re looking to expand your reach beyond what you’re capable of doing on your own, you might want to try out paid/targeted ads. As these social media platforms try to further commercialize their platforms, these ads are going to be even more prominent (if they haven’t already) and you might reach a point where your organic marketing efforts simply aren’t working. Targeted ads can also be useful if you’re in the middle of a campaign as the extra incentives might prove to be enough to entice prospective leads.