Engaging vs Selling on Social Platforms

Have your social media platforms transformed into a sales tool for your business?  If you’re not using social media in your digital marketing program, you’re missing out.  A recent study found that when using social media tactics in combination with traditional selling techniques, businesses yield a 10% greater response.  Why?  Perhaps it’s because 78% of buyers feel that what is posted on social media impacts their purchase. That said, no one wants to be hit with a hard sale while checking their Facebook or Twitter feeds.  The secret to success is a balancing act between engagement and asking for the sale.   

Social Selling
Approach this technique carefully so as not to annoy your target market/social followers.  Social selling doesn’t mean that you abandon everything else that you’ve built up in your social program.  It means that you add to and slightly modify what you’re doing.  In order to be successful at social selling you need to continue posting the type of engaging and valuable content that your target market is seeking.  When you have this your market will keep coming back and eventually won’t mind hearing your soft sell (emphasis on “soft”); however it’s a discrete balancing act that if not done correctly could end up turning your audience off to your message.  Engaging content includes:

  • Emotionally relevant information
  • Offers new information to your target market
  • Provides value to your audience
  • Compels a reader to take action

When you provide engaging content it is more likely to be shared.  Keeping it relevant and new will also help you SEO efforts as search engines appreciate fresh content.  When your audience keeps coming back to your social media sites to read your content it helps them start to become brand aware and, eventually, brand loyal.  Once you have been successful at this you can slip in a sales message every 4th or 5th post.  Sales content includes:

  • Promoting a product or service specific to your brand
  • Letting the audience know about your brands accomplishments/achievements
  • Announcements or press releases

Posting Frequency By Platform
Posting frequency is so important when trying to sell on social media.  Etiquette varies from one social media platform to the next.   If you try to implement a one size fits all approach you will fall flat on your face.  Consider each platform as if it were its own unique marketing channel.  You wouldn’t run a print ad at the same frequency that you run a radio campaign so why post on Twitter at the same rate that you’re posting on Instagram?  Here are some social media posting general rules of thumb to follow by channel:

  • Facebook: When considering how often to post on Facebook take a hard look at your followers’ age range, interests, Facebook habits, and so on.  Some businesses are posting just to post.  That’s a bad idea.  Carefully plan out an editorial calendar to make sure you have something of value to post every day.  For Facebook pages with a fan base of between 200-10,000 followers it is recommended to post no more than 15 times per month (3-4 times a week). 
  • LinkedIn: Consistent posting encourages engagement and fosters familiarity. Post at least once per work day.  LinkedIn published some statistics in 2014 that said its internal research showed 20 posts a month tended to be optimal for engaging users, though its high-volume marketers posted a lot more often with good results.
  • Twitter: This platform can often give businesses heartburn when first starting out.  Consistency is important with Twitter so start out small and build up your stamina.  It is recommended to start with at least three tweets per week for consistency’s sake, then ramping up from there.
  • YouTube: If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Video is huge!  It’s no surprise that even YouTube has a rule of thumb for optimal results.  Weekly is a great frequency for uploading YouTube videos. Generally speaking 30 seconds – 2 minutes is usually a sufficient amount of time for videos.
  • Pinterest/Instagram: Try to repin, comment, share, and add new content to your accounts daily. Photo sharing streams moves quickly, so focused bursts will only been seen by a fraction of the people using the service. Dripping out content over time, on a more frequent basis, will result in greater visibility. 

Start Social Selling Today
The benefits to social selling include greater visibility online, increased SEO, more traffic being driven to your website and an increase in brand awareness.  But it can’t be done without a plan.  First put together an editorial calendar to help you plan out your content and resources.   The calendar should include your non-promotional content sprinkled with your promotional content and indicate the frequency at which you will post both. 

So what now?  It’s a lot of work to take on by yourself.  GlobalDirective can help.  The first step to implementing a successful social selling campaign is to understand your target markets habits, interests and pain points.  From there you can build your content to address these things by successfully writing valuable and findable pieces of information that your target market cares about. 

This is a guest blog written by Michelle Keyser, Director of Social Media and Content Marketing, at GlobalDirective, a digital marketing agency, where she is a strategist and blog contributor. Contact GlobalDirective today for more information by calling 1.866.925.9524.