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Generating sales using social media marketing is easy much easier to grasp, once you recognize the shift occurring with social media marketing models, platforms and technology. Sales models are changing rapidly too - it’s no longer a one way interaction from a seller to a buyer, but driven by conversations among informed consumers.
1) Customers, whether business to business or business to consumer, are now defining their own buying cycle by listening to and enagaging with others via the Social Web. As Brian Solis has pointed out via his superb book (Engage) “social media has democratized influence.” Your focus needs to be on identifying your target markets and then engaging with them via Social Media Platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Groupon, etc.).
2) Build relationships with key influencers in the markets you are targeted. These “social influencers” typically generate 20-50% of all traffic via a site, although only comprising 2-5% of the entire site - engage and reward these targeted individuals and your brand will generate much higher visibility and engagement.
This can be via direct contact, advertising via their site (Bloggers or thought leaders), hosting Webinars and using the influencer as a featured speaker or even featuring the influencer as a guest blogger on your site.
3) It’s critical to measure your social media marketing processes - each top tier social platform has it’s own measurement tools, albeit Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. But these built in analytics in some cases are not sufficient to identify real marketing ROI.
4) You must build great content to enable and foster conversation within the social community. As I blogged about in an earlier post “Powerful Strategies for Content Marketing” - it’s critical to build high quality content (Video, Text, Images, Surveys, etc.) and syndicate this content across the Social Web via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, Tumblr). It’s brand awareness that drives engagement and ultimately sales.
5) Social media marketing drives much higher “conversions” (users taking or making a buying or request for more information) rates than standard online or offline advertising. We typically see conversion rates for social media marketing via influencer referrals (a trusted source) at 3-5X times greater than other types of advertising.
6) Social media marketing is moving so fast (processes, platforms, technologies) that I find many of my client’s are not able to or even factoring in how to involve their sales team in the processes. It’s critical that marketing talk to sales about new lead generation processes. Enabling sales to be up to speed with the processes, add value when/where they can and have an understanding of the anticipated sales life cycle.
7) Brand transparency in a social media context simply means individuals that are engaging with your business have a good sense of what you are selling, saying and how you are interacting with others. Be conscious of this as you deploy a social media marketing campaign. You’ll find people will be more drawn to your brand which will in turn drive incremental sales.
If you need more information about social media marketing please clickthrough to my contact page - would welcome speaking with you in real time.