In the world of social media, your customers are finding information about your brand across many different platforms, from Twitter to Facebook, LinkedIn to Pinterest, and even sites like Quora, Reddit, and YouTube. Through their day-to-day journeys across all these sites, your customers are qualifying you as someone with whom they want to do business.
But the trick to social selling is that the reverse can—and should—also be true. It’s not enough to only have a presence on social media and manage conversations. You need to use these multiple platforms to qualify your leads. Not only are social profiles ripe with bio information, but users’ interactions and behaviors are telling signs of where a customer stands in the journey to your product. Be a part of this interaction to figure out when your customers are ready to buy. Qualify your leads through social engagement.
According to the Pew Research Center, 52% of online adults used two or more social media sites in 2014, up from 42% the previous year. While the percentage of online adults using Facebook remained steady over the past year, sites like Twitter and LinkedIn each grew by about 27%. Pinterest and Instagram saw even higher rates of growth, and now Twitter and Instagram share over half of their customer bases.
Furthermore, a study by IPG Media Lab found that 60% of users interact with different types of people and brands depending on the social network. While they preferred to interact with business contacts and industry experts on LinkedIn, they used Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to connect with brands.
Know where each of these social sites fits within your sales funnel and plan to use them accordingly.
Be There, Even When You’re Not
Your unique content can be repurposed across almost any social channel. This blog post might start out here on blog.socedo.com, but this afternoon it will be traveling across Twitter in 140 characters, posted as an image and short teaser on LinkedIn, and scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed by the end of the day. In a week, it could be condensed into main points and uploaded to SlideShare, and the most engaging slide in the deck could find its way on Pinterest.
Not all of these channels are built for interacting with leads, but regardless of which sites your customers are using, your content will be there waiting for them. That image they see on Pinterest might just remind them of that article title they saw on Twitter, and before you know it, they’re reading your blog.
Qualify Through Engagement
Multiple social channels offer you a wealth of information about your customers, and their actions can reveal the kind of relationship they have with your brand, whether they’re heavily engaged, ready to know more, or still deciding. Favoriting a tweet, following back, and commenting on your posts are good indicators that a lead is ready to take the next step in their journey. Unfortunately, there’s no social media conversion chart. Is a “like” on Facebook worth one tenth of a Twitter retweet? Which is greater: a comment on YouTube or an upvote on Quora?
At the end of the day, social selling is about driving leads into your sales funnel, and some social sites are well built for one-to-one, personalized interactions with your customer base. While a repin on Pinterest is a good sign that a customer enjoys your product, a retweet on Twitter, due to its conversational nature, offers a better opportunity to follow up and take the next step in the journey.
No matter where your customers are, reach out to them, and see what happens. Social engagement is an effective way to qualify your leads as sales-ready. Track if they are sharing, tweeting, or posting about your content, and follow up on the platforms that allow you to begin the sales conversation. At Socedo, we use Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with our target customers, send personal messages, and follow up when leads respond.
Move Off Social
Once you have warm leads, it’s time to move them into your sales funnel . . . and off of social media. Have you ever had a Twitter direct message conversation that lasted more than two or three responses? Have you ever seen a YouTube comment chain that stayed on topic? Whether it’s a landing page, an email list, or a phone call, keep your selling process dynamic with the customer journey.
There’s a reason why people share Flickr photos on Tumblr, YouTube videos integrate seamlessly in the Twitter feed, and you can “Sign In with Facebook” on almost any site. The average online American spends over two hours each day on social media because their interactions take them on a varied path across multiple platforms. It’s the place where personal interactions can occur with strangers and real-time information is readily available at the fingertips. If you can stay as nimble as your customers on social media, you can find them, qualify them, and usher them into your sales funnel.