Social Engagement and Social Sales Funnels
What is social selling to you?
Is it promoting your products on Facebook?
Your Twitter ad budget?
A premium LinkedIn page with content that links back to your website?
Any of these could fit the description of social selling if your understanding of “social” begins and ends with traditional social media channels.
Stop Pontificating and Start Talking
Two-way dialogue or one way communication. In a nutshell that’s the difference between social engagement and social advertising, the two methods of social selling.
Let’s start with the modern billboard known as social advertising. Sure, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn might engage your target audience. But do they actually move the needle when it comes to building relationships with your prospects and creating affinity for your brand?
In many ways, these platforms have become what the roadside billboard was last century, a way grab your attention for a fleeting moment but then move on. And while it can be effective—especially if your aim is to reach a mass audience or drive clicks to an article.
Think about what you see on Facebook and Twitter daily.
How much of what’s there speaks to buyers of technology and services for business?
How does it add a face and personality to the organization that these buyers may spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars with over a lifetime?
Don’t get me wrong, traditional social channels certainly have benefits, especially when it comes to customer service. Having a dedicated social team that can respond quickly and compassionately to customer complaints can make the difference between happy customers and a full-fledged social media firestorm.
However, skin-deep social media channels often do little to make a brand feel more human, especially when the content is automated.
In this crowded digital universe, social selling is not just about amplifying your message for group-think purposes. It’s also about driving organic, meaningful conversations with real people.
Genuine grassroots social engagement is happening on global social communities. The unifying aspect of these communities is organic connections, chatter and problem solving in a particular industry.
So how does that work?
It starts by having clarity of purpose. These communities often pride themselves on transparency and aim to help members solve the unique challenges they’re facing through connections with industry peers and vendors.
But social engagement through online communities is not a self-help desk. It is a living, breathing entity that only exists from the bottom-up.
True social engagement occurs when individuals are providing their insights and talents to help fellow members for the sake of helping them.
Social communities give marketers an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with their customers and prospects, but repeatedly selling your products and flaunting your brand is a surefire way to get ignored, or worse erode brand value. It’s a different approach than simply pushing out self-promotional content on Facebook or Twitter.
Marketers must be themselves, connect prospects and customers with helpful resources, and be willing to help anyone in the community solve their problem whether it involves their product or not.
Knowing When Social Selling is Right for your Business
Ultimately, it’s best not to think of social selling as the simple act of pitching a product on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Social selling is both advertising and facilitating meaningful dialogue.
But when it comes to engaging in a two-way dialogue in social communities, it’s important for marketers to determine if it’s the right approach based on your objectives.
Are you aiming to drive higher marketing KPIs like clicks and contacts?
Or are you aiming to drive meaningful engagement with prospects that can lead to actual sales and brand affinity?
The creation of more meaningful experiences with them, is the way, prospects are more likely to trust your brand, use your products and recommend them to peers.
That’s the true benefit of using social selling to build brand affinity instead of just clicks.
Most business people will tell you that selling is not their favorite activity.
So let’s explore a way to look at the process of sales a bit more favorably.
Whether we like it or not—“we’re all in sales”. Most of us have an internal dialogue about both selling and closing that is less than positive.
Most of us approach the sales portion of our business hoping we’re not “coming off like a salesman.”
Most of us hate to be sold to. Yet most of us have to sell to live. Most of us realize that in order to keep our business afloat, we need to sell. So, I suggest that you give up that need to sell and take a different approach.
Please notice that I didn’t ask you to give up the commitment to sell, but rather the need to sell. The hardest time to do anything is when you need to.
In the revised edition of his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, the noted psychiatrist and author Victor Frankl coined the term “Paradoxical Intentionality”.
He defines “Paradoxical Intentionality” as “The twofold fact that fear brings about that which one is afraid of, and that hyper-intention makes impossible that which one wishes.”
In other words, if you need to do something it makes the task much more difficult. Frankl’s thesis can best be illustrated by an example with which we all can identify.
The last time you needed to get to sleep because you had something important to do the next morning… how easy was it to get to sleep? The last time you needed to stay awake for the end of a film… how easy was it to stay awake?
So I repeat… give up the need to sell.
Be committed 150% to making the sale but avoid becoming tied to the “outcome” of making the sale.
This is contrary to what many of us have been taught. However, if you view yourself as a “problem solver” rather than a “maker of sales” this concept will make much greater sense.
The problem can be defined as, “something that exists when there is a difference between what you have and what you want.”
By definition then, the role of business is, “The ability to solve other people’s problems and get and make a profit.”
Closing is “the ability to create an environment in which the prospect can come to the conclusion that our product or service will solve his/her problem.”
Based on these definitions, our job becomes a process in which we first uncover whether the prospect has the type of problems our business can solve.
Next we have to find out if the prospect truly believes that a problem exists (and it’s important to let the prospect be the judge.)
If the prospect believes that there is a problem, and that the problem is likely to cause monetary or emotional sacrifices, he or she will be more open to having someone who can be trusted to help solve their problem.
In other words, the prospect begins to close the deal themselves.
Your prospect will begin to convince and influence you that there is a need for your help. He or she will become the source of the sales presentation and the close.
As backwards sounding as this may seem… it’s really the way it works.
Because the responsibility of convincing and influencing is assumed willingly by the prospect nearly all of the stress and negativity we associate with selling literally disappears.
Use this approach to selling and you’ll see a big difference.
Instead of trying to sell things to people, you will get to solve people’s problems. And that is a much more enjoyable way to approach the selling your product or service.
When you give up the need to sell and begin to think of yourself as a problem solver, then the magic really starts to happen.
The whole selling process from start to finish, the ability to attract, interact and convert customers is primarily an emotional one.
Therefore using proven and effective methods and strategies is vital to the successful outcomes. In addition to making absolute certain your intention is to provide a solution and not a sale will help you establish loyal customers for your business.
There are some very important principles that will help you build the most powerful social sales funnel possible.
The first principle is engagement. We want people to engage with our content in many different ways. We don’t want them to just read emails that we send them, we want them also to take the actions that we ask them to take.
So how do we do this?
Social sales funnels
By now you should be well underway of knowing the kind of market you want to be involved with and what your perfect prospect looks like in that market.
You should definitely know some things about your ideal prospect and be ready to create your own social sales funnel.
There are 3 important things to know before you start the process.
- # 1 Identify what motivates our prospects?
What is motivating the ideal prospect you have in the niche that you’re working in?
- # 2 What problems do they have?
What challenges are they facing? What’s standing in the way of them getting from where they are now to where they want to be?
- # 3 Who are their authorities?
Who are the people they go to and trust online?
In conjunction to what we already know about them, we want to to match that with what we send to your prospects.
The same goes for their problems and their motivations. Ultimately we want to establish a common bond.
And we want do this as often as you can. We need to show that we genuinely understand and have a solution(s) to their problems. Whatever your market and your ideal prospects motivations, desires, and problems are, the more you can relate to them the better.
We’re attracting to ourselves our perfect prospect.
We already know where their problems lies, we already know what they’re interested in, we know a little bit about their motivations, their concerns, what makes them happy and so on.
Now we’re going to share content with them that we know is going to resonate with them. In addition, we’re going to give it to them in different forms. In this way we can connect to a full range of people, because some people have a preference in the way they communicate.
Some use email, others use Facebook. You Tubers communicate on another level all together. No matter what source you use they’re going to want to know two basic things.
- They want to know who you are,
- And how you can help them.
Along with the content you provide another way you can make a connection with your ideal prospect is to use social proof to prove that the product you’re promoting works for people just like them.
Here are a few ways you can use social proof right away:
Add customer testimonials to your website or newsletters.
Emphasize your follower and subscriber numbers on your blog.
Automate follow-up with great customers or contacts to ask for referrals.
Find experts who are interested in what you’re doing, build relationships and work together to find ways that they can help promote you.
This then leads us to the three step process of the sales funnel
The three step process of Social Sales Funnels
This can be by a lead magnet, lead capture, advertising and promotion. The primary piece is an offer to potential customers which is seen to be too good to resist. That it is targeted directly at the source of their pain and gives them an essential part of the solution.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the welcome message that you send when a subscriber first joins your list is vital to establishing that common bond between you and them.
It is super important that you lay that firm foundation on day one. Your welcome message is something we’re going to spend some time on and we’re going to really focus in on that.
Number two, you want to share with them core content which basically means don’t just send email, don’t just use Facebook, don’t just do any one thing; you want to do a variety of things.
You’re in the business of convincing them with the quality of the content you provide and how targeted the information is to them. Because you have that tightly defined avatar, you now have the opportunity to convert them and sell them something.
The secret is you don’t send this engagement series to everybody, you only send it to people who choose your lead magnet and opt in to your list.
The third element of social sales funnels is to:
Now you want to convert them.
Using an engagement series;which can be a series of emails that go out about detailing a specific product and it goes out only to people who buy your product.
This series of emails is offering them an opportunity to have an up-sell, or to recommend you to their friends, or to become your affiliate, or to do other things that put money in your pocket and creates a stronger connection between you and your new buyer.
Step One Create your very own lead magnet.
The lead magnet is very important. You need to think about a useful but incomplete lead magnet and you need to think about something they really would want.
Step Two create your squeeze page.
- A compelling headline.
- A sub-headline that compliments the headline. (This is optional)
- An image that represents what they will download.
- Three to five bullet points that talk about what’s in it for the visitor if they opt in.
- A button that can’t be missed with a clear call to action.
The secret to a squeeze page. You want a person to look at it and instantly decide, “Yes, that’s what I want.” You don’t want them having to feel like they need to read a bunch of other stuff.
Step Three create your Follow up messages.
Sending your messages can be via email and or by contacting them through social media such as a Facebook posts
This engagement series is where you take your product apart. “Here are the main reasons you might want this product, here’s what’s in the membership area, here’s how other member’s are benefiting from being members, here’s what’s in it for you.”
This engagement series is very important and it’s different from your core content. It is vital that your subscribers know you care about them and they know how to use the content you provide.
Your focus though is on selling a very specific product, that is useful, practical and solves their problems and eliminates their pain.