How Small Business can Convert Prospects into Clients with Conversations on Social Media
November 4, 2016
Featured Follower Friday – Author Nicky Kriel @NickyKriel
Nicky Kriel’s latest book – Converting Conversations to Customers: The Essential Guide to Social Media Sales Success is packed with a lot of good information for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs which is why she was chosen as our Featured Follower along with a sample of some of the good info in this book.
“There is a reason for the word ‘Social’ in Social Media. Social Media is not so much about technology, but about people and relationships.”
Nicky goes on to say that while technology is important in that it gives you the ability to reach a wider audience and build a bigger network of people, it is people and relationships that drive sales…the lifeblood for business success. Her goal in this book is to help us as business owners to increase sales without being ‘salesy’.
I will highlight a small portion of her strategies and ideas here that I think are most relevant to small business owners like the clients I work with, as well as some of my own thoughts and marketing experience.
Some of the key goals that are helpful on social media are:
- Build a personal brand so people fell that they know, like and trust you (a key here is to be authentic).
- Attract the right customers (so they seek you out.)
- Listen for business opportunities (learn what to look for on social media daily streams)
- Build and nurture the human relationships so when people are ready to buy you are top of mind.
Small Business Typically Should Focus on LinkedIn and Twitter
“Ultimately, Social Selling is a process and not about the platforms. You need to interact with your customers where they hang out, not where you are most comfortable. At the moment, the platforms where sales people get the best results for generating leads for business are LinkedIn and Twitter.” “…when you use both together, they complement each other nicely.”
While every business is unique and you should take a look at all the social media outlets to see which is most likely to reach your target audience I agree with Nicky Kriel’s decision to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter for Small Businesses that don’t have an internal marketing department and/or have a small marketing budget. (Facebook dominates social media but is not business-centric and has become primarily a pay-to-play platform, where you often need to pay for ads to even reach the majority of your followers.)
To grow and thrive in the long run you shouldn’t ignore social media, but you need to focus on the right priorities for your business, not necessarily the number of followers or likes, etc.
“The question everyone should be asking is: How can I make sure that Social Media works toward my business objectives?”
You don’t have to use social media to follow celebrities or politics, you should use it to connect with current and future clients and build relationships.
For LinkedIn you need to focus on your business, things that you would focus on in a presentation to new prospects (Goal: Professionalism).
For Twitter you should show your human side, yes they should know you own a business but it also should reflect your personality and interests so you can connect on a deeper level. (Goal: Likeability)
LinkedIn should focus on demonstrating your experience, skills and knowledge. While you can typically only contact people you know or ask for an introduction, a big advantage is that you own your own contact database – you have the option to download your contacts from LinkedIn and save them.
LinkedIn offers a great search feature to find people based on job description, keywords or company. This means you can often find the right contacts for your type of product or service. (Of course this is not a secret so these key purchasing managers may be getting deluged with some pushy sales people trying to connect.)
Twitter is more of a focus on who you are … can your future customers get to know, like and trust you? Here you show both your expertise and how you interact with people. Potential customers for your small business get an impression of you and can connect your website, blog articles and LinkedIn profile to learn more about your products and services.
The big advantage with Twitter is that you can contact anyone; you are not restricted to a limited network of people.
Social Media Marketing Benefits
Using Social Media to sell your products and services does not mean you never have face to face meetings or interactions by phone, these are still essential for the sales process. It can shorten the sales process and help prequalify your prospects, and can usually be done on a smaller budget than some of the more traditional methods of developing qualified prospect pool.
Social Media is not about instant sales; like any other social group you need to become part of a community of trust to earn the right to talk about what you offer (without being seen as pushy). Also remember as I mention often; people don’t care about the features of your product they care about how it solves an issue they are having or how it benefits them specifically. (WIIFM – what’s in it for me?)
Build a strong Personal Brand: Visibility creates opportunity. Get found on Google > LinkedIn profiles rank high on Google (by name) as do Twitter accounts and mentions.
70-90% of the buying process has already happened before buyers approach a company.
If someone is considering doing business with you there is a good chance they will pay attention to your online presence. A neglected and dusty social media account does not make a good impression. Remember people do business with people they know, like and trust so let them get to know you as well as your business (within some professional limits of course.)
You can build a foundation of trust with Social Selling not just with one-on-one interactions but also with your blog articles, posts, tweets, etc. Delivering consistent messages that demonstrate your value and show potential customers how you write, how you think, how you behave, and how you respond to complaints can be invaluable to building trust online. Once you have that baseline of trust the one-on-one interactions can lead to shorter closing times on sales.
“Selling is about understanding where the customer is in their journey, and what their needs are and the timescale of their needs.”
“Social Media allows you to be in your client’s mind at the moment they are ready to buy.”
They key to your small business success in Social Media is finding the where and when for your current and future clients.
Social Media makes it easier to find people with specific interests or who have indicated they may be in the market for your products or services.
If you find a key purchasing decision maker on LinkedIn but don’t have a direct connection option, search for them on twitter to follow their interests and begin connecting on similar interests and interact to start building a relationship and later bring that connection to LinkedIn or offline.
Optimize your social media profiles, think of them as your online CV or Resume to highlight the benefits of working with you and your business. Make your profile as complete as possible, for example fill in all experiences and skill sets on LinkedIn and also make your profiles rich with relevant keywords.
Write your profile for the person who will be reading it, focus on the benefits you provide to others; who you are, who you help and how you help them. This gives the reader the info to know how you can help them or someone they know. Write your summary as a story with an introduction to pull them in, a middle to tell your story, and a conclusion ideally with a request for action or contact info.
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I recommend this book if you are looking for some good tips and strategies on growing your business. Social Media Marketing is not going away anytime soon, and as you know in business if you are not growing you are likely falling behind your competition.
Please join us in conversation on this topic, we would love to hear any strategies you use or learn from this book that help you Make Your Business Bloom. Share your thoughts in comments or social media.
Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!