How to use Social Media to sell.

Selling is a social activity . Before Facebook, LinkedIn and the Internet generally people bought from people in social ways.

They asked for advice from friends, they gave their opinions over the garden fence and they wrote letters to manufacturers when products failed to live up to their promises. This is why salespeople spend so much time establishing a personal relationship, not just selling their product

Technology now makes it so easy for customers to find out anything they want about your products and service – both the good and the bad. They don’t even need too simply rely on what’s on your website says. Quite often that’s the last place they look.

There’s a wealth of blogs and forums and networks where they can get an unedited take on what it’s like to buy from you. Customers are more vocal than ever (especially about the bad stuff).

We quite often talk about the threat of social media however it also brings many opportunities.

We categorise these opportunities as Social Selling.

There are buyers across the world over who want what you’ve got to sell. They have a need, they have a timeframe for purchase, they even have budget. If only you could get in front of them, they’d buy from you right now. If only. Of course, to get in front of them you need to find out who they are, where they are and how to contact them.

Prior to Social Media this was very hard and very expensive. We often talk about using Social Media to Market our business and even now to provide Customer Service (see here).

There real opportunities however to use Social Media for selling .Research conducted last year by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that in the UK alone:

  • 69% of respondents think the buying process is changing faster than sales organisations are responding
  • 93% have received no training in using social media (and 53% want help doing so)
  • 71% believe that being a salesperson will be radically different in 5 years time.

So how can you start using Social Media to sell?

There are some relatively simple steps.:

  • Make extensive use of Facebook and Twitter to see what your customers and prospects are saying and to find those looking for customer service and sales help.
  • Follow customers, competitors and thought leaders on Twitter/LinkedIn to see what they are saying.
  • Join key customer groups on LinkedIn and begin monitoring what they are saying.
  • Run LinkedIn searches for carefully selected outbound targets.
  • Endorse a prospect/customer’s abilities on LinkedIn.
  • Research prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter before an email, call, or meeting.
  • Like or comment on a prospect/client’s social media post.
  • Set up Google Alerts for competitor terms (brand names, products, key people) –see google.com/alerts.

There is a lot more to Social Selling of course so if you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Sales tool for your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Why more and more businesses are using Social Media for Customer Service.

social-media-customer-service

We noticed that last year Nationwide were the first UK high street financial services provider to offer its customers 24/7 Twitter coverage, answering their questions and queries, as well as providing them with customer service information and support, any time of day or night.Much of their advertising now majors on this.You can see their announcement here

It may be a puzzle to some people why this would have any significance and some would assume this would have very little importance.However Customer service is evolving to match the rapid growth and development of new communication media, and today’s most popular social media platforms are the perfect opportunity to capitalize on that trend. When today’s customers try to get in touch an increasing number of businesses have turned to Social Media as a Customer Service tool.

The growth in using Social Media as a Customer Service tool is happening for several reasons:

1: Communication Is Immediate

When people are upset, or when they need answers to their questions, they want a response right away. They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read, sorted, and responded to. They don’t want to wait on hold for 30 minutes.One of the most effective elements of social media is its immediacy. The minute somebody makes a post on your Facebook wall or a post mentioning your brand, your admin team will receive a notification to take action.They will also know that this request is publicly visible. This is also a slight vulnerability—customers expect immediate responses when posting on social media, so if your response team isn’t prepared, it could cost you—but if you can respond within minutes of the original post, you’ll be able to make your customer very happy. This is especially effective for customers dealing with an urgent problem.You response will also be highly visible.

2: You Give People a More Personal Experience

Resourced properly Social Media means that it will be a person responding to a customer enquiry.There won’t be any automatically generated emails. There won’t be any tone-based phone menus. It’s just a question, followed by an answer.Social media also allows you to think carefully about your response and present it in a more casual, conversational tone. This way, you can retain your business identity while writing and communicating like a human, thus humanizing your business brand.

3: The Conversation Is Transparent and Highly Visible

This works both ways. For the customer, transparency is all about vindication. When customers are upset, they want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By allowing your customers to make their complaints or questions public in this way, you’re giving them an immediate outlet. They feel in control, and appreciate the urgency companies feel to respond when the issue is made public.For companies, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation. If you can answer a customer’s concerns quickly, nicely, and effectively, you’ll instantly leave all of your followers with a good feeling—confidence that your customer service is top-notch.

4: You’re Encouraging More Mentions for your Business.

More interactions on social media means you have more opportunities to point people back to your profile and ultimately your website. Your customers will mention you in their posts, making you visible to all their contacts. Even if they come to you with a concern or an issue, you’ll get visibility and an opportunity to show off your ability to quickly and effectively and correct the problem. When relevant, you can also post links to your site for more information. No matter how you handle questions and comments, you’ll be encouraging more activity and more mentions, which can also help your SEO rankings.

5: Follow-up Is Easy

Depending on how long it takes for the problem to be resolved, following up with your customer is fast and easy. If you manage to resolve the problem with a quick answer, you can immediately ask whether or not the interaction was helpful. If it wasn’t, you have an opportunity to take further action—rather than forcing the customer through another round of calling or emailing. If it was helpful, you have a publicly visible follow-up interaction that ends on a positive note. You can also make a note to follow up a few days later with a private message to make sure the customer is still satisfied.

6: Social Users Are More Likely to Talk About Their Experience

Intuitively, the people most likely to use social media are the people who like to socialize. The most active users have hundreds of followers and friends on various social media profiles, and they’re used to posting updates regularly.

How you respond to these people is significant, because they are more likely to tell others about their experience with your business. If you treat them well, they’ll share a positive experience with their extended social network—and you’ll get access to new potential fans and customers.

7: You Eliminate the Funnel

Customers hate the funnel. When customers contact you, they want to be responded to in the same medium. Otherwise, they feel like they are being ‘processed through a mechanical series of hoops, which leaves them with an alienated, impersonal feeling. Many major companies make the mistake of ushering people through one dedicated communication channel, usually a phone number or an email address, and isolating customers who reach out in any other method.

So many larger service businesses (Banks,Telecommunications and Energy sectors especially) are turning to Social Media to communicate with existing customers.Now many medium sized and smaller businesses are using it too.

Twitter in particularly has turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

If you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Customer Service tool to market your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Social Media Trends in 2015

Now the New Year celebrations have subsided its worth taking a look at what might happen in Social Media over the next year:

1. Facebook Video will continue to grow.

Video is the latest powerful trend in social media, with Facebook taking advantage of it to a full extent. It already saw a massive surge in video views during 2014, that’s why there are plans for more features.Ultimately Facebook video may overtake Youtube which would really be an achievement.

2. Facebook will focus even more intently on good content.

Facebook relies heavily on media coverage, that’s why they tend to place news links higher on our news feeds. Facebook is determined to end like-gating (the use of artificial incentives to get people to like your page), which means that it’s more important than ever to focus on good content, as a way to inform your audience and gain a bigger audience.

3. Twitter Real-Time Use

Twitter is already powerful for real-time updates, especially when it comes to emergencies and live events. I think more users will experiment with live chats, proving that your updates are fast and relevant to anything that might be happening worldwide.

4. Twitter For Customer Service

Twitter has also turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, you need to resource it.Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

5. Instagram

Instagram got bigger in 2014 and it’s not expected to stop during 2015. Its now the third big Social Media player and you can no longer ignore it. Businesses are already increasing, taking advantage of its visual power, which means that you need to add it to your list of new things to learn.

6. Visual Quality is becoming more and more important.

Visual content is already very important, but maybe it’s time to raise the bar for the quality of content you are producing.Users are getting tired of the same old images (and videos by the time they get viral) and prefer your own perspective on any type of content.

7. Pinterest

Pinterest is still growing and is still the best Social Media network for referral traffic and it even turned into a useful image search engine alternative to Google Images.If you are a retailer selling visually appealing products Pinterest is becoming more and more important.One to watch.

8. LinkedIn articles

LinkedIn launched its Publishing Platform in 2014 and this was clearly a new opportunity for content marketing. Many users are starting to use this feature and this should be the year we see it really grow.Time to try it out.

9. LinkedIn For Company Page

LinkedIn is increasing its status as the number one professional social network if you haven’t set up a company page for your business yet then maybe it’s time to do it and boost both your presence and your authority!

10. Time For Short Videos

Video is already a huge growth area in Social Media but also short videos are becoming more crucial with newer media like :Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. These offer a great opportunity to become creative in a new way.If you learn how to use it in times of fast decreasing attention span, short videos should definitely be part of your social strategy and marketing.

There are many ways all businesses can benefit from this and other key trends so for more information contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .

Google trends of 2014

Well here we are at the close of 2014.Time to look forward to 2015 and time to reflect on 2014.Here’s an interesting article on the top trending search terms during 2014. Some obvious ones like the World Cup some less so like Flappy Bird ! You can see the full list by clicking here .

Have a great Christmas !

If you need help or advice about how you use Internet and Social Media Marketing please contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .

What is the ‘Sharing Economy’ and why does it matter ?

We seem to have a constant stream of change to our economic and business models with the pace of change fueled by the Internet and Social  Media.Just look at the way the big four Supermarkets have recently been caught out by changing shopping trends with the move away from big ‘all under one roof ‘ weekly shops .On a similar theme one really key trend is the so called ‘Sharing Economy’ and its really having an impact.

In simple terms its where individuals share information and services and bypass the traditional providers.For example there is a huge rise in people using the Internet and Social Media to organize home swaps for their holidays rather than use hotels.and travel companies.Another example would be the rise of car sharing/rental schemes that cut out the car rental companies.The Economist Magazine have a published an interesting article on the subject you can see this here,

There are many ways all businesses can benefit from this and other key trends so for more information contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .

How Independent Retailers can fight back against the Internet Giants like Amazon ?

A recent announcement ( see here ) that planning laws in England and Wales are to be relaxed to allow retailers to offer ‘click and collect’ services to consumers more easily got us thinking, 

online retailer

Recent years have seen many smaller independent retailers put under increasing pressure and this has seen the prediction of the demise of the traditional high street.Factors include,the recent recession,the continued rise of the big retail chains including the Supermarkets and the huge rise in online shopping with giants like Amazon.With the rise of Smartphones we have also seen an increase in ‘Showrooming’ where consumers use a local retailer to view goods they have seen online and then still purchase them online.

It all seems a bit grim for a small independent retailers on the high street but really there are many ways they can fight back.

The internet is a great opportunity for small retailers and for all small businesses.You really can compete on level terms with the very biggest retailers.Here are a few tips that might help high street shops harness the power of Online Retail:

-Invest in an e-commerce website allowing your customers to buy from you 24 hours a day/7 days a week.Development costs are quite reasonable these days typically we develop e-commerce websites from around £950 upwards.

-Set up an online store on Ebay or Amazon(‘if you cant beat them join em’)selling some of your range via two very powerful marketing platforms.

-Put ‘Buy this item Online’ QR Codes (codes that people can scan in with their smartphones) up on point of sale materials linking to your website or online Amazon/Ebay Store. These show the customer you trade online as well.That will give customers the impression that you are competitive on price with any rival.

-Offer click and collect as well as delivery.Click and collect is a massive growth area in online retail.Customers often prefer the convenience of collecting the goods when they are passing rather than waiting in for a delivery.’Click and Collect’ will raise footfall and gives you the opportunity to up sell in person.

-Embrace Social Media as the best way to interact with your customers and drive more sales to your shop.All top online retailers use Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest and other Social Media channels to engage with prospects and convert them into a sale.

There are many other hints tips and suggestions to help so for more information contact us for a free consultation.

How to make your Website really Mobile/Tablet friendly

With around 50% of Internet Traffic coming from ‘Mobile’ – Smartphones and Smaller Tablets its important to get your mobile internet strategy just right. The key question is do you go for a Mobile Website or an App ? Smartphones and Tablets

I think most experts now accept that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and the decision should be made based on the business needs and aims of individual clients.

However consumers strongly prefer apps (85%) ahead of mobile sites.

The most common reason for this is that apps are seen to be more convenient (55%), faster (48%) and easier to browse (40%). We’re often asked if the future of mobile is in mobile web or apps. Which is a better investment? Which creates more engaging destinations? Which is “best”?

We have experience in mobile website and mobile app development (as well as several options in between), the right solution depends on the client and their unique goals. Of course there are budgets, timelines, and requirements to consider, but the process of deciding when to create a mobile website vs. a mobile app as with all projects start with the question: What are you trying to achieve?

Other factors include :

-Apps can often be a one use experience so if you want to engage a customer more than once and you regularly update content then a mobile site may be better

-Budget may also be a factor too . Apps generally mean a higher development budget.

-SEO — If SEO is important to your business (your website is what makes you money) then Mobile Websites are a better option.

- Timescale — Apps take longer to launch as there are strict approval processes (especially Apple)

- Accessibility — Apps need to be developed on multiple platforms (Android,Apple,Blackberry and Windows).

For more information contact us for more information or a free consultation.

Are the Summer Holidays really bad for business ?

There’s a popular view that suggests the Summer isn’t a good time for business. Is it really though ? Is it just a state of mind we all get into?Maybe its a good time to get ahead of your competitors ? Here are five easy things you could do:

1) Call people. “Hi just calling to see how you are and to find out if there’s anything we can do for you right now?” Better still call in.

2) Spend time on cleaning up your marketing database.  Often updating your contacts/address book/marketing database gets left till last here’s a chance to catch up and hit the ground running in the Autumn .

3) Planning and preparation. So even if EVERYONE is on holiday, there’s no-one to call and you’re stuck in the office, this is a great time to do some planning. Plan and prepare so you hit the ground running in September.

4) Create some media attention. The summer is a notoriously poor time for the press its the so called ‘Silly Season’. They are keener than ever to find good stories. So now’s your chance to raise awareness about your new product, make an announcement and contact your local business pages.

5) Invest in some reading for your holiday. There are loads of great books which make you better at what you do. Autobiographies, business and personal developments books cost a few pounds but contain masses of great information.

Of course you could always have a trawl through this website for lots of handy internet marketing and social media tips too!

Any other suggestions ?

Please Contact Us of you have any queries or  for more information .