Since the start of companies using social media platforms to reach their target audiences, businesses have come to understand how instrumental personal connections are in increasing sales. When brands can connect and interact with their target audiences in an authentic way, it automatically generates leads and increases sales. Essentially, social selling was born.
What is Social Selling?
Simply put, social selling is the concept of cultivating positive relationships with target audiences utilizing social media platforms to increase sales. Unlike hard sales, social selling is less about making a pitch and more about building a relationship and providing value to potential clients. As there are millions of social media users to date, businesses who leverage these platforms and concepts appropriately have an opportunity to increase sales with meaningful customer interactions.
As essential as social selling can be for businesses, novice brands often make mistakes that end up causing them to miss out on a wealth of sales opportunities. Below is a look at some of those mistakes and how they negatively impact social selling strategies.
Failing to Maximize the Marketing Potential of Social Media
New businesses know that social media platforms are commonplace these days, but they fail to use them to their fullest potential. Instead, they create a company profile, upload generic content, send out a few messages, and then log off with the hopes of acquiring new clients.
Unfortunately, this does nothing to build brand recognition, authority, or trust with their target audience. This “robotic” and systematic approach to social media marketing does very little to attract the attention of prospects, bring value, or keep your audience engaged.
Trying to Make Sales Pitches
Another common social selling mistake businesses make is trying to make direct sales pitches. They use their social media platforms to reach out to prospects and essentially sell them on their products/services.
Though direct sales can be effective on other platforms, social media is all about relationships and connectivity. You want subscribers, not just likes. You want to grow a network that engages with your content and views you as an industry expert. It needs to be authentic and in no way contrived. Users interpret this to mean your brand is only concerned about earning a quick buck. They are immediately turned off by this practice and either stop responding to content, unfollow your company, or complain.
Failure to Understand Target Audiences
In order to build your brand’s reputation and authentic relationships with your target audience, you must understand who you’re selling to. Many times, companies don’t do the research on their audience to find out what their immediate needs are, what interests them, what questions/concerns they have, etc. Unfortunately, they post content that’s generic, has no value, or doesn’t even relate to their target audiences, driving their credibility down and closing the window of opportunity to generate leads and increase sales.
Limited Prospect Research
With an effective social selling strategy, you can cultivate relationships with potential buyers or prospects for your business. Once you’ve identified a prospect, the next step would be to reach out to them to further drive home the sales pitch. Unfortunately, however, many businesses attempt to reach out to prospects without having done much research.
They blindly reach out to prospects and begin asking questions that could easily be answered by doing online research. Prospects view this unpreparedness as a red flag and a waste of time which often prompts them to take their business elsewhere.
Using the Wrong Social Media Platform
There are several social media platforms that businesses can leverage to enhance their social selling efforts. Frequently, however, novice businesses make the mistake of either focusing too much of their time on one platform or utilizing the wrong platform altogether. Because they’re unaware of the platforms that their target audiences frequent most often, they waste a lot of time, money, and resources on the wrong sites.
Social media is, without a doubt, a marketing gem that businesses can leverage to their advantage. It provides a safe space for brands to build awareness, authority, and credibility within their industry. These platforms can also be used to build a deeper connection with target audiences which helps to drive home more sales. In order to reap such benefits, however, it is imperative that businesses avoid social selling mistakes, such as heavy advertising, not being personalized, or being inauthentic.