A guest blog post by Matt Jackson for PopUp Business School
"Social selling" is one of the biggest buzz words at the moment. Companies, employees and entrepreneurs are all talking about how to use social media to increase their sales. Many of the companies are getting it wrong by broadcasting and shouting about their wares and turning people off online.
I am so excited to have Matt Jackson on our blog this week talking to us about social selling with a practical example of exactly how it should be done to increase revenue and engagement. Matt runs social media accounts for some of the world's biggest brands as well as local micro businesses. He spends his days listening and engaging online and I have learnt so much from talking to him.
Entre Matt Jackson:
I was thrilled when Alan asked me if I’d like to write a guest blog for the PopUp Business School, as I’ve always enjoyed working with the team and love the energy and positivity that comes from just spending five minutes with them. But when he asked me to write about Social Selling, I was a little confused as to why he’d asked me. You see, I’ve always been against brands that bombard people with advertising or marketing agencies that just broadcast material on social media with little or no real engagement with people. Little did I know when I sat down to begin researching and writing my article, that the PopUp Business School was about to teach me another lesson.
For those of you already wondering, the idea of social selling is basically using social media channels to sell something, a product, a service, anything. Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects or potential customers. Sales people provide information and value by answering questions and offering thoughtful content around their product until a potential customer is ready to buy. There are hundreds of courses online which funnily enough are also being sold through social platforms for anywhere between £100 and £4,000 offering you the latest secrets to success and guaranteed sales funnels, metrics and conversions. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what they want you to believe.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret; social selling is nothing new. Whilst social media is around 10 years old now, social selling existed for a long time before Mark Zuckerberg ever started his college’s online address book, before he started school, before his parents were even born. Human beings by our very nature are social creatures and every culture around the world has a firm social story-telling tradition. There’s evidence from some of the most ancient cultures that barter, trade, selling and story-telling have always been the foundations of civilisation. Think back to before Linked-In, before Twitter and Facebook and you’ll find that we’ve always sold products and services socially. From market traders shouting their offers and extolling the virtues of their wares over anyone else’s, to discussing potential purchases with your friends, family and neighbours, selling has deep roots in our social circles, communities relationships and conversations.
Today those conversations have been amplified by the internet and social media channels. Customers now have all the information at their fingertips, businesses have grown up in reviewing products and services for consumers and social media has allowed that collective experience to be shared across the world. So how do you start down the path of social selling for your product or service? My advice? Start listening. Conversations about brands, services and products are already taking place across the internet on a daily if not up-to-the-minute basis. Find those that are similar to what you’re offering and listen. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll find out about what customers want, what they expect in terms of service and how vociferously they complain when companies get it wrong. Customers no longer come to you, you have to go and find them and listen to what they want. You have to join the conversation.
There are any number of free and premium tools that can help you to listen and monitor mentions of your business, industry, products or even competitors. I personally prefer to use Tweetdeck to watch column upon column of Twitter mentions about my area of work, competitors and the latest news. For example, a customer of mine based in London began offering an afternoon tea service around 6 months ago and asked me to do some work on social to help promote it. My first step was to set up some very basic monitoring of the terms ‘afternoon tea’ and ‘London’. That initial search still runs today and on average every 27 seconds someone on Twitter mentions afternoon tea and London in the same tweet.
So what do I do with this overload of tweets about afternoon tea in London? I specifically look for people asking their friends and followers where they should go for afternoon tea in London. I look for bloggers who review afternoon tea services, or people that talk about afternoon tea a lot. And then I ask them politely if they’ve ever tried the afternoon tea at my customer’s establishment. I talk to them about what’s on offer, what makes this tea different from anyone else’s. I tell them honestly what I think of it, why I think they might like it and once they’re interested I tweet them a link where they can book on my customer’s website. To date, that link has been clicked 485 times and 71% of all people that clicked through, booked an afternoon tea for two.
That’s how simple social selling can be, and in writing this the PopUp Business School has taught me that it’s something I already do on a daily basis and that you can do just by listening first.
Ask me anything!
Follow me on twitter and tweet me your questions. Find me online at socially-m.weebly.com