How to Use Social Media the Right Way in Building More Leads and Sales

Information overload and our ability to become commercial free has changed the old fashioned marketing funnel. Attention getting tactics will no longer sell your products and services. How many of you use services like Netflix and Hulu or pre-record TV shows to skip the commercials? The point is we now control what we want to see. Old methods don’t work anymore — learning what does will help you to navigate the new sales funnel landscape.

One of the oldest brands around, Keds, has maintained success in the midst of a changing digital landscape. They start with content creation through visuals first via mobile marketing then move on to text and print according to Emily Culp, who is their chief marketing officer in an interview on Yale Insights:

Yales Insights

If you are trying to market your business or products using old school marketing, be prepared to be disappointed in your results. There is a saying found in the Bible — you can’t put new wine into old wineskins. And you can’t apply old sales tactics to the new social media driven market.

Today businesses and brands need to connect with their online communities and build relationships. That doesn’t mean posting images and information that just “sells” to them by bombarding them with information and then expect them to respond. That was push marketing — pushing information out to the general public and those days are gone.

The one direction marketing of yesterday no longer applies to today. Your fans, followers and customers want to connect with you, have a relationship with you and then determine if you are someone they can trust. Welcome to the new online world of reviews and public customer feedback.

The New Social Media Sales Method

The new marketing model for today is called, ARC, which stands for Awareness, Relationships, Conversion. Let’s take a look at each component to learn what this means for your social networks.

Photo courtesy That Content Guy

In order to start this process your business first needs to identify the main goals of your marketing campaign for each product or service then hone in on exactly who your target market is. With this information you can generate specific hashtags that can be identified and shared by your community. With great content on the major social platforms you can start to generate a buzz for your brand. Here’s a breakdown of each ARC:

Awareness

Do you have a story to share? Perhaps an event that is taking place or an important announcement? You don’t want to make the mistake of confusing this with the old style of advertisements. The goal here is to draw people to something that interests them and bringing it to their attention. Here is a great example on Twitter of a brand creating awareness from Internet pet star, Doug The Pug. Not only does it take advantage of the Star Wars trend, but has generated quite a few retweets, likes, and responses:

Relationship Building

The next key component in your social media marketing is to create something of value for your fans and followers without demanding something in return. As people are drawn to your knowledge and credibility, they will feel compelled to share your posts and tweets with others. The more you meet their needs the better your chances are of building a strong community of trust.

Starbucks is one company that uses this technique often, as seen here in an example post on Instagram:

The message is inviting and asks people what they would like to see. During the process you will want to be aware of any comments or questions, which will reveal a need that can be met.

Conversion

After you have built trust, provided valuable information, answers, and are meeting the needs of your social community you may become frustrated if you do not see an immediate return, often referred to as ROI (Return on Investment). Don’t panic! This is a normal part of the process.

I recommend creating contests, running a giveaway promotion, asking people for their opinion, or creating a fun or informative video that is tied to your brand. The worst thing to do is to start selling to your new community after establishing trust and start hammering away at social media posts. Time, patience, and word of mouth will eventually lead to sales.

Apart from your social media fans and followers you might want to consider things like Facebook’s Sponsored posts as part of your operating budget. These will still go out to your niche, but do not intrude upon your connections.

How does your company or brand interaction with fans and followers?

Share below what has worked for you and which social media tools you use!

Susan Gilbert uses her laser focus knowledge to coach and provide online marketing and social sharing programs for authors, speaker, experts and small businesses. She is the author and publisher of several books including “The Land of I Can,” and “KLOUT SCORE: Social Media Influence, How to Gain Exposure and Increase Your Klout,” Susan combines online marketing with strategic thinking to create successful programs. Working most often with authors and entrepreneurs, she understands promotion at a personal level as a regularly quoted resource in USA Today, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine and many more. Follow her Digital Marketing Tips at her blog: www.SusanGilbert.com

[Originally published on SusanGilbert.com]