Social media sites were originally intended for social interactions. Savvy marketers recognized them for what they also were: an opportunity to create a great client base with one on one interaction. This is a far cry from setting up an optimized website with a well written sales letter, some flashy images and a whole lot of testimonials. It is not possible to interact with your visitors unless they subscribe to the company newsletter. And newsletters are not the best way to make friends.
On a social media platform, it is possible to present yourself as an individual (even if you are a company) who also has (useful) things to sell. This is a great place to use your direct sales skills and secure a loyal clientele for your brand.
The Specifics of Social Media Persuasion
You would hardly expect to be persuaded by someone that drops a few tweets or status updates sporadically and does not respond to queries at least within 24 hours. If necessary, assign employees specifically suited for the job to take care of one or two social media sites each.
Make an offer that is viable, credible, and otherwise attainable, and convince your audience that it is, indeed, all of that. If your area is web designing, it makes sense to offer free templates that are useful but have limitations that a paid product does not have. Simply posting your portfolio link shows your audience how good you are without giving them any value.
If you have been on an almost empty public transport vehicle, you have probably stood around trying to choose the best seat. There, you have to sit, so you do sit, but online, your audience does not ‘have’ to do anything. You, on the other hand, have to persuade them to buy your services. If you offer too many options, people will take too long to choose, and may end up not buying at all. You must inspire confidence by limiting the options. Too many options tend to make you look undecided and unfocused, and definitely not like an expert.
Hardly anyone will want to be a friend or follower of your brand if all you are trying to do is sell. People tend to have an inherent fear of being had. Unscrupulous solicitations have given honest businesses a bad name, and we are all, generally speaking, extremely wary of salespersons.
Every couple of days, look at what you have posted lately. Photographs about staff celebrations or award ceremonies are great. However, have you also provided any value to your Facebook Friends? Have you talked about problems in your field of expertise and offered solutions?
Unless you have a very specific plan in mind, it is easy to stop being interesting. One great resource is Yahoo Answers where real people post queries regarding their problems. Make a list of the ones that you can answer and post as daily tips. Persuasion is making people relate to you – and this is an excellent way to do just that since the questions were asked in the first place by people that are likely to be similar to a lot of your online friends or followers.
You can easily make new friends if you learn to appreciate the efforts of others. It does not matter if they are business persons or potential buyers. Your target always is to reach for each new friend’s Friends List. It is difficult to ignore someone who knows what they are talking about and is being appreciative. You achieve the stature of a courteous expert with a great social presence.
Follow and Follow up on
Follow others, and a percentage of them will follow you back, if you have an interesting enough profile and at least some useful content. Follow up on your promises, answer queries as soon as possible and strike up conversations that do not lead to sales talk. Your products and services are there for all to see. You do not need to keep reminding your friends or followers of what you are selling. Make yourself interesting and a person of your word, and they will try to find out on their own. Think of real life. Would you ask a completely uninteresting person about their job, or get interested in someone’s company who constantly talks about theirs?
Also it’s important to show your potential customers that you already have a big group of fans or followers which means that your profile is interesting enough. For using that kind of trick you can buy YouTube views or Facebook likes or Twitter followers. In addition to all it can be a good start for your social profile if it’s a new one.
If you have been providing useful content, your audience will miss your presence. Conversely, it is a good way to understand whether you have been posting anything of value. Just stop posting for a couple of days and see if anyone is asking for you. If they are not, it is time to re-evaluate your persuasion strategy.
Try and understand what your audience is like and learn to speak their language. It is not necessary to adopt a Texan accent if you are not from there, but it does help to not talk like an academic or a doctor when you talk about your methods of curing acne.
For example If you want to get YouTube views, Twitter followers or Facebook fans share, retweet, repost, and generally mirror other people’s points of view. If you do this with some discretion, you will be seen as an active presence that loves to connect. Mirroring is a Neuro Linguistic Persuasion technique that basically relies upon the assumption that we tend to take to people who are most like ourselves. Social media tools make Mirroring easier to achieve than in real life, and you will be amazed at its potential.
Track where your most profitable responses come from. Google Analytics is not famous because it is free. Running blind is not a strategy; it is simply living in denial.
To reiterate: ‘…a well-tuned social media persuasion program is the one thing that can boost those flagging sales statistics in an amazingly short period of time’. Absolutely correct, and proved beyond doubt, but not without consistent effort. The ‘amazingly short period of time’ is directly related to the concerted effort that you put in. Social media persuasion, like any skill, has to be learned. And then it must be put to use with consistency and creativity. Once you learn the basics, it is time to improve uponyour skills and remember never stop learning.