Driving Sales Performance through Social Media – 5 Steps to Creating a Social Presence
This is the first in a series of blogs titled Driving Sales Performance through Social Media – ideal for small to mid-size businesses. Over the coming weeks we will cover topics around social media that will help you increase your chances of sales success and in doing so we recommend the readily available and cost effective apps in the Windows 8 app store. For those sole-traders and companies taking their first step or completely new to social
media as a channel for sales & marketing, we share our 5 steps to creating a social presence.
1. The common pitfall by many small companies and start-ups is to jump straight into creating a Twitter and Facebook page. In many cases, they are left with the problem of determining what to put on them, be it images and more importantly content. The first step is to understand what people in your sector, suppliers and consumers are talking about, so that you can be relevant with your messaging. This can be achieved through social media marketing tools that listen to and analyse what customers are saying about your brand / company. These types of solutions are dominant in the enterprise space, but for small business the price tag can be prohibitive. Take a look on the Windows 8 app store for cost effective offerings such as Brymba Social Media Marketing. Step 1: Listen to what your customers, prospects and suppliers are talking about.
2. Once you understand what people are sharing in conversation across the social channels, design and create your content plans around a series of best practice articles. Typical content we advise is on your industry expertise and experience as well product help or guidance, quick “how to” references, company insight etc. There needs to be enough content (but not overwhelming) and free advice so as to introduce you and your company to the social network community, and to be seen as an active and relevant content member. A common pitfall is for companies to begin by sharing a wealth of continuous content but in doing so they soon run out of ideas on what to discuss, whilst others overwhelm the feeds with pointless content, drowning quality with quantity. Minity Mind app from the Windows 8 App store is a mind mapping tool ideal to help plan your content. Step 2: Create your content plan for “Social longevity”.
3. When you are ready with your content, create your main social network accounts, such as Twitter as well as access to your industry forums and publish your content aligned to point 2 above. If you struggle to source your industry discussion forums, then they can be easily sourced through the app described in step 1 to find discussion forums. Rather than merely creating the standard / default page, think about images and branding to further entice prospect and enhance your content. Step 3: Identify and create your main social network accounts
4. Find key influencers in your business sector and contribute to their debate through your social network accounts. In doing so, you position your company as a “value provider” to the community, extending your reach into that group of followers. Be careful not to over-sell your services and simply reference your sites or communities at the end of your content addition. There are publishing apps available on the Windows 8 store such as Rowi, MetroTwit & Brymba Social Media Marketing. Step 4: Find key influencers in your business sector and contribute to their debate
5. Simplify your language on websites and social posts –maybe even try a touch of humour. Consumers and suppliers don’t want to be over-complicated by business jargon or the latest analyst / technology words. They want to know how to solve a problem or learn new ideas through reading a simple message. In some case, adding in a touch of humour into your social media can sometimes offer a way of
engaging potential customers. Naturally this should be treated with caution, for example a humorous feed would not work well for a business that has a high level of customer service issues. In making people laugh and feel good you can create a positive association with your company brand. In doing so, it is likely people will retweet and thereby propagate your message.
As an example, when O2, the UK mobile phone operator, was asked by @Tunde24_7: “…what happened to my internet connection fam mans having to use wifi and dat.” O2 not only decoded this, but responded with: “Have you tried to reset the router ting fam, so mans can use the wifi and dat?” @Tunde24_7 appeared delighted, saluting the company for communicating with its “hood” customers. The exchange was popular:
@O2’s received more than 5,000 retweets. Step 5: Simplify your language
Lastly, remember that actions speak louder than words – Social media will provide you with a valuable insight into what your customers and prospects are talking about- their problems and issues. This can provide a source of product/service improvements & innovation for your business, so listen to their issues (through tools mentioned in step 1) and record and action the solution. The Trello app from the Windows 8 app store is ideal for capturing product ideas and enhancements. Sharing your product / service improvements back into the social community is the final piece of the puzzle, demonstrating you listen and act on your customer’s feedback.
By following these steps is a simple and easy way to begin creating your social presence and will ultimately help you to drive sales performance through social media… with a little help from the Windows 8 app store too.
About the Author
Nick Howard is a consultant for Brymba Limited, a company specialising in helping start-ups, to small and mid-size companies drive Sales Performance through Social Media. They offer techniques and Social Media Marketing apps through the Windows 8 App store. To find out more and to register for a free trial of Brymba Social Media Marketing visit www.brymba.com or follow them on Twitter @brymba1, or visit the Windows 8 App store.
We, at Microsoft, are happy to announce ‘Talking Business’ to help entrepreneurs and business owners’ succeed. We believe in your ability to innovate and in the ability of technology to help, so to support ‘Talking Business’ we have many resources available for businesses like you. We have an informative newsletter, blog posts by people in the industry, and a community looking to help small business succeed.
Follow us on twitter – @MicrosoftSB, or use the hashtag #TalkingBusiness to find out more information.