Planning a “social selling” strategy? I bet you’re already doing it. Here’s why. (Be sure to read through the end for a special bonus tip!)
It’s called the World Wide Web. Ever hear of it? I invented it.
Seriously, though… despite what you’ve heard from my social media guru brethren or any of the dozens of social CRM startups out there today, you probably mastered the skills required for “social selling” a decade or two ago. Assuming you’re of an age, of course. To the relative newbies out there, it’s called “integrated marketing” and you’ve been subject to the tactics ever since your favorite Saturday morning cartoon.
Don’t get me wrong, these gurus and startups are offering unique and valuable ways to help activate social selling, but the underlying techniques should be old hat to any marketing org or agency.
Beyond engaging your internal sales team with the social secret sauce, there isn’t any real new trick to enabling social sales at your company. You’ve done each of these things before.
Social selling is an extension of your existing SEO/SEM programs. Apply what you’re doing with online media to Twitter and Facebook. Tailor the messaging for those “social” audiences. Don’t just ask them to be another “impression.” Give them a reason to connect with peers, or better yet, with you.
Social selling is an extension of your existing web analytics program. Yup. Whatever you’re doing with Google Analytics or Omniture or WebTrends applies to social. Use those tracking variables (hidden by a URL shortener like Bitly). See the magic happen. Who’s coming to your site through social? Any patterns?
Social selling is an extension of your existing marketing strategy. At least it ought to be. The old rule of marketing says it takes a certain number of impressions of a message before it clicks with a consumer. That rule is no different with social media. It’s only diluted by the many, many, many digital and offline channels one might receive a marketing message. Marketing mix modeling, anyone? Be certain that whatever you’re doing online, in print, on TV or elsewhere is reflected in your social media strategy. These are pieces of a giant puzzle.
Social selling can help create a new marketplace paradigm. Consumers are beginning to move past the instant gratification social media bears upon brands. We’re beginning to expect brands to be responsive to us. But not in the traditional sense of market research or market trends to see what consumers will, well, consume.
Brands are beginning to master the concepts of customer relationship management (CRM) and are starting to get good at applying CRM to social. Before we see the outcomes of CRM done well across industries, we’ll see a new concept demanded of brands by its consumers. That concept is vendor relationship management (VRM). Think of VRM as the buyer-side of CRM. Consumers are expecting things of brands. We’re expecting them to respond to our needs.
Do yourself a favor. Read The Intention Economy by @dsearls. It’s a very quick study in what VRM means for both brands and consumers.
Social selling is already here. You can determine where it goes.