Social Selling On Twitter: Are You Doing It Right?

There’s an art to a social sell­ing strat­e­gy. Here are some tips for doing it right on Twit­ter (as well as what not to do in the process).

Dana Olivas By Dana Olivas from LeadMD. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Social media has evolved into a more recent con­cept known as social sell­ing, mean­ing com­pa­nies now treat social media as both a way to engage with con­sumers and, by exten­sion, ulti­mate­ly sell to them. But it’s not the same as oth­er sales meth­ods. There’s an art to sell­ing social­ly, and we’re going to share some tips for doing it right (and what not to do in the process).

We can all agree by now that social media is not a fad or “the lat­est buzz­word” or any oth­er such throw­away notion experts like to throw at some­thing they don’t under­stand. And we’ve all got­ten the point that busi­ness­es need to have a social pres­ence to tru­ly engage with today’s con­sumer. Right, so now it’s on to the third phase of adop­tion: social sell­ing.

A lot of com­pa­nies hit phase two and said, “OK, we’re on Twit­ter. We’ve done what we need to do to be ‘social’.” They give an intern or low-lev­el mar­ket­ing coor­di­na­tor the pass­word and think that’s it. But that’s absolute­ly the wrong way to think about it.

A company’s social media pres­ence is just as much a sales tool as its web­site, adver­tis­ing, and mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als. It’s a live enti­ty inter­act­ing with oth­er live enti­ties in real time, rep­re­sent­ing the brand to thou­sands of poten­tial cus­tomers.

Think about it this way. Would you send an intern to a con­fer­ence and ask them to present in front of a huge audi­ence of influ­encers? Of course not. Yet treat­ing your social media as an after­thought is tan­ta­mount to the same thing.

Choose Wisely

Don’t put your company’s Twit­ter pres­ence in the hands of an intern or oth­er unqual­i­fied per­son, and don’t make it part of someone’s many duties. Social sell­ing takes a lot of plan­ning and a com­mit­ment to con­stant­ly mon­i­tor­ing, post­ing and respond­ing to. Not respond­ing or post­ing in a time­ly man­ner can be just as detri­men­tal to a brand as a bad joke.

The per­son who man­ages your Twit­ter account needs to have a spe­cial blend of skills; they must be tact­ful, resource­ful, respon­sive, polite, occa­sion­al­ly fun­ny, up-to-date on pop­u­lar cul­ture and world events, and always on-brand. It’s a del­i­cate bal­ance you shouldn’t trust to just any­one. There’s a rea­son the title “Social Media Spe­cial­ist” exists.

Offer Value

Your cur­rent and future fol­low­ers have a lim­it­ed amount of time to spend on social media and mil­lions of accounts they could fol­low. To become one of their top choic­es, you must offer high-val­ue con­tent.

Rel­e­vant con­tent is key, but your fol­low­ers also want to feel con­nect­ed to you. It’s not just about what you share, it’s how you share it.

That means switch­ing out of one-way mar­ket­ing mod­els and open­ing up real dia­logues that build trust. You’ll infuse your social pres­ence with a warmer and more per­son­al feel­ing, espe­cial­ly if you share inti­mate “behind the scenes” looks into your com­pa­ny.

In short, don’t treat your fol­low­ers like strangers – treat them like friends. And just like you would with real friends, be con­sis­tent and depend­able so they know your brand is one they can count on.

Don’t Just Wing It

What is suc­cess for you? You have to know how you want to use Twit­ter to sell before you just jump in and start post­ing.

You can’t just say, “buy our stuff.” You need the right mix of prod­uct and ser­vice edu­ca­tion and a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your com­pa­ny cul­ture and brand.

Some­times we want shares, some­times we want click-throughs. There’s a bit of a sci­ence to fig­ur­ing out the best kinds of mes­sages to post and the best times of day for this or that, but some of it also comes down to good old-fash­ioned test­ing.

The impor­tant thing is to come up with a strat­e­gy and a plan, just like you would any oth­er mar­ket­ing endeav­or. This will inform the num­ber and types of posts you do. Also, make sure your brand stan­dards (tone, voice, per­son­al­i­ty) are clear to the per­son or per­sons han­dling your social.

Test, Test, Test

Here’s one area where Twit­ter can real­ly help you out when it comes to social sell­ing.

You see, your tweet has a shelf life about 30 min­utes. This means you can do mul­ti­ple posts through­out the day about the same thing, using dif­fer­ent mes­sages or hash­tags to see which one(s) is most effec­tive. You can use this insight mov­ing for­ward as you cre­ate more posts in the future.

Maybe your audi­ence responds bet­ter to humor. Maybe they like clever word­play or sil­ly puns. Or maybe they just plain like spe­cial offers.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Perception

The notion of social sell­ing can be a bit tricky, because it implies a direct impact on sales and rev­enue. But, that’s not its full pur­pose.

A good social sales pres­ence can have a huge intan­gi­ble impact on your busi­ness, name­ly in brand per­cep­tion. Think back to some great social media exam­ples from the past cou­ple of years, like Oreo’s response to the 2013 Super Bowl black­out, or Arby’s clever Tweet about Pharrell’s 2014 Gram­my hat.

Did those tweets boost notice­ably boost sales? Not that we know of. But, they cer­tain­ly boost­ed those com­pa­nies’ pro­files in the minds of con­sumers, and the shares alone extend­ed their social reach with­out spend­ing a dime on adver­tis­ing.

Bot­tom line: how a con­sumer thinks about your brand can be just as impor­tant as how much they buy from you.

Be Authentic, Real, And Tactful

Yes, every­one likes fun­ny and clever tweets. But if that’s not your brand, don’t force it.

Make sure your brand stan­dards (tone, voice, per­son­al­i­ty) are clear to the per­son or per­sons han­dling your social. At the same time, real­ize that this medi­um is more about hold­ing a nev­er-end­ing con­ver­sa­tion about your prod­uct and com­pa­ny than it is an out­line to do noth­ing but pro­mote, pro­mote, pro­mote.

The best brands know their audi­ence and what appeals to them, and find ways to express that with­out resort­ing to pushy pro­mos or tact­less attempts to be clever.

With social sell­ing, there are cer­tain­ly a lot of tips and tricks to being suc­cess­ful, but a lot of it comes from find­ing the right cadence to how you inter­act with peo­ple online. It’s a lot like a con­ver­sa­tion, real­ly:

  • Be per­son­able.
  • Be hon­est.
  • Be fun­ny if the occa­sion calls for it.
  • Don’t be mean to peo­ple or oth­er brands.
  • Don’t try to insert your­self into a con­ver­sa­tion where you don’t real­ly belong.

Build a con­sis­tent and invit­ing foun­da­tion and you’ll find that social sell­ing soon becomes a nat­ur­al advan­tage for your brand.

Dana Olivas

Written by Dana Olivas

Marketing Director, LeadMD

Dana Olivas is marketing director at LeadMD. Dana has over a decade of experience in marketing, ranging from small businesses to multi-billion dollar companies. She has worked in social selling since 2010 for B2B and B2C brands. More of Dana's expertise can be found on LeadMD's blog

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