Social media is a force to be reckoned with. It is going on with or without your buy in.
And that’s a fact!
Now whilst many do get it, there are still many who don’t. And the challenge of getting others to buy into it is often a struggle. So, to help you out I’ve compiled a list of the 5 common challenges faced when trying to get buy-in for both social selling and social media marketing.
#1. “Social media isn’t relevant to our business”
It always surprises me how many B2Bs automatically assume that social media isn’t right for them. They think it’s a B2C thing, especially when it comes to some social networking sites like Facebook and Pinterest. However, this is short-sighted. Although, these are easier arenas for consumer brands, they can serve other purposes for B2Bs, for example, for ranking and exposure. You see B2Bs have an advantage over B2Cs - they tend to have a much better understanding of their clients, which means they’re able to target them with content that genuinely connects with them. Social media provides the perfect platform to get that content to them even if they’re a financial or a technical company.
#2. “We don’t want people saying things about us that we can’t control”
Whether you like it or not, you and your brand are begin talked about and it’s time to accept that you can’t control it in the way that you did before. People control it now. They say what they want, whenever they want and whether it’s good or bad one thing is certain – it’s out there! You can’t prevent others from talking about your brand but you CAN be part of the conversation, which puts you in a much stronger position. This is generally known as reputation management.
For example, if you’ve had a complaint and it’s been broadcast over the social channels, you’ve got an opportunity to publicly fix it. If you do this well not only will it strengthen the relationship you have with your prospect or client but it will also show you and your brand in a good light to others who are listening. By simply being aware of the conversation, you can turn it into a positive. However, if you’re not on social media in the first place, you’ll never even know that the conversation ever took place and this would be a major fail!
Moving on from this is when you open up your channels up to the sales team. This can be daunting. However, if you train and educate your team, as oppose to restricting and controlling their every move, you’ll be able to leverage off their connections and empower them to form new ones, which will lead to sales.
Obviously make sure you have a social media policy in place to guide them.
#3. “Social media is just a phase”
Social media is happening with or without you and you’ve now got to choose whether to lead, follow or get left behind. It’s really that simple. To some of you, your challenge is to try and demonstrate the value of social media and convince others that it can actually drive tangible results to your business.
There are heaps of stats out there that you can use to demonstrate this, for example:
- 57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog.
- B2Bs who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t and B2Cs that blog generate
- 88% more leads per month than those that don’t.
- 69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to buy, compared with 40% of Facebook users.
- The average conversion rate on a website shoots from 7% buying up to 71% when we’re recommended via social networks.
- 61% of consumers are researching products before they buy online. They’re out there comparing prices, quality and reviews.
- 34% of marketers have generated leads via Twitter and closed 20%.
- 42% of B2Bs use Twitter to make purchasing decisions.
- Companies that use social selling as a technique see a 31% increase in the team quota.
- 72% of B2Bs use LinkedIn to make purchasing decisions.
There are also other things you can do, including:
- Set up some Google Alerts and also monitor across social media for others who’re talking about your brand. What are they saying? Is it positive or negative? Showcase missed opportunities where you could be getting involved in conversations. If nobody’s talking about you, well that surely speaks volumes by itself.
- Monitor what people are saying about your competitors, showcase what conversations they’re having and any leads or purchases that result. Feeling ‘left behind your competitors’ is probably one of the most powerful phrases you can use when it comes to getting buy in about something new.
#4. “It’s a waste of time and doesn’t deliver ROI”
This is a perfectly reasonable statement so be prepared for it. Often it can be a challenge to deal with this especially as it really depends on what the objective set were at the start. It’s not always a case that social media delivers a monetary return. For example, building brand awareness, or website traffic, or thought‐leadership are more conventional PR activities that are hard to quantify in monetary terms.
However, you’ve got to try. So make sure that you’ve a clear plan to ensure that your social media objectives are set and measured for analysis and reporting. Make sure that you’ve set up your goals in your Google Analytics and if you’re fortunate enough to have a CRM, track results there too. Educate the sales team so these metrics are recorded.
Remind the non-believers that social media is a tool for building relationships and that it’s going to take time! It’s a much more subtle tool than having a database to call from.
On this note, let’s take a look at some goals and objectives that you might want to set.
Followers, Subscribers and Fans
This is probably the first and most obvious metric that springs to mind. What’s important is that you don’t get too hung up on these numbers. What actually really matters is the conversions and this is what you need to track. There are lots of tools that can just fake your followers by adding numbers, but at the end of the day it’s a pointless exercise as all you’ll end up with is a useless news feed or stream.
You have to be targeted with your social efforts just as you would be in the old days. You wouldn’t just buy a list of numbers to call, now would you?
You should therefore grow your audience organically. If you strategically prospect through the social channels this will deliver far more profitable results.
It’s worth picking out a few influential people with large audiences and interacting with them. One of the easiest ways to do this is by sharing their content, replying to their posts, linking to their articles in your blogs etc. You’ll be surprised how many solid relationships you can form with them if they like what you’re publishing and they’ll share it with their large audiences too!
There are also other things you can do, including:
Set up some Google Alerts and also monitor across social media for others who’re talking about your brand. What are they saying? Is it positive or negative? Showcase missed opportunities where you could be getting involved in conversations. If nobody’s talking about you, well that surely speaks volumes by itself.
Engagement is a vital measurement to focus on. But, before diving in to this one metric you need to beware. If you’re active on social media and you’re not getting any interaction, then you’re going to get disheartened. Don’t panic if this is you, as there are things you can fix.
1. Sales Meetings – if your sales team is engaging on social media there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be tracking this number, along with the conversion to sale. Granted this may take time, but social media as a sales tool is a perfect resource for developing relationships with prospects directly. It will totally support their efforts in generating meetings and taking conversions offline and onto the phone or email at the very least. Don’t’ be scared to track it.
2. Re-tweets, shares, likes and +1s – If this is being done, what it actually means is that someone is endorsing your content. Perhaps they’ve read a news article that you published or a blog post that you’ve written and found it valuable. This is where they’ll want to share it to their network. This is powerful stuff as they’re spreading the word about your brand and regular sharers will become your brand ambassadors. Keep a note of them and remember always to thank them. Become a fan of theirs!
3. Comments - If you’re getting comments this is great – even if it’s on account of someone hating what you’ve put out there. There’s engagement and this demonstrates that you’ve connected with them at a deeper level. Perhaps you’ve actually inspired them, solved a problem or maybe they just want to put an alternative view forward.
4. Web traffic - Another key metric especially if this fulfills your objective, which in most cases it will. Often the whole reason you publish content on social media and engage with your market is to drive them to your website.
When you’re looking at this metric make sure to look at the referrals too I.e. Where the prospect has come from. Landing pages are also worth paying attention to as these expose which content is popular and the path your prospect take when they enter your website. You can easily measure all of this in Google Analytics so that you can see which social media sites are referring best.
5. Optins – Typically these are found on your website although if you’ve got a Facebook Page you can have a customized opt-‐in there too. This is your opportunity to expose them to more in-‐depth content and capture their name and email so you can work on developing the relationship you have with them further. You can also see how much your content is resonating with them.
6. PR – Social media is a perfect tool for brand positioning especially when it comes to tracking brand perception as a thought-‐leader or authority.
#5. “We don’t have time for social media or the resource”
I’m not going to lie to you – social media takes time. For starters you’ve to develop a strategy across both the sales and marketing teams (if you have them). All too often, this is forgotten and social media is assigned to someone in marketing, or in their absence some poor soul who seems remotely familiar or interested in the platforms. This is a huge mistake and I’m sad to say I’ve seen this happen time and time again. What many forget is that typically that person already has a challenging to-‐do list so will struggle to find time to do their job. Something is going to have to give.
So the most obvious way to tackle this is by allocating it to the sales team (obviously after a strategy has been developed and training given). They’re on the front line anyway and it’s their job to develop relationships and engage in conversations with their clients and prospects. Social media is just a tool to do this!
Marketing can then get on with developing content, which should be a core responsibility anyway.
So moving on, let’s look at the content development aspect and how you can put together a content plan that can be distributed to the sales team.
Here’s the truth - your social media strategy is only as good as your content strategy. If you’re not giving your prospects a reason to follow, link in or subscribe with you and keep on following you then they’ll stop. They’ll also have no reason to tell their “friends” aka their network about you, which is kind of the whole point of social media. Doh!
So once you’ve got a content plan, social media becomes so much easier.
So, to wrap this up…
Whilst there are challenges for businesses that use social media to overcome make no mistake getting on top of social media is well and truly worth it ‐ financially. Whether you chose to get involved or not, one thing is certain – your clients, prospects and competitors will. So you have a choice – to treat it as an asset and integrate it into your company by training your teams, or to get left behind and risk business failure. It’s that simple.
I encourage you, as always to up your game and to seek out better ways to sell and market your business.
Thank you, as always for reading and wishing you much success.
Now I want to hear from you…
Tell me in the comments below or in a private email:
- How are you dealing with social media or social selling?
- What aspect of social media or social selling do you find the most challenging?
Please share your stories and experience here, and if you’ve got a question, just pop it down here.
Thanks for being a sport and participating!
Finally, if you know someone who’d LOVE the insight from this social media and social selling post, please send them a link. You’ll find solo entrepreneurs, consultants and yes, even sales and marketing managers who manage people who’ll be interested to hear about this.
If you want to learn more about how to grow your business with effective strategies, then drop me an email right now, and I’ll be back in contact to find out how I can be of assistance.