Social Media is about Customer Advocacy, not Sales

 

SMB Social Series #2 

 

SMBs are confused about what Social Media can achieve for them.

 

But, they are clear on one important thing. According to research by Smartcompany, commissioned by salesforce.com, the most trusted source of information for small businesses in their own buying behaviour is their peers.

 

This acknowledgement should be applied in reverse. Social Media is about achieving your customers' advocacy of your own products and services. This involves creating an environment where your customers sell on your behalf.

 

An important piece of research conducted in 2012 by Google/CEB found that - in the business-to-business space (but still transferable to all areas of business) discovered two important realities:

 

  • 57%—that's how far the average B2B buyer is through the purchase decision before engaging a sales rep.

  • 12%—that's how much of your customer's total mindshare you as a supplier have across the entire B2B purchase path.


A brand is no longer what we tell peopleBottom line: buyers are making up their own mind about what to buy and you have very little say in the matter - all they need to know is there on the internet. What is the least valuable information available to them? Yours’. What is most valuable? Other peoples’.

Nielsen reported in 2013 that 77 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy a product when it’s recommended by an advocate. Moreover, Nielsen also found that 92 per cent of consumers say they trust recommendations from people they know (versus only 37 per cent trust a search engine ad and a measly 24 per cent trust a banner ad). How do you create these advocates? Social Media, thats how! Here are some ways to use Social Media to do that:

 

  1. Be interesting to your customers and prospects - give them information they need: “how to”, tips and tricks type information about your area of expertise. The more valuable the information, the more they will share it with their peers.
  2. Open a channel to communicate with your customers - customers that can correspond with brands on social media are more likely to do more business with them and recommend them to their friends and family . But like the telephone, you must answer it when it rings!
  3. Grow a community - where customers can talk to each other about you. You can do this easily on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or ideally on your own website.
  4. Reward your fans - use discounts, inside-and-behind-the-scenes information and prizes to keep your customers close. This is a tremendous advantage of Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you can cross-reference this with your CRM, your market intelligence will become really quite sophisticated.
  5. Use the “Feedback-Loop” - Capture good feedback and cherish it; take note of bad feedback and absorb it to improve your business. Not only is this valuable data, responding well to criticism is a very good look!

Investing all of your marketing efforts in subjectively promoting your products and services no longer works. Instead, create content that adds value to that first first 57 per cent of the buying process, your marketing efforts should incorporate independent voices that can contribute on your behalf to the purchasing decision process as it evolves.

 

Learn more about Social Media for Businesses by downloading this social media playbook:

 

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