Moving Consumers Through the Social Media Sales Cycle


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Social sharing sites allow individuals to interact with people, businesses and causes in a way that creates relationships and a sense of community. They are designed for individuals to share information which they share with their friends, who share with more friends, and more friends. For example, twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn are some of these social sharing sites. However, these social sites can be leveraged for marketing purposes quite easily, if you’re able to plan and execute your posts effectively. Social media is the new word of mouth advertising, and it’s just as valuable for generating attention and revenue as it always has been.

 

Learning the Basics

Youtube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 than any cable network. So before you scrape up the cash for that TV ad you were thinking about buying, perhaps take a step back and consider the ROI on a YouTube ad campaign instead. Some ideas for messages to your customers include showcasing a product or service and explaining via video how unique it is from others on the market.

The goal of social media sales and marketing, like typical sales and marketing, is to increase consumption of products or services and increase brand recognition. This can be accomplished through purchasing or promoting banners, pay-per-click campaigns, and sponsored links.

A blog is a simple discussion or informational article published on the internet. Having a blog helps create awareness of a certain product or service, and educate consumers who can become customers of the company. Blogging is an excellent way to create content for your website and linking it to other trusted sites, helping to increase SEO. Inbound marketing through content creation is one major way companies can invest in new forms of marketing with a small up-front investment, as well.

SEO is the process of developing content that allows search engines to explore your sites and pick up keywords. The more keywords you have that match what the user is searching for, the higher in a search your site will appear. It’s important to consider what words or phrases your customers will be using when searching for your products, or products similar to yours as you promote blogs, set up social media, and create new websites.

 

Recognizing the Cycle

Like any sales-related methodology, there’s a cycle to watch out for in social media sales. Consumers go through the motions similarly to they way they do when they’re in a store, and it’s important to recognize those cycles in order to enhance your revenue gain. There are a few steps to take when moving someone through the social media sales cycle, but if you master it, you can greatly increase your sales through this medium.

The sales cycle for social media sales is comprised of:

  • Discovery

In the discovery phase, the consumer gains awareness of organization product or service. It is in this phase where consumers learn about offerings that organizations can provide to meet their needs. Moving consumers through the discovery phase, the recommendation is to use social sharing sites, online advertising and SEO since the word needs to be spread and the product or service needs to gain awareness amongst the consumers.

  • Selection

In the selection phase, the consumer identifies the many options from where to obtain the product or service needed. Once a new product or service breaks into the market, it is simply a matter of time before the market is flooded with similar products or service options. This means the consumer must make a selection between the variety of products or services that are available that align with their discovered need.

  • Validation

The validation phase or process can happen in a number of ways. The length of time it takes to validate a product is closely linked to the relative cost of the product or service. This process may even take several individuals debating over the item being bought. When consumers finally make a decision, then they move into the next phase of the social media sales cycle, the transaction.

  • Transaction

The transaction is an exchange between the consumer and the producer. The most common transaction is the exchange of money for a product or service. The other type of transaction is the exchange of information, which generally involves the exchange of knowledge in exchange for a product or service another organization is selling. Once the transaction is complete and the sale has been made, the final phase is ready to be approached: the use of the product.

  • Use

The last phase of the social sales cycle is one of the most important and often the most overlooked. In this phase, the consumers actually take the product or service back home or the office to use. Additionally, customer service is crucial after the sale. With every purchase, consumers go through a justification process in their minds since they need to rationalize that it was the best purchase they could have made, especially for bigger, more expensive equipment or services.

 

Sales cycles are similar throughout different mediums, but when it comes to social media sales or e-commerce promotion, content is king. It’s important to keep up with all aspects of your company’s digital presence, from monitoring and populating social media platforms to regularly creating valuable content for your customers to utilize as they make their purchasing decisions. Setting yourself up as an expert in the industry is valuable, because it shows to consumers that you’re knowledgeable, capable, and ready to provide quality information. Try to remain unbiased and brand agnostic at times as well, as this will help consumers to feel more at ease with the process. Most importantly, ensure your web presence is up to date, high quality, and well-maintained, from social platforms to your company’s homepage. This will be crucial to ensuring you snag customers from the beginning.

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