Are you harnessing the power of the social selling engine hidden within Facebook
If you post it they will come.
Posting content on your social media platforms for the sake of posting content, is not a strategy for successful selling using social media.
What is needed is a social selling engine that can run on autopilot.
For example, Facebook will only make your organic content postings visible to 2% – 16 % of your potential audience. Ultimately it is now pay-to-play.
Consumers today are far more experienced, educated and savvy to the onslaught of click bait content and headlines trying to get their attention.
Which means the greatest force we as small business owners and entrepreneurs face on a daily basis is not cheap imports, more competition, Google versus Facebook or the strength of the economy.
The greatest force we face is peoples cynicism and skepticism.
Consumers expect content, products and services and the relevant offers to be tailored to address their very specific needs, desires or problems.
Headlines and hot air.
Every day we are confronted with headlines, images and sales pitches that make it seem as if a few clicks of some buttons on the latest piece of software will miraculously deliver a heaving mass of buyers to your front door.
The thing is. Behind all the click through rates, conversion rates, cost per clicks, audience reach, impressions and whatever other metric you choose to measure, there are real people.
Those folk, your potential customers are bundles of emotions and thoughts and very often we try to get their attention online when they are actually trying to escape the hustle and hassle of life by visiting their favorite places and being social online, and then...
BANG. You jump in and try to get their attention.
However, any purchase decision that they make will ultimately be based on some form of an emotion.
Fear, greed, pain, happiness and so on and contrary to popular belief it is seldom made on the spur of the moment, especially not for high ticket price items. Your customers will have done research.
The very nature of social media platforms is about being social and nurturing relationships.
Yet so often we as business owners take a transactional view. We want the sale and then move on to the next lead coming in.
However, have you noticed that when it’s our turn to be the customer, we want information; we want to be nurtured with just the right offer solving our specific problem.
There are plenty of techniques and software that offer to help with the execution of a campaign. These can be a flash in the pan and become obsolete very quickly.
We need to focus on enduring principles for social selling to be successful:
The 3 Pillars of social selling
1. The right Facebook and Instagram evergreen offer.
The main features of an evergreen offer are
a) Consistent branding and ad scent: are your logos, font types, images, USP and copy writing all consistent across your digital assets?
b) A very specific proven product or service dealing with a very specific problem: is what you are selling something people actually want?
You don't want to be selling rustic kitchens when people are looking for modern contemporary designs.
In addition, it’s always easier to keep selling again and again to existing customers than to keep finding new ones.
c) A clear offer sequence: a lot of your marketing efforts are centered around finding new customers.
New customers come from cold traffic.
You need to have a clear path taking them from someone who has just walked through your door, feeling skeptical and cynical.
To a state where they can feel more confident that you could help them. Then to take them to an even more elevated state with a solution they like and have intent to buy.
Once you have a customer that has now developed a know, like and trust relationship with you, you are in a better position to provide ascending layers of product and service offerings.
Taking the process that led your customer from that single purchase, to a quaterley or annual purchase, which is now recurring income for your business.
Scaling to dozens, even a few hundred customers (this could even become thousands of customers depending on the scalability of the offer and the product) and suddenly your business cash flow and profits can explode.
d) A well defined audience: it doesn’t matter how wonderful your product or enticing your offer. If you place your ads in front of the wrong audience. The only result will be silence.
The good news is that the artificial intelligence within the Facebook algorithm can do the heavy lifting for you.
Facebook has one of the largest datasets on the behavior, needs and desires of humankind ever collected.
Therefore when the audience in your ad campaign is properly optimized, the Facebook algorithm will know exactly who to put in front of your ads.
e) Well written copy for your ad and sales funnel: the copy writing in your ads, on your landing pages and on your website is your 24 hours a day silent salesperson.
It speaks for you when you aren’t around.
Its purpose, is to move people to take action.
That action could be to sign up to your email list (which gives you an opportunity to sell to them at a later time) or to make a purchase.
Social selling is about storytelling, emotion, or a journey. It needs to be about the reader, about your customer. It’s not about you.
It’s about getting inside their heads and becoming part of the conversation that they have going on.
You know the conversation, you have them too, all day everyday. Questions and problems that seek an answer.
A good way to understand your audience is to spend time where they go online. For example:
- Facebook groups or subreddits. You can find amazing unfiltered thoughts and opinions that way.
- What books are they reading. Amazon reviews are an awesome way to find quotations and insights.
- Ask questions of your audience. Let them tell you in your own words what their desires and pain points are.
g) Understanding your keywords: knowing the keywords that are critical to your social selling, your business or your product is important.
The Internet is nothing but a big database that is constantly being indexed.
It needs words to identify and connect people to the information that could best serve them.
Therefore you will want to build your portfolio of digital assets around the words that describe you, your business and how you can serve and be of value to your customers.
h) Strong backend support: an auto-responder process to nurture and lead your prospects in the direction you want them to go.
Most businesses float somewhere between having no auto-responder email sequence, having a cold email list with no strategy for engaging them or having no broadcast email strategy at all.
We’ve all heard how much easier it is to make a sale to a current customer than it is to find and sell to a new one.
Having a high converting back-end system is one of the most important jobs when building a social sales funnel.
When you have a well implemented and properly functioning back-end you can actually use it to help fix your customer facing front end.
For example understanding the different buckets (segmentation) that your customers fall into. You should have between three and eight such categories.
Another example would be the use of simple surveys and quizzes that help give you the feedback you need to fix front end.
All these steps combine to create a smooth, structured social sales funnel process that provides consistency to the customer experience while giving you a successful predictable rinse and repeat selling system.
2. A conversion campaign taking people from unaware of the problem, to aware of your solution with intent to take action.
All day, everyday people’s minds are either consciously or subconsciously engaged in troubleshooting the problems they have.
Facebook marketing is interruption marketing. Your ad and your message is going to pop up in people’s newsfeeds while they are trying to do something else.
A percentage of this audience could be interested in what we are offering. For others it may not even register for them.
For your campaign to be effective, people need to be educated first to progress through levels of awareness.
According to Eugene Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising (Bottom Line Books, 2004) there are five levels of product awareness:
- Unaware. People don’t even realise they have a problem.
- Problem aware. Folks recognise they have a problem but don’t yet know what to do about it.
- Solution aware. They do some research and know that there are solutions to the problem that they don’t know which one may be best for them.
- Product aware. Now these people know about your product but haven’t purchased it. They’re not sure if your solution is the right one for them.
- Most aware. These people know your product well. They’ve made multiple purchases and openly endorse your product or service.
Your prospect needs to be led by the hand from one exact step to the next.
After all not everyone is the same. That is to say their intent at the moment they see your ad will be different.
If you don’t know exactly what your audience wants, then use your targeting to find out where they might be with the level of product awareness.
When you know what your audience’s awareness level is, you can then figure out what you need to do with your messaging to get them up to a higher level.
3. Layering awareness and re-targeting ads to reach people at different points in the buying cycle.
By now we’ve all realized that Facebook has one of the largest datasets on human social behavior ever collected.
As small business owners
- we have access to this incredible wealth of data and
- the ability to create ads and point them to highly targeted audiences and
- incredibly flexible ad spend budgeting options
This allows us to compete with larger companies in our relevant markets while at the same time being able to adapt and pivot according to our feedback and data.
We need to approach Facebook audiences from the point of view of cold audiences and warm audiences.
A warm audience are people we have had some contact with your business. Such as people who have engaged with your Facebook page, fans, people who have engaged with your ads and website visitors.
Cold audiences are the people who have never interacted with your business before. They are your source of new customers and are vital for scaling your business.
However it is important to get the right offer in front of the right cold audience. You want to get in front of people who are the most likely to be interested in your offer.
The reason you want to collect your own data inside Facebook.
You need warm audiences to be able to target cold audiences but you also need the cold audiences to help you build your warm audiences.
Your targeting covers 3 main audience categories:
- Your custom audiences: the people in this audience are already warm to your business and would therefore generally generate a better ROI then a cold audience.
- Interest audiences: this audience is created by telling Facebook which audiences appear most like your prospects.
- Lookalike audiences: this audience will be a source for new prospects and it is derived from Facebook’s algorithm.
The value in re-targeting is that you’re able to maintain contact and have a conversation with people who have had some contact with your business.
While everyone may be at different points in the buying cycle.
Building a bigger audience means you are able to generate more leads and sales simply by using your existing sales funnel conversion system and presenting new offers or variations in a way that is of value to your customer.
Stating the obvious, 10% of 1000 people in your audience who might buy from you is better than 10% of 100 people. Now imagine how your business can change when your audience grows to 10,000 or maybe 100,000 people.
Which means that constantly creating new offers for your audience and growing your audience is so important to your overall success.
Using the social selling engine hidden inside Facebook to market your products and services can have a huge positive impact on your business.
You don’t have to be a slave to a continual cycle of posting content that almost no one will get to see because access to the full universe of your possible audience is throttled down.
You do need to be smart in applying some strategy though.
Building a marketing campaign on 3 fundamental pillars will help carry you to success.
- An evergreen offer....
- A conversion campaign that takes people from unaware to buyers with intent, and....
- Layers of awareness and re-targeting to reach different types of people....
Getting all three steps to work together can feel overwhelming, but then when you have a swarm of people knocking on your door to do business with you, you will feel vindicated a thousand times over.
What’s your evergreen offer? Do you have multiple offers you could build campaigns around?