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10 Rules of Social Media Engagement From a Sales Perspective
Author and facilitator of Jelly Academy’s B2B Sales Specialist course, Shane Gibson, co-wrote a book called Sociable in 2009. The book focused on how social media would turn sales and marketing upside down. At the time, it was a predictive book with what Shane and his co-author believed were the eight rules of social media engagement. Since the explosive growth of social networking, two additional rules have been added.
Follow these 10 rules to connect with your audience like never before!
1. Stop pitching, start connecting
Use social media to connect on a personal level instead of responding to users in a robotic, brand voice. Ask how they’re doing. Sign off a Tweet with your actual name. These small but genuine behaviours will not go unnoticed. And rather than waiting for people in your target market to notice you, be their fan first. If someone makes a post that you can add value to, do it. Don’t write: “Hey Jeff, I have an opportunity for you. DM me.” Try: “Hey Jeff, loved your insights on this. My take is that…” Human connection should never be lost in the world of social media.
2. Doers win in the game of social media
Results take time. Many sales specialists will join a social media platform, and after sharing a few pieces of content that don’t gain immediate traction, they give up. A week’s worth of posts won’t build an online community! So experiment by committing to producing content a certain number of days per week for a given time period. Every platform has a learning curve, so don’t fret if your content isn’t incredible off the jump. Share other users’ content that resonates with your message. And ensure that whatever you post is unique, value-added content.
3. It’s not about you
It’s okay to post about yourself, or your latest product or service on social media. The only issue is that it’s not going to land well unless you’ve been giving. Shane references Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook—use social media to give, give, give, then promote your solution last. Build equity with your network before asking for a favour. The rule is as follows: 90% connection, contribution, and community, and 10% content and commerce.
4. Be fearless in your contribution to community
There are endless creative ways to contribute to your community, and subsequently, separate you from the next sales specialist. Some inspirational ways to give back include full articles, free events, podcasts, VIP treatment, going the extra mile to help, creating full tutorials, and using your voice. Don’t shy away from a podcast or any other form of media because it’s new to you. Some of the most impactful pieces of social media content were created out of jitters.
5. Don’t be a social spammer
Social spam is when someone sends a mass, generic message. Lacking personalization and customization, these types of messages are obvious to those who receive them. Taking time to customize your message and speak directly to the person’s life, business, and desires will pay off.
6. Be authentic
Storytelling is more impactful when it’s authentic. Shane uses the example of a car salesperson. The salesperson could tell two stories on social media: 1) Organic stories outlining life at the dealership and the genuine connections he’s made; or 2) Salesy posts about new cars the dealership had in stock. The salesperson opted for the former, and it resulted in endless referrals.
7. Be consistent
Be consistent with your timing, personality, formats, topics, listening and access, and your brand or company’s brand. Being consistent is about continuity. Users will not connect to a brand’s content when it’s all over the place. Be reliable with the amount you post, the persona you use, and everything else in between.
8. Get Sociable!
Use the internet to get off the internet. There are great tools, like Eventbrite and Meetup, that allow users to invite a large group of social media users to an in-person event. You might have an online-fan who sees value in your content, but once you meet in-person, your content will forever be more meaningful to them. If you can’t meet in person, leverage a Zoom call!
9. Listen more than you talk
Curious listeners use social listening tools. Twitter search, Facebook Business Pages, and Instagram hashtags and location search, are among the many tools that help users become better listeners. Shane actively follows hashtags relevant to the groups he is part of.
10. Leverage community
As a sales person, your community is your long-term financial security. What your community says about you sells. Your community can also be your partners in innovation and partner creation. Be calendar driven. Motivation and inspiration are only temporary. Plan out your social calendar a month in advance so that you have your social sales content and communications strategy broken down to daily disciplines!
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