Inside sales and web are the mainstay of the purchase process for many buyers of hardware, software and services. The use of the web in every step of the buyers journey is increasing, even down to executing the purchase. Clients are now demanding and expect their suppliers to provide web experiences that provide them immediate access to information. Encompassing the initial search phase, such as guidance and help on address challenges being faced, all the way through to pricing information and even transactional history.
The data and trends below where identified in a marketplace study, led by Market Development and Insights, conducted in November 2012 through to January 2013 to understand client usage of inside sales and online commerce throughout the decision making process.
So How Powerful is Visual Content on Social Media?
Simply Measured looked at Facebook’s top 10 brand pages to find out the real numbers and facts and figures on the engagement and sharing levels of photos and videos in comparison to text and discovered:
Videos are shared 1,200 percent more than links and and text posts combined
Photos are liked 200% more than text updates
To put some perspective on the power of visual content other studies show that Photo and video posts on Pinterest are referring more traffic than Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn and Google+.
For more insights into the power of visual content below are some more revelations.
5 Reasons your should be using Images in your Marketing
LinkedIn has just notified its members via its help center, that LinkedIn Signal (recently renamed “Updates”) is to be sunset on the 29th July. (Update 23/07 “Signal” or it’s latest name “Updates” is 100% being sunset)
To me this is yet another blow in using this tool to engage with like minded business professionals. If you do not know what Signal is, it provided a great way to listen for certain updates relating to keywords you where interested in. They could come from status updates, profile updates, group updates. In essence providing a great way to connect and reach out to another and have a conversation.
What else have we lost, all of the applications. I used the WordPress application, a lot. They kept the events application for a while and then it was KIA. Answers was another great area to connect and build your expertise by helping others – KIA,
LinkedIn have been talking a lot about “Social Selling” and how their platform best suits this buzz word. So why oh why LinkedIn are you taking all the parts that suit, engagement, credibility and social selling, out.
Which element have you missed most as a result of the LinkedIn firing squad?
01/08 Update: A variation of the functions Signal offered will be available in LinkedIn’s Unified Search Engine – the date for this yet to be advised.
Here are some activities sorted by time that you can consider to start building your credibility:
Minimal Time Commitment:
Take 30 minutes at the beginning of the week to schedule tweets, LinkedIn posts and even Facebook if you must! (see my previous post, They asked “Do you Facebook? I said no”), all about the areas of your expertise. These can be original ideas that provide value and helpfulness or links to useful content from other locations.
Medium Time Commitment:
Start contributing to groups, forums, or blogs that are in your focus area. Offer your thought leadership. Answer questions and resist the desire to sell or promote your company solution if it is not relevant. Be genuine and authentic and the readers will find you.
Develop relationships with other influencers or content creators in your field. This can be achieved by simply commenting on their posts, connecting at events, reweeting their content and following up. They will expand your reach and send recommendations your way in the long run.
Large Time Commitment:
Start and maintain your own blog on the area of your expertise, or offer yourself to be a regular contributor to a third party site. This does require a larger than average investment in time but research shows that creating regular content will generate upwards of 55% more visits to you and increase your visibility for search engines. Blogging will help you build the top of your funnel to pull in more prospects and hopefully more quality leads.
From my experience the “I don’t have the time” excuse underpins the biggest reason that people don’t participate and that reason is, people have no clue what to write about. There is this shortage of ideas. Equally challenging is the time factor of course, as we all have so many other things we have to do.
So start by committing some time, your competition are! Think about the wealth of knowledge you have and the value that can bring beyond what a website can do. Take part in conversations, start conversations and to coin Nike – Just Do It.
Using social media to create conversation, provide value, credibility and trust is only the start. How do you convert those “Likes” into customers?
This infographic, compiled by Wishpond, shows that 77 percent of business-to consumer (B2C) marketers have acquired customers through Facebook, while business-to-business (B2B) marketers have found more success on LinkedIn — finding it a whopping 277% more effective than Facebook or Twitter.
What platforms do you use? What are your tips for success? Join the discussion below and say hello.
How to fail at social selling in five steps
1 Produce content
2 Promote to social media platforms
3 Pray (Pay!) for comments and RT’s
4 Promote some more
5 Be disappointed. Give up.
What if there was a better way. A way that actually gets results.
A way that builds engagement
A way that generates SALES
Three steps to success using Social Media to sell.
Creating the Social Wrap with three ways to “serve”
1: (OB) SERVE
Before joining the conversation, listen
FIND: your audience, prospects, segment or whatever you call it
LISTEN: to their conversation, their questions and what they talk about.
DISCOVER: what they care about, focus on and want to get done first.
This should be a huge part of what you do first. Simply listen to the conversations that are happening around you. Sign up for LinkedIn groups, check leading blog posts, send out surveys. Do what ever it takes to develop a deep understanding of what motivates your prospects. What do they care about, struggle with and desire. Ask follow up questions to gain clarification and develop an intimate knowledge of what their world looks like.
2: (DE) SERVE
Now and only now, join in the conversation.
DEVELOP: intelligent perspectives, insights and resources
CONTRIBUTE: to the conversation by offering highly valuable insights, data and facts
ENGAGE: in meaningful dialogue with those who care and matter
When you have developed a deep understanding of your prospect you can then join in the conversation. But only then. Do not take to spam messages and ensure you tailor your messages. For example The biggest mistake you can do is use a template LinkedIn message. Personalise.
Produce quality content, that demonstrates value, meets the prospects needs, offers tangible practical actionable advice that meets the prospects needs. Deliver instant value of what it would be like to work with you.
3: (RE) SERVE
Focus on the few, not the many.
FOCUS: on your tribe of peers and followers, connectors and leaders.
FIND: those that deserve your time, follow up and start the journey forward.
FAVOUR: the few who are worth your time, effort and dedication
It is very easy to get hung on on the “how many RT’s did I get today” buzz. Focusing on this craze will help flatter your ego and of course make you feel like you have accomplished something.
But it does not produce results.
So be selective spend your time with those that engage with your content and are likely to be decision makers. Ask questions, promote their content, and above all thank them.
Create the “social wrap” equation:
Observe – Deserve – Reserve
Guest post by: Daniel Newman
Okay, so now that you cannot go a minute without hearing the words Facebook or Twitter, you have given in to the reality that Social Media is not going away.
You are now “Social” to correctly apply the term (as if you weren’t before?). You share on Twitter, you post on Facebook, of course you are on LinkedIn and perhaps you even blog to share your ideas with others in your business and social circles. Like everything else, you recognize that it takes commitment to become good at something, and Social Media is no different. You are committed in principle to growing your social presence and utilizing these powerful networks.
But you are busy, your job is leading a business, not to be hanging out on Facebook. Therefore you don’t have hours to spend every day keeping the conversations flowing and in the Social world if you are absent for a day people think you have gone missing.
The good news is that missing a day really isn’t going to hurt you too badly. The bad news is you really can’t generate much success in Social Media if you aren’t consistently present. This takes some work, however, it can be managed. Depending on how much time you have, here are the ways to go from “Social” to “Social Executive” in 20, 40, or at most 60 minutes a day.
If you have just 20 minutes…follow the AM/PM Plan, 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.
- Update Status daily on all platforms.
- Share 1-2 great quotes or articles you have read.
- Respond to anyone who reached out to you or shared your content. Even if by just saying thanks.
Following this plan will allow you to be present even if for a few moments each day and your friends and followers can see this. Being busy may make it hard to be social, but your success is attractive and even just a simple hello from you will be really meaningful.
If you have 40 minutes, do all of the things you did above and add the following to your routine.
- Search Friends , Colleagues, and Interesting Professionals across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and Friend, Follow, Connect.
- Create a list of people who inspire you and a list of those that curate the best content.
- Use these lists to look for 3-5 great thoughts, blogs, and/or ideas to reshare and/or retweet.
The effort to connect daily will expand your reach exponentially through degrees of connectivity. Even just a few new connections a day leads to a thousand new connections each year. The focus of this content that you are sharing should be in your field of expertise. The curating of great content in your field will immediately lend credibility to you as a (dare I say) “Thought Leader” in your industry and will attract others in your field to connect with you on social media platforms.
And if you can actually commit to an hour… This one is simple. Just do more of everything above!
Social Media may not be your job, but you know it is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the business landscape. Being too busy isn’t an excuse, and if you work just a little bit each day you can fully leverage the opportunities it provides.
Don’t let time be an excuse, become a Social Executive today.
Follow Daniel Newman on Twitter