With almost 8 billion lonely souls roaming the planet, it should come as no surprise that the internet boasts 4.4 billion users. That’s right, we said half of the world’s population actively uses the internet. Roughly 75% of those users report having an average of at least 7 different social media accounts. Those same bandwidth loving users spend roughly 140 minutes per day, poking, texting, tweeting, and posting till calluses take the place of finger tips.
It’s pretty darn impossible to overstate the very real presence of the internet in our daily lives. The internet has become the primary way we communicate. In the wake of its inception, the birth and infancy of social media has almost organically defined the concept of social selling. Perhaps that’s part of the problem.
Social Selling: A natural extension of the social media world
“Social Selling” seems more like a buzzword to describe a natural extension of the social media world than it does an established marketing practice with clear metrics. In a recent study of sales enablement optimization published by emarketer.com it was revealed 38% of all business respondents were not sure how social selling was working for their company. That response came from teams that are already spending valuable marketing dollars on social selling efforts.
It seems that while social selling has allowed for lots of easy opportunities to attract new conversations, the ability to effectively monitor and target has become difficult. Ease of access and sheer volume of resources have begun to render the attraction powerless.
The great cycle of marketing has certainly introduced no shortage of buzzwords, but what keeps the big wheel turning never changes. It all starts by building a personal relationship of trust. Simply put, the driver has always been cultivating, maintaining and providing for relationships of trust that lead to sales. No matter where you find those magic moments of interaction traveling along the silk road that is your customer journey, clearly, authentic client relationships are king. And let’s be honest, it simply doesn’t make sense to throw money at social selling when valuable opportunities for scale exist unexplored within your current client base. In a recent blog from Seth Godin we are reminded of the value leaving some stones unturned.
“If it’s the wrong stone, walk away. Infinity is a trap. Pick the right stones and cherish them as you turn them over.”
Role of Social Media in Customer Relationship
When we take the time to form relationships that cultivate a mutual interest in a reciprocal rewarding exchange, authenticity can’t help but take the lead. Social marketing has one problem that it can easily be seen and dismissed as opportunistic, manipulative and intrusive. When a cop sits outside a bar at 2 in the morning waiting for drunks to empty onto the street, so he can start a “conversation” they call it entrapment. What is the current relationship you enjoy with your clients? Can you afford to risk that paramount real estate with sloppy tactics?
A more intuitive approach lends deeper focus over time to retention, and overall customer satisfaction. A natural byproduct of this path is a proven result, happier clients that spend more money and are much more likely to return and recommend.
In a recent poll presented by the Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online and Ambassador, 82% of consumer respondents reported seeking the recommendation of friends and family before making a purchase. Where B2B consumers are concerned, reducing or removing the risk of potential loss by simply working with a trusted vendor that brings focus to real long term satisfaction makes a lot of sense too. Simply searching for opportunities to generate “conversations” through the use of social media and thereby sell a product once misses the mark.
Google’s illustration with “Tour Guides”
Google illustrated the point exactly some years ago with its advent of “tour guides,” regular site visitors that were given the opportunity to rate and review the services they already knew very well for monetary incentives. By identifying and rewarding these visitors, relationships between the vendor and consumer were vastly enhanced. Vendors received authentic reviews from customers that already enjoyed there products effectively turning them into raving fans. These tour guides in turn were much more likely to continue using the service as they had a vested interest in the success of the venture.
Are you really taking a look at how your client perceives your narrative or are you just waiting for the next conversation? Do you have a visceral understanding of your client’s narrative so you can offer helpful insight that strengthens relationships mutually, and maximizes scale potential? Start by fostering personal relationships of trust with your existing base. Its as simple as truly taking the time to understand and deliver.