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Wondering How Social Media Can Help Your Business?

May 2, 2013

All About Business marquee

Social Media is such a huge part of our marketing that I tend to take the leads and sales for granted.

But for people who are struggling to understand how social media can work for their business, I thought I would give a snapshot of some of my recent sales and leads.

1. Stand sales:

We are running a networking marquee at the Royal Norfolk Show in June and had been let down by someone with one of the stands. This left us with a stand to sell before June in order to cover our costs. Although June seems a long way ahead, I was conscious that we were now in May and were likely to get caught up in other things. June will be here before we know it.

We had created a LinkedIn group for our previous exhibitions and the group has taken on a life of its own. People have been posting on it a lot, which is great. It means that the group is not all about us selling our exhibition stands, it is a useful place for the business community to share ideas.

Yesterday (1st May 2013) I decided to do something about the remaining stand and sent a LinkedIn announcement to the group. When you send an announcement LinkedIn posts it as a discussion in the group and sends everyone a LinkedIn message.

LinkedIn messages are twice as likely to be read as emails.

Within minutes someone had emailed me and taken the last stand. Three more people emailed and I now have a waiting list in case any of the other stand holders don’t pay.

So that was one problem sorted with just one post on LinkedIn.

It doesn’t always work like that. A previous post had not had the same effect.  This post  was successful because I focussed on the benefit in that the stands won’t be cramped together, and also because there was only one stand available – there was a sense of urgency.

This made a big difference.

2. Book sales -Twitter

I tweet books for some of my clients and know that there is a correlation between tweets and book sales. Having just published my own book I can get an even better handle on the stats.

One tweet last night had 4 click throughs and gave rise to two book sales.

Two sales from four clicks on a link isn’t bad going, especially if I can replicate this often.

There were a few factors to be taken into account:

  • My author twitter account is quite new and doesn’t have a huge amount of followers compared with my other accounts, so this was a good result.
  • I included links to and in the tweet and sold a book on each site.
  • Time of day has a bearing on the success of a tweet.
  • The wording of a tweet has a huge bearing on results.
  • The Amazon page has to be compelling enough to encourage a sale once people click through.
  • I have targeted my twitter followers on that account so that most of them are authors – my target market.

This can easily be translated into your business – it’s a case of knowing who your target market is, and using the tools to find them.

3. Book sales: Google Plus

I am a member of a number of Google Plus communities. Again, because my book is targeted at authors, I joined communities of authors. These communities don’t like you to promote your own books or blogs but I wrote about  the twitter results mentioned above – as a tip for other authors. There was no link to my blog or book, only my Google Plus name. A few hours later I received a message from an author to say that he loved my post and had just bought my book. So, another book sale via social media – and this wasn’t part of any planned marketing campaign – it’s just a normal working day.

4. The Best of Norwich: (promoting local businesses)

Twitter – people often send us direct messages asking how they can come on board as a client. We do very little self-promotion on Twitter. People see us promoting our clients on Twitter and want some of this promotion for their own business. With social media it is easy for them to see us in action, doing what we say we will do. It is very transparent.

I have also gained business once or twice by sending someone a direct message (DM) asking if they would like to come on board. It is usually someone who I have already met – I’m careful about not being too pushy. In one particular case I sent a DM late one Friday night, whilst the idea was in my head, thinking that they would reply on the Monday. I got a tweet back straight away and we arranged a meeting. Nothing like doing business at 9.30pm on a Friday night whilst curled up on the sofa watching TV and an ipad in my hand.

Facebook – I have used Facebook ads very effectively to make sales, especially when we have a deadline and a specific product to promote. Facebook have now introduced a fantastic tool that can tie in your facebook ads to complement an email campaign – this will be next on my list of things to try out.

LinkedIn – I have a series of messages that I send to people in various situations, all of which bring in business, whether it is in reply to someone asking to join my LinkedIn group, someone asking to connect with me, or a post that I add to one of my groups. I connect with people who I meet at networking events, as a way to keep in touch or follow up to ask for a meeting. LinkedIn brings in about 3 or 4 leads a week – more when I am particularly active on LinkedIn. Although this doesn’t sound a huge amount,  it all adds up.
All of this is focussing on sales and leads from social media, and doesn’t even cover the business that we get for our clients by tapping into our following on the various platforms, and the way we have set up various searches to listen out for online conversations.

We listen out for tweets from people needing local services and then refer our Best of Norwich clients to them.

For me, however, one of the biggest benefits of social media is the increased visibility and the connection with our clients.

Although you may have a different type of business, it is possible to translate all of the above to your own business. The key thing is to know who you are targeting and focus on the platforms where your typical client will be hanging out.

Don’t discount a platform, though, because you think it is too B2C* or too B2B*. Sometimes it is good to do the opposite to what people expect, to be seen in places where you competitors don’t go.

And don’t panic thinking that you have to do everything at once.

I built up my knowledge gradually. I started with one platform and got used to it, then moved on to another platform. Once you are used to using social media, it is easier to move to new platforms. Many of the rules around etiquette and what to post are similar.

The biggest thing that people struggle with is the divide between private and public. For me, I can’t imagine doing social media without having very public personal profiles. I would struggle with only a business facing profile, but everyone is different and you need to do what feels most comfortable for you.

So, some tips for those new to social media:

1. Be yourself, do what you feel comfortable with, rather than what you think you SHOULD be doing. It’s much better to be authentic. (unless, of course, you are grumpy or malicious – in which case I would say very little!)

2. Know your clients. Target the right people. Hootsuite is an excellent free tool for this – click here for tips on how to set up a hootsuite account.

3. Don’t try to do everything at once. Get used to one platform at a time.

4. Post a mixture of content. Often it is the “non- salesy” posts that lead to business. Just make sure that your profiles include your contact details and web address.

5. Do what works best for you. If you like structure, then great – have set times to post, but personally I post as and when the mood takes me, and then use tools to schedule any important posts to go out at peak times.

6. Use images wherever possible.

7. Be aware of the words that you use. When you post a sales message, add a deadline or call to action. Even a simple “Please RT” or “please share” can work wonders.

8. Likeability is important. Build a community of people who like, know and trust you. They are more likely to respond to a call to action or to share your posts. Don’t expect people to immediately buy from you or promote you. Don’t get disheartened if at first you get no response. You need to be out there adding content and interacting before people start to respond to you.

9. Ask questions – whether for market research, for help with something you don’t know, or fun questions. It’s great for interaction, and it’s amazing how you can get an answer in seconds to most questions. Again, don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a reply – just try again at a different time.

10.Experiment. Don’t be scared to try out different things to see what works and what doesn’t work. There isn’t always a right or wrong way to do things. Enjoy it. Have fun.

Author: Sara Greenfield

Sara Greenfield owns  Bright Yellow Marketing and also works with authors helping them to promote their books using social media.

Bright Yellow Marketing provides social media training in Norwich.

Sara is the author of “How To Tweet Your Book”


* B2B means Business to Business – ie businesses that sell mainly to other businesses

*B2C means Business to Consumer – ie businesses that sell mainly to consumers.

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