There is a lot of talk about social selling lately, but not enough emphasis is being placed on social media engagement. Sure, prospecting on Facebook is a great way to create leads, especially in an environment where generating your own leads is getting harder (and costlier) every day.
But “conversation marketing,” my preferred term for social selling, is about locating and engaging with potential customers. To do that, you need a strategy that involves more than yelling, “Buy! Buy! Buy!” at them day after day. You need to be an active part of the community. The more you act like a human being, the less you’ll be thought of as just a corporate mouthpiece.
We all know that Facebook can become a huge time suck if it’s not managed properly, and I’m not talking about spending hours a day on Candy Crush or Farmville. I’m talking about being active enough that you are seen as part of the community and aren’t treated like a nuisance.
The days of interruption marketing are over, my friends, and they aren’t coming back. It’s the softer sell that works now. Here’s the breakdown we’ve been using to make ourselves part of the Facebook community. Believe it or not, it takes just 10 minutes a day.
1. New Post
Create or curate at least one new post every day. Find something interesting somewhere else — a video, an article, a news story —that your customers and prospects will like and engage with. Using Google AdWords, you can look up what else people who click on your ads are clicking on. For example, you might discover that a lot of your potential customers are dog lovers or comic book fans. Use this information to determine what to post on Facebook.
Find something someone else is talking about on and comment on it. Join the conversation. Opportunities can be found on another user’s timeline, in a group, or on another brand page.
3. Likes or Shares
Again, this is about being part of the community. Simply like or share someone else’s posts. You can use an app like Buffer to preschedule posts. Using the Google Chrome add-on shortens the time it takes to schedule a share to just a couple seconds. If you manage multiple pages (like for multiple rooftops), you can even share across all of them with a single click.
I also use another app, Pocket, to queue items to read and share later. Like Buffer, Pocket also has a very handy Chrome add-on that makes saving interesting items to your queue as easy as a single click. Pocket has also recently added a recommendations feature that offers a wealth of other possibilities based on the kinds of things you typically save. A few minutes with both apps will yield a week’s worth of posts, all lined up, with no undue effort.
The last part of the equation is what I call the Rule of 5. For every five times you post, just one should be focused on direct sales. In other words, one out of five posts should be to announce a sale or serve as a call to action to contact you. More often than that and you’ll drive away fans. Less often and you’re not using your platform effectively enough.
One, two, three, and five. Creating and maintaining your social media presence can be as simple as that.
Clifford VanMeter is the marketing manager for the Express Auto group of dealerships, a certified inbound marketing and sales expert, and a Google partner. Contact him at [email protected].