It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of advertising opportunities on the social web. As a business, you have a million opportunities to reach your target audience on the ever growing list of social platforms.

Finally, thanks to social media, advertising just got a little easier, cheaper and more efficient! Woo-hoo! It’s time to kickback and take that Hawaiian vacation you’ve been dreaming about.

Not so fast!

Although it appears you could now put your marketing on cruise control, double your sales team (because with a social media campaign your phones will be off the hook..right?) and coast through the marketing and sales process while you’re on island time, it just doesn’t work that way.

In fact, if selling is your goal for using the social web, your campaign has already failed.

Capitalize with Content

You should be listening, influencing and networking by creating content that enlightens, entertains and educates followers and prospects…that’s social selling!

So what am I talking about?

Content! Content! Content!

Think about it, in the old days at networking events, you built rapport, gained a few business cards, stayed in that network, communicated and eventually leads become sales. It was a process, but it was a surefire way to to grow sales.

Today, regardless of the influx in opportunities, businesses cannot lose focus how how leads are generated and sales are captured. The good news is, social selling follows the same “old-school” process, but reaches tens and thousands more! Let’s find out how…

Build Rapport

When you first begin a conversation with someone you generally find common ground. The same goes for the social selling process. Start with a blog post that entertains, enlightens or educates that individual so you have a greater understanding of where their interests lie.

Gain a Few Business Cards

Once you have built rapport and gained a new connection in your network, you exchange information. This is step two in the social selling process. You now know what your prospects are interested in so you target them with valuable content. BUT here’s the trick, create content that is too valuable to just give away – ask prospects to opt-in to your email list to get instant access to whatever great content you have produced, maybe it’s a a White Paper on 5 Secrets to Social Selling.

Stay in that Network

Now in step three, be sure to hold up your end of the deal. Put those email opt-ins into an email nurturing campaign that is tailored to their interests. Send them valuable information that they’ll appreciate and you’re one step closer to your next sale!

Communicate

You’ve made it this far, don’t drop the ball now! Socialize with leads by answering emails, responding to questions on social networks, reaching out, etc.

Sold!

Finally, after establishing trust and authority with prospects and following them from the cold to warm stage they are now customers! Woo-hoo! Now keep that trust and authority by continuing to produce relevant and valuable content.

Conclusion

Sure, it would be easy to send your offer out to the 1.3 billion people on Facebook and see what happens, but you’ll never be successful. Begin with content, run retargeting campaigns (tailored content based on interests), create email nurturing campaigns (more tailored content based on interests) and continue to provide relevant content even after the sale is made. It starts and ends with content.

To find out more about content marketing, check out: Content Marketing: What it Is and Why it Works!

Holly Melvin

Holly Melvin

Holly received her degree in Marketing from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. She is passionate about marketing and enjoys working with clients to uncover their marketing needs. Writing is one of her many strong points. In her spare time, Holly enjoys blogging, biking, being outdoors and playing/watching just about every sport (as long as it’s the Aggies-Gig’em Aggies!).