Q: What social-media techniques can startups integrate into their selling strategies?
A: This is really a fantastic question because it highlights a remarkable change in the way people interact with each other and with the businesses they love. Just a few years ago, a small business would be content to have a pretty website, a frictionless checkout experience and a solid handle on search-engine optimization and marketing.
This worked because it matched with the way people shopped and bought. While they may have experienced discovery elsewhere, they always began a shopping journey with intent.
The above are all still incredibly powerful tools, and are in fact table stakes for a competent ecommerce presence. What has changed, however, is that people now spend significant portions of their time on and within social networks built around their interests and relationships. As a result, the buying process has moved from one driven largely by a desire to find something to one that is more based on customers coming across things within the experience they’ve already created for themselves. In a nutshell, intent and discovery are woven more closely together. The challenge is to be there with those customers when it counts.
Here are four techniques for any small business looking to integrate social media into the selling process:
1. Match your social strategy to your customer.
The key here is that not every social network is going to be a fit. Is your core customer a recruiting or education professional? A teenager? A modern mom who is looking for a great cookie recipe? Maybe your customer is a savvy thought leader or technology early adopter. Each of these descriptions matches with a particular social networking platform — LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter in that order — and can inform which may be best for your company. Choose accordingly, start listening for problems you can solve, and share meaningful advice. The first step is earning trust.