Part 1: Establishing the Art of Connection
As we’ve briefly mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the greatest things about moving into a high-tech society is that it provides an opportunity for everyone to be at a more level playing field. After all, every business, big or small, has the opportunity to utilize digital tools and take up an equal-sized corner of the internet. For small businesses, this can be hugely beneficial—in more ways than one. Over the next couple of posts, we’re going to talk about how creating an authentic social media persona can help your small business reach even greater heights.
Social Selling for Small Businesses
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a massive transition to social-media driven markets, especially for handmade and bespoke-type items, as well as MLM distributors? The reason? Social media provides an easy way to forge real, intimate connections with potential customers that can lead to instant rapport and long-lasting brand loyalty.
Obviously, social selling, or the art of using social media to find customers and nurture business relationships, isn’t a new concept. But the way it’s been carefully utilized by artists, makers, and other small business owners is evidence that social selling has the potential to go far beyond traditional “shout into the void” marketing.
To explain this concept, let’s take a look back at the not-so-distant history of marketing. In the 1950s, an artisan had very few ways to market his or her business. They could print out flyers and hang them around town, focusing on areas where prospective clients would likely be found. They could also place ads in local print publications, hoping that the right person would happen to stumble across them. They could have possibly booked a radio or TV ad, as well, although it would be quite costly.
In today’s world, the same person would have a suite of other marketing options, all of which are reasonably priced and easily accessible: targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc. that ensure messages are delivered to high-quality prospects every time. However, social media provides another benefit, one that is potentially more beneficial than simple advertising: the ability to provide connection. An artist can do an Instagram live, detailing her sketching process, or showing off the minuscule details of her latest work. A crafter can take custom orders, quickly interviewing a client over a chat feature to make sure the project is exactly what was wanted. An MLM distributor can show how she uses her favorite products to fuel her workouts, showcasing her daily routine.
The Art of Connection
Social selling is hugely popular, and it’s not going away any time soon. In fact, according to LinkedIn, more than 50% of revenue across 14 major industries is generated by social sales. There’s a reason that more and more small sellers are utilizing social media to great effect. However, there’s another interesting concept at play—the fact that sales pitches are only one small part of a successful social media strategy. In fact, people who are truly successful with social selling rarely spend every post promoting an item. Instead, this business-focused content is often discreet, nestled between grid posts of the business owner’s day at the beach, stories of an employee picnic, or polls asking about favorite Christmas tradition. It’s an art form that allows us, the audience, to create a bond with a person we’ve never met, establishing an intimacy that encourages us to buy the creator’s products and remain loyal to their brand.
It’s a concept shared by esteemed social media guru Gary Vaynerchuck in his popular social media guide, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” In his metaphor, “Jabs are the value you provide your customers with: the content you put out, the good things you do to convey your appreciation. And the right hook is the ask: it’s when you go in for the sale, ask for a subscribe, ask for a donation.” Simply put, you should have far more jabs than right hooks. Here's a video from his YouTube channel that takes a look into his concept.
For a small business owner or artisan, this formula can actually be easier to accomplish than for a large corporation. Authenticity and sincerity are easy to radiate from a small-scale organization, especially when you’re willing to let your audience into your life. And that impact can be huge, evidenced by the fact that 78% of people engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who aren’t. Additionally, LinkedIn’s State of Sales report found that “relationship-building tools had the highest impact on revenue, and 90 percent of the top salespeople used social selling tools.”
The Psychology of Authentic Story Telling
As humans, we’re drawn to stories. We’re drawn to in-person connection. And it’s that innate human nature that is helping small business owners to achieve incredible success with social selling. Like Everyone Social’s article, The Psychology of Social Selling, says, “Social selling taps into the positive, rewarding emotions of trust, empathy and esteem. Having positive conversations – even online – raises our levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a feel-good chemical, involved in trust, empathy and love, that also has all sorts of health benefits.” It creates a positive buzz and, ultimately, a sense of loyalty that a great product alone, or even a great product combined with excellent customer service, can’t create.
Social selling as a small business owner is all about fostering that connection, establishing a relationship with your customers that encourages a solid brand following. Check back next week, as we discuss ways you can use that art of connection and use it to help scale your social media strategy as your business grows.
Welcome to 2021!