Your Ready Business met with Janice B Gordon, founder of business consultancy The Problem Solver. In her role as a consultant, social selling has been key in generating new business. Here Janice shares some valuable insights other small businesses could benefit from.
When did you decide it was right to start selling on social media?
I started social selling on day one of my business but it was not really known officially as social selling then. I started tweeting and blogging back in 2011 and expanded my community as my social media knowledge and experience grew.
Social media is a slow burner and it takes a while to build a brand. I now have people recognising me and telling me they have been following me for the past 2 years. As I’ve built a rapport with them through social media, I can now easily turn these prospects into buyers as I have built trust and credibility over time.
What did your strategy look like?
I did not start with a ‘’total’’ social selling strategy per se; it has evolved over time. I blog and therefore needed to get people to my blog. I love Twitter and it now generates 50% of my website traffic. My Twitter following has grown from 4300 people in December 2015 to over 7,500 today.
Social selling for prospects that are on social media makes my sales cycle easier because (unlike networking), I can engage with many more people. Some of my themed blogs have secured me on a panel discussion on BBC London which in turn created a spike in my website views. This year I was asked to represent the largest trade show in Europe, The Business Show as an Ambassador. I’ve also been asked to speak at a number of business networks including HSBC Canary Wharf and to write for Huffington Post and Market Leadership Journal (USA). Social selling is not about sales – it is about building relationships, which in turn might lead to opportunities.
Do you use multiple social networks? Have you defined specific roles for each one?
I use LinkedIn to connect and engage with business people, I am currently developing a targeted social selling process for this channel. Facebook is fun,it gives my business a personality. Instagram is also great for creating a visual personality. I use Twitter for both personal and business content and it and connects with all my other channels. I use Google+ for improving my SEO score and post my videos to YouTube.
What tools have you used? Do you have any favourites you could share?
I use Google analytics to track all of my activity. Paid adverts within social media is a cost-effective way to create brand awareness for your product or service and can expand your reach getting your posts in-front of large audiences. Making people share your content with their followers is also a good trick that always works.
Being able to schedule and monitor all your posts is vital. I manage all my Tweets through Buffer and Hootsuite. For Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook I make sure to use hashtags to make content searchable, and I always drive traffic to bespoke landing pages. I try to use video content whenever possible, as a speaker this works for me. For email marketing, I use the Sentori suite, which is great for managing broadcasts. Some of my content is created using freelancers and I use the sites Fiverr, Freelancer and People Per Hour to recruit these people.
What have been the key learnings from your experience to date?
- Do not expect results in the short term. It takes time to build rapport within the community and for others to understand the picture you are painting. Be authentic and ‘’your tribe’’ will find and connect with you.
- If you are a newbie, start with one social media channel that you enjoy and master it before moving on to another.
- Have a clear strategy of what you want to achieve from each social channel.
- Do not treat all channels the same if you want to get the best out of them.
- Be consistent with your message and your postings.
- Be British and laugh at yourself – make sure to have fun.
- Do not just sell; demonstrate to your audience that you have knowledge, experience and value to allow prospective customers to buy you.
- Use the tools (analytics) to monitor your performance and effectiveness.
- Use keywords hashtags to search and engage with like-minded people.
- On Twitter, always thank and follow back; eventually I unfollow people that do not follow me.
How have you used social to maintain relationships post sale?
It is important to know whom you’re connected with in order to make the most of the network. I was recently sharing a stage with another consultant whom I had connected with prior. To my surprise, when I approached them at the event, they had no idea who I was. The reason? They said’ I outsource my social media’. This is a big no-no and a huge mistake. If you are committed to social selling you cannot outsource it – you have to be authentic. I always schedule content as some days I am 100% busy with a client. I then make sure to use my breaks to respond and engage.
How have you measured your success?
I was a finalist in East London Chamber of Commerce/Dockland Business Club Business Awards in 2015 – for the Digital Impact Award and have since gone on to win many more awards (all profile building). My Klout score of influence and interaction is 68. The average Klout is 40, a score over 61 means I am a “social media power user with many friends and followers, I frequently post and engaged with other influencers.
Social Media can and will benefit your business – why not start your social media journey today?
This article was originally posted in 2015 but is still relevant today – Ready Your Business the Vodafone business publication