The one reason people’s social media plan fails, business owners fail to answer this question before they start: “what’s your sales cycle?”
Social media for business is designed to shorten the sales cycle. The end goal of social media for business should always be a sale or a referral to a sale.
A sales cycle is the process you use to:
- Find leads
- Establish a relationship
- Determine the prospect’s needs
- Form a solution
- Deliver and close a sale
- Follow up and retain clients
Also, included in this sales cycle is the process of getting referrals from non-clients, as well as existing or past customers or clients.
In order to create an effective social media plan you must have a clear sense of your sales cycle. Then, you need to decide how to use social media to help move the sales cycle forward.
If you are not clear in your sales cycle then you won’t be clear in your social media. Will you use social media to find leads, establish relationships, determine your prospects needs, or form a solution(s)? Will you use it to gather information so you can close a sale on or offline? Will you use your social media to address potential concerns or objections?
Decide what role(s) your social media will play in the sales cycle and then create a plan. If not you run the risk of posting for the sake of posting and ultimately wasting your time.
The first step to creating an effective social media plan, identify your sales cycle.
If you don’t know how to identify your sales cycle go to the experts in your network on the topic.
My fellow Prince William Chamber members Vincent Consumano, co-founder of FreshySites, and Pat Ennis, are masters at helping people identify their sales cycle. When I was deciding how to structure my social media plan, I referred back to everything I learned from them about my sales cycle.
Keeping my sales cycle in mind when developing my social media plan allowed me to focus on what would create revenue for my business. If a post is not driving my sales cycle forward, I won’t post it. Sure, I may have a silly post here or there, but even those are designed to build a relationship with my prospects.
I know what role each of my posts are suppose to play in the cycle and I am constantly monitoring the posts to determine whether or not they are effective.
If your social media is not working it’s time to look at your plan and determine if it is in line with your sales cycle. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Do you know your sales cycle? How do you plan to use social media to shorten your sales cycle? Tell us in the comments.