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If you want to generate a lead or sale with social media engaging customers is not the goal. It's the starting point.
It's an open door to get customers to respond… to dis-engage with social media and enter into a journey with you.
In other words it's the start of a series of "fair exchanges" that guides prospective buyers toward, or away from, what you’re selling on your turf.
Here's how to get started...
Most marketers and sellers using social media think of customer engagement as a goal. The finish line. But that's not going to help you get customers to buy online.
Be provocative to generate response
Successfully engaging with customers is an opportunity to create response from them. The best way to create response is to be a thought provoker, not just a thought leader.
After all, you've got to get customers to do something—something that starts them a journey toward converting to a lead.
Think of it this way. Are you giving customers a reason to talk to you on LinkedIn? A real, compelling reason to dis-engage from LinkedIn Groups or your profile and contact you. Are your blogs so bold they provoke readers to call or email you or sign-up for an offer?
Is whatever you've chosen to do on social media provoking customers to contact you, so your sales team can help them more clearly understand the thought you just provoked?
Don’t settle for engagement
Let's say you've got honestly new knowledge or a new product that can benefit customers in exciting new ways. (I hope you do!) Assuming so, why would you settle for floating thoughts out there and hoping to be dubbed a leader?
Instead you can be giving customers a reason to act on the impulse your thoughts and/or actual gestures can create.
This way prospects take action on doing something they really need and want to do... and you create a lead for yourself.
Peter Caputa of Collaborativegrowthnetwork.com (or Co-Gro) says many marketers fail because:
They don’t drive traffic to their landing pages using calls-to-action (CTA) buttons and text. They don't place CTAs in blog posts, in email campaigns or on their home page. They don't promote landing pages on social media and don't optimize them for search."
I've found there's a real problem with the issue of selling on social media (at all) or not. Compounding this nagging question coming from "social experts" is the question of how to sell products and services on social media without actually pitching them... understanding and practicing an effective process.
That's a subject for another post but keep in mind: there's a big difference between pitching your product or service and giving a prospect the opportunity to act on their impulse to solve a problem—through you!
Tempt prospects to act
In my business I constantly tempt prospects to trade their contact information for a better way... or tips on avoiding risks. I'm teasing prospects into taking an action that I know, deep down, they probably want to take. For example, I like to reveal a small part of a hidden opportunity to them on my YouTube videos.
So... you can engage customers and hope that focused conversation gets going or you can cause it directly.
It all starts with realizing engagement is NOT the goal... and (beyond that), as Peter Caputa says, knowing how to engage a lead who isn't ready to talk about your product or services yet.
Think of engagement as the first step to creating response. If you do you'll start making social media sell for you more often. What do you think? Have you practiced anything like this and experienced success?