How to build trust that generates sales via social media

Posted by , 23/01/13

social media marketingIt’s one of the biggest dichotomies in social media marketing: businesses are looking for ways to measure ROI in terms of direct impact on the bottom line, yet are constantly advised not to engage in direct selling on social channels.

Scratch beneath the surface of this conundrum, however, and you’ll find a simple solution. What is one of the fundamentals of selling? Trust. And where better to build the foundations of trust than through the relationships nurtured on social media – as well as those established over the phone and face-to-face, naturally.

 

If you are the person within your organisation tasked with guaranteeing ROI on your social media efforts, then building trust should be your highest priority. From trust come sales.

In today’s currency, content is one of the cornerstones of cementing effective long-term relationships. Brands that offer useful and valuable information that prospects can not only learn from, but also put into effect with beneficial results will come to be respected, liked and, above all, trusted.

 

Offer free content to build trust

As social media advances, brands are quite rightly looking for more than fan and follower numbers to measure its success. Yes, it makes sense to deliver content to build your fanbase and encourage participation – but there are a number of ways to go about this. Some marketers choose to offer content for free, while increasing numbers are inviting Facebook and Twitter users to Like their page or submit their email addresses to access hidden content.

 

Another more powerful option and a proven approach for generating trust is to use a combination of free and hidden content. First, create and share valuable content with no gateways or requirements on the part of the reader – they should not need to sign up to email lists, do any ‘liking’ or sharing. Whatever your niche, you are most likely operating within a crowded marketplace so ensure that your content is high quality, valuable and if possible, well-designed to attract as many eyeballs as possible. Here are a few steps to make this work:

 

1. Develop compelling content (such as an eBook) which can be downloaded as simply as possible with one click.

2. Promote the content using advertising such as Facebook Offers and Google AdWords to drive participation and use links in all your social channels to ensure that content is easily discovered.

3. Use call to actions within the content that point to extra content that offers even greater benefits to the reader, such as a series of videos that demonstrates in-depth points from the eBook.

4. Invite readers to access the extra content by Liking your Facebook page, sharing a page or signing up via email at a landing page.

 

This tried and tested systematic approach to delivering content via social media should quickly earn measurable results. Firstly, you invite readers on a journey of content discovery which helps to build trust. Then, you can proceed with further social media participation to capture highly targeted leads who are already engaged with your brand and wanting to hear more.

 

Over to you

What approach do you take when offering content on Facebook and Twitter – free content, hidden content or a combination of both?

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